Understand how students learn

It is important to encourage students to have a growth mindset by praising effort over the outcome and giving students challenging work developing their persistence.

“In a classroom with a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it“ Morehead (2012)

It is important to praise students for their effort and the process that they have gone through, that is what will help them develop a growth potential. We should help them develop strategies either alone or with their classmates that help them to solve the problem at hand,

In life, individuals will encounter problems and need to be able to pursue answers despite difficulties. They need to be able to develop perseverance in challenges in order to solve them. It is important to assign challenging work ( within the zone of proximal development to normalise some sense of effort and at times struggle in understanding a problem.

With this in mind, I encourage students to work as a team, justifying and critiquing the problem with other students and how they came to their given conclusion.

Maths is a subject that very much warrants this approach. An example maths activity that I did with my year two class called

Greedy Pigs!

The goal is to be the first player to reach 100.

On your turn, roll the dice and determine the sum. You can either stop and record that sum or continue rolling and add the new sums together.

Roll the pair of dice as many times as you choose. Again, when you decide to stop, record the current total for your score (and add it to your previous score).

But beware! If you roll a 1 on exactly one die, your turn ends and 0 is your recorded score for that turn. And, if you roll double 1’s, your turn ends and your entire score is set back to 0.