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!
The word “smart” is tricky because it means different things to different people. For example, would you say a baby is “smart”? On the one hand, a baby is helpless and doesn’t know anything. But on the other hand, a baby is exceptionally smart because they are constantly learning new things every day.
This example is meant to demonstrate that “smart” can have two meanings. It can mean “the knowledge that you have,” or it can mean “the capacity to learn from experience.” When someone says they are “not smart,” are they saying they do not have lots of knowledge, or are they saying they lack the capacity to learn? If it’s the first definition, then none of us are smart until we acquire that information. If it’s the second definition, then we know that is completely untrue, because everyone has the capacity to grow as a result of new experiences.
So, if your student doesn’t think that they are smart, encourage them to be patient. They have the capacity to learn new facts and skills. It might not be easy, and it will take some time and effort, but the brain is automatically wired to learn. "Smart" should not refer only to how much knowledge you currently have. #mathmythbusted
Everyone has been there. You have a big test tomorrow, but you’ve been so busy that you haven’t had time to study. So you had to learn it all in one night. You may have gotten a decent grade on the test. However, did you to remember the material a week, month, or year later?
The honest answer is, “probably not.” That’s because long-term memory is designed to retain useful information. How does your brain know if a memory is “useful” or not?
One way is the frequency in which you encounter a piece of information. If you only see something once (like during cramming), then your brain doesn’t deem those memories as important. However, if you sporadically come across the same information over time, then it’s probably important. To optimize retention, encourage your student to periodically study the same information over expanding intervals of time. #mathmythbusted
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