A must read: What’s Math Got To Do With It?

Very rarely do books have as much immediate impact on me as the book What’s Math Got To Do With It?, by Dr. Jo Boaler.  This book is an engaging read from the first page to the end, drawing on our experiences of mathematics teaching and learning both as students and teachers.  Anyone who has taught or learned mathematics, or who knows someone who is teaching or learning mathematics, will benefit from Dr. Boaler’s insights and experiences.

Essentially, Dr. Boaler lays out a very clear, concise argument for rethinking the way that mathematics is taught in schools, based on the idea that most students are not especially successful learning how to solve problems and reason logically in a very teacher-directed, skill-and-drill (what we might call “traditional") learning environment.  She describes discussions with teachers and students as well as extensive work in middle and high school classrooms that she has done.  She also writes of ways to engage young children (and adults) in fun mathematical activity, both in and out of school, pointing out that this is the kind of activity that often draws people to mathematics instead of pushing them away from it -- the outcome of the school mathematics experience for many, unfortunately.

Dr. Boaler has also been continuing her research, particularly surrounding how to serve all students well in the mathematics classroom, and she has a very informative, reader-friendly website.  I encourage you to read this book and visit her site — she is an inspiration to me and a tremendous leader in mathematics education today.

© Summit Mathematics Education Enterprises, LLC 2014