Give your students this math mindset questionnaire to determine how they feel about math. Do they view mistakes and challenges as positives or negatives? Do they truly believe that they can be successful in math? What do they do when something is hard for them in math class? This is very important information to gather from your students, because if your students have a fixed mindset then I believe you need to take time to teach them a growth mindset.
The first question that many math teachers have when starting the new school year is, “What gaps do my students have?” They want to determine the gaps, immediately fill them, and continue on with the curriculum. While I certainly agree that this is important information, I suggest that this should not be the first question you ask your students.
Before delving into what your students know and don’t know, first find out if your students are teachable. Many students have a math block. They have false conceptions that they are not “math people” and therefore will always be bad at math. This barrier needs to be broken down before you can actually teach your students. You often will need to change the mindset of your students.
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