Abstract / Synopsis
Mathematics can be intellectually demanding, engaging, and fulfilling. Learning mathematical concepts adequately warrants an environment where students can err without penalty, shame, or hurtful consequences. Teaching mathematics efficaciously depends on the trusting relationship between the teacher and the students. We advocate blending mathematics teaching with kindness because it benefits the teacher, the students, and society. Kindness, niceness, caring, and benevolence are interrelated but not synonymous. We outline four progressive levels of kindness: conditional, superficial, optimal, and genuine. Blending mathematics teaching and kindness effectively requires the teacher to decenter from their own perspectives and adopt the student’s perspective as the student struggles through a challenging math problem. The efficacy of blending teaching and kindness depends on the teacher’s inner cultivation of benevolence. In one’s journey towards teaching with genuine kindness, one would need self-knowledge, unwavering commitment, continual practice, collegial support, spiritual guidance, and mindful awareness.
Kien H. Lim & Anthony Matsuura, "Blending Mathematics Teaching with Kindness," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 13 Issue 1 (January 2023), pages 217-231. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.CKUH2790. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol13/iss1/18
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