Why the Traditional Classroom Setting May Not be Bringing Out Your Child's Full Potential

The traditional math classroom is an incredibly inefficient and out dated model.  This is particularly true when compared to the benefits of full course math instructional videos.  

The math classroom setting, even in private schools or in a particularly well managed class, is not well suited to bring out a student's full potential.    Math teachers are always under pressure to move on to the next topic to cover a necessarily extensive curriculum.  This is even more true in the higher level classes.  Large classes, interruptions to the class schedule, and students that lag for a variety of reasons(but NOT aptitude) magnify the time constraint.   This compresses the already limited time that can be allotted to each concept and significantly reduces the time to give each student the amount of individualized instruction and encouragement they will naturally need to reach their full potential.   

There simply is not enough time in a traditional classroom setting for a student to receive significant individualized instruction.   If there are but 20 students in a 40 minute class, each student has an average of 2 minutes available for them.  If the teacher addresses the class as a whole for an average of at least 20 minutes for direct instruction and to check for and go over homework, then each student actually has an average of but 1 minute available for individualized attention.  In practice most teacher are not able to accomplish even this small level of contact with each student on a daily basis.  Imagine trying to learn to play the guitar, golf, or the art of drawing and painting in a class of 20 as compared to one on one instruction. 

One on one instruction allows for the continuous "checking for understanding" as concepts are developed.  The review and remediation of the underlying fundamentals can be monitored and addressed as needed within their ongoing course work.   Coaching and reassurance as the student actually solves problems fosters the development of well organized written work and shapes tactical and strategic problem solving techniques.  One on one sessions provide many opportunities to teach and encourage good study skills that are applicable to other courses.  The biggest benefit of one on one instruction is the opportunity for the teacher to monitor, encourage, and build the confidence that is so fundamental to a student's ability to learn.  These important aspects of learning math rely heavily on the experience, skill level, and motivation of the teacher.  Even more significantly, they simply are not possible in typical classroom instruction because of the time constraint per student.

The economics of operating a school dictates the necessity of classroom instruction to large groups of students.  The larger the group of students the more cost effective providing the service will be.  Consequently, school personnel avoid the acknowledgment of the overwhelming benefits of one on one instruction.  With so many students, teachers tactfully avoid one on one help as this could become unmanageable in the context of their many responsibilities.  Some teachers may even view one on one help as enabling disorganized and unmotivated students.  Referral for one on one tutoring is viewed to a degree as a concession to their limitations to provide effective instruction and support for their students.  Referrals for one on one tutoring is reserved only for students that have become overwhelmed. 

Mature, highly disciplined, and self reliant students are able to thrive in a relative sense and realize a higher level of success in the traditional classroom.  Students that are not well organized, lack confidence, and/or are distracted by the dynamic social atmosphere in a school will struggle and begin to languish.  Teachers are forced to prod on and teach to the upper 1/2 or 2/3 of the class.  If struggling students remain motivated, they are forced to forage for one on one help from other students, reluctant teachers, and parents.

A student begins to accumulate more and more gaps in their understanding of underlying principles.  As they sense they are losing ground they become more reticent to assert themselves in class to assure their own understanding.  Even if they continue to put forth effort, homework and tests becomes a frustrating exercise in futility.  The "snowball effect" can soon find a student completely overwhelmed and entertaining thoughts that they simply are not capable of success in math.  Their self confidence and self esteem begin to erode.  Poor test results, unhappy progress reports, conflicts with teachers and parents begin to set the tone of their school experience in general.  This can lead to concession and a self-effacing disposition toward math and even learning in general.  Changing the student's schedule to a lower level course is the most common quick fix solution.  However, this starts the student on a path away from realizing their full potential and the self esteem and confidence that are possible.  This is the antithesis of what real education needs to be in such formative years of a child's life.  There is no better way to foster the growth in a child than to foster their self confidence in their ability to learn.  This is the student's foundation on which a love of learning will support an active mind and a full and purposeful life.

Tutoring and video instruction can fill this gap in the traditional classroom setting. 

The following are the obstacles to success in math that your child may be facing in their school:

  • A class based on an inefficient educational model
  • Distracting/Disruptive Class Environment
  • Uncertainty of moving up to a more challenging and faster paced class
  • Generally lacks confidence and is apprehensive about math
  • Discouraged by a bad experience in a prerequisite course
  • Poor Curriculum
  • Poor Instruction
  • Busy schedule with sports, job, & extracurricular interests
  • Inefficient study skills
  • Absenteeism due to illness, competitions, or vacations

Your child’s school may need help to overcome these obstacles effectively. Full course instructional video should be the line of defense.

With the purchase of any full course, each student will also receive a free bonus course on Study Skills. 

info@mathclinic.org (410)817-4033                                                                                © Mark Deaton 2005