Math – All tutoring is customized to student’s needs. We can accommodate Pre-Kindergarten to high level college courses. Because every student has different needs, we customize each tutoring session to help each student understand math and the concepts needing mastery. We find that with our methods, working one-on-one, students are able to grasp the “ideas” behind what is being taught and “picture” the problems they are trying to solve. This method of “visualization” leads to better comprehension and understanding.
Our math curriculum is based on the Hawaii Department of Education Content, Performance Standards and Benchmarks. We also reference the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics principals, standards and curriculum focal points along with the work of Nancy Bell and Kimberly Tuley. Students use multi-sensory learning techniques to master mathematics concepts. During each tutoring session the tutor is focused on engaging the student, keeping him or her motivated and on task. The use of manipulatives and constant positive feedback are crucial to our process of teaching mathematics. A program of “paying” students play money is added to motivate them. The play money can be redeemed for small prizes, creating a reward system that motivates students to learn, introduces the concept of saving,and makes learning “fun”.
The basis of our program is described in Bell and Tuley’s text, On Cloud Nine, “Mathematics is cognitive processing, thinking, that requires the dual coding of imagery and language. Imagery is fundamental to the process of thinking with numbers. Albert Einstein used imagery as the base for his mental processing and problem solving.” Einstein sums up our approach to math when he said, “If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.”
The effectiveness of visualization in regards to math was introduced in the journal Nature, in the year 1967. This work was completed by two Stanford University psychologists, Robert Moyer and Thomas Landauer who provided evidence of how the brain compartmentalizes math as pictures. More recently, Stanislas Dehaene and Laurent Cohen, French neurologists, have shown ‘how the brain processes numbers and does simple arithmetic through imagery.”
Manipulatives have been used for years in teaching math (Stern 1971). However, children have often experienced success with manipulatives but failure with calculation and word problems when the manipulatives are removed. In our clinical experience we have found that imagery is the link to long term cognition without the use of manipulatives. We teach students to use manipulatives but then transfer that understanding to visualization.
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