Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Getting Smart Podcast

Jan 15, 2020

Today’s episode is all about limitless learning and learning math that really matters with Dr. Jo Boaler!


Dr. Boaler is a Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University and the author of fourteen books. Her newest book, Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers, shares the benefits of a growth mindset, collaboration, and learning from mistakes with a general audience. Based on lessons from research in the U.S. and the UK, Dr. Boaler formed, which gives teachers, parents, and students the resources they need to excite students about mathematics. YouCubed is now used in about half of American schools. And most recently, Dr. Boaler has joined up with the UChicago Economist, Steven Levitt, in a campaign to add more data science to the high school curriculum!


Dr. Boaler’s 20-year contribution to making math education more applied, collaborative, and fun is both encouraging and incredible. Tune in to hear more about what she is doing for math education, her advocacy for data science, and her recent op-ed with Steven Levitt!


Key Takeaways:

[:14] About today’s episode!

[1:07] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Dr. Jo Boaler to the podcast!

[1:13] Dr. Boaler speaks about where she grew up and her experiences with math early on.

[2:46] After studying at the University of Liverpool, how did Dr. Boaler come to teach secondary maths in London? And was it a good experience?

[5:08] Dr. Boaler speaks about her experience earning her Ph.D. at King’s College in London.

[8:18] Why did Dr. Boaler decide to teach mathematics at Stanford University?

[9:40] In 2000, Dr. Boaler was awarded an NSF grant and had the chance to do another long study about teaching maths. Dr. Boaler shares what she learned from this experience.

[11:00] Dr. Boaler shares the key takeaways from her course, “How to learn math.”

[12:55] Dr. Boaler describes the mission of YouCubed.

[13:47] With the work they do at YouCubed, is there more uptake at the elementary level than the secondary?

[14:17] How many books has Dr. Boaler written so far?

[14:25] Dr. Boaler shares what her newest book, Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers, covers that her older books did not.

[16:52] Why supporting a growth mindset is so important, especially with learning math.

[18:11] Dr. Boaler summarizes her findings around the importance of struggle and mistakes.

[20:44] Dr. Boaler explains what she means when she says, ‘engaging with a lens of multiplicity.’

[22:08] Dr. Boaler speaks about creative, flexible thinking.

[23:32] Dr. Boaler shares her vision for collaborative learning.

[25:49] Dr. Boaler shares the backstory of her op-ed with Steven Levitt, “Modern high school math should be about data science — not Algebra 2.”

[30:21] Dr. Boaler shares some of her excitement around data science and why she believes it is so vitally important.

[33:00] Dr. Boaler addresses some of the political challenges as well as some of the talent development challenges in supporting teachers in this change.

[34:12] What goes into the master schedule now regarding math?

[35:40] How do we support the current group of math teachers with these changes?

[38:08] Where to learn more about this topic!

[39:29] Tom Vander Ark thanks Dr. Jo Boaler for joining the podcast!


Mentioned in This Episode:

Stanford University

Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers, by Jo Boaler

University of Chicago

Steven Levitt

Elastic: Unlocking Your Brain's Ability to Embrace Change, by Leonard Mlodinow

Modern high school math should be about data science not Algebra 2,” by Jo Boaler and Steven D. Levitt

YouCubed Data Science

Freakonomics Podcast — “Americas Math Curriculum Doesnt Add Up (Ep. 391)”

Concord Consortium

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 238 — “Chad Dorsey on Modeling and Data Science in STEM Education


Get Involved:

Check out the blog at

Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review and subscribe.


Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?

To get in contact: Email and include ‘Podcast’ in the subject line.

The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!