Open tasks promote a growth mindset
- Open tasks promote a growth mindset because they provide opportunities to struggle and understand content more deeply.
- Small changes in tasks can reinforce “learning,” not just “performing.”
- Asking students to make choices in tasks spurs a learning process.
- To see similar videos about growth mindset in math, sign up for Professor Jo Boaler’s course, How to Learn Math, and check out youcubed.org.
Open tasks promote a growth mindset because they provide opportunities for students to struggle and understand content more deeply. When tasks are opened up to give more space for learning inside them, then students are more likely to shift from seeing math as a performance subject to seeing math as a learning subject. Let's hear more about what that means and see an example from Professor Jo Boaler, a math education expert from Stanford University.
Professor Jo Boaler, Mathematics Education Expert, Stanford University: So the big point is that tasks need to give students the space to learn and to see that math means learning, not just performing. So what does that mean? Even a small change can make that difference. For example, a really classic math problem that you'll see in textbooks is find the perimeter of this shape.
Now, if we change that question to, “Can you construct two different rectangles with a perimeter of 26,” we change completely what students do. In the first one, they're coming up with an answer. In the second one, we're asking them to make choice, and this evokes the thought process for students. They also change from thinking, “I'm finding the answer” to “I am thinking, learning, and growing,” even though this is assessing exactly the same mathematics.
Now I wouldn't say that finding two rectangles with a certain area is a great task by any means, but it illustrates the process of moving from performing to growing and thinking.