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# What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject

by
Jo Boaler

A recent assessment of mathematics performance around the world ranked the United States twenty-eighth out of forty countries in the study. When the level of spending was taken into account, we sank to the very bottom of the list. We are falling rapidly behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to math education-and the consequences are dire.

In this straightfo ...more

In this straightfo ...more

ebook, 288 pages

Published
July 1st 2008
by Penguin Books

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## Community Reviews

(showing
1-30
of
830)

As another reviewer says, the title explicitly states that every kid in America hates math, which isn't true. She repeatedly refers to students having been "traumatized" by their ...more

And now I do. I do not have a learning disability in math. My teachers have had teaching disabilities. Math is a subject that is not taught well (from sources other than this book, I learned that it hasn't been taught well for a long time. Students taking advanced math classes have steadily dropped th ...more

Aug 18, 2009
Valerie
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
all teachers

Recommended to Valerie by:
Bill Ward

Shelves:
math

This is exactly the book I needed to read right now. I always want to encourage flexible thinking, pattern recognition and problem solving, but I hold myself back because of worry about standardized testing. I worry that my classroom will be seen as noisy and non-productive, because I encourage my students to ask questions, and collaborate. I felt very ineffective last year, because I hovered between what I felt was interesting and what I felt I 'should' be doing. This book not only validated my
...more

She repeatedly states that current instruction methods are inadequate and describes superior ones, suggest ...more

Apr 19, 2011
Jeff
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
education,
mathematics

GO READ THIS BOOK! What's Math Got to Do with It is the best articulation of where American math education should be headed in the 21st century that I have ever read. Boaler's book aimed towards parents and teachers is instantly accessible, with a clear rationale for why children need to be engaged in interesting complex problem solving in math throughout their educational experience as opposed to regular practice of standard algorithms. She backs up her work with her own and others' research ma
...more

Boaler slams the useless high-stakes tests created for No Child Left Beh ...more

Dec 30, 2010
Karen
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
21st-century-learning

I'm always interested in reading books about learning, especially about how students learn math and writing. The author is a professor at Stanford and Sussex, who conducted extensive researches in both United States and Europe (France, England..), trying to find out why math is the most hated subject in school, why most students are failing it, and why the US is behind the other countries in producing above average math students.

She studied groups of students from middle school to high school, a ...more

She studied groups of students from middle school to high school, a ...more

Definitely a must read for math teachers.

Nov 06, 2012
Lori Yvette Fernandez Lopez
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
nook

I love this book. I enjoyed it even more since I took a class by Jo Boaler at Stanford and learned what an amazing professor and woman she is. She truly cares about children's education and it shows throughout this book. I hope parents listen to what she has to say and start making productive changes at home. Jo Boaler is currently teaching the next generation of teachers who will hopefully pass on all they learn.

I would have given the book five stars, but I felt its focus on equity in the classroom undermined the goal of simply making the classroom better for everyone, for the sake of ideology and in disagreement with existing research. In particular, I found th ...more

p. 133: From Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist and author of the book The Female Brain: "A huge testosterone surge beginning in the eighth week of pregnancy kills cells in the communication centers of male brains and grows more cells i ...more

Opportunity to "spend part of each lesson working alone and part of each lesson talking with each other and sharing ideas about math." (p 3) (How to decide which parts in which format?)

"Whether browsing the Web, interpreting medical records, administering medicine, reading the news, working with finances, or taking part in elections, twenty-first-century citizens need mathematics. But the mathematics that people need is not the sort of math learned ...more

Aug 06, 2014
Christina
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
escapist-fiction,
education

If you hated math in school, this book will tell you why (the common teaching methodology sucks). If you've got kids you'd like to save from hating math, this book will give you ideas (nothing surprising, just that you have to pay attention, be involved, and supplement, supplement, supplement - but with the right stuff and it's not more workbook pages).

I would recommend this to any math teacher.

May 19, 2015
Simon Fermor
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
kid-friendly-math

Explains very clearly what is wrong with the typical drill and test approach to math teaching. An interesting read and clarifies the concerns that parents will have about the math learning experience for students in US public schools.

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“When an official report in the UK was commissioned to examine the mathematics needed in the workplace, the investigator found that estimation was the most useful mathematical activity. Yet when children who have experienced traditional math classes are asked to estimate, they are often completely flummoxed and try to work out exact answers, then round them off to look like an estimate. This is because they have not developed a good feel for numbers, which would allow them to estimate instead of calculate, and also because they have learned, wrongly, that mathematics is all about precision, not about making estimates or guesses. Yet both are at the heart of mathematical problem solving.”
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“Grades may be useful for communicating where students are in relation to each other, and it is fine to give them at the end of a semester or term, but if they are given more frequently than that, they will reduce the achievement of many.”
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