Much of what a learner has to learn should be built on foundation rather than set theories. The initial effort for a student has to go towards developing an approach supporting learning. Unfortunately, this is not that happens. Often, learning merely implies listening, grasping, reading and application. This takes so much for granted. First of all, we need to know if the mind is ready. It is easier to open a tap of water than a mind vulnerable to distraction for no fault of the student. Controlling the mind remains a challenge throughout one’s life time.
Attention span varies from one individual to another. Instead of unsuccessfully struggling with it, one must look towards ways of attracting one’s mind.
How does one open up the mind? It depends on the ability of the tutor to generate curiosity. Curiosity is the key towards sustaining attention. However, there are other difficulties such as intrinsic fear which is the greatest obstacle in learning. Say ‘Mathematics’ and for many you have said ‘MONSTER’. As other subjects, Mathematics requires a different bent of thinking which is why the tutor must be understanding and friendly. If the tutor is rigid then it is yet another problem for students. Another belief that makes Mathematics a stumbling block is that it is a subject only for highly intelligent people. This notion is engrained in many young minds right from the beginning. There is then false evidence appearing real in the form of poor scores in their initial examinations…the difficulty begins!
What if Mathematics was only for highly intelligent people? However, this belief was not taken seriously in the past because children were told that all human beings have the same intellectual capacity. This became reason enough for teachers to teach by force rather than by applying learning theories. It was gradually realized by research that students have different learning styles and attention has to be enticed for and not demanded.
Therefore the first step in online tutoring is to rid learners of illogical beliefs so that the learning path is smooth and obstacle free. Then the tutor must identify through interaction with individual learners their abilities and tap them for conducive learning. A teacher giving in to negative beliefs is a failure even before he/she meets his/her student. In online tutoring there’s no scope for presumptions about a learner’s intellectual capacity. Instead new potential is discovered as is the way to open up minds and master Math.
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