We had our final book group on What's Math Got to Do With It? by Jo Boaler. See record of our previous two discussions here. I didn't realize that she had moved on from Stanford to the University of Sussex. There's a video of her talking about the book, and also maybe a TED talk on the way? (At least TED has a profile of her.)
Interestingly, Keith Devlin recently talked about this book, too. It's worth reading his thoughts about it, in the context of emphasizing thinking over skills. I'm probably not that extreme in practice, trying for thinking along with skills.
What the students noticed:
- Parents using puzzles or games at home. Makes it easier for parents to be and get involved.
- Learning goals: as students we never knew the learning goals. I can or I will statements...
- Important to make the classroom open to questions, with validation for questioners.
- Teachers can respond without giving the answer. What did you get vs how did you get there. Dig deeper.
Chap. 8: would like other ideas for games. The ones in the book were good and raised questions even for us. Manipulatives are good, especially for children who can not do it mentally.
What about time management? Don't manipulatives take longer?
Homework that parents can't help with... What do those students do? And it's anxiety-causing for a parent who doesn't understand and doesn't want to admit it. Problems that allow flexibility in method opens it up to more students and parents.
Chap. 9: what can parents do? Parents need to be advocates for their students if the student doesn't understand. At the same time, if the parent forms a front with the teacher, then there's two people looking and checking for understanding.
On the teacher side, promote that kind of interaction with parents.
Overall: the preservice teachers thought it was a good book. Many talked about keeping it for when they're teaching. Asked to give it stars (like a review), only one student gave it less than full marks, and that was a 4/5. Clearly the best textbook reaction I've ever had in a class.