Math can be frustrating for students that have problems with math. They either can’t get the right answer or simply don't understand. As a teacher or tutor in Canada, it’s your job to help your students overcome math to help them feel confident. There a few ways to help your students that will list throughout this article. Students can feel hopeless when they're running into problems. Sometimes you just need to teach a different way or introduce some new learning solutions.
Why Do Students get Frustrated?
We all get frustrated about different things. It could be something small or big, it happens to all of us, but more commonly will happen to students in math class. A student will either not understand something or get multiple answers wrong. It leaves them feeling lost and frustrated. Eventually, students start to look at math negatively and write off the subject complete in their later years of school. We don't typically stick with the things we're bad at.
It’s important to note to all students can go through frustration when dealing with math. Students who typically excel in class can be dealing with the issues. Math is very sequential and if you miss a step it's easy to not understand. Students have to actively engage in the lesson to help them learn and sometimes they need the information to be broken down into small steps,
How to Help Students Overcome Mental blocks in Math?
Helping students with mental blocks in math is going to be almost the same across all education levels. Everyone has mental blocks in math, it’s important as a teacher or tutor to help your student overcome them and make them feel confident about math class. Using a couple of these exercises to help with mental blocks is a great way to help students in the class. Now let’s get to the solutions.
Take a Break - Sometimes students just need to focus on something else. If a student is struggling with a problem for a long time there going to keep getting frustrated. This only causes them to think unclearly and won't be able to solve the problem. Have your students focus on something else before going back to the problem.
Small Steps Forward - Students can often try to think of the whole problem from start to finish. It’s important to break things down for students to solve one part at a time. They’ll be able to gain confidence in each section they solve. It can help them see the problems as small manageable chunks rather than one massive problem.
Play Games - Games are perfect for those in a lower level like grade school. They can make math lessons more fun and have students concentrate better on learning which can help them feel better about math problems.
Simplify the problem - As a teacher or tutor in Canada, you may notice students are struggling with a certain question or problem. Sometimes you just need to change the numbers or wording to help your students understand. There may be one part of your question that is confusing. Once they figure out the solution then use the old phrasing.
Does Confidence and Mental Blocks Relate?
Yes, if a student has high confidence in math class they’ll run into fewer mental blocks. If a student has low confidence they won't be answering questions or raising their hands. When it comes to their own homework or assignments they want to have the confidence to make the right answer. If a student has a lack of confidence there on a slippery slope in math class. Having a confident student in math class is the best-case scenario for them. You want your students to feel confident about their answers and make the right choice. Using the examples for getting over mental blocks in math is a good way for students to gain confidence, but as a teacher or tutor, there are more things you can be doing to help your students with confidence.
Making mistakes is part of learning. Students need to understand it's okay to make mistakes in the classroom. If students fear making mistakes they won't be able to problem solve properly. For instance, if a student tries a method and it doesn't work, they need to be confident in pursuing another solution to their problem. On the other hand, if they lack confidence they'll stop after they get the wrong answer or don't solve the problem. There have been studies done by Jo Boaler around brain research and students making mistakes. When a student gets the right answer one way there are no new neural pathways, but when a student makes a mistake the brain has to re-fire forming a new path. Students need to challenged to grow and making mistakes is part of that process.
Another link to confidence is taking risks. Just like making mistakes students need to take risks. They have to be confident to pursue other routes to a solution. Taking risks comes down to believing in themselves and confidence. They should have the confidence behind them to try other solutions even if they are unsure.
As a teacher or tutor, it's your job to help your students to value their mistakes and take risks. It's going to be needed for a student to grow in math class, but also to overcome the mental blocks they may face in math or other areas of their life. Re-iterating the importance of these factors to your students is an essential step. When students make a mistake they should be encouraged to try again. Making mistakes is going to help them understand problem-solving better. Taking risks should also be encouraged in the classroom. The two go hand in hand to support students' growth and confidence in the classroom.
Understanding Mental Blocks in Math Class
To understand the mental blocks students will face in the classroom it's important for teachers and tutors to do their own research and look for the signs in their classroom. It's also important to know the ways students can overcome mental blocks in math class. Using any of the examples above is a great start. Confidence in mental blocks in the classroom does go hand in hand. It's essential for students to be confident in math class and be able to solve problems on their own. As a teacher or tutor show your students it's okay to make mistakes and that you should be taking risks.
Helping your students gain confidence in the classroom and overcome the mental blocks math can create will help them the inside and outside of the classroom. Using the examples and tips above as a teacher or tutor you can help your students succeed in math and have confidence. Remember students need to be confident in their abilities if they want to succeed in math class. You can help them as their educator.
Are you looking to learn more about math? Check out these articles below to learn more.
- How to Motivate your Math Students?
- Different Strategies to Learn Math
- How to Make Math Lessons Fun?
- Using Math Websites to Help Students