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7 Math Strategies for Struggling Students

7 Math Strategies for Struggling Students

It’s common to hear ‘Math is boring’ or ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘time is too short to understand this’ type of phrases during Math class. Time does fly but not for all students; some don’t get the lecture clearly and feel stuck, while others blame it on the little time. It depends. Math is not black or white; it’s just a misconception. There are tons of learning and teaching strategies to help students struggling with Math.

It’s the responsibility of a Math teacher to deliver a lecture effectively that students find interesting and easy to solve. One shouldn’t move to a new problem or concept unless the whole class has understood the current topic. If your students are struggling in Math class, you need to bring different effective strategies to help them master its concepts. In this blog post we have mentioned the top seven math strategies for struggling students that you must try.

1. Practice Basic Facts First

It’s a dream of all math teachers to complete one exercise a day, but sadly, they fail to do so as some students struggle in understanding. But you can turn this into reality. We understand that not all students’ learning styles are the same, but with a strong foundation and practice of basics can make all masters. Before you move to bigger calculations, work on each student’s individual learning and concepts. Keep practicing till you are sure that all students have the same strong grasp of basics. Practicing and focusing more on students’ skills means focusing on mastery of your students. Remember, it’s better to spend more time on basic skills than rushing to higher mathematics and seeing some students struggling.

Practice Basic Facts First

2. Use Multiple Strategies

Paper pencils are not the only ways to practise Math skills, and this learning method doesn’t work at all. Some students understand better with real-world examples, games or applications. You should use multiple and effective Math learning aids and strategies with students. Teaching and learning aids vary from age to age; make sure to select those that match your students’ style. It is important to find out where they are struggling and how they engage or learn.

Use Multiple Strategies

3. Solve Each Problem Thrice

No one can master a concept in a single practice. The best way to encourage and help a struggling student with Math is by talking out loud with them. Acknowledge them it’s okay to struggle with concepts; everyone does. The best way to grasp concepts is to discover pain points and then understand their solutions and basics. Once they figure out the problem, ask your student to solve the problem thrice. The first two attempts might have errors, but the chances of solving a problem correctly the third time are higher.

Solving each problem thrice is the most effective strategy to master math. Whether your students struggle with math or not, you must teach them this trick.

Solve Each Problem Thrice

4. Promote Positive Attitude

Students who struggle with math problems give up on it easily, and they hate math throughout their lives. When in fact, mathematical skills are essential for life. Anything can be learnt with a positive attitude, and that is the same case with math. Teachers should make math a positive experience for learners.

Share the reason for learning math with your students in an engaging way. Introduce them with a why theorem: how it works and why a problem is solved in a certain way. Students struggle when they do not know the reason behind concepts or lack basics, break concepts into chunks and provide them with a step-by-step guide. Assign tasks for home and don’t discourage them if they fail to complete that. Keep your attitude encouraging and positive.

Promote Positive Attitude

5. Take Short Breaks

Knowing when to take short breaks between challenging mathematical lectures is a successful teacher’s top teaching strategy. Not all topics demand a break but finding out when your class needs a break to absorb the knowledge is important. Before moving to a new concept, you should take a little break. Meanwhile, you can ask students to review the whole lecture and ask questions if they have any. This is a healthy and effective way to help struggling students.

Take Short Breaks

6. Private Tutoring

Some students master math concepts at school, but when they come home and practice tasks, they fail to recall class tasks. To help such students, you can ask them to take extra help outside the school. Numerous tutoring platforms help students excel in a specific subject like My Tutor Source (shameless plug). Another effective math strategy for struggling students is taking private, online or home, tutoring classes. Such classes or tutors focus on individual learning styles and help attain desired grades.

Private Tutoring

7. Last Minute’s Summary

Remember last minute’s summary is essential. Make a routine of reviewing concepts or summarising in the last five to seven minutes of class. You can also have a question-answer session at the end so that not any students fall behind. This way, you can understand where most of your students are stuck or need help, which can help you prepare for the next lecture.

Last Minutes Summary

We all have struggled with Mathematics at some time or age, and it’s normal. You should teach your students the fastest ways to learn maths and give them the freedom to choose what works for them. Also, you can use any other math strategy on students to help them excel in math concepts. We have picked the ones which are most effective and useful. Try these all and turn your students into masters.

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With over 3 years of experience in teaching, Chloe is very deeply connected with the topics that talk about the educational and general aspects of a student's life. Her writing has been very helpful for students to gain a better understanding of their academics and personal well-being. I’m also open to any suggestions that you might have! Please reach out to me at chloedaniel402 [at]