P-R-O-V-E-R-B-S In Mathematics

As Iron Sharpens Iron, So One Sharpens Another.”  PROVERBS 27:17

At Artillery Farm, one-on-one, private instruction in mathematics is based on maximizing the most out of the student and tutor.  To do so, the acronym “P-R-O-V-E-R-B-S” is employed as the operating model–unique to Artillery Farm’s instruction:

P-Progression.  In general, students progress in their training by learning one-third new material, while devoting time to two-thirds previous instruction during their sessions.  This is critical to “Got It” in training mathematics.

R-Regularity.  Tutoring sessions are structured in much the same way as any activity involving scholarship, athletics, or leadership.  A structured session involving warm-ups, reviews, new material, and practice greatly enhances the teach-coach-mentor process.

O-Overload.  Instruction follows the method of “I Do, We Do, You Do.”  Explicit instruction reduces a student’s overwhelming sense, overcomes confusion, and loads the brain with understanding through practice.  Guided Practice and Independent Work Time can then follow because the student can accept the challenge of a new concept.

V-Variety.  There are a variety of ways to solve mathematical problems, and students benefit from one-one-one instruction so much more than classroom teaching, because these ways can be learned quickly, or step-by-step, with less distraction and more time to ask questions than in a multi-student classroom.

E-Energy.  A water bottle is a must for clear thinking.  The jury is out on the requirement–not suggestion–that students drink water before, during, and after tutoring. In addition, breaks and movement during the tutoring session increases performance, not hinders it.

R-Retention.  It is important that students meet with their tutor 2 – 3 times per week, at least initially, regardless of program or plan. In doing so, the student’s brain retains training and good habits much more efficiently. This also saves time and money in the long run, and then tutoring is rarely needed, or just for a session to review homework or a challenging concept.

B-Balance.  Overcoming fear requires much more than solving problems in a key area.  Unfortunately, limited classroom time or poor classroom management has led teachers to use terms such as “copy-dot-flip” instead of explaining and using “reciprocal”.  This hamstrings a student in the future when high school and college faculty have no choice but to use math vocabulary to explain deeper concepts, and the students has no idea what they are explaining, much less saying.   That is why tutoring is devoted to math vocabulary, word problems, and thinking about a solution.

S-Stability.  Students often learn math, but quickly deteriorate and become inaccurate due to lack of good habits, especially with common mistakes made with standard operations, labeling units, signs, or mental math.  To avoid this, an objective is set to master each new concept or area at a 90% standard.  Some think 90% is too high, but can you imagine watching a marching band or listening to an orchestra while each performer makes 10% mistakes?