In Education, the 2010’s could be considered the “Mindset Revolution.” Carol Dweck’s work has permeated our pedagogies and her book and TedTalk are educational canon for any practitioner. In my field of Math Education, Dr. Jo Boaler, has been revolutionalizing Mathematics Education with a “Mindset” approach.
I’ll admit it – I’ve been on board for a while. Those of us who prescribe to this revolution believe that all children can learn Mathematics to the highest levels, that depth is more important than speed, that learning the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of mathematics is just as important (or more important) than learning the skills, and that maybe we need to rethink the importance of age old teaching traditions.
So has it been effective? It’s hard to tell – so I sought a way to measure my own effectiveness through my journey into Mindset Mathematics. I was a traditional teacher – with emphasis on rules and practice – until about 2010 or 2011 when I was tuned into Carol Dweck’s work and worked for a school that adopted the Common Core State Standards (and thus also adopted the philosophies behind the work).
With the only data to go on being standardized testing, the two years following my pedagogical shifts, I saw marked improvements:
Could this be a fluke? One teacher at one school with a specific group of kids? The only way to tell is by seeing if different teachers, at a different school, with different kids, saw the same change.
Fortunately – I became a data coach and Department Head at a different school in 2016 as their teachers made the transition to a Math Mindset pedagogy. And guess what? They saw the same change school-wide:
At this point you have to take notice. Variables such as students, teachers, schools, and year all changed – but when the same pedagogical practice was applied, the same increase in growth showed up (to make this more interesting, the country also changed, meaning even cultural influences didn’t change the pattern).
I’m excited to keep tracking this pattern. Anecdotally I’ve noticed a difference for years, but it’s nice to know the data backs up my experiences for the past decade. I encourage all educator’s to head over to youcubed.org and dive into the wealth of resources provided by Dr. Boaler for teachers and students.
Viva La Revolution!