By H Leopold
In writing this today, I am picking up where this article (In the Interest of Life-Giving Mathematics: Putting Vitality at the Center), written by me over a year ago, left off. This year at Springhouse, we are continuing to integrate mathematics into our interdisciplinary courses while also trying something new: what I call, Math Power Hour. The intention of Math Power Hour, offered three times each week, is empowerment through concrete and consistent skill-building in the language of mathematics.
What matters here is not the type of math concepts that are taught or how much is covered during class time; it is, rather, the importance of creating a safe environment in which to learn where the facilitator is inspired, vulnerability is taken care of, and challenges are viewed as doorways instead of obstacles to overcome. In just a few short months, I have watched attitudes shift, witnessed smiles and laughter, and heard a learner, who used to fear math, say to me, “H, I actually love fractions now!” This is the power of facing something difficult with support and care. If we let it, math, like any other potential challenge, can become a doorway to empowerment – to knowing more deeply that we are capable.