Success at Maths
Like most things in life, such as learning to play a musical instrument or speaking a fluent second language, constant practice and repeated failure followed by small increments of success is necessary.
Fully understanding a mathematical concept will develop when problems presented in different contexts are practiced repeatedly, together with understanding why certain lines of reasoning are invalid.
Unlike some subjects, maths builds upon previous foundational topics, so identifying these weaknesses is very important, and something that I will address early on in the tutoring sessions.
It is very easy to give up if nothing seems to make sense and label yourself as not being very good. I know I will have to stop myself saying this when I eventually attempt to learn to play the guitar!
According to one recent study, the variation in GCSE exam results attributed to genetics is 58%. The remaining factors that affects exam results are family, school and other environmental factors that are specific to each child. Rather than being a depressive statistic, this does show that a big part of academic success can be influenced by controllable factors.
Many schools are now teaching the 'growth mindset' spearheaded by the American academic Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. By adopting a growth mindset, Dweck argues that people can achieve and be successful through hard work, irrespective of their genetic predisposition.
Those with a fixed mindset believe that their talents are fixed from birth, and this belief affects how they approach things like maths. They therefore believe that intellect or talent is 100% driven by genetics, but as the study above shows, 42% is environmental.
In short, unless someone has a diagnosed learning disability, everyone can succeed in maths if they put in enough effort, have support at home and have good teacher/tutors.
One-to-one maths tuition by a good tutor is an excellent way to accelerate learning and enable students to reach their true potential.