At Mathnasium, we give children the power to achieve excellence–in math and in life. This may seem like an exaggeration. After all, we’re only a math company. How can a team of math instructors, no matter how dedicated, make that much of a difference in students’ lives?
It all comes down to how we teach, and what we teach. We don’t teach memorization; we teach confidence. Bob Cunningham, EdM, writes that “When kids are confident and secure about who they are, they're more likely to have a growth mindset. That means they can motivate themselves to take on new challenges and cope with and learn from mistakes. They're also more likely to stand up for themselves and ask for help when they need it.” (understood.org) He also notes “many kids have trouble building and maintaining positive self-esteem, for lots of reasons. One common reason is when kids struggle in school.” An area students commonly struggle in…math.
Sites such as the Nation’s Report Card provide data on how many students are performing at or above their grade level in topics such as math and reading. Children who are shown over and over again that they’re not “succeeding” in math based on homework and tests are likely to have low confidence in this subject - but so are the kids in the 26-36% of students who are testing at or above grade level. Good grades don’t equal math confidence. If your child is achieving A’s but is stressing about their assignments, lacking self-motivation to explore further, or breaking down over small mistakes - that could be a sign that they lack confidence.
How Does Mathnasium Teach Confidence? Liz Greene (Child Mind Institute) and Heidi Lynn Borst (The Washington Post) have identified the following as small ways to build confidence in kids:
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