Teaching Tip: Struggling Math Learners

For students who struggle with learning math concepts, practice some of these teaching tips.

  • Try looking at the problem in a new way. Many times students don't "see" math problems the way that teachers do. For example, in their minds they may think of subtraction as "counting up" rather than "taking away". If you approach a concept from several different angles, you may just hit upon the one that makes sense to your students.
  • Use concrete objects or illustrations, not only to model a concept, but also have the students model their understanding of it. You will gain new insight into their thinking (whether right or wrong).
  • Teach for understanding. Don't rush through a concept just to get it done. It takes more time, but it saves time in the long run, as you won't have to go back and reteach a concept that you thought was already learned.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Students master math through repetition. Vary the practice you provide. Games are great for providing practice with an element of fun.
  • Finally, if you've tried all the tips above, and students are still "not getting it", it's OK to move on and come back to the concept later. Sometimes time and distance from a concept will give students a new perspective and they'll "get it" the next time around.
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