Angelo Dellomo of Mays Landing has witnessed the frustration of many students struggling to keep pace in their math class. A retired math teacher who taught math for four decades, Angelo Dellomo believes frustration is the enemy of progress in a math classroom. Parents who would ask Angelo Dellomo for advice on how they could help their child overcome their math challenges were given several different solutions based on the problem their child was experiencing. Today, Angelo Dellomo of Mays Landing will provide some strategies that may uncrack the code for a struggling math student.
One of the main reasons children struggle with math is that they are not being taught in a matter that appeals to their learning strengths. For example, visual learners often just need to change how they interpret a math problem. If a student struggles with a written word problem, Angelo Dellomo encourages parents to teach their child how to draw the problem. Whether it requires a diagram or a chart, or a simple lesson on how to take a sentence and turn it into an equation, the solution may come easier when the problem is presented in a matter that a student can more clearly understand. Learning the patterns of word problems can be a real challenge for some. The only way to improve is to learn the methodology to pull out the equation and solve it from there.
If a student doesn’t understand the logic behind a math formula, they will have a very difficult time succeeding in math class. Understanding the purpose of each math formula is essential. Each layer of math education adds (pardon the pun) to the last lesson learned. If a student doesn’t understand the why of a mathematical process, parents should take the time to teach that process. Whether through a tutor or a helpful video on the Internet, sometimes a mathematics student will need to go back to move forward and succeed in future lessons.
Relating math to an area of interest is always a great way to build a connection to a problem. For example, a student who loves to play basketball can relate to the fact that they need to practice their free throws to become a better free throw shooter. There’s a repetition that is required to improve. If a student loves music, explain how they need to repeatedly listen to a song before they can belt out the lyrics with confidence. Repeated review is essential for any math lesson. Confidence is gained through repetition. Homework is assigned for a reason. Taking the lessons learned in class and practicing them at home is the ideal way to hammer home a lesson.
One of the more common mistakes parents make is providing too much information. There’s a nuance that comes with the show and not tell method. It can even be frustrating when something seems so clear, but it isn’t connecting correctly for the child. Hints do not help anyone improve. Instead of completing a math equation for a child, guidance should be provided on what must be done to reach the correct answer. When a child’s frustration mounts, the instructor’s role is to be a soundboard. Allowing a student to express those frustrations is the quickest way to return to the task. If a child needs to walk away, for a moment, that’s okay. The lesson should be that approaching a problem with a positive mindset will always yield better results than trying to solve a problem while frustrated.
Positive reinforcement will be critical throughout the learning process. Celebrating each lesson learned is how a student gains confidence that the learning process is working. All progress is worth celebrating. Small wins, in the beginning, can lead to big wins in the future. What a child needs to understand is that they have someone in their corner who cares about their success. Those who understand accountability will have a much easier time putting in the work required to excel in math class.