Prepared Parents believes that the future of education lies at the intersection of home and school. As parents have stepped in to manage their kids’ learning during the pandemic, they’ve peeked behind the curtain at what it takes to educate a child.
Through this series, Prepared Parents founder and Executive Director, Mira Browne, shares how to support success at home and champion change at school.
When you were at school, you read a bunch of textbooks, did worksheets, took tests. Maybe you enjoyed history and loathed chemistry. But what if you had actually liked chemistry and chose to actively pursue it? What would your life look like now? Kids learn best by actively engaging in their interests and applying what they know to real-life problems.
But instead, many kids get to use textbooks. Diane Tavenner, CEO and co-founder of Summit Public Schools says:
Answering textbook questions and worksheet questions encourages a rule-following approach to taking in information and spitting it back out. It trains kids to do what they’re told when they’re told and how they’re told…
The difference between how kids are learning in Zoom classrooms and real classrooms when school’s open and how they actually learn best lies in the difference between passive and active learning.
▸ As passive learners, students do nothing but listen or absorb information as it is relayed or fed to them in the form of lectures, assigned readings, and workbooks. Passive learning promotes defining, describing, listening, and writing skills. But, it can disempower students and encourage convergent thinking (there is only one right solution).
▸ As active learners, students learn through discussion and collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and connecting the dots between learning and the real-world through hands-on project-based learning. Active learning is how we learn best and it encourages divergent thinking (big picture thinking that develops various solutions to a topic).
Continue reading on Marshall Street Medium. ▸
“When I began teaching math, I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. I didn’t consider myself a math person. But it was actually through diving into it that I realized how joyful math can be and I rediscovered my math identity.
I work with an organization in Chicago called Math Circles of Chicago. Our mission is to bring math to every kid in the city through afterschool and out-of-school programs. Traditionally math has been a white, male-dominated field. It’s really important to build math identity for students of color and for girls. There’s a lot of research that tells us positive math identity decreases for girls and for students of color as they get older.
Kids who feel more positively about their math identity tend to be less intimidated by the subject and will persevere in it. So, building into kids the idea that they can do math and be a mathematician is super important to breaking down barriers, especially for students of color.
This UNBOXED kit is about putting math into a real-world context. It’s the perfect application of skills and ideas learned in the classroom kids don’t often get the chance to use until much later in life. It’s for every kid who’s asked, “How am I going to use math in my life?”
This is a student self-directed project. We’ve set everything up to be accessible for every kid in 4th – 9th grades and all the math content is standards aligned. If a kid is already familiar with some of the concepts, they can soar and go further. Parents are going to add a lot of value by being willing to talk about the math with kids and being willing to engage with student questions about statistics and data. I think that will be the biggest help.
This is a great way to build a positive math identity for every single kid. That’s what I’m excited about.”
— Noel Perkins, Chicago
Visit Prepared Parents’ 2+2 Math resource and access the November UNBOXED learning kit.