Math is a tricky subject for many students. The way it is generally taught doesn’t help, with so much emphasis put on processes and skill development. This leaves students with no in depth understanding of what they have leant, or the contexts within which to apply it.
Texts books are set up to teach students a skill, then allowing them to practice it. Once the skill has been mastered, the next exercise will teach another skill. Yes, there are application and problem-solving questions within the exercises, but students know that they need to apply the skill they have just learnt, as this is what the exercise was all about. As far as context and understanding go, many students are in the dark.
As a teacher and tutor of many years, I so often hear students say; “It’s easy until I do the test, and then I just don’t get it anymore.” If you think about the standard process of learning in Math through textbooks, it is obvious why this is all too common. Students learn skills which they know how to apply individually at the time of learning. Once the test arrives, all the questions are presented at once, requiring the use of a variety of skills, knowledge and understanding. As students have not had the chance to develop any contextual understanding of what they are learning, they have no idea which skills and knowledge to apply to each question.
Skills development is a fundamental part of learning Math, but it is also essential to reach a higher-level of understanding. This is a revision activity I use to help students contextualise their knowledge and develop a more in depth understanding of the unit as a whole:
To consolidate understanding of a unit of work
I recognise links between ideas
I can explain in detail how different ideas within the unit are related
Optional extension- I can provide examples which can be linked to the concepts and formulas presented.
Create cards or cut outs of all the keywords, formulas and concepts learned within a unit. This activity will work with most units of work, though it suits some more than others. The example I provide is triangle geometry and trigonometry. This is learnt as a part of a broader geometry unit in senior school General Mathematics in Victoria, Australia.
As you create your cut outs, take into consideration the level of understanding your student(s) have, along with time constraints. For very capable students, you may like to leave out some cut outs and ask them to add in missing formulas or concepts. O the other hand you might like to simplify this activity for less capable students by targeting a narrower range of concepts and giving considerable support.
This lesson creates not only a physical map of the unit, but also helps students to categorise and classify information in their own minds. Suddenly, all the skills learned can be grouped and classified. Furthermore, these groups may also be related.
This is just one mind mapping technique which will work as an invaluable revision tool, not only for Math exam revision, but many other subjects as well.
The cost of private tutoring varies depending on a number of factors. Tutoring as a profession requires no accreditation. This means, that anyone can say that they are a tutor, for any subject, and at any level. This is problematic for several reasons: Firstly. they may not have adequate subject knowledge, and secondly, they may not have the teaching skills and knowledge required.
Here is some information about different types of tutors and their approximate costs:
High School Graduates:
These tutors have finished high school in the last few years. They are likely to have knowledge in the subjects they are offering tutoring for. Many of them have received top grades in their VCE. However, they may lack teaching ability and may also struggle tutoring low achieving students. Many high achievers struggle to break concepts down to their basic components, as the understanding comes so naturally for them. High school graduates normally charge anywhere from $25-$50 per hour.
Undergraduate students, studying to become teachers:
These tutors are far more capable in their teaching capacity. Not only have they recently finished high school, they are currently studying to become teachers. They are learning about various teaching techniques and undertaking placements in schools. Undergraduate teachers cost between $40 and $70 per hour in my experience.
Qualified teachers having finished their teaching degree, specialising in one or two subjects. They may be employed within a public or private school. Qualified teachers have knowledge of a wide range of teaching techniques and up to date knowledge of the Victorian Curriculum and VCE curriculum. Qualified teachers are hard to find as tutors, as they are normally teaching in schools full time. They normally charge $60-$90 per hour.
Qualified Teachers with specialist knowledge:
This is the top pick for a tutor. Not only are these teachers qualified and experienced, but they have recent experience in the exact subject area you require help in. So, if you are struggling with Maths Methods for example, a tutor with specialist knowledge would have taught Maths Methods within the last few years. This gives them an in depth knowledge of the subject matter, an understanding of the exam structure and focus assessment areas. Specialist teachers generally charge $75-$100 per hour.
Of course, other factors also come in to play. As a tutor of many years, I also charge different amounts depending on my travel time. This is for two reasons. The first, is that my travel is causing wear and tear on my car, and I am using petrol, but the main reason is that I am not earning money in that time. Earlier this year, I was tutoring 5 students in one day, but it was taking 8 hours in total. When you only work for one hour at each place, travel is a significant factor. Some tutors, who work from home, may charge less as they do not have to travel at all.
If you’d like to see improvement in your child, our recommendation is to spend a little extra to get an appropriately trained tutor who will be able to effectively teach all concepts and bring about understanding. To find out about our maths tutors and costs, contact us today or click here to learn more!