I believe that everyone can do math, they just need someone who can translate it into language they understand. I don't believe that "because we do" is an appropriate answer to a student asking why we do something. And perhaps most importantly, I think more often than not students who struggle with math do not do so as a result of any shortcomings of their own. Instructors frequently forget what it was like to not understand math and as a result do not do a good job explaining it to their students who don't understand. I strive to remember what it felt like to not understand and do my best to guide my students through the learning process.
I graduated summa cum laude in mathematics from Oregon State University and am currently pursuing my PhD in mathematics at CSU. While in my undergrad I tutored for three different colleges: Oregon State University, Linn Benton Community College, and Central Oregon Community College. I worked as a drop in math tutor, a private tutor, and a group learning facilitator. I tutored all levels from fractions and pre-algebra through calculus and differential equations.
I begin from the bottom up when I work with a student: jumping into the material without making sure the earlier skills are understood, or remembered, is pointless since math builds so significantly on itself. When I work with a student I go through example problems and ask them to think about the "why" behind each step. However, I know that a student always learns more, and feels a greater sense of achievement, with the pencil in their hand. I will answer any questions a student has, but they must write out the full solutions.
I hope I can be of assistance to you in your math adventure, whatever it may be.
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