I have a very simple challenge for educators. Think deeply about what you believe about every student's learning potential. Complete this sentence and post it.

"I believe..."

63 Comments

Tanyaon February 4, 2020 at 11:44 am

I believe that the verbs “teach” and “learn” are problematic and do not reflect what actually happens when people undertake a shared journey. I believe that the language we are using to describe that process has a negative impact on the process itself and also negatively affects how people perceive their roles in that process.

Kevin Kingswell---80--- and still sharing the beauty and power of Math. as a volunteer.on January 6, 2020 at 6:33 am

I believe that with the compassionate help of people like you, Steve, and Professor Jo Boaler of Stanford Univ. , EVERY teacher could become a true, heartful classroom mathematician.

While not forgetting the pioneering work of such ‘math consciences’ as Canadian John Mighton of JUMP MATH fame.

Once that development has occurred, the ‘avalanche -effect’ of teachers lacking a love for Math. will be reversed, and world classrooms will ‘buzz’ with the exuberance of shared learning that should be the hallmark of every classroom.

Our environment demands nothing less, if our species is to survive

And then the stats. of every country, like your USA and my Australia, would speak for themselves.

I believe students need to be given ample space to think. Too quick we misunderstand speed as intelligence. Some kids are deep thinkers and should be given time to process. Sometimes language is a barrier as well. Kids know what they are doing but sometimes can not find the right words to express it. Teachers need to be expert observers and listeners to hear the whispers of what thinking and knowing truly is.

Thank you for taking on the challenge and for sharing your insights, Deidre. I’m struck by the power of your concluding sentence about the importance and the power of listening. That is truly such an expert skill that begins with an intentional focus on listening for student thinking. Thank you!

I believe students do their best work when they can start with what they know, work with context and application of operations to push through to what they can figure out, test out discoveries by communicating process to others, then refine their conclusion with an eye to efficiency, often resulting in a statement, expression or equation. As has been stated by others, students need time and space for this messy process. And they need to learn what it looks and feels like to get it ‘right’, without relying on someone else to tell them that they’re right.

Hi,
I can’t get past clue 2 on the estimation mysteries….Sorry, I can’t find how to contact Steve directly. Our class wants to know the answer! Thanks for any insight.

I believe… that all students want to learn but not all students learn the way we might want to teach.
I believe… in balance; structured discovery, practice, communication, visual methods, algorithms, exploration, etc, etc, etc all have a role to play in learning maths.

I believe .. that each child needs to visualise every social situations, materialise it before putting numbers, cardinals on them. Let us make maths class as a ring box or a theatre stage.

I believe all students can be mathematicians. As educators we can help them see the beauty of mathematics in the world and allow them to see they can learn mathematics. Although some have anxiety, I believe we can give them a sense of hope and success.

I believe… that every child is born with an innate sense of wonder, curiosity, and desire to explore and discover. I believe that every child can be successful in mathematics given the room and space to apply their own knowledge and personality to solving problems, with the support and guidance of a caring, nurturing, competent, and knowledgeable adult. I also believe that our current education system is sucking the life out of our children, and I’m happy to see websites and people like you!

I believe that everyone (children and adults alike) can learn something from each other. We should all embrace what others have to offer. I offer my students more when I am open minded enough to learn from them.

I believe that every child has the potential to succeed in maths. I believe it is our job, as teachers, to introduce students to the world of maths which is creative, collaborative, engaging and full of conversation.

that teachers’ excitement and wonder is contagious, and that we can foster a love for life-long learning if we value students’ thoughts and embrace our “mistakes” as opportunities for learning.

stevewyborney@gmail.comon March 25, 2019 at 1:04 pm

That is a beautiful statement, Tammy. Your words contain so many important teaching and learning concepts. Thank you for posting your response to the challenge!

I believe that every kid is fully equipped with curiosity. That curiosity takes them to their level of potential. I strongly believe it’s not the way teacher teaches should be understood by kids. But it’s the way kids learn and understand is important.

I believe every child has the potential to learn and tackle cognitively demanding academic tasks, if given the right tools to access their own toolbox. Learning is a journey, and every child requires all the skills, support, and tools necessary for success at every stage of the journey.

I believe every student has different ways of learning and that every student needs to be taught how to reach their intelligence by being shown how to access their own toolbox. Students also need to be taught that failure is not the end point, but the beginning. Every situation has a solution, but getting there has a different path for everyone.

I believe that each student’s potential is unknown and unknowable, so I will not set limits on their potential by treating them as anything but fully capable of learning and understanding high level math. (I also believe that much of what is inflicted on students in school – arbitrary timelines imposed on all students, grades, lack of opportunity to redo and resubmit, low expectations for some, etc. – crushes the intrinsic motivation that we are all born with. I want all people to have the opportunity to learn without limit, so I am working tirelessly to create change in this direction. 🙂

I believe that students are waiting for teachers to show them: the beauty of Mathematics, the aha moment when understanding dawns, and the intrinsic motivation that comes from persevering and finally solving a challenging problem.

