“I want THAT for my child…” — Creating positive, deep learning experiences in mathematics

Positive, powerful learning experiences for students should be a primary goal of education.  When we see students enjoying learning without significant anxiety — when we see students demonstrating deep learning — we get excited.  “This is what we want for our students.”  “I want that for my child.”  What a joy it is to see the potential in young people as they shape their futures in school.

On the other hand, it is easy to be disheartened when we see students consistently feeling frustrated or bored by school experiences.  “I don’t want that.”  “We can’t let that happen for our children.”

I want everyone to be able to experience the joy that I have seen hundreds of times in the faces of students who have recognized their own deep learning in mathematics.  By “deep”, I don’t mean just getting a series of right answers — I mean feeling that their own understanding has been changed substantively — feeling that they have confidence in solving new problems that are not just like 20 recent exercises.  That is, we need to lessen mathematics anxiety while deepening learning.

We can create these deep experiences for every learner.  It is absolutely possible.  But we as adults also need to recognize what this looks and feels like so that we can work together to provide these opportunities for students.  I want to work to create these kinds of positive learning experiences in mathematics for educators and the public at large.  I urge others to join me.

When we have powerful learning experiences ourselves, then we can collaborate to provide the intensive, ongoing support and structures for ALL teachers so that they can foster these same opportunities for ALL students.  

Once we see what is possible, there is no turning back!

© Summit Mathematics Education Enterprises, LLC 2014