Brave teachers.

Just have to throw a lot respect and admiration to some colleagues this morning. A dedicated group of math teachers is reading Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets.  It is definitely challenging our math thinking.  As teachers, we, ourselves,  are products of old style math learning. Cemetery learning.  Rows of kids, sitting in silence, doing worksheets.  Very few collaboration opportunities.  Very few opportunities for creativity, critical thinking, or communication.  These 4 Cs, are of course, critical skills for our students.  Creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.  The cool thing is that our teachers are already destroying that type of learning because they know it’s terrible for kids.

We get help from Jo Boaler.  Dr. Boaler flat takes on that old style of learning for kids.  In fact, she likely wouldn’t call it learning.  It’s the study of algorithms for their own sake. No understanding of why one is learning the algorithms or how one might ever use them.

Anyway.  Thank you colleagues.  I know it’s hard to bust through old ways of thinking and doing things, when we come from those very things.  But if we believe we can do better for kids, and research is on our side, we probably should try to better.  Your bravery and willingness to engage in a challenging study of a book is fantastic.  Your students will thank you!

Check out Jo Boaler’s website for more information.

Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

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