# How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning | Jo Boaler | TEDxStanford

Translator: Bob Prottas

Reviewer: Leonardo Silva Hello. So I’m here to tell you that what you

have believed about your own potential has changed what you have learned,

and continues to do that, continues to change your learning,

and your experiences. So, how many people here —

let’s get a show of hands — have ever been given the idea

that they’re not a math person, or that they can’t go onto

the next level of math, they haven’t got the brains for it? Let’s see a show of hands. So, quite a few of us. And I’m here to tell you

that idea is completely wrong, it is disproven by the brain science. But it is fueled by a single myth

that’s out there in our society that’s very strong and very dangerous. And the myth is that there’s

such a thing as a math brain, that you’re born with one, or you’re not. We don’t believe this

about other subjects. We don’t think we’re born

with a history brain, or a physics brain. We think you have to learn those. But with math, people,

students believe it, teachers believe it, parents believe it. And until we change that single myth we will continue to have widespread

underachievement in this country. Carol Dweck’s research

on mindset has shown us that if you believe

in your unlimited potential you will achieve at higher levels

in maths, and in life. And an incredible study on mistakes

show this very strongly. So Jason Moser and his colleagues

actually found from MRI scans that your brain grows

when you make a mistake in maths. Fantastic. When you make a mistake,

synapses fire in the brain. And in fact in their MRI scans they found that when people

made a mistake synapses fired. When they got work correct

less synapses fired. So making mistakes is really good. And we want students to know this. But they found something else

that was pretty incredible. This image shows you

the voltage maps of people’s brains. And what you can see here

is that people with a growth mindset, who believe that they had

unlimited potential, they could learn anything, when they made a mistake,

their brains grew more than the people who didn’t believe

that they could learn anything. So this shows us something that brain

scientists have known for a long time: That our cognition, and what we learn is linked to our beliefs,

and to our feelings. And this is important for all of us

not just kids in math classrooms. If you go into a difficult situation,

or a challenging situation, and you think to yourself:

“I can do this. I’m going do it.” and you mess up or fail, your brain will grow more,

and react differently than if you go

into that situation thinking: “I don’t think I can do this.” So it’s really important that we change

the messages kids get in classrooms. We know that anybody can grow their brain, and brains are so plastic,

to learn any level of maths. We have to get this out to kids. They have to know that mistakes

are really good. But maths classrooms

have to change in a lot of ways. It’s not just about

changing messages for kids. We have to fundamentally change

what happens in classrooms. And we want kids to have a growth mindset, to believe that they can grow,

and learn anything. But it’s very difficult

to have a growth mindset in maths. If you’re constantly given short, closed

questions that you get right or wrong, those questions themselves transmit fixed messages about math,

that you can do it or you can’t. So we have to open up maths questions so that there’s

space inside them for learning. I want to give you an example. We’re actually going to ask you

to think about some maths with me. So this is a fairly typical problem,

it’s given out in schools. I want you to think about it differently.

So we have three cases of squares. In case 2 there’s more squares

than in case 1, and in case 3 there’s even more. Often this is given out with the question: “How many squares would there be

in case 100, or case n?” I want you to think

of a different question. I want you to think without any numbers

at all, or without any algebra. I want you to think entirely visually, and I want you to think about

where do you see the extra squares? If there are more squares

in case 2 than case 1, where are they? So if we were in a classroom, I’d give you

a long time to think about this. In the interest of time,

I’m going to show you some different ways people think about this, and I’ve given

this problem to many different people, and I think it was my undergrads

at Stanford who said to me — or one of them said to me: “Oh, I see it like raindrops.

