Having the growth and development of students at heart, Ransford has dedicated his time, effort and energy in ensuring that learners achieve their full potential in subjects/areas that requires improvement.
Mathematics and Mathematical Literacy are key subjects that play an important role in the Entrance requirements for High School students wanting to gain admission into a university/tertiary institution of higher learning. And students lacking the academic levels of performance in any of these two (2) subjects risk their chances of securing a place in any of the country's top universities.
Through the experience gained in the past years as a Maths tutor I've discovered that, although parents may be paying the bill, it's the student who is my primary client. Therefore my main focus and attention always remains on my students. As a result I've developed an "efficient" approach in order for my students to succeed in Maths and duly benefit from my tutoring skills.
Regardless of how poorly a student is currently performing in class, I always immediately start every new client by tutoring the student “ahead” of the class. In other words, I start with topics that the student has not yet been taught by his/her teacher in the classroom. Why? Because one of the biggest problems with most students is that, they are “lost” in class. They do not understand the questions that are being presented to them by the teacher, and they are reluctant to raise their hand due to concerns about how they will look in the eyes of their classmates. Their natural fear is that they will look 'dumb' and will be the only ones who do not understand the question.
The way to conquer this fear and build up the student’s confidence is for me to solve and explain in detail concepts that are enshrined in the topic, first in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Here they can freely express their thoughts on whether they understand the topic without fear of looking “bad” in the eyes of their classmates. I also test the student by setting questions similar to the ones being solved in the classroom as a way of demonstrating their proficiency by doing problems in front of me, so that I can be sure they really understand what I am teaching them.
The power of this approach is that when the student is introduced to a new topic by their teacher, he/she is already familiar with it. This yields two very important benefits. The classroom experience is now a "positive" one instead of a negative one. The student develops more confidence and less anxiety about attending class. Most importantly, the teacher now becomes my ally in teaching the student new concepts. Now I do not have to play “catch up” by attempting to tutor topics that the student has already been taught in class, but did not understand. Instead, the teacher reinforces concepts that the student has already learned from me.
This approach has been extremely effective at building up the student’s confidence, and enhancing their understanding of the mathematical questions presented in class.
To be very honest with you, some of my clients are already "under water" with a poor grade and a lot of confusion about Maths. So, I go back and review prior topics that the student did not grasp the first time through. Since mathematics tends to be cumulative, it is important to fill in the missing gaps. So, I try to spend time each session to go back and revise old topics.
This approach has been extremely effective. The humorous analogy I use with my students is that they are a little bit like a sinking ship. We must keep the ship sailing along (by working ahead of the class), but we must also pump out the water that is already in the hold (by going back and filling in the missing gaps from previous topics).
My students love this tutoring method because it immediately builds up their confidence. The classroom experience becomes more positive, the teacher then becomes a good friend, and the students invariably improve quite dramatically in their academic performance.
Ransford is a third year Law student and a first year Theological student who uses his expertise in Maths tutoring to help uplift needy students. References and testimonials available upon request, he does his tutoring in the homes of students (upon invitation) providing specialist tutoring support in Maths.