Mathematics educator Elizabeth Cleland helps all her students be good at math—and she's spilling her secrets.
Cleland impresses upon her students the importance of perseverance and willingness to take risks; she fights the complacency she finds among students who score high on standardized tests (and therefore think they should be excused from homework); she accepts late work and awards credit for solution attempts.
Cleland acknowledges that learning math can be challenging. She wishes kids approached it more like crossword puzzles:
So many crossword puzzle enthusiasts (my whole family) look forward to checking their solutions against the key printed in tomorrow’s newspaper while so many students dread seeing their returned math test. Why? Because the crossword puzzle enthusiast knows he will learn more about doing crossword puzzles if he checks the key carefully, whereas the math student sees the returned test as a judgment about his intelligence. Students need to see that the attempt is just as valuable as the result.
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