A Common Misbelief
If you are like the majority of Americans, then at some point in your life you have doubted your mathematical abilities. More likely than not, no matter how you feel about your own abilities, one, if not more, of your kids either hates math or believes they are no good at it.
You may think these beliefs are not that big of a deal, but when we doubt what we are capable of doing, we are placing limitations on ourselves and we are less likely to achieve all that we are capable of achieving. Even worse, our kids follow our examples and put limitations on themselves – something I never want my kids to do.
Students cannot become powerful thinkers if they are taught, implicitly or explicitly, that they are subject to limitations which don’t actually exist and are just a story they have convinced themselves of as truth.
The first step to helping our children achieve the greatness they are capable of is recognizing, in ourselves, the false stories we are telling ourselves and start believing in our own potential to become a powerful thinker.
Here are two keys to help you develop your own confidence in your mathematical abilities.
Key #1: Believe in your mathematical potential
We hear the phrase “math person’ a lot. As in, “I am just not a ‘math person.’” It has actually, scientifically been proven there is no such thing as a “math person” or a “math brain.” This excuse is no longer valid so stop telling yourself it. Everyone is capable of becoming a great mathematical thinker. Even now. Our brains never stop growing and can be sped up! You need to believe in your potential to be a great mathematical thinker.
If you need help believing, check out this great TED talk by Stanford professor, Jo Boaler.
Key #2: Give Yourself Opportunities To Struggle
As Daniel Coyle writes in his book, The Talent Code, “Struggle isn’t an option, it’s a biological necessity.” In order for our brains to achieve our thinking potential, we must give it opportunities to struggle. Let me suggest, two ways to accomplish this:
First, you need to do a few logic puzzles each day. Yes, I said you. We call this logic training. This can be anything from crossword puzzles to Sudoku and everything in between. You want your kids to learn to think hard? Show them you’re doing it too (this is just leading by example right?)
Second, start building your own mathematical foundation by learning alongside your children. Your capacity to understand the meaning behind simple math is so much stronger than when you were a child. You will see patterns and connections you never had the chance or patience to see when you were a kid. Apply your increased thinking abilities to making sense of basic operations and basic math procedures. You will be amazed at what you will learn.
You are capable of so much! Please believe in yourself!