1. “I Have A Rubbish Maths Teacher!” – Yep, That’s Exactly What I said…

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Sam’s parents give him £21 at the end of every week, how much will he have at the end of 12 weeks?
To answer this question, a student needs to be able to confidently multiply two 2-digit numbers together; they must also understand what it means by, “per week”, and how many days there are in 1 week.
This questions can be taken a step further:
At the end of the 8th week, Sam wants to buy a new mobile phone for £180, does he have enough money, if he doesn’t, work out on which week he will be able to buy the phone?
Not only does this question get the students to discuss their ideas about how to save money, they are also faced with the concept of time, and how it relates to Sam’s pocket money increasing over a period of 8 weeks. Relating basic concepts of maths to real-world situations help students to make sense of numbers a lot easier, allowing them to build on their own understanding and analysis of different mathematical concepts – making their GCSE maths topics more accessible.

2. Students Simply Haven’t Learned Their Times Tables “Off By Heart”

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You cannot walk before you can crawl… Students have come to me at age 15, who have struggled with maths at school. Part of my first lesson with students involves assessing their subject knowledge – one major part is being able to at least recall their times tables. On several occasions, there has been times when I’ve asked a student in year 10, “what’s 4 times 7?”, only to receive a blank facial expression, and in most cases, the wrong answer…
I can only encourage parents to work with their children and help them to grasp their times tables – I try to get parents who may have a phobia of mathematics to work with their child and learn together (15 minutes per day); you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make to a student who is consistently struggled with maths. Being able to add, subtract, multiply and divide are the foundation topics for GCSE mathematics, and without this basic knowledge, it become increasing difficult to access the following topics on the National Curriculum (and your child WILL receive homework for these topics):
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Fractions
  • Geometry
  • Algebra
  • Probability
During my tutoring sessions, I make sure that all of the students have learned their times tables before we even begin to look at any other mathematical topics. I also make a point of explaining to parents who come to Deptford Tutors Tuition Centre, that if their child is not consistently practising their times tables, then they will mostly likely forget them – which is not only frustrating for the student, but can also have a negative impact on their confidence; creating an overall dislike for mathematics.

3. “I Hate Maths!”

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If someone tells you that they design websites, would you say that you hate the internet?
Probably not…
If someone tells you that they are a landlord, would you say that you hate houses?
Probably not…
If someone tells you that they are a maths teacher, would you say that you hate maths?
Probably…
This is something that quite a few of my colleagues and I have experienced, and it makes me wonder, is this social norm, contributing to student’s ability to engage with the maths? Sometimes, parents will make statements such as, “when I was at school, I hated maths”, in front of their children. Now, I am not implying that students should become over excited when it is time for their maths lessons either, as that would look a bit odd%

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