Teaching math is a tricky affair for most tutors. According to a survey done on high school students, 82% reported that they do not like mathematics, with a further 75% believing it is a difficult subject.
Well, math is not as complex as most students tend to perceive. So, what can be done to make the facilitation of learning for this subject much better?
Here are a few tricks you can employ.
Have an Effective Class Opener
The first five minutes of a math lesson sets the precedent for the entire session. If you want your students to engage and participate, you need to grab their attention within this period.
Start by sharing the agenda for the lesson so that students can have expectations about what they’ll learn. Next, post a question or articulate the learning objective to the class so that the students understand the purpose of learning the concept.
Finally, at the end of the lesson, ask them questions to gauge how well they’ve understood the concept and whether the objectives were met.
Have Many Ways of Solving a Problem
Math is more about the concept than how you arrived at an answer specifically. Show students the different ways they can approach a problem and apply the relevant solution and let them discuss each method in the class. Also, encourage them to come up with their own.
The more strategies and approaches you expose your students to, the better they’ll understand the underlying concepts behind solving a particular problem. According to a Harvard study, this is a very powerful teaching technique.
Apply the Schema Approach
A schema is a pattern that underlies a mathematical concept. For example, all subtractions revolve around something being taken away from an original count. If students understand this schema, for instance, they’ll be able to notice its application in diverse scenarios.
You can teach a schema approach to analyzing math problems by putting similar word problems side by side and letting students pick out what they have in common. If they can see the pattern, they’re better positioned to understand what concepts and solutions they can apply to solve the problem.
Use Visual Techniques
Reading and understanding math word problems can be challenging for most students. However, you can improve their understanding of this class of problems and most other math concepts by applying visual techniques.
Teach students how to transform abstract concepts into physical scenarios. You can use illustrations or hands-on activities to create these scenarios. Also, encourage the students to come up with their own.
Visualizing problems also helps the brain develop neural networks, which improves understanding and retention.
Use Online Resources
Online resources provide a great way of facilitating learning in math by encouraging practice and learning outside the class. Online resources add a variety of problems that students can tackle, and some allow them to practice for upcoming exams and tests and share the results with others.
For instance, an online IB math resource provides AA and AI math practice exams. Students can also access past IB exams with video solutions to better prepare for their final test. These resources also have additional learning materials to help students struggling with specific concepts to get better.