Traditionally, math concepts are taught using the one-way methodology of teacher imparting learning to students. Today’s math curriculums are so full and focused on disseminating information that some students aren’t able to devote the time they need to comprehend a concept before moving onto the next unit.
The prognosis for this isn’t good, because math is “cumulative”. To understand calculus, you need to have a full understanding of both geometry and algebra. Math concepts build on each other as a student progresses to more challenging topics.
How does one help a student to improve math skills?
So many students feel defeated when it comes to math. They feel they’re not “math people”, but all they need is to discover and learn methods of problem solving that work for them.
At Summit, our one-on-one tutoring approach is designed to foster critical thinking about math. Our experienced tutors engage in a collaborative, two-way process to help students learn concepts on their own. They ask questions that lead students on the path to solve their own problems. When students learn the concepts on their own, they get a deeper understanding and begin to recognize patterns across math problems.
Summit tutors are good at zeroing in on where students need help and where they need to be pushed. They work with students to grasp the concept and struggle together to solve the problem. This is when learning and critical thinking happens and confidence grows.
Just as important as it is to understand the concepts, students learn different strategies for solving problems. Many of the problem-solving strategies we teach can also be applied to solving problems in any other field in academics. An example of this is the “bridge the gap” strategy. Students approach a problem from both sides, determining what they can do with information given and what information they need for the answer, until they connect the bridge to the solution.
Personalized learning, accountability, and immediate feedback
With personalized learning programs, students move at their own pace. The tutor meets them where they are in their ability, and can challenge them with more advanced material while providing opportunities to review older content.
In the classroom, students may not have any idea how they’re doing until a quiz or test grade. Working with a tutor one on one can immediately pinpoint areas where they are struggling and coach them to develop solutions. With continual feedback, student’s struggles get immediately addressed and feelings of defeat are turned into strengths and confidence.
Students are held accountable for “getting it”. Our tutors encourage them to put in the work. If they have trouble with a problem or concept, we ask questions and suggest strategies that help them discover their answer. This is difficult to do in a large classroom setting, compounded by the rushed pace of math lessons and social pressure from peers that inhibits questioning.
Fostering Better Students Overall
At Summit, our goal is to help students become more competent at solving math problems and at thinking critically. It’s the process of building “math intuition”. Through our work together, students develop an arsenal of math knowledge, solution strategies, and techniques for efficiently breaking down problems.
Even more than improving math grades, we want students to learn about themselves, their blind spots, their strengths, and how to apply them across all their school work. For us, the results are evident not only in student performance but also in their attitudes about themselves as growing learners.
As a parent, it’s often difficult to find time in the evening schedules to be your child’s math tutor (assuming you’ve convinced them to let you help!). Learn more about our academic and AP subject tutoring. If you’d like to get some math support for your student, Summit is here to help. Please contact us.