"Many parents in the United States assume that (math ability) is just some kind of aptitude - some kids have it, some kids don't . . . The result is most of our kids (in the U.S.) don't do really well in Math . . ."
- Daniel Koretz, professor of education at Harvard
Glad to have discovered Daniel Koretz's interesting video discussing how parents influence their own childrens' perceptions about the latter's math ability. Koretz is also author of the book,"Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us." Here are a few notable quotes below:
"In this country, It's considered perfectly acceptable to be incompetent in Mathematics. In fact, certain people are rather proud to be incompetent in Mathematics."
We know our kids model us as parents. Why do we encourage such low expectations in Math? Do we want to make our kids feel better, if WE think they're not "good" at Math by saying that we aren't good at math?
" . . .much of the variation in how well you do - how well a student does in mathematics - is a function of effort."
Have you ever heard a parent say, "My Jon is good at Math," and "My Samantha isn't, but she's the creative one", at the age of four and five? Or, have you ever heard a teacher share this kind of "observation" to a parent, sometimes in front of student, no less?
We're mixing up "strengths and interests" with "ability." What gets lost in these conversations about our kids' strengths and abilities is EFFORT. The message that they may be hearing is either you got it, or you don't . . . so don't bother, if you don't.
"I think, part of the problem, are those parental attitudes. . . ."
Koretz continues by saying that parents need to press - "Press BY parents ON students" for "what really matters." I'm not sure if this last quote just was a poor choice of words, making him sound like Tiger Mom with a "do as I say" approach, but I think he really meant that parents shouldn't peg their own kids as not being good in Math based upon the parent's OWN lack of interest or understanding in Math. This further complicates things by giving their kids a "free pass" on effort (ie. I never understood it, so understand why you don't . . . ).