Get the students to reword problems they are struggling with!

      Connecting study material to real-world things that the students find interesting is a strategy teachers often attempt to use. The idea behind this method is simple: transform the material into something more relevant and the students will be hooked. It gives the students something interesting to maul over instead of having to work on yet another arbitrary problem they were given to complete.
      However, if this strategy in not executed thoughtfully then it ends up alienating the tutor from the student and thus is rendered counterproductive. While trying to make the material relatable tutors can unknowingly offer examples that make them seem out of touch. This is because they often assume what kids find interesting these days instead of ask them what he, she or ze likes. People don't appreciate being stereotyped and interests are a personal aspect of someones identity.
Therefor, a better way to utilize this strategy is to get the students themselves to come up with the practice problems. When people are involved in coming up with an idea they naturally become invested in seeing it through to completion. For example, if a student is looking forward to buying the newest COD and is struggling with percentage questions related to sales. A question to answer could be: if you wanted to buy COD and it is currently 15% off at GameStop-accounting for the 8.25% sales tax- how much do you have to save? Now the student is interested in the end result and all these intimidating numbers in this problem might not be such a road block. Now, if this same question wasn't personalized and was about let's say blue shirts then the focus goes back to the the numbers and the student is again intimidated and has no direct incentive to work for the answer. 
      The re-imagining of the problem doesn't have to be elaborate. It just have to contain a personal hook. If you are passionate about teaching take the time to try this strategy at an individualized level and you will have an engaged and successful student.   


Snigdha D.

Experienced Test Prep & Subject based Tutor

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