Sneaky fuzzy maths

Filling the pail

Dan Meyer, one of the foremost proponents of fuzzy maths*, has written a couple of blog posts (here and here) where he argues against calling a mathematical mistake a ‘mistake’. He illustrates it with an example where a student makes an error filling in a tedious linear function table. The student has assumed that the interval in the first column is constant and has filled in the second column accordingly.

That’s a mistake, right? However, Meyer would prefer us to see it as the right answer but to a different question:

“If I label it a mistake, even if I attach a growth mindset message to that label, I damage the student, myself, mathematics, and the relationships between us.”

This doesn’t make any sense. The idea of encouraging students to adopt a ‘growth mindset’, an idea based upon the work of Carol Dweck, is not without challenge. Recent…

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