By Jerbee M. Yasay, Teacher II, Sta. Maria NHS

Mathematics is undeniably on the difficult side of the spectrum when it comes to

learning. While some students were born gifted in this aspect, a few remain to be

struggling when it comes to retaining information and applying the lessons in situational

problems. The skills of students vary depending on how they perceive the subject, some

are good in English, some in Science, and some in Mathematics. Whilst there are some

who are equally good in all the subjects, there are some who cannot keep up because

their focus is in another field.

Due to the aforementioned dilemma, many students are left behind when it

comes to lessons that are not in their field of expertise. However, there is no difference

between average learners and slow learners when it comes to learning capabilities, it

just so happens that latter are more unfocused in mathematics than the former.

Furthermore, every student has a different area of strength in studying which is why it is

not advisable to use the same teaching method to one class as it may take a longer

process for some to intake information.

There are a few steps to ensure that the students who are lagging behind in

class are being able to keep up with those who are naturally good in the subject. These

steps are 1) analyze the area where the student is lacking; 2) take time to discuss the

problem with the student; 3) teach mathematical concepts through practical lessons;

and 4) understand the student’s learning method.

Analyze the area where the student is lacking.

Before finding a way to help the students, it is important that the teacher

understands the area where the students are being left behind. There are a variety of

challenges that can obstruct a student’s mathematical development, including

computational weakness, difficulty transferring knowledge, making connections, an

incomplete understanding of the math language, and difficulty comprehending the visual

and spatial aspects, as well as perceptual difficulties. It is after understanding the

different problems that instructors may come up with solutions to help the student

understand the topic efficiently.

Take time to discuss the problem with the student.

Processing time in math may vary depending on the students, some require extra

time to understand the different concepts and they may need extra attention when it

comes to reviewing. Although the students that already excel in the subject need to be

focused on as well in order to further enhance their skill, taking the time to explain and

discuss the topic to the slow learners create a major impact on them so they may

understand the lesson better. If necessary, instructors may set a specific time for the

student to be able to have a discussion on the lessons that they may find difficult.

Allowing them to fully grasp the mathematical concept gives them a sense of confidence

to improve their learning skills.

Teach mathematical concepts through practical lessons.

One of the best techniques to teach mathematics is through practical lessons.

Allowing students to understand the lessons through real life situations gives them a

clearer idea on how to apply what they are being taught. Real-world connections help

the students understand and retain the information since they remember how they can

use it in future scenarios. In mathematics, people often think that the basic concepts are

the only important lessons since these are what people need on a daily basis, this is

why it is mandatory that the practical applications be introduced so as to avoid the topic

being set aside.

Understand the student’s learning method.

There are four forms of learning, according to Fleming and Mills (1992), visual,

auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. The way that a student intake information

relies mainly on their own method of learning, for the teacher to effectively convey the

lesson they must know and understand each student’s preferred method. As mentioned

earlier, there are different kinds of students, thus, to effectively teach mathematics each

one must be given equal attention. Especially during this generation where most

classes are forced to be done online, it is harder to keep track of the students and

transfer information to them. Making the most of available means online is indeed the

only option, but this is not congruent to settling for lower quality of education.

Online classes give both the students a wider set of options when it comes to

learning. Thus, making full use of the technology that is available is significant when it

comes to teaching mathematics today. While the instructors are faced with the major

responsibility of ensuring that their students are learning, it is also important that they

teach them to have initiative on their own as well since a teacher could only do so much

for them seeing as there are a myriad of learners that struggle too.