Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Habits of Math Teachers that Value Productive Struggle

Today, we were fortunate enough to attend the Triangle High 5 Elementary Math Summit at SAS World Headquarters!

 Not only did we get to attend, but we were even asked to present! It was exciting to share our knowledge with teachers across the Triangle about how to engage students in productive struggle...and even though we didn't finish, we hope session goers left with an idea or two.

Anyway, one of the activities we did in our session focused on habits of teachers that value productive struggle.    As session goers filtered in, we asked them to take colored dots and place them on posters that showed a habit that they themselves have used in their math class or they've seen used in their schools/county. These habits came from an article we read on the Mind Research website.  You can find that article here.

We asked those attending our session to think about, "Why/How does this practice prevent our students from growing as effective problem solvers who can persevere through problems?" and "What habits can we replace these with that would better foster a productive struggle classroom?"

Everyone had fantastic ideas and we started a few really great conversations.

While we know that sometimes changing our own mindset can be difficult, time consuming, and stressful; we also know how important this is for our student's success.  When we shift our old habits and mindsets, we create classrooms that foster a culture of learning through struggle and mistakes, students are more open to being "math people," and we witness our students being able to work through challenging tasks without getting frustrated or throwing in the towel.  We create more effective, efficient problem solvers who are overall, more confident in themselves as mathematicians.

After we shared, we pulled up a great graphic that is on the bottom of same article mentioned above. It focuses on the 8 Habits of Math Teachers Who VALUE Productive Struggle and help us understand exactly HOW we can change our habits and mindsets to promote this type of learning environment in our classroom.  While, again, changing our mindset is certainly a struggle in itself.  In the long run, our struggle, to help students struggle, can only help them make tremendous gains as they develop a math and problem solving mindset!

Thank you to Triangle High 5 for the fantastic summit today and for allowing us to share one of our passions!