Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Why are kids afraid to think? Reply To: Why are kids afraid to think?

  • Michael Rubin

    June 12, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    I think your title is interesting.

    In the podcast episode with Peter Liljedahl’s, he mentioned that so often teachers don’t think students can or will think. So they design their lessons on that assumption. So when confronted with doing something that requires thinking, I wouldn’t be surprised if students are genuinely afraid to think. It reminds me of when I got into a car to drive for the first time.

    I’ve spent the last 3 years as a Math Teacher on Special assignment specifically working with students with learning disabilities. I found that many students wouldn’t engage with a task, as you mention. When I probed deeper, it seemed they simply had no idea what to do to start. Their teachers genuinely wanted them to be successful so they broke everything down into formulas and procedures and took the thinking out of it.

    I’m curious, what strategies have you tried so far to support students in the thinking?

    A resource i’m planning on using next school year is Routines for Reasoning. These routines scaffold the three types of mathematical thinking and explicitly teach them. The routines can be found for free at, but the book has a lot of specific examples and details (bought it on amazon).