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Episode 32: Connecting Math, Literacy, and Growth Mindset - An Interview with Alice Aspinall

Desiree Harrison 0:00

We all have moments where we get discouraged or frustrated and having someone validate these feelings and offer strategies for moving through these feelings can help us move back into a positive light. So What actions do you take when these feelings are coming from one of your students or your child in regards to math? What strategies do you have to help children know that their feelings are validated and also that they are capable?

Today’s episode supports us in strengthening these skill sets as we learn alongside an author who is intertwining Math, Literacy, and Growth Mindset to build positive math identities and Kids Math Talk.

Desiree Harrison 1:11

Today's guest is Alice Aspinall. And we have been connecting through Instagram, which is a little bit of a shift for me. Usually the guests that are one the Kids Math Talk Podcast, I connect with on Twitter, but we're more visual based in the Instagram world, but it's nice to finally have a chance to sit down and chat with you a little bit.

Alice Aspinall 1:30

It's so nice to meet you Desiree! Thank you for having me on.

Desiree Harrison 1:32

I'm really excited about this because we have a passion, we both have a passion for mathematics and you are connecting mathematics with literacy in a way that isn't always expected and it's something that I just feel like more people need to know about the books and about your mission and everything that you're doing.

And you have a variety of books, but the one that - I believe your first, your inaugural book,

was the Everyone Can Learn Math, which is now available in English and Spanish. And it's just such a well-written and beautiful story about a little girl and feeling some very real emotions, and I was just wondering if you can tell the listeners a little bit about this book, and also about the inspiration behind it, and also a little bit about yourself too and the journey that you've been on.

Headshot of Alice Aspinall
Alice Aspinall

Alice Aspinall 2:33

Yes, thank you. The first book I wrote, was a fictional book called, Everyone Can Learn Math, and I'm really proud of it because I think it's really opened up a lot of conversations between grown ups and children and around their feelings toward math.

So, the book is a fictional story about a young girl named Amy, who really thinks that she's just not a math person. It's not for her, and she gives up quite easily and gets frustrated despite her mother's attempts to help her get through those strong emotions.

And, she kind of goes about her day, school, dance class, playground with friends and teachers who teach her or inspire her to give that math another try because math is like other things - we're not born with a certain ability to do or not do math, but rather something we have to practice and work at a little bit to improve. And so, by the end of the story she decides that she's going to have another try at it and try a different strategy and she is successful and, you know, it's a feel good story for young children and for adults.

Desiree Harrison 3:39

Parents who are listening and educators who are listening, if you haven't picked up this book, you really need to, because as I was saying about those real emotions, it's something that helps everyone understand that everyone isn't automatically the best at anything and (5:59)

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