Math and Vulnerability – A Series Inspired by Brene’ Brown

This is the first in a series on Math & Vulnerability, inspired by Brené Brown.

Based on Brene Brown's definition of vulnerability (and her work in the area), examines how doing math is vulnerable. (First in a series.)Recently I had the privilege of hearing Brené Brown speak at the Dad 2.0 Summit.

As I listened to her talk of Daring Greatly, I noticed that everything she said applied to the treatment of math.

I began to compose an article on her insights – along with the implications in math teaching and learning. But it got quite lengthy.

So this is the first in the series on math and vulnerability as inspired by her talk and her book Daring Greatly.

Here’s the series:

  • Math and Vulnerability (this one)
  • Why Math Isn’t Fun
  • Debunking the Right Answer Hoax
  • The Story You Make up about Math – And Why It’s Wrong
  • Share Your Math Stories – Talk Openly and Debunk the Cultural Default
  • Your Kids Learn Math Vulnerability from You (so Knock It off)
  • You Can’t Hotwire a Connection – in Relationships or in Math

 What is Vulnerability?

“Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”

As defined by Brené Brown (tweet this)

Well by golly, math is uncertainty. Rarely do we know what’s gonna happen with a math problem when we start. Especially a word problem.

And risk is what you take as you put pencil to paper – attempting the first steps to solving a math problem. There’s no telling if what you’re doing is right. But you gotta start with something.

When you’re asked to present your work on the board, emotional exposure  is what you experience. Even turning in your work for grading or being called on will expose you.

Doing math is vulnerable.

According to Brené Brown’s definition of vulnerability, doing math is vulnerable!

And you know – being vulnerable isn’t fun. It’s hard. It’s stressful.

Oh, and it’s worth it!

Which brings us to the next post in the series: Why Math Isn’t Fun(I’ll come back and link to it when it’s up.)

How about you?

What do you do that’s uncertain, risky and exposes you emotionally? Teach? Parent? Do math?

Share your thoughts in the comments and with your PLN on Twitter!

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