Great questions to Ponder

Monday, January 04, 2016 12:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Great questions to Ponder

    During winter break I had some moments to read books that was not about math.  To my surprise one particular book reminded me of everything that I have been emphasizing in the way I should be modeling for teachers who are teaching mathematics.    In The Great Report - A Guide for students and teachers who wish to replace tedium with delight  by Jamie McKenzie I have discovered great ways of asking questions. By asking good questions we can help students appreciate the valued of innovation.  Each student then has the opportunity to cultivate skills and attitudes required to do work that is inventive and original  (page 49).    For example for the topic of biography,  a possible question could be “What are the two or three most important lessons you or any other young person might learn from the way this person lived?” (page 50).  McKenzie also had a chapter on the power of how, why, or which such as “Why does the rain fall?” (page 31)  

    Now I have my homework to change the way I should be asking questions to enable students to learn from their mistakes and be allowed to be creative and innovative.   I also finished my reading of Mindset by Carol Dweck.   Now I not only have to think about better questions but I also have to contemplate the best way to respond to my students to encourage creativity and innovation and encourage lots of effort into finding solutions.   While I started my search for better questions, I began reading  Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.  This is exciting and challenging to always be looking for the best questions and the best ways to encourage students to take risks and learn from their mistakes.   I am hoping that we as educators can keep learning from others, to keep pondering on how we can encourage our students to love to learn,  and of course have our students learn to delight with challenges that go beyond the basic concepts.   I am also hoping that we will start thinking of great mathematical questions that help our students see that mathematics is not about memorization but exploring mathematics to see the why, how, and when all the elements of mathematics fit together in our world.

Don’t forget to join ATMIM book study group - What’s Math Got to Do With It? by Jo Boaler.  


The Great Report: Jamie McKenzie  (FNO Press, 2015)

Mathematical Mindsets: Jo Boaler (Jossey-Bass, 2015)

Mindset: Carol Dweck (Ballantine Books, 2008)

What’s Math Got to Do With It?: Jo Boaler (Penguin Books, 2015)

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