A question that I have heard many times from my own students and others is this: "When am I ever going to use this?" In this post and future posts, I'm going to address possible answers to this question, and I'm going to also take a look at what mathematics
educators could learn from the question itself.
Let's look at the answer first. When I was in school myself, the most common response given by teachers was a list of careers that might apply the principles being studied. This is the same response that I tend to hear today.
There is some value in this response for a few of the students, but the overwhelming majority of students just won't be solving for x, taking the arcsine of a number, or integrating a function as part of their jobs. Even as a total math geek, I seldom
use these skills in practical ways outside my tutoring relationships.
Can we come up with something better, that will apply to every student? I say...
I've been through a long journey with music, and have changed my style and genre focus according to what is fun for me. Music is my profession and my passion, so if I'm not absolutely loving it, why bother?
Here are my tips that make my tutoring fun!
1. ASK QUESTIONS! What does my student want to learn? What musicians do they admire? Who do they want to sound like? What songs do they want to cover? Why do they love music so much? This lesson isn't about me, it's about the student. I'm here to help
them along on their journey, and give them the skills and reinforcement they need to get there!
2. BE SILLY! Music is personal, and I have experienced musician's shyness myself from time to time. By letting my students know that lesson time is the time to learn, be silly, be yourself, and make mistakes, they can let go of needing to feel "perfect"
and just focus on improving! Music isn't about perfection, it's about expression.
I was in class today and we were talking about teaching with our students and not at. Students learn better if they are involved with their learning and when they are having fun. I was wondering what are the opinions of my fellow tutors.
To many students math is a difficult time consuming process. In many developing countries they learn by rote and memorization. This inefficient teaching method leads to 12+ hour school days. The end result is a student who has less understanding and has
learned that math is boring.
I see math as like solving a puzzle and playing detective. Math is how we used to entertain ourselves before video games and smart phones. Ultimately, math is the silent rhythm by which the universe dances. Math is a universal language that transcends
historical, cultural and language barriers.
Over the many years I have been tutoring, I have time and again found myself hating the teachers that assign the homework and tests my students have to work on. Of course, this doesn't happen every time, or even most times, but it happens often enough
that it prompted me to write this.
The reason I dislike these teachers so much is not related to how much work they create for me (I love my work!) or how much they make my students suffer (they don't), but rather to the fact that I consider some of the things they do to be the mark of
a bad teacher. A lazy teacher. A complacent teacher. A teacher more intent on getting a grade from their students that on actually teaching them. A teacher, in short, who should not call themselves 'teacher'.
Naturally, this led me to think about my own teaching style. If I have things to complain about in others, surely I know exactly what I'm doing? A little bit in horror, I realized I had never truly thought about...
After 30 years of tutoring special education children, I have decided that all academic problems are mine, not the students. Thus, I analyzed what has already been provided in detail to determine what does and does not work. For example, children
have different learning styles that are not rigid, but
flexible. Each of us may be good at a tactile sport but not efficient at a sport requiring gross motor skills. Or a student may read silently better than aloud, yet prefer to read aloud to younger siblings. Another child may draw a concept better than
listening to a teacher's lecture. Learning by both visual and auditory processing may be best for others, who do not prefer writing. Tactile learners can use both visual and auditory means for success.
I was talking with a student about his needs who listened attentively, yet was not making progress. I switched to a visual approach, placing my directions on 3...
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
This quote, attributed to Albert Einstein (Dodd, n.d.), expresses the idea that is embodied by the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory, developed by psychologist and neuroscientist Howard Gardner, states that intelligence is not a single, fixed attribute--but,
rather, multi-faceted in both capacity and degree (Koch, 2012). Far more than what can be measured by an IQ test, the multiple intelligences in Gardner's theory allows for many areas where people can be gifted in varying degrees. There are eight areas of intelligence
that are widely accepted, plus three more that Gardner has proposed, but remain tentative. These areas include (Koch, 2012):
Linguistic Intelligence, verbal or "word smart"-- the ability to manipulate words and languages; strength in reading, writing and other related applications...
