Today I have the privilege to do an interview with John Yeo from Learning Out of the Box. I knew John from Tutors Assemble! community which I have cofounded. John has been very active in educating parents in how to help their kids to learn maths; it is a work which is very important, and I admire him for it.
The topic of the interview was “How Not To Struggle When Your Child Transits to Sec One”. I drew on my 14 years of teaching experience, having taught more than 2500 teenagers, and these are the points I shared:
(1) Secondary maths is predictable, which means that with effort and practice, one can do well in it. No special talent required.
(2) We need to help our kids to understand the kind of academic language used in secondary maths. Often, children don’t understand what the question wants. Explaining to them in plain english (as plain as you can be), or drawing / diagramming it helps.
(3) Learn to write statements. Penning down one’s thoughts step by step is a skill in computational thinking. This is a lifeskill which is very important in businesses, project management, engineering and coding. By learning how to write down his or her thoughts statement by statement, it helps to trace errors and to facilitate a discussion on the problem.
(4) Understanding the meaning of equations. Equations are like a seesaw or a weighing scale. Both sides must be equal at all times. Perhaps it was because of the way maths calculations are being taught in primary school, many students I taught did not see the absolute logic of maintaining balance on both sides of the equation. That was how they get into all kinds of mistakes, and confusion.
To get the full 63 minutes of content, check out the interview which I have embedded in this post.