Recently I saw this post and it really got me thinking about the idea of everyone being a math person.
If we are going to believe that EVERYONE can be a math person, we must also consider clarifying some things…
Tradition has it that the phrase “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter” was engraved above the door at Plato’s academy 2500 years ago. I wonder if this mental model persists today; a model in which those deemed a “Math Person” must enter some sacred door.
But if EVERYONE is a math person, then there is going to be a lot of pushing and shoving as folks desperately fight to get through the narrowly defined doorway of mathematical success. Invariably not everyone will actually get through that doorway.
But what if we redefined that doorway to make it much wider? To allow many more people to pass through? Let’s expand “doing math” as much more than just arriving at the correct answer. Let’s allow entry to anyone who uses critical thinking, problem-solving, the SMPs, etc.
Let’s imagine a doorway to math education that celebrates diversity of thought and allows all students to freely enter. Even those out-of-the-box thinkers. Better yet, let’s get rid of the darn box altogether.