Where raindrops come down on the top. So it’s like an outer layer,

that grows new each time.” It was also my undergrads who said: “Oh no, I see it more

like a bowling alley. You get an extra row, like a row of skittles

that comes in at the bottom.” A very different way of seeing the growth. It was a teacher, I remember,

who said to me it was like a volcano: “The center goes up,

and then the lava comes out.” [Laughter] Another teacher said: “Oh no,

it’s like the parting of the Red Sea. The shape separates, and there’s

a duplication with an extra center.” I remember this was —

Sorry, this one as well. Some people see it as triangles. They see the outside growing

as an outside triangle. And then there was a teacher

in New Mexico who said to me: “Oh it’s like Wyane’s World,

Stairway to Heaven, access denied.” [Laughter] And then we have this way of seeing it. If you move the squares,

which you always can, and you rearrange the shape a bit, you’ll see that it actually

grows as squares. So, this is what I want to illustrate

with this question: “When it’s given out in maths classrooms,

and this isn’t the worst of questions, it’s given out with a question of:

“How many?” and kids count. So they’ll say: “In the first case there’s 4.

In the second there’s 9.” They might stare at that column of numbers

for a long time and say: “If you add one to the case number

each time and square it, then you get the total number of squares.” But when we give it to students,

and high school teachers, I’ll say to them when they’ve done this: “So why is that squared?

Why do you see that squared function?” They’ll say: “No idea.” So this is why it’s squared.

The function grows as a square. You see that squaring

in the algebraic representation. So when we give these problems to students

we give them the visual question. We ask them: “How they see it?” They have these rich discussions,

and they also reach deeper understandings about a really important

part of mathematics. So we actually need a revolution

in maths classrooms. We need to change a lot of things. And part of the reason

we need to change so much is because research

on maths teaching and learning is not getting into schools

and classrooms. And I’m going to give you

a stunning example now. So this is really interesting. When we calculate —

Even when adults calculate, where a brain area

that sees fingers is lighting up, we’re not using fingers, but that brain area

that sees fingers lights up. So there’s a brain area

when we use fingers, and there’s a brain area

when we see fingers. And it turns out that seeing fingers

is really important for the brain. And in fact finger perception is — Scientists test for finger perception by asking them to put

their hands under a table — they can’t see them touching a finger, and then seeing if you know

which finger has been touched. The number of university students

who have good finger perception predicts their calculation scores. The number of finger perception

grade 1 students have is a better prediction

of maths achievement in grade 2 than test scores. It is that important. But what happens

in schools and classrooms? Students are told they’re not allowed

to use their fingers. They’re told it’s babyish.

They’re made to feel bad about it. When we stop children

learning numbers through fingers, it’s akin to halting

their numerical development. And scientists have known this

for a long time. And the neuroscientists conclude that fingers should be used for students

learning number and arithmetic. If we haven’t published — We published this in a paper

in the Atlantic last week. I don’t know any educator who knew this. This is causing a huge ripple

through the education community. There’s lots of other research

that’s not known by teachers and schools. We know when you perform a calculation the brain is involved in a complex

and dynamic communication between different areas of the brain,

including the visual cortex. Yet, maths classrooms are not visual,

they’re numerical and abstract. I want to show you now what happened when we brought 81 students

onto campus last summer, and we taught them differently. So we taught them about the brain growing. We taught about mindset and mistakes. But we as also taught them creative,

visual, beautiful maths. They came in for 18 lessons with us. Before they came to us they had taken

a district standardized test. We gave them the same test

at the end of our 18 lessons, and they improved by an average of 50%. Eighty one students,

from a range of achievement levels, told us on the first day:

“I’m not a math person.” They could name the one person

in their class who was a math person. We changed their beliefs. And this is a clip from a longer

music video that we made of the kids. But we keep talking Can’t stop, won’t stop solving It’s like something is growing In our minds every time we try again. ‘Cause the haters gonna hate,

hate, hate, hate, hate. We will make mistakes,

stakes, stakes, stakes, stakes. We’re just gonna shake,

shake, shake, shake, shake. Shake it off! Shake it off! Our method’s gonna break,

break, break, break, break. It’s not a piece of cake,

cake, cake, cake, cake. We’re just gonna shake,

shake, shake, shake, shake. Shake it off! Shake it off! We represent things visually, Present them to our class clearly So that they can see

mmm So that they can see

mmm We know our brains can grow Who cases how fast we go? Understanding’s what we show

mmm Understanding’s what we show

mmm So we keep trying Synapses are firing This problem’s so exciting It’s so cool that I want to go

and show the world! So — (Applause) We need to get research out to teachers.

