Increasing the Math Willingness of Students

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Boosting Math Confidence is most of what I do in the classroom and one-on-one.  I named my website Math Confidence as it is the opposite of Math Anxiety.   Grouping students may increase classroom discussion although sometimes the sharper students will just tell the reluctant students.

Here are some things I do to encourage participation:
Note: this may not lead to everyone being part of the whole class discussion but at
least it makes the more reluctant students do Math 😉 and it gives the teacher a lot of material from which to lead the discussion.

Independent Work

5 or so mins of independent work (the room is slient) so I can walk around and work with s’s one on one.  This could include comparison type questions, matching, or other low-intensity tasks.

Surveying without Student Names

low tech: index cards or Post Its
high tech: Nearpod, Poll Everywhere or Kahoot (disclaimer: I have not used Kahoot yet but plan to next year)

blind voting:  everyone puts their head on their desk and votes (I can see but fellow
students cannot!)

Increase Self-Awareness

A lot of Math mistakes are “fuzzy errors” rather than conceptual errors.  A lot of the questions I ask are self-reflective, metacognitive questions such as “Is it bigger or less than 1/2? Why?”, “Easy, Medium or Hard?” and “Is that your final answer?”.  And for reluctant students, building confidence often comes from being ok with making mistakes and correcting them.

Allowing/Requiring Open Book/ Open Note Exams
Math is not about memorization and I have the great fortune of being able to allow students to use their notes/textbooks during quizzes and tests.  This boosts confidence for many students that they do not have to memorize but instead figure it out!!
I also share that iif they write nothing then their score will be nothing and talk to students about reading over the entire exam before they get started and figuring out their “Easy, Medium or Hard?”.

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