“When will I ever use this?” “I hate math.” “I’m just not a math person.”
The subject of mathematics can be daunting and anxiety-inducing for many students. Further complicating things, harmful stereotypes about mathematical talent can create an unwelcome environment for those who do not fit the mold of “a math person.” I feel it is my responsibility as an educator to create a classroom experience that serves students of all levels of mathematical confidence and backgrounds.
I make use of a variety of techniques to accomplish this in my teaching. They include:
- Humanizing mathematics
- Mathematics is done by humans with all varieties of backgrounds. I encourage my students to see themselves in the inspirational mathematicians that have contributed to the field of study.
- Cultivating a welcoming environment
- I work hard to be available and inclusive. Students must feel safe to ask questions and productively fail in order to succeed in mathematics.
- Inquiry based learning
- The best way to learn mathematics is to discover and hone mathematical ideas personally. I encourage students to actively pursue mathematical knowledge rather than passively receive it from me.