Want your students to learn mathematics well then change your mindset, says a recent Stanford study. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Education Sciences found that when teachers changed their mindset from believing only some students could learn math well, to believing that all students could succeed, the achievement of students increased considerably.
In the research, a set of 5th grade teachers were made to take an online class designed to give them a different approach to mathematics teaching and learning were able to get a significantly higher grades for their students as opposed to another set which did not take the class.
"As teachers reevaluate their own potential as learners, they are more likely to embrace new forms of teaching. This helps their students build confidence, develop positive attitudes and, ultimately, achieve better test scores," said study co-author Professor Jo Boaler.
The basis of the study is 'growth mindset' as opposed to 'fixed mindset'. Boaler and her collaborators- Robin Anderson, a GSE doctoral student and research associate at Youcubed, and Jack Dieckmann, director of research at Youcubed - wanted to see the difference it would make if math educators challenged their own ideas about who can learn math and how.
"The idea that only some people can be successful in maths is at the root of widespread anxiety about the subject, in the United States and elsewhere," said Boaler.
This study can have much bearing in India where the perception is still strong that girls are better at humanities and boys at Maths and Science. The sheer gap in the percentage of male, female enrollment in certain cases tells the tale.
As per the educational statistics released by MHRD for 2016, the percentage enrollment of female candidates in Bachelor of Arts programme is 32.96% as opposed to male enrollment at 24.60%. On the other hand, the percentage enrollment for male candidates in B.Tech. programme is 8.68% and for female candidates is 3.78%.
The results of the Stanford study might be useful in encouraging more female participation in STEM sciences in India.
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