The text "Maths Mindset: Engaging Families to overcome maths anxiety, family learning conference"

Maths in Museums at the Campaign for Learning’s Maths Mindsets conference

On 22nd February 2024 I delivered an online workshop for a subset of attendees at the Campaign for Learning‘s Maths Mindset conference.

My workshop was entitled Maths in Museums, and described as follows in the conference programme:

Drawing on his work in museums and schools and his academic work, Tom will focus on the ‘infectiousness’ of mindsets with regards to mathematics, exploring the idea that positivity towards mathematics is essential for success in mathematics, and that attitudes towards the subject are not just based on 3-4 hours per week in the maths classroom but also on maths-related experiences for the rest of the waking week. To succeed, children need to experience positivity and growth mindsets towards maths in all areas of their lives, and parents have an essential role in shaping these experiences.

Maths Mindset: Engaging families to overcome maths anxiety, Family Learning Conference, Thursday 22 February 2024 (Online), 9.30-2.00pm

The conference was aimed at families and organisations who want to help children and young people to improve their feelings towards mathematics by reducing anxieties and establishing growth mindsets. My workshop aimed to deepen participants’ understanding of how these factors affect each other and to provide ideas and encouragement with regards to introducing and maintaining positive influences to each via the rich opportunities afforded by museums and other cultural organisations.

The first part of my workshop drew on findings from an essay submitted towards my MA in Education in which I considered the cyclic, self-reinforcing links (both positive and negative) between mindset, anxiety and other factors, and how these links form feedback loops not only within the minds of individuals but also between individuals connected within social, professional and familial networks. This included explicit discussion about how parental actions and beliefs affect those of their children, and how this gives them both opportunity and responsibility to be a force for promoting positivity towards mathematics, and that this begins with working to improve their own mindset regarding the subject.

The second part introduced cultural activities, such as visiting museums, as a potential source of mathematical inspiration, acknowledging that the maths is often hidden from view.

The third part offered some ways to get started spotting this hidden mathematics as well as tips on building the self-confidence to start exploring mathematics in museums with one’s children.

1 thought on “Maths in Museums at the Campaign for Learning’s Maths Mindsets conference

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *