The Importance of Setting Math Goals
Elementary and middle school grades are critical years for a student’s math development, as it is during this time students learn the fundamentals so imperative for success in upper level math courses. The significance of these years explains why so many parents seek extra math help for their young students via a tutoring program, regarded as the most common and effective means of strengthening areas of weakness in math. But did you know? Effective math tutoring programs can achieve even greater results when defined by specific goals and strategies that are also recognized and implemented at home.
Why Do Math Goals Matter?
Research demonstrates that learning plans are most effective when students feel as if they have a stake in their own education, and understand where they’re going and how they will get there. Allowing a student to write out, discuss and follow through with his or her goal math goals is a great way to contribute a sense of personal ownership to the learning process. Goals will be an integral part of your student’s math tutoring experience, but can be integrated into home life as well. Here’s how parents can help:
Encourage your student to talk about their math goals and discuss ways they can continue to reach these goals after each tutoring session and throughout the week. Active discussion about goals in a relaxed, positive manner can help cultivate persistence and motivation.
- Display your student’s math goals in a frequently viewed space in the home, such as your child’s bedroom wall, in his or her planner or on the refrigerator. Communicate that this display isn’t to remind your child that his or her goals are “chores”, but rather that they serve as friendly, uplifting reminders that future accomplishments are on the horizon.
- Talk with your student about his or her math goals in terms of specifics. As your child’s tutoring math goals will be tailored to strengthening specific skills, conversation about goals should involve more than general questions like, “Do you think you’re getting better?” or “Is math a little easier for you now?” Show you’re “truly in the know” when it comes to math goals by asking about the details. Specific questions typically yield more insightful answers. A parent’s demonstration of genuine interest in math goals can also help redirect focus from the pressure to simply earn an “A,” and instead communicate that attaining beneficial skills is what matters most.
- Continue to talk about the how aspect of your child’s math goals. Even if the how is simply attending his or her weekly tutoring session, it’s valuable to emphasize that goals can only be attained through a student’s course of action. Sometimes students aren’t sure what steps are needed to achieve a goal or how they are making gains from week to week, yet their full understanding and participation is critical.
- Plan a celebration. When a goal is met, celebrate! Math is a challenging subject, and any student that commits time and effort to reaching math goals deserves recognition. Promoting positive feedback also helps motivate students to continue to work towards their remaining math goals.
Interested in math tutoring for your elementary or middle school student? At Huntington Learning Center, we can help. Visit us online or call today at 1-800-CAN-LEARN.