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Math Dyslexia: How A Tutor Can Help

November 17, 2016

There are several important ways in which a qualified tutor can help a student overcome math dyslexia. Find your perfect tutor on Tutor Index.

Good news! Your math dyslexia can be transformed from a learning disability into a learning super-ability! With the right math tutor, you can gain the type of proficiency in mathematics you’ve always dreamed about. There are several important ways in which a qualified tutor can help a student overcome math dyslexia.


Math dyslexia: Overcome fear of math


First and most importantly, a math tutor can help students overcome their fear of learning math. What happens most often with students suffering from math dyslexia is that they become convinced that they are “not good at math,” or even worse, “I’ll never learn math.” This sets up a negative feedback cycle. Every time a student has trouble with math, it sends a negative feedback signal that reinforces that early assumption.


A tutor will help you find ways to overcome this psychological hurdle. One technique that tutors often use is turning mathematics into a game rather than a lesson. For younger students, that might mean games based on counting (e.g. counting buttons), and for older students, that might mean re-enacting real-life situations where numbers matter, such as counting change or calculating the tip for a meal. Games work because they help students to overcome the barriers they have imposed on themselves. When students are in “play mode,” they can turn off parts of the brain that prevent them from learning.


Math dyslexia: Visual learning style

Another technique that tutors can use to help students overcome math dyslexia is using visual aids and physical objects to learn about math. It’s simply a fact that every student learns differently. And one style of learning that can help students suffering from math dyslexia is a style that’s highly visual - charts, graphs, illustrations, pictures. For example, for younger students, images of five cookies next to an image of five apples and five cats can help that student visualize what the number “5” means. For other students, who are more tactile in their learning, it helps to physically handle objects to understand fundamental mathematical concepts.


Math dyslexia: Chunking

Finally, there’s one more technique that is often successful in helping students overcome their math dyslexia, and that’s a technique that teachers commonly refer to as “chunking.” What this means is breaking a large lesson or a large problem into smaller pieces. Often, this can result in a breakthrough when it comes to solving math problems. Even students with limited mathematical skills are able to solve very complex problems by first re-imagining them as smaller, easier problems. This is what people who are “good at math” do without even thinking about it -- they recognize patterns, tricks and shortcuts to make very complex problems easier to solve.


The important point to keep in mind about math dyslexia is that it can be overcome. Some educators treat math dyslexia the way they might “color blindness” - once you have it, you’ll always have it. But the latest research shows that very defined techniques -- such as turning math into a game, using visual learning techniques and “chunking” -- can have very remarkable results when it comes to gaining (or regaining) mathematical ability.


For more information on how to transform Math Dyslexia from a learning ability into a learning super-ability, check out the math tutoring content on: www.tutorindex.com

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