This article discusses how neuroscience research changed the way we study math in the future and reveals that in fact everyone is talented in mathematics

This article was adapted from the writings of Jo Boaler (Professor of mathematics education from Stanford University) entitle*d The Myth of Being ‘ Bad ‘ at Math*

Advances in neural science revolutionized our approach to education, and the progress has a very important impact in the way an educator teaching mathematics. These advances are challenging our assumptions about the mathematics, assumptions that make students do not want to explore mathematics.

The assumption of the most popular and most damaging is that some people are gifted in mathematics while others are not gifted in math.

Parents believe it, some teachers believe, and as a result the students also believe it. Fortunately, the research evidence against these dangerous assumptions aplenty, thanks to recent discoveries in the science of nerves about the plasticity of the human brain.

If you are into London and then take a taxi “Black Cabs”, you may not know how great the ability of the driver. It turned out to be a taxi driver in London, you have to study for two to four years. At the end of their education, you will perform the test as cool, “The Knowledge” that test whether you have known 25,000 roads and 20,000 places in London or not. In this case the nervous scientists have discovered, that the education period 2 to 4 years are significantly expanding driver’s hippocampus, a special section of the brain that stores spatial information (room). When the driver stops working or retired, it turns out their hippocampus shrinks again. Previously scientists never knew that the brain that apparently is flexible.

Some time after the study was published, there was a nine-year-old girl who had to be thrown away half his brain (brain hemisphere is no 2, on this girl dumped one of belahannya). The disposal is done because the girl experienced seizures that cannot be controlled by doctors. The doctors and scientists expected that he would be paralyzed for life, because the overall movement control the hemispheric body part on the opposite part (the left brain controls the right side of the body such as the motion of the right hand, right foot, and otherwise). But surprisingly it turns out that parts of the brain’s left hemisphere of the brain can grow which none (discarded). Then occurred the connection between nerve cells (synapses) of the brain so quickly that within a few months, the girl can run and play again.

Another very important research for educators is a three-week training program, in which people who have activity for 10 minutes a day for three weeks can turn a permanent structure of their brains. Examples like this show that many of the restrictions that aimed at the capacity ourselves it’s actually too forced.

Every child and student was talented in math up to calculus. But why an awful lot of students who are not gifted in math so that concluded that her not fit study mathematics?

The simple answer is that educators don’t teach math in the right way, conceptually as well as philosophical. The school continually choose who is proficient in mathematics-and who doesn’t-at a very young age, so the cause occurs the Division of the group who is talented in mathematics and who is not. Things like this should be immediately changed.

Another myth that is also very important to be faced is the idea of “the wall” in mathematics. According to popular myth, you can follow and take all the math classes you like until you touch the wall of your own, and then you can not go further because there is a wall. Fact: there is no “wall” in learning mathematics.

Carol Dweck wrote a book in 2006 that gave a big impact to students. The book is based on lots of research results, and in the book revealed that each person has one of two mindsets. People with the mindset of growing (growth mindset) believe that the more enterprising you learn then you will be more intelligent; People with a fixed mindset (fixed mindsets) believes that the him anyway, which is smart or not, and according to the people with a fixed mindset smart people won’t be stupid and ignorant people would not be smart. About half the people in America have a fixed mindset, and the other half have a mindset developed. Ironically, the more people who have a fixed mindset about math than other lessons. Carol found that students with developing mindset has accomplished a lot more. They can reach various achievements because of the mindset of a particular behaviours in line with evolving as more persistent and more willing to learn from mistakes.

The differenc*e in the Growth Mi*ndset *and Fixed Mindsets*

How parents praising his son helps determine the mindset where the child would choose. This is very important for parents; parents should change the way talking to his own children. Kids get a fixed mindset of praise. When we praise children because smart, they thought, ‘ oh good, I was smart; And then, when they are wrong due to follow their own way, they think, oh, it turns out I am not so clever. Therefore, it is very important not to praise children because of its nature or condition, but only praise for what they are doing. It’s okay to say, “Dad happy once you learn that Nak,” but not with, “son, you are very smart.”

International Student Assessment Program team (PISA, Programme for International Student Assessment) has gathered a lot of data about how students learn Mathematics, their beliefs about mathematics, and how it relates to their accomplishments. One of the major findings is that the students with the lowest achievement in mathematics are those who memorize math. The student with the highest achievements are those that see math as something that is very interesting and has great benefits. Students who Excel, incidentally also doesn’t fear making mistakes in learning mathematics.

We now know that apparently made a mistake in mathematics can grow a brain. The results of the MRI scans in people who took the math test revealed that each time the test takers make mistakes, a Synapse (the nerve cells) is turned on in their brains. There are actually two synapses that are possible; the first comes from the people who make mistakes, and the second comes from the notice that they have done wrong.

This means educators need in order that students in math class to work on a more challenging problem, and making more mistakes. Unfortunately, most of the math class in America is prepared in such a way so that the children should get the answer to the math correctly. Educators want their students should get an answer in the form of true, but it turns out this is not good for students. Students need make mistakes and struggling wronged.

In addition, to master math student must then race against time. This is another important thing which the nervous scientists tell us: Math should not be attributed to the speed of learning.

In fact we know that math exam duration time causes a lot of anxiety felt by students, even before the test begins. Is the fact that mathematical information stored at the working memory (working-memory section) on the brain, and when someone is experiencing stress then her memory is impeded. A mathematician (mathematician) doesn’t have to be fast in math. In fact some of the greatest mathematicians not fast at all; They resolve the issue gradually and in mathematics.

One example of the greatest Mathematician who is slow in math was Laurent Schwartz. He felt stupid in school because at least working on math problems in class. But it turns out he won the Fields Medal (the highest academic award in the field of mathematics). In his autobiography, he wrote:

“Up to grade XI SMA, I consider myself stupid, and I worry about the folly of it in a long time. I am still the same sluggish. Toward the end of Class XI, I came to the conclusion that the speed has nothing to do with intelligence. The most important is the profound understanding and knowing the relationship among each other in learning something “

Educators must be capable of separating the math with its speed of learning and workmanship reserved in class. And stop telling kids that think quietly that they are not talented in math or can’t learn math.

Teachers and parents should convey the correct message. It is very important. We know that when a mother tells her daughter that her son is not talented or not proficient in math in school, their daughter’s achievements in mathematics will go down. Teachers can be just as discouraging even as they try to help by saying things like, “don’t worry, mathematics is not bidangmu”. But parents and teachers can also be very motivating, even with little effort. An experimental study of the latest shows of this interesting fact. The two groups United Kingdom language class in high school level receive the results of the correction on the MPL United Kingdom they make. The United Kingdom language teachers to add one sentence to one of the groups. What the teachers have found is that the kids who got a single additional sentence then the more accomplished a year later. The teachers add sentences was: “I give you this correction because I believe in your ability.”

Educators need to demonstrate to students that educators believe in the ability of the students, educators need to give students the opportunity to fail and struggling, educators need to communicate to students that the mistake and the fight was good, and educators need to be stop to determine who can and who cannot work on a math problem, including who is talented and who is not gifted in math.

Such a change would produce a very impressive results in math class, where there is a chasm so wide between what students think about what they can do and their actual capabilities.

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### Nur Abdillah Siddiq

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