27 Jan

Maths Topic, Trouble Topic, Getting Bored Topic

How do I keep targeting a problem area while maintaining interest without my student getting bored of doing the work? He’s not competent enough in this topic but is getting sick of repeating it with me almost every lesson.

It is sometimes a challenge to keep going over the same material without the student getting sick of it. But it may be necessary to do as some topics don’t stick easily (like algebra for example). However, each student has their strengths and weaknesses and sometimes a topic just won’t stick.

There is probably a dualistic approach to take here:

  1. Try to improve your communication so that the content sticks a little better,
  2. Make the education process a little more interesting since it’s repeat content

A couple of things you could try:

  • For homework ask them to do a couple of those problem questions and to give you a presentation on how they answered the questions next lesson. The process of them teaching you will enhance comprehension while providing a different context for communicating the idea
  • Make sure you make them understand the importance of the topic you keep redoing. There’s a reason you are so persistent about it, make sure they understand and agree with you. The more important they believe it to be, the harder they will try.
  • Confront them (nicely) about how they seem to be getting sick of the problem area and not putting in required effort/interest. Ask them why they are feeling this way and show them that you understand how tedious it is. Then, as in the previous point, share your views and make sure they understand/agree.
  • Get the student to make their own commitments (verbally) to mastering the topic. When homework is decided (at least in part) by the student, they will be much more committed to seeing it through since they are the ones that made the decision to keep trying this topic.
  • Provide them with new worksheets for that topic. The different presentation and format of another workbook/worksheet will serve as at least a small novelty and this may slightly increase interest, especially if you make a big deal about it.
  • If this is a topic which arises explicitly within other topics, try teaching them this concept from within  a different topic. Careful if you try this since it may only confuse the student further. However, if done carefully it can offer the student another perspective on the same concept and this may be just what they need.

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