The “Math Wars.” No, it’s not a detail you missed in history class—it’s actually a battle that education reformers have been fighting for decades, and it all centers around one question: “Are boys better at math than girls?” The gendered assumptions underpinning this line of thought are all too familiar to award-winning researcher and Stanford University math professor Jo Boaler.
Jo’s interest in math and education started in high school, when she watched friends struggle with problems and wondered “why my math teachers were so bad at helping them.” After studying educational psychology, she’s developed a theory on how to teach math effectively for more students, including girls: actively engage students and encourage them to think and talk about ideas, instead of just telling them to “sit in rows and listen.” Surprisingly, Jo’s gotten quite a bit of backlash for her ideas.
She discusses her approach to education equality—and how she’s dealt with professional and personal harassment—with our CEO Ilaina Edison over on the Huffington Post blog. Read the full interview.
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