Math Tutoring Online – Creating Ideas That Build Confidence In Struggling Students

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The goal of education is the transfer of knowledge.

Many factors differentiate top performing students and struggling students.

Motivating students to learn will always prove effective in improving their lives in the long run.

If motivation is to be nurtured to provide benefit to the student, the right environment and beliefs must be in place.

In every learning environment, it is imperative that the teacher have a good idea of ​​the motivational beliefs that their students are bringing into the learning environment. This is evident in an algebra tutoring session where Chris states that he is not able to resolve a certain algebra question because he does not know how to begin.

Jane, on the other hand affirms in an online calculus tutoring session she can solve ordinary differential ratio from first principle the first time and can arrive at the solution with little support from the tutor.

It is the teacher’;s prerogative to find out what type of favorable or unfavorable beliefs the student holds before coming to the classroom or online tutoring services platform for learning. Knowledge of the student’;s motivational beliefs allows the teacher to plan sessions, making good use of the favorable beliefs and helping the struggling student reconsider those unfavorable beliefs.

Interest is a strong factor in stimulating struggling students to learn and should be promoted in all learning environments, if education will yield its ultimate fruit of transfer of knowledge.

Jane has a dominant positive belief about math and feels certain in the online calculus tutoring session; stating she can solve a certain type of problem if she is given little support from the tutor. Jane’;s interest in trying the ordinary differential equation problem first time is the spark of zeal that propels students to learn.

In contrast, Chris affirms that he is not able to resolve a certain Algebra question because he does not know how to begin. This lack of initial trial is a negative belief, as the student views the problem as either difficult, does not have the interest to proceed or does not have the basic knowledge to proceed. Once this negative feeling or thought has taken a hold of the student, it activates doubt and sometimes anxiety sets in. The end result is failure.

This is where the teacher or tutor’;s role is preeminent; to re-establish a link from the negative unfavorable thoughts and beliefs to favorable reassuring learning thoughts. These favorable reassuring learning thoughts creates zeal and interest to assist the child cross over to favorable beliefs.

The teacher / tutor needs to bring Chris to a point of interest to partake in the learning process if transfer of knowledge must take place.

One of the challenges in online calculus tutoring session, algebra tutoring online, and indeed all math learning sessions is how to generate interest so that deeper learning can take place.

The teacher or tutor needs to understand that generating interest is just a tip of the ice-berg. Keeping the interest in the ultimate goal of the teacher / tutor.

If Chris is to be interested in solving the algebra question, the tutor must involve Chris in this learning process through the "You do, I do" scaffolding technique. This is one scaffolding technique that promotes deeper learning.


Deeper Learning is a process wheree a learner demonstrates ability to transfer knowledge. This means a deaf learner will be able to explain a subject matter to others and apply it. The challenge in the defect learning approach is bridging the gap between theory and practice. This gap can be bridge if the teacher / tutor can apply the following teaching styles:

a. Teacher uses the story telling approach to make idea or concept stick.

b. Teacher uses the active, more problem based approach and;

c. Teacher uses real life examples and pictures / drawings that the student can relate to their situation.


One of the greatest challenges in K-12 education is how to offer rich mathematical learning opportunities to the student. Some math online tutoring services platform with in-house design teaching methods assist engaging students participation in learning to promote engagement that cultivates interest using mathematical games. These games promote one of the scaffolding techniques of "You Do, I Do" in a live online tutoring services platform.

Introducing the understanding of the difference between positive and negative numbers can be daunting for most children in their early years.

Children first meet the minus sign when it is used to indicate the subtraction operation. This means that its use in negative number of the number line should be handled carefully. There is a practical way to introduce negative and positive numbers. This approach can be beneficial in an online tutoring help session in math as well as classroom learning. This approach will help struggling students re-establish a link from negative unfavorable beliefs to favorable reassuring beliefs that promote interests and retain their interest.

This approach will generate the desired interest when teacher begins with the key learning outcomes in differentiating between positive and negative numbers.

These key learning outputs should begin as follows:

Students will learn

a. Some ideas that will help them understand the difference between positive and negative numbers using examples that can relate to their every day situation and:

b. How to use a number line to understand positive and negative number position.


As a way of planting the word "positive" and "negative" into the student’;s memory, to make the child relate it to positive and negative numbers, ask the child to sketch images of a mountain and sea first on the whiteboard. If they can not, help them draw it on the whiteboard

To create the idea of ​​above and below the sea, draw another picture on the white board showing a mountain between the sea. Next draw or sketch pictures of a fish, octopus, boat, bird and plane just beside or benefit the first drawing of mountain near the sea.

Now ask the student where they would place the items like fish, plane and boat etc on the first mountain surrounding sea drawing. Encourage the student to use the word "above the sea" or "below the sea". When all the items have been placed, next discuss how high the plane and bird might be above the sea and how far below the sea, the fish and octopus might be.

After these, immediately introduce the minus sign to indicate all that is "below the sea".

This idea can be used to help the students understand number line in the vertical plane.

To illustrate number line and negative number in the horizontal plane, the tutor should draw a horizontal line on the white board and mark it as the natural ground.

Next the tutor should draw, say, eleven seats to rest on the horizontal national ground line. Next the tutor should write zero (0) on one of the seats, say, the sixth (6th) seat from right. Next the tutor numbers the seats on the right of zero as (0) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Ask the student how the seats to the left of zero could be numbered. If the student can not figure it out, suggest the negative sign and number the seats to the left of zero as -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, (0).

Now you can begin the game by sketching a person on top of any of the numbered seats and ask the student to indicate what seat they will like the person to move to and so on.

Encourage the student to say 2 or 4 for numbers on the right of zero (0) and "negative 3," or negative 4 "for numbers on the left of zero (0).

Self directed learning using games like these has the potential of engaging the struggling student and building interest in them to come back for learning.

After each online tutoring help session with the student, the tutor should reflect on what went well and what needs to be improved for future sessions.