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What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Teachers and Parents Can Transform Mathematics Learning and Inspire Success
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What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Teachers and Parents Can Transform Mathematics Learning and Inspire Success

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  429 ratings  ·  49 reviews
“Highly accessible and enjoyable for readers who love and loathe math.” —Booklist

A critical read for teachers and parents who want to improve children’s mathematics learning, What’s Math Got to Do with It? is “an inspiring resource” (Publishers Weekly). Featuring all the important advice and suggestions in the original edition of What’s Math Got to Do with It?, this revise
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Penguin Books
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Start your review of What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Teachers and Parents Can Transform Mathematics Learning and Inspire Success
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book bummed me out, big time. The more it went on, the more depressed I got. The state of math education in the United States is beyond broken, and even if a handful of us teachers out there recognize it and try to do something about it, it feels like an impossible battle to fight.

So let's start with the basics. Inquiry-based learning. This is something I've been trying to work into my curriculum since I started teaching. It's hard (really hard) to figure out how to do it well, but that's t
Ricardo Garcia
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Book! Changed my thinking on math and how its taught.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Although a little repetitive at parts, I did enjoy the over all message in this book. I found the ideas and research intriguing. While I felt that teachers would definitely benefit more from this book, I did find some practices as a parent that I can use in helping my kids achieve a better understanding and desire for math. And it's helpful in achieving my own personal better math mindset that is important for success.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: analysis
Well intentioned, obviously, but, in the end not overly helpful. There's a lot of prescription about what is wrong with our math education, but not enough solid prescriptions for improving it beyond more discussion while learning math.
Simon Holm
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
The book “What’s Math Got to Do With It?” is a collection of reflections, observations and tips and tricks regarding maths education, based on scientific studies and the author’s own experiences as a teacher and professor of education. The author starts the book with a short introduction to maths education and identifies the major problems in the US math classrooms today. She then goes on to suggest alternative methods in different aspects of education to make it better, such as teaching approac ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, math-education
Holy moly.

This book is incredible. I love learning about teaching, but this was my first book interacting with math education, and I am SHOOK. (Am I allowed to describe a book about math education with that word?)

This is jam-packed with references to research and studies about what works in teaching math and what does not. Spoiler: most of the methods we have grown up with in the United States are not working. For instance:
Sitting in silence while watching a teacher lecture
Homework consisting o
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jo Boaler's What's Math Got to Do With It synthesized and clarified many of the problems that I see in US math education. Each chapter focuses on a different problem or solution, from women and girls getting the short end of the math stick to open-ended, project-based approaches in math education. I really enjoyed it and wanted to soak up as much information as possible, mostly because I agreed heartily with the author.

Putting all this into practice is easier said than done, though. Yes, I agre
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a math educator I found this book riveting. The recommendations were very practical and applicable. I appreciated the research analyzed in this book. However, there were multiple points in the book where I thought that the author was expressing her opinion instead of the results of research. There were also points where I felt that she had introduced a topic but did not complete it. For example, she discussed the importance of teaching students how to ask good questions but did not discuss th ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, math
How to best teach kids how to do math.

Her focus is on sense-making and problem solving, empowering students to ask questions and explore problems in a way that lets them tackle things they've never seen before.

The problem as I see it is that anyone can teach math "traditionally", but it takes a good math teacher to teach through exploration like she advocates.

The thing that really hit me was her research that showed that the difference between high achievers and low achievers in math was that lo
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'd like to remind everyone, as Jo Boaler reminded me, math is so much more than teaching people to be human computers! :-)

This book assessed the current state of (most) mathematical education and outlined exciting options for improving math education for all. Her chapter on how clustering has a negative affect on all students was particularly enlightening and timely.

