It’s not a secret that most students don’t like Math. To many students, Math is just a lesser form of torture intended to make their school lives difficult. While there are some students who understand the value and importance of Math outside of their classrooms, it’s still no surprise that Math isn’t exactly a subject met with enthusiasm.
This mindset can be extremely difficult for home tutors who offer Math to their students. Of course, they may already have the expertise with regards to the subject but it also helps tutors to make their math classes more fun and exciting. In this article, we’ll talk about some tips for new and seasoned home tutors to make their math classes more fun.
The beginning of the lesson determines the flow of the lesson and consequently, how it ends as well. If the tutor starts off the lesson engaging the student, they will be more interested than when the lesson starts off bland. This is why the introduction to the lesson is a huge part of teaching. It not only sets up the lesson itself but also the mood of the students. Whatever the tutor decides to do at the very beginning of the lesson, it has to be engaging, fun, and can immediately catch the student’s attention. With this, when the student’s mood or attention begins to shift throughout the lesson, the tutor can bring it back through what they have used to start the lesson. It’ll be even better if it directly relates to the lesson of the day.
Math doesn’t have to be the boring, sit-in-your-chair-all-day subject everyone thinks it to be. To make Math classes fun for students, tutors should also learn to engage their students in the lesson. By using the different math games and activities available, the tutor can make learning fun for the student while also keeping their motivation with the lesson at hand. These games can also reinforce the lessons the tutor has already covered to make sure the student will be able to apply whatever concept is being taught.
For example, if the tutor is teaching problem-solving, they can have a role-play activity wherein the tutor acts as the customer and the student the owner of a store. The tutor can “buy” things from the student and they can then solve how much the change would be or any scenario close to that. This way, the student will not only put what they have learned to a test but also understand how Math can be used in the real world. Additionally, activities like these enable the students to move around when they start getting bored. Math doesn’t always have to be taught through chalkboards with the student sitting down.
Math books aren’t limited to the confusing textbooks most students are accustomed to. There are also some Math storybooks that can help with student’s interest in the subject, especially if the student loves stories. Aside from this, they can also learn Math language using the visual representation they can see in the books. This will help them understand those better when they are used in a problem or in a more complicated situation. Just be sure to pick the storybooks you think your students may enjoy.
No one said Math should be learned in one take so no one should expect a student to do so. In reality, students may still zone out during lessons, more so if they are not interested in the subject or topic at hand. However, some students may be really good at masking as if they are still paying attention. With this, they may miss out on some pointers the tutor has given. This is why it’s important to repeat the core ideas of your lessons.
Repetition can help when a student is trying to understand a new concept or topic. They may get confused with the ways a concept can branch out or relate to another concept, which is why it’s important to help them understand the core idea. When a student responds well to repetition, they will also have more chances of understanding the applications of concepts in Math. The tutor can also take it a step further and come up with a graphic map or representation of the concept wherein the student can refer to it throughout the lesson.
The idea that students are just there to absorb knowledge is outdated. In recent years, students are encouraged to participate in lessons more than before. As such, it’s safe to say that another tip to make classes in Math more fun is to give the students autonomy of what they want to do during activities. Students also want to be heard and giving them options and letting them choose which activities or games they want to participate in makes them feel important and part of the process.
As an example, a tutor with a student who is interested in competing may be more inclined to activities wherein they can compete with others. The tutor can then organize a friendly Math competition wherein students who are competitive in nature are more likely to join in. The tutor can also give the student a choice as to what sort of teaching style the tutor may use in the lesson. Choices not only make the student feel important but they are also great motivators for the student as they see this as them becoming more independent and in control of their own choices.
It’s rather common for students to ask (whine, for some) how Math lessons can help them. Since some of these questions are from students who don’t see the importance of Math, it’s imperative for home tutors to give a good explanation and help them see why Math is important. Explaining why the concept should matter and how they can use it in the future can increase their interest to learn more about the subject. And once the student gets interested, they will pay more attention than they did before.
Most students don’t like Math because they have already dismissed it as something they will probably not use. While some aspects of this may be true, Math is used in everyday life more than they are aware of and it’s the tutor’s duty to help them see that. Help the students connect their day-to-day experiences with the concepts they are learning in Math and it can change their perception of the subject.
Take for example if the student is learning about percentages and decimals. They may dismiss the lesson since they can probably use a calculator for this in the future. However, the tutor can point out that calculators aren’t always available when they are shopping and they see something on sale. When they have mastered how to compute percentages, they can also have no problem with weighing out if they can get their money’s worth on sales or not.
Students, especially younger ones, love guessing. This is why some guessing games are very popular with younger students. The same principle can be used during Math lessons. It’s not really exciting for students if they already know everything. While it’s good to stay organized with lessons, tutors can also add in a touch of mystery that can keep their students on their toes and excited for the lesson. For example, the tutor can drop in hints here and there about a new topic that will be opened for the next lesson. This way, the students will stay curious and be more interested in the new topic.
Teaching and tutoring are two fields that are no joke and given that they are careers that you have decided to pursue, it’s serious for you. Still, it doesn’t mean for the tutor to continue being serious all the time because they are teaching students. Some may be used to a more traditional, silent approach but it doesn’t have to be that way. Students may learn more if they are comfortable with their tutor so try cracking a joke or two, just to let that student know that it’s alright to have fun while also learning. If the tutor is rigid, the student may mirror this and it will not help if the tutor is trying to get them to participate more.
It’s not a secret that there are many students who have negative attitudes towards Math. This can even sometimes be the cause why they fail in the subject. Before they have a chance to read the question, they already think it’s too difficult for them to answer. However, as home tutors, it’s important to remind students that there are easier ways to approach the subject. With the tips mentioned above, the subject may even be more fun and interesting. Given that the tutor keeps in mind that they should also avoid any Math teaching mistakes, as it can cause the student to get even more confused and possibly hate the subject, we hope that the tips above have given you some insight on how you can make lessons in Math more fun and engaging for your students.
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