Brief Experiences That Can Change Struggling Students’ Mindsets

In this edtalk professional development video from PBS LearningMedia, Nadia Murray Goodman discusses how she introduces high expectations for her students.  In a recent NY Times‘ article, Nudges That Help Struggling Students Succeed, David L. Kirp, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and senior fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, sites studies showing that teachers’ high expectations is one way to can change students’ mindsets about mathematics.

Kirk writes how millions of college freshmen, often required to take algebra, fail math and ultimately drop out of college, noting that the Mathematical Association of America reports math as “’the most significant barrier’ to graduation.”  From recent studies, Kirp sites examples of how students given short, simple experiences can change their mindsets about math, which ultimately has “a powerful and long-lasting impact” on their academic futures.

These brief experiences are often just sound practices that teachers can and should use with students — and not only for mathematics.  Studies sited in the article show strong impact on performance when students are taught “that the brain is a muscle that grows stronger with effort,” are assigned short writings about what they value and, yes, know that their teachers have high expectations for them.

You can see this and other short videos and teaching materials from PBS LearningMedia’s edtalk video gallery.  You’ll also find many resources for teaching about the brain and literally thousands on mathematics, both of which you can filter by grade, content, and resource type.

To read Kirp’s entire Op-Ed piece in the NY Times, click here.

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