Student G was an elementary school student. He was in grade 6 when we started tutoring classes. He did not know multiplication table, and consequently, he could not learn how to divide numbers. He could not complete the academic requirements of grade 6 and the school decided to put him into the special education class with other weak students that require extra help.
The whole story:
I started to teach the multiplication table. I gave him all tips and tricks on memorizing multiplication facts. I explained how to use some facts that he remembers to calculate multiplication facts he doesn’t.
Student R. is a highly intelligent boy who is motivated to learn math. Moreover, he has an interest in and enjoys the challenge of the course. When a new topic is explained by the teacher in class he listens attentively and understands the algebra of the steps. But when it comes to apply the same steps to a different situation he gets stuck in the middle of the problem, which reveals that he does not have a deep understanding of the logic behind each step.
The problem with R. is that he does not know how to listen to the explanations of Math topics. He did not develop the “Math listening” skill which tells the mathematician to “think about the logical reasons of the steps not the algebraic simplifications”. Student R needs to understand the theoretical, abstract part of the concepts first. Then he has to solve a few more questions with different variations of the same concept applying his knowledge by himself.
The difficulties of learning Mathematics are based, very often, on the inability to initiate, understand, trust and control mental processes by our consciousness. The brain is an instrument, but we have to learn how to use it. Our mind is capable of thinking and figuring out the solution to many Mathematical problems if we feed it with precise data, formulate the question clearly and listen to what the intuition is trying to tell us. Of course, we are assuming that a learner has strong foundations in previous knowledge and has acquired practical skills in applying it.
Two months of “Math torture” are over and some of you realized that marks are lower than you expected and aimed to get. You can improve your test performance by changing your studying routine. Here are some tips that, I am sure, will help you to do better.