Teachers carry a tremendous responsibility. Their job is not just to educate the next generation of human beings that may one day shape the destiny of mankind, but they also have the opportunity to inspire the students that enter their classroom--to encourage
creativity, to instill confidence and self-esteem, and to help students attain their fullest potential. It is not a profession for the weak or timid--there are many extraordinary qualities that a good teacher must possess. There are many complex issues that
must be carefully considered by an individual aspiring to work in this noble field.
Attributes of a Good Teacher
What is it that makes a "good" teacher? There are several attributes that can be found in those individuals who fit this description.
A good teacher is knowledgeable. He understands the field of teaching as well as learning in the content areas (Koch, 2012). When a teacher makes an effort...
Title 1 provides academic assistance to selected students who are failing or are at risk of failing to meet the State’s challenging content and student performance standards in reading and mathematics.
The challenge lies in pinpointing where each student is struggling and providing support to each student individually. You cannot simply help in general terms, you must be specific and goal oriented.
I have found that most importantly, the classroom environment has to allow for every student to be comfortable in trying out new things, making mistakes, learning from them and from other students.
In my Title 1 classes, although I am the teacher, I encourage the students to explain their thought process when solving problems. Other students will agree or understand a different approach, which is more efficient than just hearing my methods. The
board has now become their scratch paper and they use it constantly to work...
I see a lot of advice going around about why students have trouble solving math problems. It's always easier to blame the crime on the victim. So, here is my advice, and it's very simple. If you are a student not in college yet, and you don't understand
some math concept or have trouble solving the problems - well, it's the teacher's fault, not yours. The solution: find a better teacher!
I know my advice will offend a lot of people because there are a lot of bad teachers out there, especially in Mathematics. Many teachers below University level think that because they've studied teaching methods, and got some teaching credential, they
don't need to understand Mathematical concepts. They teach Mathematics as a set of rules. And when the rules don't work they simply give up.
Mathematics is not a right-answer game. Mathematics is a form of art, just as much as painting or photography. But many teachers...
Growing up, it was common for myself and my peers to consider pursuing career paths that weren't related to education. Being brainwashed by other professions, I never realized my natural gift of teaching until later on when I began tutoring a fellow student
in high school.
And to be clear, teaching and tutoring do have their differences. For the sake of simplicity, I'll mesh them together since both serve students and help mold the future generation of leaders.
What I've noticed is that overall value of teaching is unfortunately
undermined in many parts of society. Why pursue a career as a teacher when you can be a scientist, engineer, or doctor and make much more money? Who needs teachers now when online education (through the power of Google) can be your best
One moment that struck me was when a fellow college classmate went over a business case study about TFA. He commented that
"teaching is so easy, anyone...
My personal philosophy on teaching is permanently "under construction". I am a human being on a lifelong journey of growth and learning; as I continue my journey, my progress will lend itself to the evolution of my teaching
philosophy. My current philosophy is a product of the experiences from the first three decades of existence, and is based upon many factors that have shaped who I am as a person.
What is a teacher? A teacher is, first and foremost, a mentor and guide to his students. I believe that every child can learn--and that they
want to learn! Children are born with a hunger for knowledge--a natural curiosity that should be carefully and lovingly guided by the teacher. This responsibility is not for the faint of heart; a teacher must have the
patience to overcome the many types of challenges that she will face; she must also have the
fortitude to maintain order and discipline without being oppressive or overly harsh. A teacher must be
I wanted to share my teaching philosophy for any individuals who are considering selecting me as their tutor. My teaching philosophy highlights my beliefs about learning as well as my teaching strategy (a strategy that focuses on active student engagement,
applied exercises, and the use of analogies and examples to help learners grasp complex topics).
My Teaching Philosophy
Beliefs about human learning.
I believe that, as a teacher, I am responsible for increasing subject matter knowledge and, more importantly, assisting students in connecting this knowledge to the real world and laterally across fields. Learning should not, and cannot, exist in the
absence of this integration. A sole focus on surface level content (ex. facts and definitions) fails to meet the needs of students who wish to advance in the learning process. Specifically, students need to progress to deeper levels of processing and understanding.