What to look for to ensure your child gets the math help they need.
The decision to seek out a math tutor comes for a variety of reasons. Your child is behind in their math class and needs to catch up. Or they’re doing okay in class but you would like them to get a little ahead of the game. They could also be bored in math class and ready to move on to more advanced concepts. These are all good reasons to seek out math help. And, whether you decide to hire a private math tutor or enroll your child in a math learning program, here are some qualities to look for in an instructor:
- They are empathetic
Empathy is one of the most important qualities for a math tutor to have. They should be interested in how a student feels about math and capable of responding in a way that empowers them. Some students will struggle with the content and feel stressed or overwhelmed, while others will be bored because they’re ready for new material. A good instructor will target their teaching toward the individual based on this acquired knowledge.
- They make math fun
There’s no reason why learning math shouldn’t be enjoyable for kids. If an instructor is enthusiastic about math and passionate about helping kids understand it, they are far more likely to make it fun for their students. Do they build math-based games and activities into the learning? Do they give rewards for working hard and reaching milestones? A positive and engaging learning environment also goes a long way in making the child feel motivated and eager to learn.
- They teach to the individual
Find out if your child will be given a learning assessment, so that the instructor knows exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. They’ll need to know what your child has missed in their math education thus far as well as their individual learning style. And, because math knowledge is cumulative, any learning gaps will need to be addressed and remedied before the child can move on. This is where a math learning program with a structured approach backed by a proven curriculum is going to be most effective.
- They can explain concepts in multiple ways
A math tutor must obviously have excellent math skills. But they also must be able to teach the various concepts in a way that makes sense to the student. This requires an ability to explain concepts in different ways to take into account that all kids think differently. A good instructor doesn’t just teach students to memorize or calculate, they teach them to truly understand the way math works.
- They are available
Kids have so much going on during the school year that adding a math tutor to the schedule can be tricky. The ideal solution will include flexible scheduling and the option of online learning. Just be sure the instruction is always face-to-face, so your child gets the attention and encouragement they need throughout the learning process.
The Mathnasium Advantage
To be certain your child is getting the instruction they need, consider going beyond hiring a math tutor and enrolling your child in a math learning program with a history of setting children on the right path toward academic success. The Mathnasium MethodTM, Mathnasium’s proprietary teaching method, has been transforming the way children learn and appreciate math since 2002. It does more than just raise their grades and scores — it teaches children to think critically, solve problems and work independently — skills that go beyond the classroom and last a lifetime.
It starts with an individual assessment, to pinpoint your child’s exact strengths and weaknesses. A customized learning plan is then created, detailing the specific math concepts your child needs to master to meet their learning goals. Students don’t just learn how to memorize or calculate. Instead, five different teaching techniques are used — mental, verbal, visual, written and tactile — to address how each child learns best. A process called “Socratic questioning,” is also used to help students understand a concept. By answering questions, they have to make sure their logic is sound, which encourages them to think through the process on their own. This develops independent thinking, which they’ll use in every area of their lives. Attentive, highly trained instructors will teach your child face-to-face at the pace that’s right for them. And both in-center and online learning is available.
Whoever you decide to partner with in your child’s math education, what’s most important is that your children learn math in a way that makes sense to them, so that they develop a deep understanding that stays with them throughout their school years and beyond.