There is often an easy solution to helping elementary students that struggle with math. But first, we must understand that the root of math troubles often results from one or more of the following:
- lack of experience and practice working with numbers and symbols.
- drab or humdrum instruction.
- problems activating the needed areas of cognition to solve these problems.
- weaknesses in the cognitive areas of quantitive reasoning, spatial skills, visual processing sequencing, and working memory.
What Happens to These Struggling Learners in Our Present Education System?
Young learners often lose interest and motivation quickly when they have problems learning concepts. What’s more, when their peers exhibit learning mastery and they do not, it can feel embarrassing and humiliating. If left unaddressed, anxiety, a poor academic self-concept and even helplessness can result.
How Can We Protect Students from Negative Thoughts that Quickly Damage One’s Academic Self Concept?
- Choose names for lessons that bring excitement and anticipation to the learning process.
- Make lessons “magical.” Like a magician, teach your students tricks in an animated way that helps them uncover the answer. To read more about this CLICK HERE.
- Bring fun and enticing activities to the table. Integrate manipulatives, games and movement into lessons.
- Go multisensory in your lessons and teach to the 12 Ways of Learning.
- Pay attention to popular fads. When I saw my students obsessions with rainbow looms, I quickly integrated the color bands and geoboards into my lessons.
- Ask your students for strategy and lesson ideas? When learners get involved with the teaching process, they often get more excited about the topic or instruction.
- Provide scaffolding. Continue to walk your students through the sequence of steps required to complete a problem, until they can do it independently.
- Offer memory strategies to help your students encode and retrieve new concepts. You can also ask them to generate their own strategies.
- Teach metacognitive skills by thinking through the process aloud.
- Integrate mindfulness into your class and teach visualization strategies.
- Teach your students how to be active learners.
How To Activate the Needed Regions of the Brain and Strengthen Weak Areas of Cognition?
- quantitative reasoning
- spatial skills
- visual processing
- working memory