A Blog by Carnegie Learning
It's amazing how many math myths are out there these days. Believing these myths can lead students (not to mention adults) to believe that math is "too hard," "not for them," or just plain unattainable. That's nonsense!
In most cases, speed has nothing to do with how smart you are. Why is that? Because it largely depends on how familiar you are with a topic. For example, a bike mechanic can look at a bike for about 8 seconds and tell you details about the bike that you probably didn’t even notice (e.g., the front tire is on backwards). Is that person smart? Sure! Suppose, instead, you show the same bike mechanic a car. Will s/he be able to recall the same amount of detail as for the bike? No!
It’s easy to confuse speed with understanding. Speed is associated with the memorization of facts. Understanding, on the other hand, is a methodical, time-consuming process. Understanding is the result of asking lots of questions and seeing connections between different ideas. Many mathematicians who won the Fields Medal (i.e., the Nobel prize for mathematics) describe themselves as extremely slow thinkers. That’s because mathematical thinking requires understanding over memorization. #mathmythbusted
As you probably know, the brain is divided into two hemispheres: the left and the right. Some categorize people by their preferred or dominant mode of thinking. “Right-brain” thinkers are considered to be more intuitive, creative, and imaginative. “Left-brain” thinkers are more logical, verbal, and mathematical.
But another way to think about the brain is from the back to the front, where information goes from highly concrete to abstract. So, why don’t we claim that some people are “back of the brain” thinkers who are highly concrete; whereas, others are “frontal thinkers” who are more abstract?
The brain is a highly interconnected organ. Each lobe hands off information to be processed by other lobes, and they are constantly talking to each other. So it’s time to dispense with the distinction between right- and left-brain thinkers. We are all whole-brain thinkers! #mathmythbusted
Stay tuned for more myth-busting, and the next time you hear a Math Myth like this from a student, parent, or even a friend, make sure you bust it!
Bob Hausmann received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology in 2005 from the University of Pittsburgh, and received additional training as a post-doctoral fellow at the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC). Bob publishes a blog entitled Dr. Bob's Cog Blog, and is the author of Cognitive Science for Educators: Practical suggestions for an evidence-based classroom. The unifying theme that runs throughout all of these activities is a drive toward helping every student become an expert in a domain of her or his choice.Explore more related to this author
Amy Jones Lewis taught in the Baltimore City Public Schools system, where she helped found a new innovation high school as part of a Gates Foundation Grant, taught with Carnegie Learning instructional materials, and increased student state test scores to twice the district average. Since then, she's spent 12 years deepening teachers’ content knowledge, assisting in the implementation of student-centered instructional strategies, and transitioning schools and teachers to the Standards for Mathematical Practice. As Director of Instructional Design, she incorporates her classroom expertise and mathematical content knowledge in the creation of innovative and student-centered instructional materials for teachers and students.Explore more related to this author