Excellent! Way to take up the challenge, Jeff. I like how you described “the beauty of mathematics” and how you related it to intrinsic motivation. You have captured and connected many very important ideas here. Nicely written!

I believe that students today are completely different from 10 years ago and the challenge is how in the week, the month, the semester, to harness meaningful learning outcomes, but yet still encourage free exploration.

stevewyborney@gmail.comon March 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Ann, thank you for taking the challenge. You have clearly identified something very important here. There is great power in the free exploration that you describe here. Thank you for thinking this through and for posting your thoughts. I like to revisit this question often: What do I truly believe about students?

I believe that all students have the right to be taught in a way that helps them learn, and that all students have the ability to learn math, given the proper tools, environment, and suppport.

I believe that students need a patient person who believes in them, practice, and work that’s challenging to develop the confidence to take on any topic.

stevewyborney@gmail.comon January 19, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Great response, Stacie! Your words are very important. I like how you’ve captured the importance of surrounding our students with patience, support, challenge, and opportunity. Thank you!

I believe that the verbs “teach” and “learn” are problematic and do not reflect what actually happens when people undertake a shared journey. I believe that the language we are using to describe that process has a negative impact on the process itself and also negatively affects how people perceive their roles in that process.

I believe that with the compassionate help of people like you, Steve, and Professor Jo Boaler of Stanford Univ. , EVERY teacher could become a true, heartful classroom mathematician.

While not forgetting the pioneering work of such ‘math consciences’ as Canadian John Mighton of JUMP MATH fame.

Once that development has occurred, the ‘avalanche -effect’ of teachers lacking a love for Math. will be reversed, and world classrooms will ‘buzz’ with the exuberance of shared learning that should be the hallmark of every classroom.

Our environment demands nothing less, if our species is to survive

And then the stats. of every country, like your USA and my Australia, would speak for themselves.

I believe students need to be given ample space to think. Too quick we misunderstand speed as intelligence. Some kids are deep thinkers and should be given time to process. Sometimes language is a barrier as well. Kids know what they are doing but sometimes can not find the right words to express it. Teachers need to be expert observers and listeners to hear the whispers of what thinking and knowing truly is.

Thank you for taking on the challenge and for sharing your insights, Deidre. I’m struck by the power of your concluding sentence about the importance and the power of listening. That is truly such an expert skill that begins with an intentional focus on listening for student thinking. Thank you!

I believe students do their best work when they can start with what they know, work with context and application of operations to push through to what they can figure out, test out discoveries by communicating process to others, then refine their conclusion with an eye to efficiency, often resulting in a statement, expression or equation. As has been stated by others, students need time and space for this messy process. And they need to learn what it looks and feels like to get it ‘right’, without relying on someone else to tell them that they’re right.

Thank you for answering the challenge and posting your beliefs!

Hi,

I can’t get past clue 2 on the estimation mysteries….Sorry, I can’t find how to contact Steve directly. Our class wants to know the answer! Thanks for any insight.

I hope our plan to play it as a google slide worked for you. Let me know if you need anything else.

I believe… that all students want to learn but not all students learn the way we might want to teach.

I believe… in balance; structured discovery, practice, communication, visual methods, algorithms, exploration, etc, etc, etc all have a role to play in learning maths.

Thank you for posting this, Anne!

I believe .. that each child needs to visualise every social situations, materialise it before putting numbers, cardinals on them. Let us make maths class as a ring box or a theatre stage.

I believe all students can be mathematicians. As educators we can help them see the beauty of mathematics in the world and allow them to see they can learn mathematics. Although some have anxiety, I believe we can give them a sense of hope and success.

I believe that all students need us to help them uncover their identity as mathematicians, scientist, engineers, reader, and writers.

I believe… that every child is born with an innate sense of wonder, curiosity, and desire to explore and discover. I believe that every child can be successful in mathematics given the room and space to apply their own knowledge and personality to solving problems, with the support and guidance of a caring, nurturing, competent, and knowledgeable adult. I also believe that our current education system is sucking the life out of our children, and I’m happy to see websites and people like you!

Thank you for taking on the challenge, Jennifer!

I believe that ALL student’s have the learning potential to LEARN ANYTHING at the HIGHEST level. Learning simply takes time. #GrowthMindset

Thank you for writing and posting this statement, Amber. It’s such an important statement!

I believe that everyone (children and adults alike) can learn something from each other. We should all embrace what others have to offer. I offer my students more when I am open minded enough to learn from them.

Hi, Erica. Thank you for posting this belief statement. I also learn so much from my students. It is a privilege to be in their presence!

