*Math has become a very challenging subject especially for tutors to teach. In this article, we discuss about the challenges and some innovative strategies that can be adopted to overcome these challenges.*

In my previous blog; I tried to
enlighten everyone about the benefits of teaching creatively to primary level
students. In this blog; I will try to explain the importance of making math an
interesting subject for students to learn. Remember the key to teaching small children
is to think like a child, and come up with creative solutions for children.
Hence; in order to get in-depth of this topic I will visualize the things I
used to enjoy during my childhood days and come up with innovative solutions
for building proper sense to the proceeding. So, let us start this amazing
journey of self-realization.

When I was a child my mother used
to make me study math as if every calculation and every problem had an in-built
magic in it. The key to finding the answer was to go through the problem
carefully and understand the requirements and get the task completed. For
example; I used to find retaining the math tables quite difficult. Since I was
very good theory; it was natural to have a weakness in remembering numbers easily.
I used to hate math like anything. But one day my mother shared a secret with
me which changed my approach towards Math. I was finding it difficult to
remember the tables of 9; and she told me that there is a magic in the table of
9. I was not convinced. She explained me that every time you multiple 9 with a
number the addition of the both the digits will always come to 9. Let me give
you an example. When you multiple 9 with 2 you get 18. When you add 1 + 8 it
comes to 9. Similarly when you multiple 9 with 3 the product is 27 which adds
to 9 i.e., 2 + 7 comes to 9. Likewise in the end it was very easy to learn the
table. This was really an amazing experience for me. It was as if I had
discovered something significant. Since I was very young it was natural to get
excited with the discovery. Since that day I tried to enjoy solving math
problems; and treated them as an opportunity to unveil a magical experience.

Now when I look back and remember
those days, I feel that nowadays tutors do not consider these teaching
techniques while explaining problems to students. They just try to explain the
problem theoretically which is not good. I mean you should think from the
perspective of the child. Normally any other subject is easier to teach except
math because you cannot practically make the student visualize things like you
can do in English and History by creating stories and making students
interested. But there is a work around to this problem. Rather than seeing this
as a problem, you should take this an opportunity to showcase your creativity
in enhancing the knowledge of students. But I am yet to come across a break
through math application which can make the teaching experience a blessing for
children.

Normally it is usually the same theoretical
explanation of the problems which is then explained in the form of presentation
when we speak about online tutoring. This does not help children. It makes
their task even tougher. Because now they know the solution but they have to
understand the steps/method used by the online tutor by themselves. In a
lighter vein; this is like enticing a child with a chocolate in your hand without
giving him the clear-cut explanation that they will have to reach at your height
to get that chocolate. So the problem remains the same.

In addition to this, I have
played a lot of math games like: Dress Up Math, Skater Math, Prime Landing and Quick
Math among others. The purpose of these games is absolutely right, but these
games cannot practically solve the problem of retaining the methods of calculation
in the minds of children. This makes my point even more relevant. Even though
through these games children can learn about math the sole objective of making
them remember the methods of calculation is lost. What we are looking for is a long
term solution rather than a quick-fix solution.

Now you might be questioning me: if
I had the answer to this problem; would I have read your blog? You are
absolutely correct in that regards. Because normally online tutors do not have proper
explanation to give for this question. But do not worry as I will try to find
out a solution to this problem by the end of this blog. So you do not have to
worry about wasting your precious time on reading this blog without getting the
correct resolution for this problem. Being an online tutor makes it even harder
to accept the facts that although technology has enhanced the e-learning
courses to a great extent, there is still a lot of potential in terms of growth
for math tutoring.

Let me shift my attention to the solution
of the problem, rather than explaining the problem in greater detail. Like I
explained earlier, treat math like magic. Always try to use creativity in
depicting the course to the students. Because children do not like orthodox methods
of teaching and that is well-known fact amongst tutors. If you are a tutor and
do not accept this fact then it will be very difficult for you to understand
the techniques; that I am going to discuss now. So if you do not agree with me stop
reading the blog because you already are aware of the likes and dislikes of
children; and there is no need to change your perception. But if you are in-sync
with my ideas scroll down to see some of the basic techniques; that can create revolutionary
changes in the teaching domain as far as math is concerned.