We need a revolution in maths teaching. If you don’t believe me,

come listen to this kid. He’s a middle schooler,

and we had worked with his teachers to shift from worksheet math

to open math with mindset messages. This is him reflecting on that shift. Math class last year

was notes, and just handouts, and your own little box —

you were just boxed in. You were by yourself,

it was every man for themselves. But now this year is just open.

We’re a whole big — It’s like a city — we’re all working together

to create this new beautiful world. I think the challenges,

and the future that lies ahead for me — If I keep on pushing, if I keep on doing this

someday I’m going to make it. We have focused for so long in education, in maths education, on the right way

to teach a fraction, on the standards we use in classrooms

which are argued about all the time, and we’ve completely ignored the beliefs

students hold about their own potential. And only now

is the full extent of the need to attend to that coming to light. We all have to believe in ourselves to unlock our unlimited potential. Thank you. (Applause)

I'm about to start watching this… please don't say that some people are bad at math because it's not fun or because they don't like it or because math isn't cool… here we go

clicking playit is the best video of math i saw . I learn many neccessary things for my education

Amazing videos…… I always lock my ability, so from tomorrow, I will never say I cannot do this

for me maths is like im a year behind in my class I understand what came in my previous exams in the next term like do signs change in dmas rule if I multiply just an example but its something like that and then I look back at previous exam paper iam like omg this was so easy silly mistake does this happen with anyone else too

I'm 37 so i guess it's too late for me to learn math.

I'm pretty sure people are more scared of physics than mathematics.

The song was kinda fun :D. She is right about the way math is taught.

Yes the way of teaching needs to change. My teachers even only asked us to recite the equation without asking anything…

Since my first comments to this thread I have changed my mind: it is possible that everyone at first has the capacity to "do" maths. Some better than others, perhaps, but everyone can up to a point.

However, with some of us, something happens at one point and changes everything. I know that during my first year's secondary school I started to lag behind the others. Then lessons followed lessons and pretty soon I didn't understand a single word. Because of course in maths to understand a lesson you're supposed to have understood those that came before. The years that followed were grim: YES, maths anxiety is real.

So: since that first year of secondary school, i can truly say that I've not understood any maths, either in school or later when I tried to teach myself a little. Three friends have tried to help at different times, and they've all given up in despair. Some told me I wasn't trying. The last one got it right: she said it was impossible to teach me since I lacked even the most basic knowledge.

Thanks for your expression!

Great class. Pls give some class room activities related to mathd

Saw a beautiful mind thought I’m gonna be that guy now I’m already bored and haven’t even started math

That shake it off video 🤦

I knew there is a visual version of math Better than Teached to us in school. I knew it was beautiful than ı can Imaged. That's why I love math and its Beauty

Very interested

I love this Video!

that is beautiful. I am the math teacher of my 9yo who is homeschooling this year. A teacher told me at some point that my son was having performance anxiety so I turned the table and asked him: that is the exercise book, now it is you who have to teach it to me. And he started gaining confidence and now he is really happy with his math-learning skills… which have dramatically improved btw.

1+1+1+1+1 = 1 cuz it was only 1 and 1 so it is 1

Great words.

all good until the alphabet decided to get involved into math

Thank you! For the description I like math and I’ll understand it better.

Shout out to the adults pushing hard to get through college

This… makes sense

This is… almost Christian… hmmm

Who else here watching TED talks instead of studying?

Just remember

“Time learning is time well spent.”

Well now I have no excuse to pass off math things to others. Dangit! HA

Why people fear and are uncomfortable with math, is because of its absolutely.

I can do it!

Making mistakes makes my blood boil, and who I'm surrounded by causes it to happen.

I am from egybt.. pleas can you healp me to be good at english!!

and math I am good at math …. and we i can learn you

am I good at english?

I have a slight learning disability I and I lived life like anyone else I loved maths and science and yet I strugled in them and yet I wish I was good at them, now I am 37 and studyed it in self pace I learned I can do more than I ever did, I wish I was good at maths and science to help otheres.

