To provide instruction that will enlighten students to the fundamental principles which underpin the topics they are studying, thus enabling them to move forward on their own throughout their mathematical education.
Everyone is capable of understanding mathematics. We all use mathematical logic and reasoning every day without realizing it. Some examples of mathematical logic and reasoning are:
The list of math's everyday uses goes on and on.
- Knowing when to wake up and how long it takes to get ready in the morning in order to be at school or work on time,
- Knowing if you need to fill up your gas tank in order to get to your next destination without running out of gas,
- Figuring out how much money you need to buy any number of items at the supermarket or department store.
So why do some of us think we are not good at math or - even worse - believe we are not capable of math? There is no single answer to this question. There are many reasons someone might think that they are math
inept. A person may have had one or more unpleasant experiences with any combination of parents, teachers, or friends, or may even have had unpleasant situations in public.
Due to a wide array of circumstances, a person may have developed a kind of "math anxiety," resulting in a catch-22: thinking "I can't do math, so I don't do math," and "I don't do math because I can't do math."
A person caught in this "math anxiety" condition will often give up and say "my brain just isn't wired for math." Unfortunately many people have this "math anxiety" to one degree or another so their
self-confidence with math is very low.
This causes a problem because math is a requirement in all educational institutions. So these students are repeatedly confronted with the math requirement and their "math anxiety."
The problem these students experience is not necessarily a fault of their own. These students are not dumb or hopeless. The subject matter simply has not been presented to them in a way they can understand.
This is where I can be of service.
Math, as in most subjects, builds on itself. But this idea of math building on itself is more profound than in most other subjects. As a person gains an understanding of mathematical concepts,
they are building a foundation. More advanced and refined concepts are built on top of their existing foundation. If their existing foundation is weak or has holes, they are not ready to understand
more advanced and refined concepts. If additional principles and concepts are put on top of a weak foundation, the foundation can crack and/or collapse.
The dilemma in a classroom setting is that there is a certain amount of material the instructor is required to cover in a semester. This requirement forces the instructor to keep advancing through the material.
The result is that sometimes students fall behind. The students who fall behind may find themselves in a difficult position: they don't have an adequate understanding of the current material and therefore are
not prepared to understand the new material being presented to them. This scenario can perpetuate itself, causing a downward spiral that many times can result in the catch-22 condition "math anxiety",
and a lack of self-confidence with math as described above.
This is nobody's fault and there is no one to blame. In addition to the fact that instructors are required to cover a certain amount of material during a semester, students learn at different rates.
Instructors are tasked with the challenge of covering all the required material and not leaving any students behind. Classroom dynamics can make this an impossible task to achieve.
Math is a strange animal to attack. Many times students will find themselves "banging their heads against a wall" trying to understand a difficult concept. They may struggle for hours and
even days on a particular topic. Then once they break through that wall, the concept is theirs forever - and they feel good about it.
As such, student progress is directly proportional to the amount of time they study. How long it takes to attain understanding is always dependent on the student. This is another area where my services can be
helpful. I can be a catalyst to a student's understanding of the material they are studying. I can guide them through the material in a way they can understand. I ask the student leading questions to coax them
into drawing their own appropriate and valid conclusions regarding the topics they are studying. This results in the student gaining understanding and building self-confidence in math. Soon they no longer
have math anxiety - they have math confidence. And many times students become interested in math. Math becomes fun as they begin to excel.