"I cringe whenever I hear someone say they're not good at math or, worse, that they aren't a "math person"," wrote Glenn Normore, a math and science teacher at Holy Trinity High School and past winner of a Prime Minister's award for excellence in teaching. Parents can - starting with themselves - help their children to think differently about mathematics. In the last decade, research has shown that our brains are capable of developing throughout life in ways that were once thought to be not possible.
There is strong scientific evidence that how we think about intelligence has an impact on our performances. People who have a "growth mindset" - believing they can develop their brainpower and skills - are more successful in many domains than those who believe that talents are innate and reserved for the lucky ones. Practically, any student (the younger the better) can improve their math skills. But how parents can help their children build a growth mindset in mathematics?
First, parents need to display a growth mindset of their own. It means they are never allowed to pretend they are bad at math or that they are not a math person. Then, they have to be unafraid to struggle, to get things wrong, to do things differently... and to fail. Like their kids. Do you want an example? Learning fractions seems to be a difficult task at a young age, but it's not. Just ask your kids to evenly share a chocolate bar with a few friends. They'll probably solve quickly this tricky - but mouth-watering - math problem!
Picture: Arcanys Early Learning Foundation - Math Olympics 2017