I think math is interesting but the way it is taught is what makes the difference

I remember in high school in the beginning I was taught by Mr.x and I could not get him so when I or anyone ask question he would be like why were you not listening to me

Which made the students fear him and we would not ask many questions

After 3 months another teacher Mr.Y came to replace Mr.X

Mr.Y taught us math like ABCD

I mean I remember answering questions like I never answered before

Bcoz he would be cool with us

I mean weneva someone would ask a question he would be like

Good question and then he would make sure that everyone heard the question and then he would explain

Until it's understood

So it depends how the teachers teach their students

Nice 一起

Summary for last people how don't want to listen believe in yourself be an underdog that's It …. LMAO that 10 min ad rev 👌👌👌

thank you very much 😀

College student here wondering where this math camp was when I was in middle school. Math is such a struggle for so many people, and the "not-math" kids who attended this camp are now equipped to conquer their various arithmetic classes.

How about a nationwide, elective camp like this for kids whose parents notice them struggling in math? Give these kids the tools they need to proceed on to more complex subjects, with both technical fundamentals and emotional control strategies? There are so many kids who wanted to be scientists, astronauts, and doctors but now they can't because they never learned how to do math. Although the kids who attend this "summer camp" might kick and scream, this camp could possibly change the entire course of their life.

Wayne's world was absolutely funny.Couldn't stop laughing😁

So Taylor Swift is the math teacher.

It's really true, I've been there

I'm watching this because I think i'm failing my Geometry Class 2 Quizzes so far 25 out of 50 mwuhahahahhahaa

Teaching math in school past a certain point is really useless. We don't need to factor complex trinomials when we're going to have to pay taxes in 4 years and have no idea how to.

I would count on my fingers by touching my nose in kindergarten and my teacher came up to me and told me (stop that You look RETARTED) 8 never counted that way again…

Love it I sing in front of my hole school

what about my brain? im 45… can i ever learn math?

Smart people:

Studies for 2 minutes and gets a 100% on the testMe:

Studies for 4 hours and gets a 70%This is so good.

Taylor Swift is a maths person for sure😃

I was a math person until I entered Engineering school

In spanish please, help me.

it's very beautiful to visualize math than to solve it

Those squares don't make it any easier to understand squaring or anything else tbh lol

Really worth watching 😀👍 wonderful presentation

3:06 'Mistakes are really good' it grows your brain. if one has that mindset, he or she likely to be more patient when showing someone how to do math. Information really can affect how people behave when it comes to math (if one really believe that mistakes are good)

I got out of crying to fail after our headmaster, a math genius himself , said that not does everyone need to excel at EVERY thing. 😊I got straight A's in linguistics .

I see it as the bowling method

Totally agree with encouraging kids to use their fingers when adding up. Disgraceful that teachers accepted being told that finger counting in early years should be stopped.

Memorize the time tables and learn fractions and you will master algebra.

Now I can do maths by listening to BTS……

To be good at math you must practice a lot like with any other skill worth having there is no shortcut.

Every time she says 'maths", I want to say "Look, it's 'math', just 'math', stop saying 'maths'".

Thank you somuch

I taught my 5th grade class to use their fingers. Taught them the times tables in 1 1/2 hours up to the 15 X. Also, they didn't have to memorize them to get the correct answer. I was told that it was an incorrect of teaching by using their fingers. The system is so unique that I discovered and have it copyright. The educational system has to be revamped drastically.

I'm addicted with the song 😂😂❤️

Main Ideas for this video?

How do you believe in yourself tho >.<

to be better at math u have to fail to learn

Kenapa teman yang melarat tidak ada gunanya? Kecuali untuk selalu mengganggu permainan teman yang lain tanpa menggunakan uang. Apakah karena teman yang melarat lebih pandai?

Math person is like distinguishing on race

bruh I have an F in math I need help

But again, not everybody is a visual person. You have to open still more.

The problem is too easy. It's obviously like squaring since it is a surface, the solution is a polynomial of the second degree. But here there are three terms, then the three coefficients are determined. Real mathematical problems are way more intricate, here it is mere counting. Everybody can achieve a high level, but not always the highest level. For the society behind school, high level is a waste of time, because it isn't enough to get a job, so it is rigged to selection. First change the society.

