- Why Look For A Maths Tutor and How To Start Looking For One?
- What should you consider before deciding to hire a Maths tutor? (Applicable for both parents and students)
- How To Use Tutoring sites like Superprof to Pick a Tutor
- What Are Some Questions to Ask Your Private Maths Tutor?
- What are the types of Maths tutors that you can hire?
- What are the benefits of a private/home Maths tutor?
- What If Your Maths tutor Is A Certified Maths Teacher?
- How to make the best out of home tuition for Mathematics subjects in Malaysia?
- Thinking of a future career in Maths? Start mastering Maths while you are still a student now!
In Malaysia, there are three main subjects that schools, colleges and employers all want to hear about: English, Maths and Science.
English, Maths and Science are currently taught to pupils as young as FIVE, with some nurseries and pre-schools even introducing numeracy and literacy to toddlers, which shows the huge emphasis that is placed on the subjects throughout the education cycle.
In fact, whether you send your children to a kindergarten that uses Malay/ English or even Mandarin as their language of instruction, you will find that they are exposed to simple counting, addition, subtraction skills through constant practice through various Pre-school Maths worksheets (commonly known as lembaran kerja Matematik prasekolah in Malay).
This is to provide a good headstart to schooling kids as they proceed to learn Mathematics in their lower and upper secondary years before they choose their major for their tertiary education. Hence, it is no surprise that competition among maths tutors in the private maths tuition market is increasingly on the up among parents and students in Malaysia.
Why Look For A Maths Tutor and How To Start Looking For One?
First and foremost, why is it important to seek help with your Maths education?
Perhaps you are a college student or university undergraduate and need maths guidance or you are a parent with concerns about your son or daughter's progress in Maths. Whatever the case may be, considering some extra tuition is definitely a positive step and the fact that you are even thinking about it shows that you care.
Either you care about getting better at maths or you wish for your child to excel in the subject and open up more pathways and prospects for a good career.
Math tutoring can help immensely if you're starting to fall behind in class and need an extra bit of encouragement.
Although one on one maths tutor prices can be high, you get what you're paying for: effective teaching.
This is beneficial for those looking for private tutoring, who will have a lot to choose from to learn maths, but how can you be sure you're making the right choice?
For example, would you be happy to get help from an undergraduate studying for a maths degree?
Growing numbers of engineers, university students and others who are passionate about a certain subject are offering tutoring services.
Having a good comprehension of the applications of maths is incredibly important, however, teaching methods vary among tutors. You need to be able to find out the pros and cons of each math tutor to find one that suits your needs.
Would you prefer the help of a certified teacher whose approach may be similar to that of the math curriculum? OR would you feel more comfortable with a more liberal approach?
What should you consider before deciding to hire a Maths tutor? (Applicable for both parents and students)
Whether you're a parent of a child who is experiencing difficulties with primary level maths, or a SPM/ STPM student worried about exams or an IGCSE O-Level / A level maths student who is struggling and needs help keeping up, a private tutor could be just what you need to provide individualised help.
After all, maths is such an important subject in anyone's academic career and neglecting it is not recommended.
Maths equations and trigonometry are just the beginning, but maths is so much more than that - it's a way to make sense of the world we live in.
For Pre-University level maths students, maths tutoring is even more important since it could determine your career path.
Here are some key points that you can look into before you proceed with a private Maths tutor.
a) Identify what your child (or you yourself) are struggling with
At this point, it is important to be honest and transparent. Make time to listen and recognize what the students are finding hard in Maths, rather than just assuming where their difficulties lie.
While it may be quite a straightforward issue, with your child struggling with the content in a specific module and finding it hard to overcome this hurdle to move on to the next level of learning, however, it could be something deeper bothering them like the Maths teacher themselves.
They could not be getting on with how the instructor is delivering his or her lessons and thus need someone to approach the subject in a different way.
Asking your child what they find hard and what they want to do about it may make the process of hiring a tutor much easier because it will feel like their idea and like they have control over the situation as opposed to being pushed into it.
You may discover unexpected difficulties that they may encounter. For instance: the language barrier. Some students may be more comfortable learning Mathematics concepts in Malay as compared to English, or vice versa.
Currently, the Mathematics and Science examination papers in public schools are set in dual languages and some teachers also use both languages during the lessons. Hence, you should certainly take into account to hiring a private Maths tutor who is effectively bilingual in both languages so that your child can be more confident when they are approaching the subject.
b) Consider what part Maths will play in your Child's Future
Of course, nobody wants to see their child do badly at school or to face daily struggles in class. However, before going out and hiring the most expensive tutor on the books, it's a good idea to step back and assess the situation.
Your child will, of course, need a pass in Maths as standard to qualify for most jobs after school or college, but will they go down a career route that will require top grades in mathematical subjects? For example, will they be doing Maths A level, a Maths degree or a Masters in Maths and therefore need that top grade Maths in their SPM?
