Positive Norms to Encourage in the Classroom

More great stuff from Jo Boaler at youcubed.org. I’ve been following Jo avidly since taking her amazing online class “How to Learn Math” from Stanford University. The class is free.

Recently they added a poster listing seven positive messages and norms for the math classroom. If you’d like to put it up in yours, you can download it in PDF here.

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1. Everyone Can Learn Math to the Highest Levels.
Encourage students to believe in themselves. There is no such thing as a “math” person. Everyone can reach the highest levels they want to, with hard work.

2. Mistakes are Valuable
Mistakes grow your brain! It is good to struggle and make mistakes.

3. Questions are Really Important
Always ask questions, always answer ques- tions. Ask yourself: why does that make sense?

4. Math is about Creativity and Making Sense
Math is a very creative subject that is, at its core, about visualizing patterns and creating solution paths that others can see, discuss and critique.

5. Math is about Connections and Communicating
Math is a connected subject, and a form of communication. Represent math in different forms eg words, a picture, a graph, an equation, and link them. Color code!

6. Depth is much more Important than Speed
Top mathematicians, such as Laurent Schwartz, think slowly and deeply.

7. Math Class is about Learning not Performing
Math is a growth subject, it takes time to learn and it is all about effort.