What Are the Best Math Tutoring Methods?
Helping students learn math is one of the most important jobs in education because it gives students the confidence to take on difficult challenges that often lead to academic honors and prestigious, high-paying careers. Math is considered one of the hardest subjects to teach because students often come to math class with anxiety about solving difficult problems, and the unfortunate consequence is that some students do very well in math while others fall behind. It’s usually the struggling students who need tutoring, so math tutors need to know the proper techniques to break through a person’s mental block and encourage learners to take independent steps when finding solutions to problems.
What math classes do we have tutors for?
- Algebra II and/or Trigonometry
Breaking Down Math Problems Into the Smallest Parts
Math is confusing to some people because they try to perform too many steps all at once, and the reason they get into this bad habit is that math has traditionally been taught this way. Some of the best math tutors in the country recommend the tutoring method of breaking down math problems into a series of micro steps, which allows struggling pupils to think carefully about each step in the process. When math problems are divided into the smallest possible steps, students can consider each step separately from the others, and it prevents them from getting confused by problems that seem easy to others but that are actually complicated.
Effective math tutoring methods help even out the performance of students in a math class and eliminate the damaging bell curve that harms the confidence of some students and discourages them from pursuing more challenging educational goals. It takes a patient and understanding teacher to walk someone through each tiny step in the process of solving a math problem because every student has a different path to understanding. In other words, some people may get confused about one part of a problem while others get confused about a different part. The tutor needs to be creative when investigating why a student doesn’t understand a particular point in a math problem, and there are many resources for tutors to use as a reference point before taking on this challenge.
Bringing Algebra Students Up to Speed
It can be a very satisfying feeling to help a student catch up with the rest of the class and begin getting good grades in math, and there have been many examples of algebra tutors completely removing the bell curve from primary school math subjects by breaking down problems into their microscopic parts. By removing inequality from math classes, these teachers help every student in the class score excellent grades, rather than only a few pupils in the class. To make math problems easier for everyone in the class, instead of giving them problems such as -8 + 4, teachers can ask them simple questions like, “If I lose eight dollars and gain four dollars, is that good or bad?” It may seem like adding -8 and 4 only takes one step, but there are actually several micro steps that can trip up some students and discourage them from trying to score well on future exams. The most effective tutoring methods really depend on the grade level of the pupil and on his or her level of confidence, so the tutor has to observe these details before beginning instruction.
Identifying Different Types of Math Students
In higher-level courses, students need to be able to confidently perform complex operations and make abstract connections between patterns and numbers. For secondary and post-secondary students, the best techniques involve helping people know when to use a particular rule for a problem so that they can properly categorize sets of problems for better comprehension on exams and homework. In these upper-level courses, students need to learn how to recognize problems and choose the appropriate rule to use solve a problem, so tutors can use methods such as memorization games and flash cards to drill these ideas into the pupil’s memory.
Teacher instructors who work with math teachers say that the biggest mistake new teachers make is thinking that students learn best when teachers make problems simple and easy to solve. The truth is that students learn best when they are encouraged to participate in solving a problem and given the responsibility of offering their own solutions. If the student isn’t actively involved in the lesson, then the tendency is for him or her to nod off or let the information slip away without absorbing it. By asking the student for responses to questions, he or she builds a sort of muscle memory of the solution method, so to speak. Article on identifying the type of learner that you are.
Tutoring Higher-Level Pupils
With older students, this approach may be frustrating due to the lifetime of incorrect learning habits acquired from primary and secondary school. For high school and college tutors, it’s even more important to patiently walk the learner through each micro step in the process and make sure he or she fully understands why the step was performed. Simply getting the right answer isn’t enough of a success because the student is really only guessing the answer if the process isn’t totally understood. At each step, the tutor needs to ask the learner why the step was performed, and the instructor needs to be ready to spend as much time as necessary getting the pupil up to speed.
It may take several weeks to begin seeing improvements in the student’s performance on tests, and sometimes a student just doesn’t want to get better at math. In this case, it’s a good idea to make the learning session as easy and enjoyable as possible by focusing on each tiny step in the solution method. Perhaps an entire lesson can be devoted to helping the student understand a particular sticking point or mathematical concept.
Not Everyone Can Focus in a Quiet Setting
The setting is another variable that might be overlooked, and in general, it’s not the most important detail but can make a difference with some students. Not everybody can focus very well in a quiet setting, and some students need a little noise to help them think. If the pupil seems uncomfortable while concentrating during a lesson, it could be because he or she is more at ease around other students and doesn’t perform as well alone. Group study sessions are a good idea for people that need to talk to stay focused. Extroverted people typically feel anxious when they’re forced to sit in a room alone and concentrate on math problems, especially if they aren’t interested in math. Teaching methods need to be adapted to the type of learner being taught because there is simply no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to teaching math. More info on extroversion here.
When all students perform at the same level in math classes, it tears down the barriers to success that prevent many people from pursuing challenging educational goals. Students who grow up believing they aren’t talented at math become discouraged from attempting to do college-level work that they are actually capable of doing. Using the proper teaching methods, tutors can bring struggling students up to speed and restore their confidence in their problem-solving abilities so that they feel positive about enrolling in college math and science courses.
Have you been struggling with algebra, calculus, or some other math class? Guess what… you’re in luck. We would be glad to have one of our highly trained tutors teach you how to better understand your classes. We can help you go from a D student to a B or even an A student in no time. All of our teachers are very understanding. They will be kind and take their time with you when you are just learning how to do something. Since we were all students at one point, we know what it is like to learn a new subject. Trust in our process, get started by clicking the button below: