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How to Create an Effective Environment for Math Learning
Let’s face it: math isn’t exactly anyone’s favorite subject. Sure, you may find some kids who adore math, but for every one you find, there are ten more who detest it and want to skip as many classes as possible. Their reason? Math is a challenging subject to ace.
The rise of Brighterly.com and other online learning platforms has greatly improved students’ attitudes and performance when it comes to math. However, despite Brighterly’s contribution, school teachers, tutors, and parents still have their roles in making math an enjoyable subject.
So, how exactly can you pull this off? A great way to start is by creating a positive, math-friendly environment for learning. In this article, we’ll explore all the nuances involved in creating an effective environment for math learning. Let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?
Be Collaborative, Not Authoritative
For many parents and teachers, collaborative teaching is a hard sell. We’re so used to dishing out orders that collaborative discussions often feel like an alien concept. However, a collaborative approach is always your best bet when teaching math for first-graders and even high-school students. Students don’t like to be pushed around and as such, being authoritative with them is one of the fastest ways to turn them off from learning.
But how exactly can you be a collaborative teacher? It’s simple. Instead of dishing out instructions with threats of penalties or punishments, make each instruction sound like a team project. Put simply, for each math exercise, take a “let’s do this” approach instead of a “you have to do this” approach. This way, students would feel more willing to learn and be more productive.
Math learning isn’t exactly a fun experience for many students, as we mentioned earlier. For students who don’t like math, their poor grades and performance can be frustrating. Consequently, they’d be less willing to learn since they feel they might not perform well at the end of the day.
Thus, we have to create an effective environment by uplifting kids/students with our language as teachers and parents. When you use uplifting language, you boost their confidence in their abilities and make them more willing to learn. With this newly-found confidence, they’ll be able to learn faster and perform better.
Using uplifting language could involve saying things like: “Great job,” “You’re a star,” or “You’re doing amazing.”
Use Game-based Learning
In today’s world, the educational sector is agog with talks about game-based learning and how it works. But don’t dismiss it as yet another media hype just yet. According to several studies, game-based learning is an effective method for improving students’ assimilation and performance. It is good to know that this learning concept has been around for centuries. In fact, during the Middle Ages, chess was used to teach strategic thinking to people.
So how does this apply to students today? Well, it’s simple. Students tend to learn better when topics are presented in a fun way. By introducing game-based learning, you can diffuse the tension in the classroom and improve their mood. This way, they’ll learn faster and remember what they’ve learned so far.
Always Ask for Honest Feedback
We get it: asking for feedback can be really scary, especially if you don’t want to get your feelings hurt. However, it’s essential to get honest feedback from your students as a tutor. In fact, feedback offers two-pronged benefits. For starters, it helps with introspection.
By getting feedback from your students, you’d learn which areas of your teaching need improvement. More importantly, it helps to provide a safe learning space for students. If students know that they are free to air their honest opinions without fear of retribution or victimization, they’d certainly feel more relaxed in class. At the end of the day, they’d have a relaxed, effective environment for learning math.
Provide Learning Breaks
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” then you’re one step away from understanding how learning works. Regardless of how fun a class is, it can get tedious if it goes on for too long. At some point, students may begin to lose interest or may not even understand any mathematical concept being taught.
As such, it’s important to break down the learning process by implementing breaks in mid-classes. Even if you’re hosting an online class, you can still create an effective math online environment by letting students mute their mics/cameras and take five-minute breaks during classes.
One of the main reasons students don’t like math or perform badly at it is the subject’s misconception. Math is often seen as the big bad wolf trying to gobble up poor students. As such, in order to create an effective learning environment for students, you must clear or get rid of this misconception.
A great way to do this is by hanging up fun posters in your classroom that portray math in a great light. You don’t necessarily have to display numbers and formulas; students already get enough of that. Instead, display colorful posters of people using math in real life (or even corny math jokes). It will certainly improve their attitude toward math!
Competitions and Prizes
Wondering how to liven up your classroom and make it more productive? It’s simple: competitions! Every child has a competitive spirit inside of them. Even when they don’t like a subject, the thought of competing for a single prize will undoubtedly motivate them to learn.
As such, when teaching math, it’s advisable to organize regular competitions or non-graded quizzes to bolster your students’ spirits and motivation.
If you’re trying to teach math, it’s important to create a safe, effective learning environment for students. This way, they’ll be highly productive and learn to love math. Ready to get started? These tips outlined above will set you on the path to success.