News & Updates
March 19, 2019
High school can be a challenging time for many young students. They have new social groups, sports teams, and classes. We’ve been around in Portland since 2015 and have worked with students from nearly every high school. We’ve found that there are 10 ways our Portland-based math tutors can help your student improve their grades and their confidence.
Our Approach To Math Tutoring
We focus on a personalized approach to tutoring. It is one thing for math tutors to provide stock answers to questions and challenges, but we seek to move beyond that by customizing our tutoring and providing what we call: tutoring in the moment. Our tutors are brilliant at adapting to the needs and demand of students.
Every student learns differently, and therefore we must teach through new examples and methods until one works. We believe it is our responsibility to teach an idea or topic, not the student’s problem to learn it.
That’s why during our interview process we look for Portland-based math tutors who have not only an understanding of the subject matter, but who can consistently demonstrate an ability to teach topics and ideas in new and exciting ways.
The end result of all of this is that your middle school or high school student will start to excel at math.
The Benefits of Our Portland-Based Math Tutors
- Better Grades
- Lower pressure and stress
- More confidence
- Improved understanding
- Greater speed and accuracy
- Stronger mathematical reasoning (which is very important for the SAT, ACT, and GRE tests)
- Higher performance
- A new-found interest in the subject
- A reliable support system
- Better grades in other courses, too! (Math is the foundation for many sciences. And the skills and tools they learn prepare them for chemistry, physics, and even biology.)
Important Factors to Consider
The most important part is to choose the right kind of tutor. Just because someone has strong understanding and knowledge of the subject, does not make that person a good tutor. Dealing with teens requires immense patience, care, and an ability to teach ideas in different ways. At Tutor Portland, we developed a team of professional tutors who know and understand the best ways and practices that can help your teen achieve success in mathematics. Math is not as complicated as most people believe it to be, once the fear is driven out, interest and capability take hold. Contact us about a free tutoring session and information phone call, to see if Tutor Portland might be a good fit for you.
November 1, 2018
As the world moves faster and faster towards online meetings, working remotely, and nearly everything online — we’ve found that in-home tutoring still works best for most students. One things we’ve discovered over thousands of hours of tutoring is that each student learns a bit differently. We all have different strategies for learning and solving problems.
1. Each Student Learns Differently
Everyone has their own way and method of solving problems. And this means using a wide-array of educational techniques is the best way to help students realize their inner-genius. In our experience, switching between different styles of teaching and learning is simply harder to do online. One student might learn best with diagrams, writing, or through visualization. And when the tutor and student are both sitting at the same desk, it’s much easier to switch back and forth between different learning styles. Eventually picking the one that works best.
Through our many years of in-home tutoring, we’ve learned that if something isn’t working – teach it a different way.
2. In-Home Tutoring Has A Greater Emotional Understanding and Connection
Human psychology and understanding is a big part of what we do at Tutor Portland. And it’s just harder to do online. During in-home tutoring, it’s easy to read a student’s nonverbal communication and body language. Maybe they didn’t understand something. Maybe they are feeling down on their abilities. One of our tutors would be able to see this in a student’s body language, and take the appropriate steps to correct it.
We call this Tutoring In The Moment. We are able to stop our students and provide a redirect, re-framing their thinking from a negative view of their own capabilities to one of possibility, desire, and hope.
Maybe a student, when you use a particular style of teaching, starts to lean in and becomes visibly more interested in what you are saying. This is a clear sign to our tutors that this particular style of education is working.
3. In-Home Tutoring is Convenient + Online Tutoring is Easy to Skip
I’ve personally done online tutoring in the past. And it seems like 25-30% of the time is spent waiting for the computer to load, or for the internet to refresh.
Can you imagine having a personal trainer over skype? It would be better than nothing. But having a trainer in person is much better. You are much less likely to skip the session or blow it off.
When you know a tutor is coming to your house at 5:00PM, it’s easy to prepare and make it happen. There is something less formal about online communication appointments. They are much easier to skip.
These are just a few reasons why we believe in-home tutoring is better than online tutoring. We encourage you to contact us, if you have any questions about your child’s education.
August 1, 2018
Help Your Child Develop A Better Understanding of Math — 3 Major Topics All Teenagers Should Learn In High School Math
High school students learn best at their own pace, but that isn’t always possible when they’re thrown into a fast-paced math curriculum. As students work their way from algebra through calculus, they may begin to falter if the are missing fundamental knowledge about math. Math is all about building blocks, and if students want to develop a better understanding of math, it’s important that they feel confident applying past concepts to future problems.
That’s where a tutor comes in. You see, great math tutors are not only experts in the particulars of a subject – they’re trained to make sure high school students truly understand the concepts at a deeper level. The results are higher grades and even a spark of fun for students in high school math class.
Algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus are all unique in their own ways, and our tutors will help your high school student understand three major topics that are universal in all forms of math, and applicable to life after class.
Topic 1: A Better Understanding of Math: Relational Understanding
Did you know there are two types of understanding in math? Many students are adept at the first: instrumental understanding. They can take certain math rules and use them to solve problems – but they don’t necessarily know why the rule worked. This form of understanding relies on memorization more than application and can lead to struggles when problems become more complex.
The second form is relational understanding. Some may call it deductive reasoning. It necessitates a deeper understanding of rules, formulas and theorems so that students can continue to build on a solid foundation when things get harder. When students understand the why behind math, their worlds start to open up and they can make connections they may not have seen before.
Math tutors help with relational understanding because they have more time to work with students. In a classroom environment, students can begin to feel overwhelmed if they don’t fully grasp a concept, and fall behind as the class speeds on through to the next lesson. A student who understands the purpose behind math ideas and how to apply them to different concepts will be capable of solving any problem.
Topic 2: A Better Understanding of Math: Translating decimals, fractions and percentages
The entire course of algebra study hinges on understanding of decimals, fractions and percentages, and students need to be able to seamlessly transition between the three. But our brains don’t necessarily work that quickly. Think of yourself in the supermarket, trying to deduce a sale price – sometimes it takes some mental gymnastics to get to the answer. When high school students are up against time pressure on standardized tests, they need to perform at a high level, and fast.
The most common questions tutors will hear from frustrated math students is, “when will I ever use this in real life?” From statistics class in college to filing taxes to taking measurements on a home building project, decimals, fractions and percentages are perhaps the most relevant concepts to the real world beyond the classroom. All high school students should know how to speak the language of these numbers, and math tutors can make them proficient.
Topic 3: A Better Understanding of Math: Calculator proficiency
Every high school student has a computer in their hands at all times nowadays, but not all of them understand the right inputs to solve math problems. Or, if they do, they understand them at an instrumental level and their ability to manipulate formulas tops off at a certain point.
Calculator learning is crucial in high school math. Machines are capable of so much, but they can’t do all the work for your student. Our tutors focus first on the concept, then on how to replicate the concept in digital form. We want students to be confident in more than just knowing where the right button is – we want them to grasp exactly why they’re pressing it to solve a problem.