The key to mastering any subject is practice and this is especially true of Maths. What I often see is a lack of confidence in Maths that is caused by pupils who find it difficult to keep up with the pace of the class. Whilst they are still trying to understand, the class has moved on having assimilated and practised the method. Usually this means that the pupil is experiencing a sinking feeling as they listen to the teacher extend the topic whilst they are still trying to get to grips with the first part. This is why people have such emotional reaction to Maths and why you hear adults saying “I don`t like Maths”. All of us dislike things that make us feel uncomfortable or inadequate and this dislike can very easily become anxiety or fear and these feelings clearly have a negative impact performance and an impact that is independent of skill.
The use of a tutor gives the best chance to practise and question the techniques either one to one or in a small group. Linking the tutoring to school work builds a solid underpinning of what is being taught in class. Additionally, the learner has the chance to question and verbalise their own understanding.
These are my top tips for successful tutoring:
- Link the tutoring to what is being taught in class
- Encourage to learner to say what they think the method is – under-confidence goes hand in hand with under-achievement in the class.
- Repetition: Practice, practice, practice
Putting these together is the key to tackling underconfiderce and, therefore, underperformance.