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.