To improve the math learning experience of you or your child, it might be wise to consider retaining the services
of a math tutor. There are several factors that you should keep in mind when choosing the right tutor:
A good math tutor will need to have mastery of the material that he or she is teaching. Thus, it is
important that they have a strong formal background in mathematics. When teaching young children, completion
of at least a high school diploma would be recommended. Teaching older students, in high school or college,
the ideal tutor would have at least an undergraduate degree, with emphasis on mathematics (engineering or
science degrees often have solid math requirements too).
Helping others learn requires great communication skills, and the ability to identify the best
way to convey the material in a way that matches the individual needs of the learner. Prior experience
in either tutoring or in teaching is highly recommended when seeking out a math tutor, and that
experience should ideally include the grade-level of the material you are covering. The best tutoring
companies invest resources in continually training their staff on the latest educational methods to
help learners master the material.
|Location and Availability
To minimize time and travel expense wasted in transit, the math tutoring location will ideally be near you. A
large math tutoring company with many locations will have better odds of a location near you. Some tutoring
companies do telephone or online tutoring, either as their main method of communications or as a
complement to traditional classroom-style settings.
Some tutors are available only at pre-scheduled times, whereas others can be reached outside those
hours, or even around-the-clock in some cases (e.g. some of the online services). Depending on your needs,
this may or may not be important.
Many academic studies have documented that students learn best when they have more attention
to their individual needs. Thus, smaller classroom sizes, or even one-on-one learning, are advisable
to maximize the benefits of the math tutoring. Typically, the youngest children in particular benefit
from small classroom sizes, but this can also be the case for older ones.
The best way of learning is through practice, practice, and more practice. This can be done
through homework assignments, or in-class practice sessions. Regular testing is important to
ensure that the material is being mastered. Math tutoring companies are often of help
to prepare for specific standardized tests (e.g. SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT), so having access to
tests in the same format as the expected standardized exams is useful.
Tutors need to be compensated for their time (they have families to feed also),
so it's unrealistic to expect good math tutoring for free. To get smaller classrooms or individualized
tutoring, it will naturally need to cost a little extra. Whether that is a good investment
will depend on the individual needs of the learner, and the degree of their enthusiasm
to succeed at math. Some math tutoring companies offer financial aid or discounts, so
it doesn't hurt to ask whether those are available (a discount at a better math tutoring
company might make it a better value than full-price at a lesser company). Educational
expenses might be able to be deducted from your income taxes, depending on where you live,
so be sure to save receipts and ask your accountant for more information.
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