Don’t Trash-Talk About Math

In Sunday August 12, 2012’s Parade Magazine I found a checklist for parents to help them get ready for the upcoming school year.  There was a list of 10 tips to follow.  Number 6 was entitled “Don’t Trash-talk about math”.

Psychologists Harold Stevenson and James Stigler found 15 years ago that in countires that produce a lot of math whizzes, parents and teachers believed math ability is like a muscle you strengthen with good instruction and practice.  In the USA, where klids don’t do that well, parents think of math ability as a talent, not a skill….Watch what you say about your own math aptitude- it matters.

What do you think?  Is math a talent or a skill?

4 Replies to “Don’t Trash-Talk About Math”

    1. Agreed. It seems to me that most of our adult abilities comes from a \”can-do\” attitude. However, I have two kids with very different math attitudes, which is unfolding into very different math aptitudes. They have mixed-mindsets in out home and extended family- as their father and I don\’t see ourselves as \”math people\” but their grandfather is a math professor who specializes in actuarial science.
      So… the question remains. Is it a talent or a skill?
      PS. Thanks for the article.

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