Paradoxical Necessities

Submitted By:
Lauren Howard, King's Academy, Jordan

Dear Math: Why Kids Hate Math and What Teachers Can Do About It by Sarah Strong and Gigi Butterfield
Times 10 Publications, June 22, 2022

Grounded in student letters to the oft-despised content of math itself, this book explores the ways in which educators possess power to cultivate a love of learning. While the book explicitly addresses the reality of many math classrooms, its key pedagogical concepts of listening, belonging, and creating an environment of liberation are applicable to all educators, regardless of content area. Teacher-student duo Sarah Strong and Gigi Butterfield amplify and validate the student perspective by arguing that all students are able to become mathematicians, and more broadly, thoughtful and curious problem solvers. Fluent in concepts of project-based learning, the authors offer reflection questions for educators at the close of each chapter. Dear Math pushes our conceptualization of “fun” beyond the philosophical basis of hedonic engagement and into the sense of liberation found in play as a way to understand something which had previously been obscured. By positioning students as possessing knowledge and assigning competence to redistribute power in the typical classroom, this book offers a way forward for educators to engage in the paradoxical necessities of education.

Teaching Practice
Science of Learning