Learners who are intimidated by math often become disengaged in classes not because they lack the skills required to excel in the subject, but due to the lack of motivation to push through the challenges associated with it. Demotivation however, is something that can be tackled and overcome. An unreceptive learner can, with the right tutoring strategies, be motivated to delve into the subject that they once found too difficult to enjoy.
Getting reluctant students to become more enthusiastic about math isn’t always a clear-cut process; different learners often respond to varying strategies. There are however, several techniques that have been shown to have positive results across a wide range of age groups and with learners of varying proficiency in math; five of these are listed below.
Place math into a real and meaningful context
Learners are more likely to become interested in math when they are made aware of its practical application and usefulness in real-life contexts. Fostering an understanding of math that goes beyond algorithms and formulas can show learners how they can actually benefit from exploring the subject, as well as how they can apply it to other areas of their lives that they are interested in.
Present interesting math problems/challenges
Math is filled with tonnes of fascinating problems that leave learners intrigued and curious to learn more. Presenting learners with challenges and problems that they feel personally interested in solving is a great way to keep them engaged and excited about the subject.
Play math-related games
Recreational math such as puzzles and games can show students how math can be used to create viable game strategies, as well as to keep their minds sharp and alert. Using toys and games can provide learners with a non-threatening environment to explore the subject; this can also make them comfortable enough to participate in discussions and problem-solving activities.
Encourage learner participation
Instead of presenting textbook questions and answers, it’s preferable to encourage learners to voice their own curiosities about the subject, as well as to explore and discover the appropriate solutions and answers to their own questions. This will help learners to feel more involved in the lessons and therefore less likely to feel disengaged.
Only a motivated tutor can motivate learners
Whether a tutor holds a traditional math class, or is an online math tutor, their attitude towards math seeps into their lessons; learners are often quick to catch on to this and use it to justify their own apathy towards the subject. If a tutor enjoys math and attaches value to it as a subject, this attitude is bound to transfer onto the learners who are then likely to perceive math as something that people enjoy. Therefore, finding an appropriate math tutor is key to a learner’s perception and learning of math.
The above strategies can encourage learners to look at math as more than just a procedural tool. Learners can either view it as a dreaded necessity that they don’t want anything to do with after class, or as a fun, applicable subject to be used in many aspects of everyday life – it’s because of this that effective tutoring techniques play a crucial role in how children and young adults perceive and ultimately learn math.