What Makes A Good Maths Lesson?
You want the best for your child. So would they benefit from Private lessons? Or would they be better off in a Small Group?
Which is better? Private or Small Group? What makes a good Maths lesson?
I think that a good Maths lesson is one where your child can learn a concept and a skill in some area of Maths.
And then be able to repeat the process with similar problems on their own in the lesson. And at home on their own.
So would a group lesson give your child the best chance of being able to do this? Or a private lesson?
Private Lessons for “A” grade students
As a Maths tutor I have found that Private lessons are really best suited for either A grade students or students who are struggling with Maths.
If your child is an A grade student then they will be able to take in a lot of information about different types of questions in a single lesson.
They already have the skills and understanding to be able to go over those questions later on after the lesson on their own without those same questions having to be explained to them again.
And they don’t really need to practice similar problems in the lesson because they already get how to do the problems that they got stuck on. They only need to have them explained once to understand them.
So the value in this type of lesson for your child is the amount of questions that they can have answered in a single lesson.
Private Lessons for struggling students
If your child is struggling with Maths or has had a history of struggling with Maths will also benefit from having Private lessons to get them started.
They lack confidence and skills and really need this extra attention to help keep them on the track learning the concepts and skills they are struggling with.
Once they have some success in Maths, even at a fundamental level they will begin to believe that they can do Maths!
This is where they need to be. In a lesson where the tutor can keep steering them in the direction of building skills and basic concepts. By giving them enough guidance and also knowing when to let your child keep having a go and when to step in and help them.
Once your child has enough of these basic skills and has some confidence they will be ready to go into a group tutorial lesson.
Students who are neither A grade nor really struggling a lot with Maths need to work in a group situation.
Being what I call middle of the road students they really need to work on questions without having someone check every step. In fact most students realise that they need to do this and prefer it.
They find that a private lesson is too much information too quick. They still need to work through similar questions so that they know they can do them on their own.
So if they are working through questions on their own in a private lesson then you are really paying for someone to sit and watch them do their work. There is a fine line between needing someone to watch each step of the way and having someone there in case they need help. The latter indicates they are ready to go into a group lesson.
And I’m not talking huge groups of students like at schools today. Around 4 to 6 students is a good number to be able to effectively give enough help and guidance to every student in the group during each lesson.
When a Group lesson is not a Group lesson
Even if the students in a group are studying the same Maths they will be at different learning points for most of the lesson.
My VCE Methods students all tend to ask different questions during any given lesson. And sometimes they ask the same question at different points in the lesson. Because they get stuck at different parts in each topic.
What I am really saying is that students in a group need to be taught as individuals rather than as a group. Then each of their concerns can be addressed individually.
“But will they get enough one on one help when they get stuck?” you might ask. After all they will only get about 15 to 20 minutes of individual attention. And yes they will. The main reason they are in the group is because they need to have time to work on problems themselves.
They don’t have the confidence of “A” grade students and need to know that they can do the questions on their own in the lesson. Then they know that they will be able to do them on their own when they go home.
And that’s the main value they will get out of being in a group lesson. Knowing that they will be able to have enough time to have a go at their schoolwork and get the help when they need it.
And then continue with it when they get home.
Being In A Group Can Help Develop Confidence
They know their schoolwork has to be done and that when their tutor is ready they will help them with the bits they don’t get. So they either look for something else they could do or sit and wait. Sometimes a break is a good thing during a lesson.
So there are pro’s and con’s for private and group lessons. I recommend one initial private lesson for every new student. What unfolds during that first lesson will determine whether they need to continue with Private lessons or move into a suitable Group lesson.
So the main benefits of having Groups lessons are:
1. They help students to become more self reliant.
2. Students can learn from other students and from the questions that other students ask.
3. The group lesson will very quickly sort out who is serious about improving at Maths.
And the main benefits of having Private lessons are:
1. They give struggling students the one on one help they need to get started on the road back from Maths never never land.
2. They enable students to have many more questions answered than a group lesson will.
3. More able students can have more detailed and in depth explanations which really only benefit more advanced students.