Last year, The Australian Council for Academic Research (ACER) had released their reports on student performance via the Programme for International Student Assessment, 2018. Unfortunately, according to this website, Australia had disappointing results.
The figures project a steady decline in an Australian 15 year old’s achievement in 3 categories: reading, maths, and science. Ten countries have outdone Australia itself—countries that it was once on par with. The most alarming aspect, however, is its projection of lagging far behind 20 other countries in mathematics.
Even just considering this statistic, we can already conclude something is going on with our educational system. But because we can’t make larger waves enough to correct it, the only way to do is fill in the lack on our end. And what’s the most effective way to do that? Hire a mathematics tutor, especially when you see your child visibly struggling with the subject. Hiring a mathematics tutor reinforces not only additional knowledge but also self-confidence in the child’s abilities.
Knowing What Effective Tutoring Looks Like
Before you conclude that any math teacher will do as long as they have the credentials, let’s stop you right there. Math tutoring is simple in and of itself, but there are other things you need to consider, such as the tutor’s attitude toward your child, how strict and lenient they are, and the way they teach your child the necessary knowledge they require. There are some questions you need to answer while assessing potential tutors:
- Did the tutor undergo professional training/had a degree in maths/was a former teacher beforehand?
You wouldn’t want your child to learn from incompetent tutors. Having a mathematics tutor that was once a teacher (bonus if they handled the age range your child is in) is the ideal characteristic when it comes to this question.
- Are they positive and enthusiastic about teaching?
Effective learning won’t spring from ineffective tutoring. If the tutor lacks any motivation, seems uninterested, or just focuses on the result—e.g. money—then you should reconsider choosing them. If you want your child to get the most out of this, select a tutor that cares.
- Are they open-minded/willing to use other teaching methods?
As a parent, you should want versatile and up-to-date tutors for your child. Children aren’t cut from the same cloth. Thus, your ideal tutor should understand this (for example, gradeatuition.com.au/) and find ways to teach them suited to their learning style. From the tutor’s attitude of being open and accepting of other answers and methods, your child can learn flexibility and problem-solving.
- Are they empathetic?
Patience and understanding should exude from your tutor. It’s not an adult they are teaching, but a child or a teenager, which requires double the empathy. This situation is especially true when their weakest subject is math. This subject can be the focus of many frustrations and complexities which your tutor should break down into more manageable steps for your child.
Though having a tutor means giving your child someone to depend on, note that the tutor’s goal shouldn’t be to reliance, but foster independence in their studies. Obviously, tutoring won’t last forever, and both tutor and tutee will part ways sooner or later. If by that time, your child reverts to their old ways, it just means their tutoring wasn’t done in the name of effective learning.
Benefits Of Getting A Mathematics Tutor
- Build Your Child’s Self-confidence
No matter how good we are, we have experienced academic anxiety one way or another. Though not always math anxiety, it still stands as one of the most common problems with middle school students all over the globe. It’s only natural that if a child sees they don’t do well in the subject, they conclude they never will and thus develop this anxiety overtime.
Unlike in a classroom setting, tutoring is a one-on-one set-up. This means your child won’t have the preconceived shame of asking questions during class in fear or judgment, and can freely voice out any confusion to their private tutor. A study even showed brain scans of fearful students, which had activated fear centres—or known as the amygdala—that resulted from their high-anxiety towards mathematics. After and during tutoring, no sign of activation came from the amygdala or any fear circuit.
- Cover All Known And Unkown Concepts
Maths, unlike English, evolve as time passes on. While the latter doesn’t stray from its traditional use of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, mathematics is versatile and bring forth new ways to solve problems every day. This means a lot of confusion may arise if you were to teach your child mathematics with methods that don’t apply to today’s standards.
Instead of fostering learning, the child will become confused between your teaching and the one they learned in school.
Having a tutor can help you immensely in both situations. They are knowledgable and aware of old and new techniques, and can easily teach both to the child. This way, they can learn a lot of ways to problem-solve and possibly even foster an open-mind to tackle problems from different angles.
- Teach Them Positivity In Challenges
For (especially competitive) teenagers, it’s not easy to ask for help in their studies. Getting a tutor and telling them it’s alright to get assistance will help them realise challenges are opportunities in disguise, and that they wouldn’t be punished simply because they’re lacking.
- Foster Their Learning Type
Some children learn faster when offered visuals and some can easily catch up just by listening. Whatever type your child falls in, they don’t easily get catered in a classroom setting compared to a private tutor. While in the former, the teacher has 30 or more students to teach, it’s natural for them to generalise their lesson. The same can’t be said with a private math tutor that can assess your child’s learning type and utilise to their advantage.
- Help Them Transition Easily
In some cases, when the family needs to move, your child needs more than emotional help in transitioning. Though being tagged as a “new kid” can’t always be helped, their academic status is another discussion. Hiring a tutor to help them catch up can ease some burden they might already be feeling in a new environment, with new classmates, teachers, and modules.