April 10, 2020

Afterschool To-Go | Resource Nook: Math Tutoring 101

By Kristen Knoche |  

When Tutoring Gets Tough 

Huh? I don’t get it! I give up! Is this something that you commonly hear with your kids when you are explaining math concepts? Research has shown that we all learn in different ways and also that learning takes time and effort. Tutoring starts with finding out what they already know, teaching them problem solving skills, encouraging them with good questions, and allowing them to figure it out with your support. Here are 19 resources and some tips to improve the way you tutor. 

19 Math Resources: Tutoring Tips, Videos, and Games

The resources provided were hand-picked based on the quality of content and variety of age group appeal. Some of them are tailored for a young audience, while others are well suited for middle and high school youth. They are just a few of the many resources we provide in our digital library.

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Guiding Tools 

After reviewing the list of resources, the following guiding tools can be used to help tutor successfully. They are suggestions and ideas that can help enhance your work. Ensuring that youth continue to receive quality programming, even virtually, is a responsibility we all must “figure out.”

Program Quality Assessment (PQA) Tool 

Screen_Shot_2020-04-08_at_4.44.58_PM.pngThe PQA is a great resource and guide when tutoring. There are two areas within this Tool that are important to keep in mind. The Skill Building section helps with identifying the main focus, challenging youth to attempt new skills, breaking down tasks into simpler steps, and supporting youth when they struggle. Even more vital, the Encouragement section focuses on promoting a growth mindset through non-evaluative praise and asking open-ended questions. 

Tutoring Tips for Creating Self-Motivated Learners

  • Ask them to state the problem. If you tell them what the problem is, you are robbing them of the chance to cognitively invest into the question and you are also robbing yourself of the opportunity to understand how they see the problem. 
  • Find out what they already know. Just as a puzzle, when you start putting the pieces together, you start to see where the other pieces fit in. Starting with what they know gives them a base to work off of. 
  • Teach them to identify what tools they can use to help them solve the problem. 
  • Get on their level. As a tutor your job is not to give them the right answer, it is to help them discover the path to finding their own answers. It’s not giving them a fish, it’s teaching them how to fish. When you patiently wait for them to respond, it tells them that you will not just give them the answer. It allows them for time to think. Silence may seem awkward, but it can be a catalyst to inspiration.
  • Ask open-ended questions. What happens when you ask an open-ended question? What would that do for someone who is learning? 

  • Teach principles not just steps. If you remind them of the base principles they find their own way to get the right answer. 
  • Have them explain their reasoning. When they explain, it allows them to cognitively process the steps and the method they used to get their answer. In turn, it also allows you the chance to see what they discovered and what they might be missing.

Screen_Shot_2020-04-08_at_4.45.39_PM.pngFinal Thoughts 

We hope your brain is bursting with new ideas on how you will tutor the next time around. You might be surprised to discover how far an open-ended question can take you or how much you will learn from them.