Hello everyone. In this education post, I would to talk about dealing with math frustrations from students. This information is from a tutoring and from a private learning centre (Kumon, Mathnasium, tutoring centre) perspective.
Regardless of skill level or ability, math frustrations do happen from students. Math is a demanding subject which requires a lot of practice, trial and error when it comes to algebra and understanding theoretical concepts.
Encourage Students To Try Again
Note that I mainly refer to mathematics more as the algebra related mathematics from grade 6 and up.
Mathematics is not one of those subjects where you can memorize your way out of things. There is a lot of trial and error, practice and homework involved in order to get good in mathematics. Trial and error learning is important for discovering what works and what does not work. There is sometimes a why component with trial and error learning for deeper understanding.
Some Answers Are Almost Right
Math can be unforgiving sometimes. A small mistake in the algebra steps can mess up everything and lead to a wrong answer. It could be a typo, a miscalculation with a negative number or a calculation error. When it comes to correcting students, I would like to point out that some answers are almost right. I see a difference between a small error leading to a wrong answer versus a student who leaves something blank versus a student whose understanding of concepts or algebra skills are not a good enough level to pass a math course.
Try A Different Way Of Explaining Things
A common complaint/frustration with students learning math is the instruction or how a math course is being taught. Students and their parents go to tutors, after-school learning centres or even Youtube for extra support or even as a replacement for the teacher.
For a tutor/instructor, there are times when the normal way of teaching/tutoring does not work for a student. It could be the student's learning style, student personality, level of focus or even a student learning condition/disability. If something does not work, it would be best to try something else. This trying something else tactic is easier said than done as it does require improvisation, quick thinking and even problem solving skills. Finding a good solution or even optimal solution to help the student is important in order to help the student. Learning services is a part of the larger customer service umbrella.
Learning With Examples & Memory Aids
One thing I like to do with math tutoring and instruction is to use examples, analogies and even some memory aids. Having simple math examples is even better. Examples help with having the student visualize how certain math problems can be solved and the calculations that are involved. Using examples also helps with showing how some of theory is used with problem solving. When appropriate, memory aids are super useful in mathematics when there is memorization involved.