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IBL is a form of active learning in which students are given a carefully scaffolded sequence of mathematical tasks and are asked to solve and make sense of them, working individually or in groups. Many varieties of IBL exist under one “big tent”. While courses may look different, they all rely on the core principles of (1) deep engagement in rich mathematical activities, (2) opportunities to collaborate with peers, (3) instructor inquiry into student thinking, and (4) instructor focus on equity in design, facilitation. Following these core principles, IBL courses enhance student learning by providing opportunities to learn the process of understanding and presenting math rather than simply watching someone else do it.

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Math anxiety iceberg

When it comes to mathematics, students often feel anxious about the subject. In IBL classes, this can be manifested as a statement similar to "I don't learn this way" and identifies with a fixed mindset. However, this resistance is just the tip of the iceberg and can be due to a variety of reasons. When you begin to look beneath the surface and start talking with the student, you will be able to get to the deeper issues that the student is experiencing, as shown in the diagram. For more information please visit the IBL Blog Post on the Math Anxiety Iceberg here.

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