Mindset Maths: How Maths works at Living Faith

Learning Landscape Friday, 06 Mar 2020

At Living Faith, our Maths program is built with a foundation of research in neuroscience and educational psychology.

We teach Mindset Maths based on three key points from research:

  • The brain learns from mistakes
  • The brain is capable of adapting, growing and forming new connections (thus there is no such thing as a ‘Maths’ brain)
  • The brain makes better connections with engagement, a growth mindset and when purpose is clear.

At Living Faith we want to change children’s perceptions of Maths. Many students believe that if they make mistakes, find Maths challenging or if it takes them a long time to solve a problem then they are ‘not good at Maths’, which can build fear and resistance. The mindset Maths framework highlights the fact that sound Maths understanding is not about speed but deep thinking; that mistakes are stepping stones to success and that the brain is capable of making Maths connections if it is triggered in the right way. To do this we follow a sequence of key phases everytime we teach a new concept.

Pre and Post Quizzes

At the beginning of a Maths ‘gateway’ (concept/unit) we conduct a short quiz, which we then repeat at the end of the gateway so that students can see their own growth and build self-confidence.

Collaborative (Grapple) Tasks

At the beginning of a gateway, we undertake a collaborative (grapple) task based on concepts that we are about to teach. Students work in small teams to solve problems and grapple with concepts that will be similar to their independent task. We have found that students can make better connections during explicit teaching after completing the collaborative task because they can see the purpose of what they are learning. Students present the different ways they went about solving the task to their peers. Mistakes are celebrated as learning opportunities, feedforward is provided and then the explicit teaching begins.

Explicit Teaching

The explicit teaching phase can last for several days or several weeks depending on the Maths concepts being explored. This is a key learning time, where new concepts are explored. We do this by engaging in a range of different learning experiences to maximise engagement.

Independent (Assessment) Tasks

At the end of the gateway, students undertake an independent task similar to their collaborative task. This forms the basis of their assessment for the gateway and is marked using a success criteria. Independent tasks are open ended and allow students to demonstrate their understanding and apply it.

Mindset Maths is all about building students' growth mindset so that they will persevere and have a positive approach to tasks so that they can experience success in Mathematics.

- Bianca Ravi, Director of Learning