Abacus Math Tutoring Junior Program: Solving The Struggles

Posted on: 20 January 2021

If a child is tackling algebra for the first time, they aren't just learning new math skills. In fact, they are also learning a new way of thinking about math. Many math tutoring junior programs help algebra students work through their struggles by learning a few tricks and shortcuts.

Here are some tools and strategies you can use to help your algebra students succeed.

Memory Tools

One of the most difficult aspects of learning algebra can be the rules that define and govern it. A mistake many parents, teachers, and tutors make is either not teaching the rules fast enough or trying to teach them all at once.

  • Mnemonic Memory Devices: Teaching complex rules like the order of operations can be daunting for students. You can help them quickly remember algebraic rules for order of operation using a mnemonic member device. For instance, parentheses, exponents, multiplying/dividing, and adding/subtracting can be remembered as "Please Excuse Mom's Dear Aunt Sally" or PEMDAS. Although the phrase might not make literal sense, it's quick and easy to remember. You can use mnemonic memory devices to help an entire class learn basic algebraic rules or you can assign students the task of creating these devices as a fun extra credit activity. Some teachers and tutors have students integrate their mnemonic memory devices into short nursery rhyme type songs. This can help you thread multiple algebraic rules together.
  • Write the Rules: Another way to reinforce learning algebraic rules is to encourage students to write the rules (in mnemonic form) next to applicable problems on worksheets, tests, and tasks. Writing down the rules will help students remember them and also help them approach each problem with the correct rules in mind.

Celebrate Failure

Another pitfall to learning algebra is a fear of failure. If you teach students that "failure is not an option," you're likely to encounter tears and anxiety. Great math tutoring programs help students feel more comfortable with experimenting and failing as they learn algebra.

  • Marking Mistakes: An easy way to help students learn is to have them find mistakes. These mistakes can be incorrect answers on their own work and/or mistakes in applying algebraic rules. For instance, you might give students a completed algebra test. Rather than trying to find the correct answers, have them try to find the mistakes that led to the incorrect answers. You can use these tasks to help students build confidence and mastery, particularly when they're just starting out.

For more information, contact a program such as the Abacus tutoring junior program.