What I expect of tutees

With a view to obtaining the best outcome to your tuition there are 2 strands to what I expect from you:

  • Preparation
    • you need to prepare for a tutorial by having questions that you want answered
      • it is better to ask questions that have meaning to you
        • this requires some thinking on your part
          • this is what maths is about!
      • it can be a good idea to have any images of questions from textbooks etc ready to send either at the beginning of a tutorial or ahead of the tutorial
  • Participation
    • you need to respond to my questions
    • ask about things that arise in the course of the session that you are not sure about, you must not sit back and let things wash over you
    • be prepared to use the whiteboard or use some other means to share your working
      • If not willing to use the whiteboard then you need to be able to use your phone and computer to upload and display images of your working

The first of these takes a certain degree of organisation, which is no bad thing to be encouraged to acquire. It might be a good idea to make notes of things that you have difficulty understanding during the week, and review them ahead of our tutorial. 

The second takes a fair amount of courage. You have to be prepared to: say you don’t know; get things wrong; feel muddled, etc and be prepared to push on with help, support and encouragement.

Most tutees do seem to understand the importance of these two strands and it is very rare for me to have to end tuition. 

However if I feel that a tutee is not making the most of the opportunity presented by having a personal tutor then I reserve the right to end the sessions.

It has been my experience that when the tutee leads the tutorial with their input the sessions are better appreciated by the tutee. In other words tuition works best when you take an active part in your tuition. There needs to be a pull from the tutee rather than a push from the tutor.

It is better to ask more focussed and specific questions than to invite a lecture on eg trigonometry. However I do give overviews of topics, but usually in context arising out of specific questions.

For each tutorial aim to have 2 or 3 things that you want to go over and either think of a question that illustrates your difficulty or find a question or exercise from a textbook or worksheet that you want to try with me. The former is the more active but I appreciate that it is also the more difficult course. Nonetheless that should be our aim; to get you asking questions in your own words. I will be pushing you to ask better questions, and count that as a sign of progress (or lack of progress).

To that end I do not issue homework other than the following:

    • that you think about your maths
    • try to understand it by asking questions
      • particularly the question why? — what is the reason?
    • reflect on what it is that you find difficult
      • and again to ask why? — what is the difficulty?

If that sounds not very taxing then let me say this is not the case. What I am asking of you in the above is in fact very difficult but if you can stick with it you are increasing your chances of obtaining a good pass in any assessment of your maths.

Please note that you need also to ensure that you do your class homework in order to get the necessary practice in acquiring the required mathematical skills.

From time to time I will ask you to submit a solution, showing all working, to an exam question, so that I can get better sight of what you can do and what you still need help with.

One of the  great satisfactions of studying maths is the experience of learning and sharing knowledge, and I encourage you to talk to parents, friends, and classmates about numbers, arithmetic, patterns, puzzles, games, and shapes etc, all of which contain maths. Not commonly done I realise! Be a trailblazer in this regard, and you will learn a lot and really fast as well! It is through discussion that abstract things like maths are made real.

I will not be there with you in any exam, and obviously I am unable to assist you in any other form of assessment, and so we need to work together to foster in you the resources which will enable you to do your best on your own when you are being assessed.

If I do suspect that I am being co-opted into helping with work that will be assessed then I will end the sessions. With the right support and encouragement to think for yourself you are perfectly capable of learning maths and being able to obtain a good pass. So please take that on board and adjust your mindset accordingly.

See my page Things that make THINK ABOUT YOUR MATHS easier.