Ideas of "Giftedness" Hurts Students

Jan 26, 2017 | Fort Collins

"Even the people whom society thinks of as geniuses actually worked really hard and in exceptional ways to achieve their accomplishments.

Einstein did not learn to read until he was nine and he failed his college entrance examination, but he worked exceptionally hard and had a very positive mindset – he celebrated mistakes and was extremely persistent." - Jo Boaler, Ideas of "Giftedness" Hurts Students

What a great reminder each day as our children go to school with the thoughts of parents, peers, friends and the societal stereotypes filling their minds. We need to constantly let our children know that it is okay, and even encouraged to not know something. Not knowing how to do something shouldn't be seen as a failure but rather an opportunity to grow, improve, and overcome an obstacle. More often than not we see kids come to take our assessments, and leave multiple answers blank. This is something that we allow them to do if they have never seen that kind of math before; but most of the time when we go back with the kids to at least try the problem before turning it in, we discover that they knew how to do it the whole time but what they lacked is the confidence to know they did. Kids would rather leave a question blank then put down an answer that is wrong.... absolutely heartbreaking!

At Mathnasium we are constantly celebrating not only success, but more importantly misunderstandings! With an attitude of, "What a great opportunity you just presented for us both to grow!" the possibilities are endless for our kids.

Before you repeat these common sayings, "they just have a math brain" or "your [mom/dad/parents] just arent math minded" or "sorry you got your math brain from me" take a second to read Jo Boalers article, Ideas of "Giftedness" Hurts Students. Don't pass up an opportunity to et the children in your life know that anything is possible if they're willing to work hard for it - it may not come to them as quickly as some others, but the speed doesn't matter if you are achieving your goal.