Ep. 41: How to Inspire Kids to Love Math with Allison Dillard

Aug 3, 2021 | 0 comments

How do you inspire kids to love math, and do you approach things differently when working with students who have learning disorders? The truth is, a lot of kids find math challenging and that challenge may stop them in their tracks. So how can we as parents, teachers, and caregivers help them persist? This is the perfect topic for today’s guest, Allison Dillard.

Allison is the host of The Allison Loves Math Podcast, a podcast celebrating leaders, legends, and trailblazers who are empowering the world to love math. She is also the author of The Love Math Journal, a tool to help young students cultivate gratitude, a growth mindset, and a love of math. Crush Math Now is another of her publications designed for students who struggle with the subject.


Math can make students, children and adults alike feel anxious, stressed, and worried, especially if a learning difference is also in the picture. Listen to this conversation to find out how Allison helps students fall in love with the challenges of math and how you can guide children, too.


Show Notes:

[2:36] – Allison loves math so much that in her down time, she hosts a math podcast. She shares why she loves it.

[4:04] – Being able to persist even when things get hard is a life skill that can develop through learning math skills. The struggle is beneficial.

[5:00] – If you believe you can do something, you figure out a way to make it happen. [6:09] – Allison teaches at a community college teaching remedial classes where students have been telling themselves for a decade that they cannot learn math.

[7:13] – A huge part of the equation comes from parents who tell them that it’s okay to “be bad at math.” Allison explains that stopping the negative conversation is key.

[8:37] – Allison Loves Math Podcast combines parenting and math talk for teachers to help support students and families.

[9:57] – We can’t always control what happens in a classroom regarding math talk and negativity, but parents can control how they converse at home.

[10:40] – Allson created The Love Math Journal that connects learning challenges with learning math in a positive way to promote growth mindset and reflection.

[11:41] – When we get something wrong, we reflect on how we went about it. Children don’t inherently know how to do that and need to be taught persistence.

[12:52] – Comparing math to sports is a great way to make things fun and relatable.

[14:07] – Allison gives examples of how to help students practice for testing.

[15:15] – When Allison works with students with learning disabilities, she focuses on experimentation in solving problems.

[16:57] – If the first strategy doesn’t work for a student, changing it up over and over again until they find what works for them is best.

[17:53] – Allison began working with students as a tutor in high school and college. She shares the impact of that experience.

[20:00] – Students who receive accommodations, especially during testing, often think that if accommodations can’t “fix” the problem, it is unsolvable.

[22:34] – Karen and Allison love statistics while many people dread learning it. Allison explains why she loves statistics and the importance of understanding it.

[24:16] – Statistics is a great tool for students to connect with math through real-world skills and topics.

[25:32] – Even with vaccine research and COVID-19 data, adults and kids need to understand statistics to understand what is going on in the world.

[28:00] – Allison shares how she experienced a health challenge in high school. 

[29:28] – Parents can help their children understand their challenges through researching their own struggles.

[30:51] – Allison shares ways to help students love math, including relating it back to real life and learning to value challenges.


About Our Guest:

Allison Dillard is an adjunct math professor at Irvine Valley College, author of several math books including Crush Math Now and The Love Math Journal. She is also the host of the Allison Loves Math Podcast, where she interviews experts in education and parenting about how to help our kids and students to value, love and succeed in math.


Connect with Allison Dillard:

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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.