My Reflection on Math Myths

There are many myths that have accumulated over the years in math classes.  Two of the most common myths that I discovered while reading an assignment in this course that I no longer agree with are; Boys are better than girls in math and there is only one way to solve a problem.

Myth 1:Boys are better than girls

While a student in school, I noticed that in many of my upper tier courses the class was mainly made up of boys.  At that time, I was unaware of what was taking place but I believe that it was mainly because that’s what we were told and female students looked at it as a boy’s subject, so they did not pursue it as heavily. I also feel that boys did better in math because it was “quick” work and not a lot of explanation.

Now as a teacher, I am noticing that my female students are really overcoming this myth.  I believe now that we put a lot of emphasis on writing in math such as open-ended response questions, female students are starting to excel more than boys.  I also feel that the stereotype of math is only for boys is being overhauled due to the fact that math is a stronger focus for getting into college and starting careers.

I always tell my students that any student can be successful in math as long as they are willing to pay attention, practice, and ask questions.  I also let them know that math is very important for being successful in their future.  In this day of age, women are competing with men in every field, which means that no subject is only one gender.

Myth 2: There is always only 1 good way to solve a problem

While a student in school we were always taught that you needed to follow a certain process to find an answer and if you were unable to do so, you would not excel in that area.  This had a very negative effect on me as a student, because I sometimes did not find it easy to work on a problem using the method of the teacher.  I would struggle to focus on the lesson’s because of this and often lost credit for not showing work.

Currently, I teach my math lessons using the PowerTeaching approach.  In this approach, the teacher teaches a lesson showing the standard approach to complete a task.  However, encourages students by expressing to them they can use different methods to complete the task.  Part one of the lesson is called Active Instruction.  Part two of the lesson involves students working in Team Huddles where students work together to complete their task by way of the teachers methods or their own.  This allows students to learn a concept using multiple approaches.

By using this approach, I have encouraged students to by all means, use whatever approach they are comfortable with to solve a problem.


One Response to “My Reflection on Math Myths”

  1. Your approach using Power Teaching sounds interesting. I think that my Calculus class uses this a lot without me meaning to 🙂 They collaborate a lot when they have problems to do. I think that they can learn a lot from each other. Students learn more as they do the explaining to their peers and sometimes it helps students that didn’t get it to hear it again from another student. Sounds like a great approach to problem solving.

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