Does One-to-One Offer Math Tutoring?

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Learning basic computational skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is fairly easy for the average student. Whenever these skills are not mastered, remediation consists of first confirming that the student understands the underlying concepts, then providing repetition of the basic facts in various forms.  I provide original games, puzzles, worksheets, and timed drills.

Word Problems

Once the basic skills have been mastered, additional difficulties may arise when a child is asked to apply that knowledge to the solution of word problem.  Though capable, some children have not yet developed all the abstract reasoning abilities needed to conceptualize such problems or their solutions. Most children outgrow these deficiencies, but in some cases, intervention is necessary.

The process of remediation consists of presenting the student with an assortment of word problems that are simple to understand and easy to read.  After the child becomes comfortable solving these basic problems, I gradually introduce word problems that are incrementally more demanding.  By this means the child becomes familiar with the format and structure of a variety of word problems, and the terminology associated with the mathematical operations needed to solve them.

Math Anxiety

Underperforming students often develop a debilitating aversion to math and especially to word problems. Some develop a full-blown “Math Anxiety”.

Math Anxiety is an emotional reaction to mathematics based on past unpleasant experiences which affect future learning.

In children with math anxiety, seeing numbers on a page stimulates the same part of the brain that would respond if they spotted a slithering snake or a creeping spider.  Math is that scary!  Brain scans of these children show that when they are in the grip of math anxiety, activity is reduced in the information processing and reasoning areas of their brains, exactly the regions that should be working hard to tackle the problem that confronts them.

One-to-One Home Tutoring reduces Math Anxiety in the following ways

  • Relieve the pressure
    Whenever a child feels defeated before even opening a math book, progress is blocked.
    It is vital to reassure the student by presenting the material in a relaxed, non-threatening manner.
    Once the threat is gone, it is easier to start the skill building process.
  • Concepts are presented in the proper sequence with gradated levels of difficulty
    Each lesson builds on what was learned in the previous lesson, which helps reinforce skills.
    This is essential, because when a concept is missed, the next concept that builds upon it will be incomprehensible.
  • Lessons are student-paced
    The tutor makes sure each concept is well understood before introducing new material.

The Relationship between Math and Reading

Math difficulties are compounded when a student is unable to read a problem with fluency and comprehension.

When a child struggles to decipher the words he is reading, it diverts attention from the problem itself, plus it increases the time it takes to complete the problem.  In this situation, remediation requires determining the source of the deficiency and improving the underlying reading skills, with an emphasis on mastering those words regularly encountered in mathematics.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

No matter which factors contributed to a child's inability to understand and apply mathematical concepts, the remediation process is similar in all cases

  • Introduce the material
  • Check understanding
  • Provide plenty of reinforcement

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