The methods that I am going to
discuss are not new. They are already there to be seen but we have lost our innocence
that a child has to understand these techniques that can work wonders for online
tutors in near future:

**Critical thinking:**One of the basic elements which differentiate the teaching pattern in Math learning and English is that you do not have the scope for fictional work in Math like in English. Hence, it becomes very difficult to stimulate innovative strategies while teaching Math learning. Hence, it becomes very important to inculcate critical thinking amongst children at an early age. Now you might be wondering what exactly I mean by critical thinking. I will explain it with the help of an example. Imagine you are 6 years old and are having difficulty in solving a problem of division and need to get solution of dividing 250 by 5. Now right now it might seem a simple problem but if you are a 6 years old child it is very difficult to get instant solution to this problem. Remember we need to encourage children to use their mind creatively to get the desired solution. So in this case, we can ask the child to get their favorite comic books together. Assuming that the number of books are more than 100 ask the child to assume 1 comic book equals to 5 points and they need to count up to 250. Once they are done with the activity ask them to count the number of comic books that cumulate to the figure 250. The figure that they get i.e., 50 will be the solution to the problem. I know that this is a very lengthy process but it will enhance the creativity amongst children. They can then use different tools to get product of two numbers or divide two numbers to get the desired results.**Development of cognitive skills amongst children:**I have already discussed in my previous blog that during the formative years of a child, it is very important to develop and enhance creativity in them. For that cognitive skills play a very important role. I know that you are aware of the definition of cognitive skills and are wondering how it is useful in math teaching? I will be explaining it in just a moment. But first of all let me explain the importance of cognitive skills development in child in my own words. Cognitive skills represent skills including attention, memory, processing and understanding language, solving problems and making decisions. Hence, it includes the overall development of a human brain at a very early age. Now there are two kinds of memory in a human brain: long term and short term/working memory. Long term memory is useful to recall information that has been stored in the past. While working memory/short term memory holds the information for immediate attention and helps in solving mental calculations. Hence, for math education both of them have equal importance.

Now the question is how to make
children apply both memories in math calculation. This is a very important
question and the answer is quite simple. Let me explain with the help of a
practical example. Go back to the memory lane once again; and imagine that you
are a 9 year old child. You are facing difficulty in solving a problem on fractions.
For example; the problem is related to greater or lesser than sign and you are
not sure which one of the two fractions is greater than the other one. The
problem is determining which of these two fractions is greater than the other.
The fractions are: 4/9 and 5/8. I know you are jumping of the chair and are
saying this is a very simple problem. But if you imagine yourself in place of a
9 year old child; this can be a very complex problem. But do not worry. The
solution is very easy. Ask the child to get 9 pieces of a chalk ask him to divide
it into 4 parts. Then ask him to get another 8 more pieces of chalk. Again ask
him to divide it into 5 parts. Once the activity gets over ask him which one of
the two chalks has the greater pieces the answer would be solution to the
problem. In this case it will be 5/8. Likewise; children can use their favorite
objects to learn math in a very creative manner. This will not only make them use
their working memory to get the activity done; but it will also help them to register
the process in their long term memory. Hence, this activity will certainly help
them to build their cognitive skills in a creative manner. That is the sole
objective of my blog.

I would like to conclude this
blog by stressing the points mentioned in this blog. It is very important to encourage
children to use their brains creatively for Math education. Because without creative
solutions there cannot be any innovation; and like I started my blog by
mentioning a magical trick; the end also has to be magical. You can create this
magical ending by contributing your enriching thoughts and ideas to make Math
education a success in the coming years.

To share your views on innovative
strategies for Math education by following us at: http://www.facebook.com/PracTutor, http://hardik.practutor.com

**PracTutor**

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