If that's the case, then yes you will indeed want to hire the best of the best (even if your child is only a little bit behind, just to get those extra hours of tuition in).
You'll also want to consider which tutor might be able to offer the most tailored teaching for your child's mathematical interests - do they want an emphasis on Physics, for instance?
If not, then you may be able to look for a tutor who is qualified to teach lessons around the Maths KSSR curriculum (primary level for public schools), Maths KSSM curriculum (secondary level for public schools) and IGCSE Cambridge syllabus (for international schools).
c) Choose a Maths Tutor Based on their Experience
To be certain of whether or not you're making the right decision, we recommend you ask the maths teacher about their experience of home tutoring - make sure you do this before your first lesson.
Even if they are a certified teacher, giving supplemental instruction on a one to one basis is completely different from teaching a class of 30. Questioning them adds an extra level of precaution so that you don't hand over your money to someone you believe to be inexperienced.
How To Use Tutoring sites like Superprof to Pick a Tutor
Tutoring websites also give students the opportunity to leave feedback on their tutors, so you can see what other people think before making a decision on which one is right for your needs.
This has proved to be an effective way for parents and students to find the ideal maths tutor for them.
With so many tutoring sites available, you may wonder which is the best tutoring site to begin looking for a reliable and excellent Maths tutor.
Superprof is an amazing platform that connects students and tutors without geographical and subject limitations. That being said, you get to decide when and where to learn any subject and choose your tutor according to your preference, such as learning mode, teaching methodology, the focus of subject and even maximum hourly rate for your lessons.
Once you access the Superprof homepage, you can just key in your preferred subject, location and view various tutor profiles that have been verified and updated with the tutor's latest information (academic qualification, teaching experience, hourly rate and so on).
Let's say your child is currently a Form 4 student, you can type in Matematik Tingkatan 4 (if you are looking for a Maths tutor who is comfortable teaching the subject in Malay) in the subject search box and a list of Maths tutors who teaches that educational level will be shown.
If you are satisfied with the tutor's profile and you intend to proceed further, you can then contact the tutor directly via their profile and they will be in touch with you within the given response time.
What Are Some Questions to Ask Your Private Maths Tutor?
When looking for extra maths help, you'll whittle down your findings to the best tutors you find.
Whether they focus on maths homework help, academic support, home tutoring, or online tutoring, you need to organise a mini-interview in which you will ask them more about their work as a math tutor to see if they're right for you.
In case you need some inspiration, here are some examples of the questions you could ask:
- How long have you been a private tutor?
- Can you provide any references?
- What qualifications do you have?
- What are your hourly rates?
- Are there any area of maths you specialise in? (E.g. algebra, calculus, mechanics, etc.)
- Do you teach any other subjects? (Maths and physics tutor, for example)
- Do you come to the student's houses to deliver your lessons?
- Have you ever taught a student in a similar situation to our child/me?
- Can you help boost the student's grades?
These conversations will be invaluable when it comes to making a final decision on which tutor is best for you.
What are the types of Maths tutors that you can hire?
When you're searching for someone to coach you in mathematics, you'll find many tutors advertising various levels, from Primary 1 Maths to Lower Secondary (Matematik Tingkatan 1), Upper Secondary Maths (Matematik Tingkatan 4 dan Matematik Tingkatan 5) and even Pre-University Maths (STPM, Foundation and even A-Levels).
It's not just the level that will vary either, some tutors advertise specific disciplines of the subject including:
Depending on what you need help with, you may be limited to only a handful of tutors to choose from - but this is positive! It means that you will be tutored according to your needs.
However, this isn't the only thing you need to consider.
It's highly possible you'll come across a number of self-taught Math tutors.
But this is part of the magic of home tutoring; you will be able to escape the strict framework of the maths national curriculum and receive personalised tuition that works.
What we are trying to say is don't be focused on only looking for university lecturers, researchers or certified teachers. The world of private tuition has a rich community of self-taught tutors who have a wealth of knowledge to be shared.
Whether you're an online maths tutor, chemistry tutor, physics and maths tutor, tutor in engineering - the list is endless!
Remember, it's always good to look at things from two different angles.
Private Maths Tutors vs. Certified Maths Teacher
When you make the decision to start looking for academic tutoring, you have a choice between people who do tutoring jobs in their spare time (TUTOR) and those with teaching qualifications (TEACHER).
In other words, when it comes to private tutoring, it is NOT COMPULSORY to learn from someone who is really holding a teaching job in an educational institution.
Perhaps one of your friends is a Maths teacher and you want to ask them to help your child go through some SPM, STPM past year papers or IGCSE or A-Levels past year papers in preparation for their exams.
Maybe you're looking for a full-time private tutor with various kinds of teaching qualifications.
Or maybe you'd prefer someone who is in the education system themselves and can offer their assistance in maths.
What are the benefits of a private/home Maths tutor?
a) The Flexible Schedule of a Home Maths Tutor
The way maths lessons are delivered in schools means that your child may be steered in any direction before they've got to grips with the previous topic. With around 30 pupils to look after, it's impossible for the teacher to cater for the needs of every individual.
