When students hear the word “Math”, the response is one of either excitement and joy or fear and trembling. Students have the ability to be excellent at Math as soon as they understand that Math is a language governed by principles. If a student approaches Math the way he or she approaches learning a new language, his or her success will be guaranteed.
Learning a new language requires belief in the learner’s ability to learn the language, a conscious effort to learn the principles and concepts of the language, looking for opportunities to practice the language, and seeking help when there is difficulty learning the language. These tips can also be applied to learning Math if we view the subject as a language.
To help demonstrate how relevant these tips are in learning Math, I will create parallels between my journey learning French and how they can be applied to success in Math.
Belief in the Learner’s Abilities
Any student who intends to be successful in Math, like any subject or learning a new language, must believe in his or her ability to succeed. A lot of students struggle with Math because of doubts in their abilities. When I tutor students, one of the first questions I ask is “Why do you struggle with this topic?”. The answers usually lead to a lack of belief in their ability to deal with the subject or topic.
A conscious effort to learn the principles and concepts of language
While I was a student of the French language, my professor always emphasized the importance of understanding the underlying principles and concepts. The thought behind this was that understanding these principles and concepts will make it easier to understand and apply my knowledge to more difficult parts of the language.
Like a student of any new language, to be successful, Math students should make an effort to learn its concepts and principles. Students should spend some time understanding the concepts for every Math topic to enjoy success in the topic. This is essential because learning Math is like building a multi-story property. If the foundation is defective, everything above the foundation will suffer from the defect in the foundation.
Look for opportunities to practice the language
When I was a student learning the French language, I discovered that what I learned during my French classes was not enough for me to build proficiency in the language. To address my proficiency challenge, I sought out colleagues and opportunities to put what I had learned into practice. Like this experience in learning French, Math students must follow the same process. How does this apply to Math students and their learning? Math students should seek out extra practice problems outside their assigned work to help them build proficiency. As a student, my rule for studying Math was to work through every unassigned problem for the topics in the chapter. This approach made it easy for me to test and address gaps in my knowledge. I have recommended this approach to my students and those who adhered to it have enjoyed great success in the subject.
Seek help to deal with difficulties
As I learned the language, there were topics that I had difficulty understanding because of how abstract they were. When I came across these topics, I always sought out external help in the form of a tutor or someone with advanced knowledge in the subject. For Math students, it is sometimes necessary to seek help from your teachers outside class hours, online resources, and professional tutors. Some students prefer independent learning and online videos will meet their needs. Other students prefer to have an interactive tutoring experience and there are several options to explore to meet that need.
At Matheaze Tutors, we have one mandate – Make Math Easy to Understand. We pursue this mandate passionately and have helped struggling students build the confidence they need to enjoy success in Math.