Teaching math is one of the most challenging educational jobs. It’s not the same as English, or History. Why? Because it’s not that simple for a student to understand and apply the principles explained!
Unlike many other education classes, learning math takes more than just few letters written on a white-board and a good memory… Today we’ll cover few important tips that’ll help you improve your teaching style, making you a more efficient math teacher.
Make them understand the reasons behind
It’s critical to make your students understand why it’s important for them to learn a specific formula or principle. Try to find some incentive examples that would make them understand where they can apply what they learn at your class.
For example, it may help them at a science, or a physics class. It can also help them protect themselves later in life from being scammed by other people. Make sure that you link whatever you teach to some other useful practice.
Another good tip would be to link your teachings to real life applicable examples. Every person, young or old, will encounter probabilities. Be it in the stock market, gambling, or playing poker with friends…all of these activities require math.
Here’re four examples that can help your students understand the why behind math:
- Managing their personal finances during life;
- Figuring out how fast you need to travel in order to reach a certain destination;
- Deciding which products to buy by comparing them accordingly;
- Determining how much to tip a waitress at a restaurant.
The moment they understand why it’s beneficial to them, the moment they’ll start to be more cooperative and willing to work harder.
Interesting and fun teaching
Math is already complicated, you don’t have to make it worse by sending bad vibes to your students. Instead, you need to figure out a way to make them enjoy the process. When the students love your style, they will be more willing to accept and work harder on your discipline.
- Reward them appropriately. This takes some effort, as you have to understand the things they desire. Once they perform well, give them a reward. It can be small things. It doesn’t matter, as long as they see that you care.
- Set examples and motivate them: Find a successful person that has been where they are and they’ve excelled at it. The power of example is great, especially among students!
- Give a background of the person who invented a specific algorithm/formula. Show your students the extraordinary man behind, and they’ll be more likely to gain some interest.
Teach them how to learn by visualizing
Math is easier if it’s visualised properly. The problem solving implies more factors, and taking advantage of colours and visual images makes a student comprehend and excel at solving complicated problems.
As you can see in the image, the letters have different colours according to their meaning. So, the next time you find a complicated problem that your students don’t really understand, make it easier for them by using colours when representing the exercise.
If you are teaching online, you want your students to get access to the best visual content possible. In order to do that, you need to plan ahead your teaching session and prepare some valuable materials that will help them picture things in their mind. A simple google search will provide you with enough images and videos that you can transmit to your students along with your teaching course.
Teaching math facts the right way
Math facts are the foundation of math learning. Without them, it’s impossible to advance with your teachings. That is why you need to teach your students the appropriate ways to memorise and use them. This is not an easy process, but these tips might help you:
- Teach a limited number of facts at a time. If you overwhelm your students they’ll have a harder time memorising the facts.
- Teach new facts only after they’ve fully memorised and understood the previous ones. This is so essential!
- Encourage daily practice. This means making your students understand that little effort each day can help their memorizing process.
- After they memorised a specific math fact, your next lessons should include problem solving with the learned math fact. Exercises complete the learning process.
As you gain experience in teaching, you will begin to understand students better. There are certain patterns that students exhibit when they encounter problems at this discipline. Your job is to figure out these patterns and find productive ways to help your students overcome them. It is good to see on help resources for students (for example scholaradvisor.com) the most common difficulties they face with during studying.
You can see it this way: the more you work on your teaching methods, the more success you’ll have when teaching young ones understand this complicated, but wonderful discipline. Learning is not just for students, it’s for us all, and we should continue to improve ourselves if we want to improve others.
Author: Colin Christensen