This rigid way of teaching maths for kids has maybe put your child off education altogether.
To reinvigorate their passion for maths and give them the motivation to succeed, why not find a private Math tutor?
Undergraduate students are particularly useful since they are familiar with the school system and can, therefore, help pupils understand what exactly exam boards are looking for.
The one-size-fits-all approach to schooling inevitably leaves some pupils feeling pessimistic. This is where the tutor steps in to show them their strengths and build their self-esteem.
b) Personalisation and Diversity in Their Teaching Methods
This includes the freedom to approach a subject differently than the education system according to the pupil's individual learning style.
Such approaches include using different media including tablets and smartphones to play interactive maths games, for instance, or visiting maths websites on a laptop.
Students also feel more at ease with private tutors, who are not feared the way school teachers are. This is because they come down to the tutee's level and work their way up the learning ladder together with them.
What If Your Maths tutor Is A Certified Maths Teacher?
Some parents worry about the children reaching the specific school standards and therefore choose to contact tutors with experience teaching national curriculum maths. That's a great win-win situation, actually!
After all, there are plenty of well-trained certified teachers offering private tuition, so it would be a shame not to take advantage of their knowledge and experience with maths papers.
This is the best way to keep in line with the school syllabus.
The idea behind this is staying within the pupil's comfort zone with a familiar approach to learning.
Working on difficult math problems during sessions can get students used to the general format of the exams and put them at ease when it comes to a big maths mock test or exam day.
However, the disadvantage is that it could bore the student, who already spends around 30 hours a week with the same framework.
Some students may begin to feel overwhelmed as the lines between home and school are blurred, making Maths a sensitive subject and discouraging them even more.
How to make the best out of home tuition for Mathematics subjects in Malaysia?
After looking at the benefits of private tutoring, you might want to learn more about how home tuition can boost your Maths skills.
We do not deny that some parents may be sceptical about how home tuition can contribute to effective learning after normal classroom hours (It is an investment of extra time and extra money after all). However, home tuition serves as a great alternative to provide tutors and learners with time and learning flexibility during the teaching and learning process.
This rings true especially for a subject like Mathematics, which requires comprehension of various core topics, repetition exercises and also direct application in real-life situations. You can refer to some practical suggestions on how to have a conducive home tutoring experience.
a) Allocate sufficient time for Q and A session
Having a private tutor to teach you at home means that you need to have a balanced time when it comes to lessons and also time for questions. One way to make this feasible is to set probably 20 to 30 minutes before the class ends for students to ask any questions or request for another sample example.
This step should not be taken for granted as clarification is important at the end of every lesson so that your tutor can know how to prepare better for the next lesson.
For instance, through the question and answering session, the tutor should be able to tell whether the student needs extra reinforcement before moving on to the next topic and whether the student truly comprehend what has been taught earlier.
b) Reflect on the previous lesson's feedback
Home tutoring allows both the tutor and student to engage directly and efficiently in a more relaxed and personal setting.
The conversations between students, parents and tutors can be more straightforward and detailed. Furthermore, home tuition also magnifies one of the greatest benefits of private tutoring - undivided attention during lessons.
When Maths lessons and reflection periods are conducted with minimal distraction and in a less uptight mode, the student will be at ease and more motivated to learn the subject consistently.
c) Take short breaks in between lessons
Research shows that tiny breaks are important to boost maximum productivity, especially when it comes to boosting your body and mind for optimum concentration.
At times, students might feel tired after being taught a heavy topic. As the setting is home tuition, it is more convenient for both the student and tutor to take toilet breaks or do some light stretching during a 5-minute break before resuming the lessons.
Thinking of a future career in Maths? Start mastering Maths while you are still a student now!
When it comes to applying for jobs that your knowledge of Maths can really come into its own, whether or not you are applying for a Maths-heavy role.
If you haven't already, then you'll soon see that, on any professional application form for any type of role, you will be asked to confirm your qualifications to date, with a particular focus on the three aforementioned subjects. This is so that establishments can get a feel for your overall academic competencies, which reflect a number of key skills in business.
The reason for this is that your grade in Maths displays your ability to think logically and rationally, for one.
Similarly, Maths shows recruiters that you are able to take logical steps to problem-solving and, of course, that you have at the very least basic numeracy skills. You would be surprised how many people in the workplace struggle if they can’t add up, multiply or use fractions and ratios.
You don’t, of course, have to get top marks in Maths to get a good job, but it will certainly help your case, especially if you are keen on a profession that relies on your skillset in Maths.
Go down deep enough into anything and you will find mathematics. – Dean Schlicter
Set your mind to master Maths as early as now to be more confident and competent in the subject regardless of which educational level you are currently at!
Now that you know what to look for in a Maths tutor, do not hesitate to enrol yourself in a Superprof Maths lesson. Whether you prefer a home Maths tutor or even an online Maths tutor, we got you covered!
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