- Book Recommendation: A Mathematician’s Apology
- A Problem Halved: the Trouble with Fractions
- Get the most out of maths revision
- Progressing from GCSE Maths – what next?
- Maths is not a memory game!
As someone reading articles on The Tutor Pages you are probably already sold on the idea of getting a tutor. But for those of you out there who are unsure, here is a quick summary of what a tutor can offer you or your child.
I want to start by saying that I don’t mean to criticise the amazing work that is done by teachers in schools. But it’s a sad truth that teachers are becoming over-stretched by the bureaucratic demands of the job and large class sizes, which combine to make it very difficult for teachers to deliver the kind of teaching they wish to. Tutors can supplement school teaching in ways that are advantageous for everyone.
How often does a teacher sit down with you or your child while they work through a maths problem? Book work is often marked – ‘you went wrong on line 4’ – but this feedback is rarely given at the time of working, when the student knows just what they were thinking that made them write things that way. Focused attention allows the tutor to actually understand why students are going wrong. Perhaps they have misinterpreted an explanation or they frequently forget the impact of a minus sign in certain types of calculation. Whatever the reason, a tutor’s focused attention can get to the bottom of the problem quickly and solve it.
How many teenagers do you know that are full of self-confidence? The people you work for, are they confident? Confidence is SO important. In fact, research suggests that confidence in your ability to achieve will impact your chances of success . Tutors offer support and encouragement to students, which will often improve confidence. Additionally, the small successes that students will see through their tuition helps them to realise their own ability to succeed. It is my belief that confidence in your own ability is one of the most important things a tutor can offer you, and something that will stay with you well beyond your tutoring and even your recollection of the specific topics you were taught. A good tutor makes you feel good about yourself, like you can achieve anything you set out to do.
A new approach
As the saying goes “If you’ve explained something a thousand times and they still don’t get it, it’s you who isn’t learning”.
Students learn in lots of different ways and these different ways complement each other. The more ways a student can engage with material, the more likely they are to find the one way that makes it click for them (especially important if a student is finding a concept hard to grasp).
Tutors are so lucky. They get to spend one-on-one time with each student they teach. They can learn about how that student understands the world, about their personal interests and motivations, and can tailor teaching to be engaging and interesting for that student. They also have the time and freedom to try new things that school teachers simply can’t fit in. This gives tutors an amazing opportunity to make learning ‘fit’ for students, and even to help students understand how they learn.