I believe that every child has the potential to succeed in maths. I believe it is our job, as teachers, to introduce students to the world of maths which is creative, collaborative, engaging and full of conversation.

Hi, Erika. Thank you for posting this belief statement. I’m grateful that you took the time to wrestle with this and post it on the blog!

I believe that every child CAN do math and CAN learn to LOVE math!

Thank you for sharing these and saving us all so much time.

Aileen, thank you for posting this statement. I appreciate how you are also focused on the love of math. Thank you!

I believe every person is a mathematician, a problem solver, capable of deep thinking, and interested in achieving success.

Dan, thank you for posting this response to A Challenge for All Educators! I appreciate your posting your belief statement! Nicely done!

that teachers’ excitement and wonder is contagious, and that we can foster a love for life-long learning if we value students’ thoughts and embrace our “mistakes” as opportunities for learning.

That is a beautiful statement, Tammy. Your words contain so many important teaching and learning concepts. Thank you for posting your response to the challenge!

I believe that every person can learn at high levels and reach success.

Christine, thank you for taking on the challenge. That is a very important statement!

I believe that every child is on a path, and it is my job to show them the way.

wonder will carry a child to the point of wisdom

That is a beautiful statement. Thank you for taking the challenge and posting your idea!

I believe that every kid is fully equipped with curiosity. That curiosity takes them to their level of potential. I strongly believe it’s not the way teacher teaches should be understood by kids. But it’s the way kids learn and understand is important.

We are all learners, and change is a good thing.

I believe that there are no problems, just solutions waiting to be found.

I believe all children can learn math and enjoy learning it.

I believe every child can excel at maths

I believe every child has the potential to learn and tackle cognitively demanding academic tasks, if given the right tools to access their own toolbox. Learning is a journey, and every child requires all the skills, support, and tools necessary for success at every stage of the journey.

I believe every student has different ways of learning and that every student needs to be taught how to reach their intelligence by being shown how to access their own toolbox. Students also need to be taught that failure is not the end point, but the beginning. Every situation has a solution, but getting there has a different path for everyone.

I believe that every child is born with a natural curiosity that can be brought to the surface with great lessons and by great teachers.

Hi, Kelle. I appreciate your taking time to respond to this challenge. Thank you for contributing to the lives of so many students!

Thank you for stretching my thinking so that I may continue to stretch my students!

Patty, thank you for commenting on the post. I’m really glad you read this one! Have a wonderful day!

I believe that each student’s potential is unknown and unknowable, so I will not set limits on their potential by treating them as anything but fully capable of learning and understanding high level math. (I also believe that much of what is inflicted on students in school – arbitrary timelines imposed on all students, grades, lack of opportunity to redo and resubmit, low expectations for some, etc. – crushes the intrinsic motivation that we are all born with. I want all people to have the opportunity to learn without limit, so I am working tirelessly to create change in this direction. 🙂

Beautiful statement, Teresa! Thank you for taking up the challenge. I love it!

Math makes sense and all kids should be taught so that it does!

I believe that every child can improve.

I believe that all children and adults can find and see the joy and fun in the world and, of course, in mathematics.

I believe all children can succeed . . . .no exceptions!!!!!!

Excellent! Thank you for taking the time to post this very important comment, Judith!

I believe all students, with proper opportunities to observe, question, and discover, can enjoy math and even love it.

Rick, thanks for taking on the challenge. Well said! I like how you connected all students to opportunities to loving math!

I believe that students are waiting for teachers to show them: the beauty of Mathematics, the aha moment when understanding dawns, and the intrinsic motivation that comes from persevering and finally solving a challenging problem.

Excellent! Way to take up the challenge, Jeff. I like how you described “the beauty of mathematics” and how you related it to intrinsic motivation. You have captured and connected many very important ideas here. Nicely written!

I believe that students today are completely different from 10 years ago and the challenge is how in the week, the month, the semester, to harness meaningful learning outcomes, but yet still encourage free exploration.

Ann, thank you for taking the challenge. You have clearly identified something very important here. There is great power in the free exploration that you describe here. Thank you for thinking this through and for posting your thoughts. I like to revisit this question often: What do I truly believe about students?

I believe that all students have the right to be taught in a way that helps them learn, and that all students have the ability to learn math, given the proper tools, environment, and suppport.

..that’s support…

Thank you for taking the challenge, Wendy! Your words and ideas are very important. It is so important to reach all students. Well stated!

I believe that students need a patient person who believes in them, practice, and work that’s challenging to develop the confidence to take on any topic.

Great response, Stacie! Your words are very important. I like how you’ve captured the importance of surrounding our students with patience, support, challenge, and opportunity. Thank you!

I believe that every child has capabilities, gifts, and talents that far exceed what may be visible to the casual observer.

Nicely stated, Traci! Thank you for taking the challenge.