Thursday, April 18, 2013

"How Intelligent Are My Students?"

Note: I've talked about this in presentations I have given in the past.  I thought I should share it on the blog.

In the context of growth mindset, this post is about teachers also having a growth mindset about their students.  I frequently hear something along the lines of, "How intelligent are my students?"  I propose to permute the words.

"How intelligent are my students?"
"How are my students intelligent?"

The second question is the one that can make a difference in our classrooms.  If we think about our students and what they are good at, we then have a place to start with our tasks and problems.  Knowing where your students are at is a fundamental component of good teaching.  

If you don't know specifically what your students are good at, then it's time to start giving them more opportunities to do math in a way that let's you see how they think.  Perhaps try a think-pair-share or get students to work in groups on a couple of problems, and go and visit.

How are your students intelligent?