The song is actually good ,👍

I've always struggled in Math ever since middle school, now I'm a freshman in college taking calculus I. I studied so hard, I went to every SI session, took great notes, looked at youtube videos, and reviewed the study guides. I made a 79… with a 10 point curve. So I basically made a D. My major is computer science and it's so ironic how I am so bad at math but want to pursue a future in STEM, especially computer science which is so much math. I was planning on switching majors if I don't do good on this test next week. Watching this video made me realize how much I need to grow and open my head to the idea that I can do better. So starting tomorrow when I wake up I'm going to try extra hard to do this math thing right.

Visual math! Now I understand where square root comes from!

I hate mistakes that's why Im not mastering my math. Pondering on the concept itself is fine but solving problems just don't give me the kind of satisfaction when it requires multiple trial and errors. Rather study history or philosophy 😂

This is why education needs a UX overhaul. Treat the students as if they are the users of a product. We have to realize that not all students are the same. Individualized learning, although it's not feasible at the moment, should be the main goal of any educational institute.

Here we go again

My math teacher really out here

onlylinking this video on the classroom and not saying anything🤧What about kids with learning disabilities?

Another overzealous math b*

**forcing advanced math down students throats who don't need and will NEVER use it in day to day jobfunctions! Congratulations! YOU just sent that student away from college because they can't pass Calculus 9. Give a real pat on your F*

*back.📲*00212645752301* *Whatapps*📲

ســمــعــت🧏♂️ كـثـيـر مـن الــشــبــاب يــبــحــثــون عـن طـريـقـة فــعــالــة✅ لــتــكــبــيــر الــقــضــيــب

وأنــا أبــشــركــم😉 أنـي حــصــلــت عـلـى الـطـريـقـة الأصــح👍 والـمـنـاسـبـة👍 وهــتــشــكــرنــي بــعــديــهــا

تـواصـل مــعــي وأنــا بـشـرح لــك ســر الـوصـفـة الـواتـسـاب *00212.645.75.23.01*📲

TED x teddy

i am your daddy

I am born with physics math and science mind

use siphon outlet in multiple group like capillary action bunch

now if we joint all the output of outlet in a single tumbler then will it's output goes in first container

so we got that extra energy which collected due to mgh at each pipe of siphons outlet

Omfg the music video is so cringy turn it off! Turn it off! Turn it

Turn it off!

start a channel . . . teach me high level maths . . . then i will believe . . . these are just example

Awesome message in simple words .. thank you mam

the song was so rad !!

Education need to be disrupted,

And teaching material should be optimized as simple as possible,

Focus on delivering the knowledge as simple and easy to understand as possible

they had to pick that song out of all songs, oh and by the way, I saw the exponential square problem visually by default.

Cringe

This talk needed a standing ovation!

Kids are destroyed around the world by horrible teachers who 'teach' math as to memorize like history. We need more Jo Boaler.

Everyone is a man person if we don't consider any time constraint. Maths Expert is the one who keeps practicing with analytical skills and more synapses fire and are connected together with millions and millions of synapses. If so, the thinking time will be reducing compare to those who didn't practice. It can be applied to any subjects.

Was alright up until that 'music video'. Holy Moses. What WAS that?

Well I just failed in math in PRE BOARDS . And I was deciding to quit math for life and take some other subject . This Video just changed my opinion!! Thank you TED. Going to start working on my foundation of math for now and then get into the real business

I had a bad experience with my 8th grade math teacher. He lost his wife and daughter in a car crash and for some odd reason, he gave all the girls in the class low grades. Even when I studied and really applied myself, he only gave me a C, which was like an A in his class. Afterwards tho, it soured me on math and I quit after 9th grade. I need to take the TABE test now and I just hate math word problems and geometry. I’m going to try and change my mindset about it.

it's MATHS

Sometimes it takes me a week to figure out that I wronged a multiplication in a huge maths problem.

If my brain grow everytime I made mistakes in Math

My brain were already as big as Stanford

10:49 cool shirt kid.