I took an online course with Jo Boaler years ago and loved her approach to teaching math. I hope her work continues to garner the
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this for a class I took towards re-certification. It had some good ideas, but anyone well versed in Common Core Standards and strategies will be familiar with much of this. Perhaps more revolutionary when it first came out than it seems now. She addresses a number of issues, but I found the book quite thin on strategies and ideas for implementation. For example, heterogeneous grouping is encouraged, but she never addresses how to do that and still challenge the high achieving students. An ...more
Marta Pona
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jo Boaler summaries her research findings from years of observing middle- and high-school math classes, speaking with students and teachers about their experiences with math teaching and learning. Amazing insights into standardized testing, mixed ability groupings, best teaching practices. My main takeaway from the book is -- never underestimate the power of puzzles, blocks and mind-games at an early age, all of these develop a foundation for understanding math concepts.
Highly recommend for pare
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book made me realize how guilty I was in making my kid associate negative thoughts with math. Must remember to approach math in a fun way and not mention how I did poorly at math! I came away with more insight on how to engage/ speak to my kid about her math homework. The author made a strong case on how the new math teaching methodologies are better than the traditional. It made me appreciate how math is being taught at my kids’ school.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really useful for parents to understand evolution in math since we were young
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for every teacher and parent.
Trina R
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of good information, but I would recommend her book “Mathematical Mindsets” over this one.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would never think that a book on mathematics education would be riveting, but this really is. LOVED it and even bought one for a school principal that I know.
Özgür Takmaz
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Derived facts=number sense
No time limit,
Embrace the errors
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for math teachers!
Brittany Prentiss
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a great book for parents and teachers. Math education is not at it's best, but it is improving. Research-based and transformational, this lady knows that she's talking about!
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Although I had to read this book for a math class for teachers, I think it is a definite must for all parents and teachers. This book doesn't really talk about the steps to teaching math so much as it talks about the best ways children learn and how best to foster their learning. It discusses several important aspects about school math that lead to many Americans, and especially girls, to drop the subject. Some of the topics discussed, such as ability grouping and teachin
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Never time children or encourage faster work." If only more teachers and schools would understand that speed does not improve math in any way, shape, or form. Dr. Jo Boaler is an absolutely incredible professor of mathematics education. This book speaks the obvious and is such an incredible read. To truly understand mathematics and what our children need isn't sitting in rows, drill and practice, or silence. They need to be developing the ability to think about math, learn strategies, talk math ...more
Anam Cara
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book because I am working with homeschoolers in math. While they loved it in the earlier grades, they seem to dread it now. I was hoping to get some ideas of how to help them.

It was a very interesting book, but most of it dealt with higher grades, junior high and high school. A lot had to do with algebra which is more advanced than where these children currently are. The main thing I learned is that mathematicians work is not usually solitary and that a great deal has to do with seei
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Much of our current math education labels students, shuts them down, and leaves them hating math and feeling like failures. It seems the harder teachers try, the more they drill and assign problems, the worse the problem becomes.
Spoiler Alert: It doesn't have to be this way.
I heard Jo Boaler speak last fall and was fascinated by the way she put words to what I intuitively knew, that math can be fun, engaging, challenging, and satisfying for all children. She uses research and her own observation
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Jo Boaler is a professor of maths education at Stanford and was named by the BBC as one of 8 people changing education today.

I was inspired to read her book during a session at a recent international schools conference, where it was frequently referenced. I was blown away by demonstrations of how maths can be taught in ways which make it interesting and communicative, requiring critical thinking rather than rote memorization and repetition of procedure. This book expands on those ideas. It tells
Mark Anderson
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Said almost exactly what I've been thinking about teaching math. With one exception: I've routinely told my students - and my own children - that they are smart. This book says that is actually damaging: it creates the wrong "mind-set" in our kids, a "fixed" mind-set rather than a “growth” mind-set. Boaler says we should instead praise their work or their approach or their effort.

Filled with lots of good examples - rich mathematical activities and puzzles - that you can use in a classroom or ev
Juan Chavez
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
Great Book!
Some key points from the book
1) Math is being taught incorrectly in most american classrooms
2) Math is a study of shapes and patterns..not memorizing formulas
3) Math should be taught visually and in collaboration with classmates
4) Ideas should be discussed among classmates
5) Students should be in mixed ability groups. Allowing those that understand a little better to teach those that are a little behind. Explaining and teaching deepens the lessons.
6) Girls want to explore the ideas i
Jonathan Cassie
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What seems like a straightforward book about mathematics curricula is actually a call-to-arms for professional educators to get to the work of educating children in the way that the professionals know best. She as much as says "given that you'd never ask your best girlfriend tennis partner what she thinks of the technique your surgeon is going to use to take out your appendix, why are you second-guessing professional educators?" A good question in 2016...the classroom of 1986 or 1956 is not need ...more
Feb 08, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2-7-2016
I was hoping to get some solid ideas about teaching math. She had a few but this book was more about numeracy pedagogy. She talked about many studies she conducted in different socioeconomic schools and the traditional vs more "progressive" method of teaching math and the apparent outcomes for the different groups of learners.She does reference her website - and her psych partner at Stanford about Mindset (attitudes toward learning).
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for math educators and special educators alike - she really goes into the benefits and pitfalls of certain types of classroom environments and "tracking" students - it definitely made me think about how to do grouping in my math classroom this year. She also offers ideas and online resources for how to improve your math teaching practice. I highly recommend the book.
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Dr Jo Boaler is a Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University and co-founder of Formerly the Marie Curie Professor of Mathematics Education for England, a mathematics teacher in London comprehensive schools and a researcher at King's College, London. She is the author of eight books including What's Math Got To Do With It? (2015) and Mathematical Mindsets (2016). Sh ...more

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