What parents say...

At the time of writing this testimonial, my daughter has had only 5 sessions and her confidence and ability has increased significantly!  (Now) she talks of enjoying maths and of her abilities in maths instead of her inabilities, participates more in maths lessons at school and is keen to do her maths homework, both from school and from the sessions.  As a parent I am thrilled that her confidence has grown significantly and would recommend I Love to Learn without hesitation.
S BondParentPortsmouth
Dylan had always struggled with very poor handwriting.  After only a few months teachers can now read his writing and he feels more confident.  His coordination problems have been recognised “Thanks to your suggestion,” and this has helped at school.   It has made a big difference to his schooling as he enjoys it much more now.  
Samantha WildingParentPortsmouth
Thank you very much for your help and support in helping Tomek achieve his goals in English
Monica (Tomek’s mum)
Thank you for your lovely card.  You have helped with my creative writing and vocabulary.  I have grown in confidence and I appreciate your help.
Naomi
She is a quiet girl and I was concerned that her poor spelling was not being corrected.  When she saw the progress Bella was making in such a short time, I enrolled her for Maths as well!   It has transformed her thinking and she now has the self-esteem to ask questions in both numeracy and literacy.
Ms R Temple
“Dear Howard Thank you so much for all these lessons you’ve been giving me!  They really have improved my work at school and now I can put all your help to good use with my SATs.  Thank you so much for everything! From Lewis”
Lewis (student)
We were super happy with your approach and B settled in so well. She looked forward to the tutoring and got a lot out of the sessions. Without a doubt her confidence has grown and I wouldn’t hesitate to use I Love to Learn again in the future. Many thanks, Cat
We are Super Happy!
I would like to thank you for everything that you have done, and also pass on my gratitude from Lottie because she has learnt she has really benefited from and her confidence in maths has vastly improve, so much so that she now tells me that she looks forward to maths class at school!
Charlotte's parents
I was told at school that Harrison had fallen about 2 years behind in reading, writing and spelling. Harrison took to it straight away.  He has made fantastic progress and is meeting all his targets.  He loves the points and prizes that he collects for working so he comes out buzzing after every session!
Mrs S McGee
success

Sofia says “I Love to Learn Now!”

Sofia’s mum brought her to us as she was having a few problems with maths at school.  She liked it so much that now she comes for English as well!  Mariana says that now “Sofia is more confident with math now and she’s coming to I Love to Learn for pleasure.  She is very happy with her teacher, she says she is very kind and patient.”    
Howard JonesI Love to Learn

Is Maths Anxiety a Thing?

Did you hate maths at school? Do you feel you “can’t do maths?”  You may not be alone.

Recently researchers claimed that “Maths Anxiety” is real. One in 10 children suffer from despair and rage when faced with the subject, according to new research from Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education and its Centre for Neuroscience.  Click here to read more…..

Could this be just another made up term to excuse poor attainment or could working with numbers really be a cause of exceptional unhappiness for children?

As a tutor, I have certainly come across lots of students who ‘hate’ maths.  Some of them seem to have genuine problems with remembering and manipulating numbers.  Many of them, however, do seem to make remarkable progress when they realise they can do maths after all.

Tough maths

Why Maths?

Stress or anxiety about any subject is obviously an impediment to learning.  Is maths so different?  I suspect people learn to like or dislike maths for the same reasons.  When you are leaning maths the answers you give are either right or they are wrong, unlike other subjects perhaps, so if you are getting it wrong the feedback is rather immediate.  If students fear failure or ‘getting it wrong’ it could make early negative experiences particularly unpleasant and overwhelming.  So, for example, finding fractions difficult in primary school may lead to enough wrong answers and unhappiness to convince some children that maths is something they ‘can’t do.’

I always say that maths is like a house, you have to build the foundation first, before you build the walls.  If students have switched off at some point in their school careers, then they have not built a firm foundation.  All the maths they are taught after that will become much harder because they have not learned the basic skills, such as times tables or place value.  This can lead to students getting very stuck unless they find a way to fill in the gaps.

This is a serious problem as STEM (science technology engineering and maths) careers rely on high levels of maths fluency and attract higher than average salaries.

Stress Reduction

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Learning anything while being anxious is not helpful.  Increased levels of anxiety use up working memory and stop learning from taking place.  Most people find it much harder to remember appointments if they have an exceptionally stressed day at home or the office.

As a tutor, I always give students work that they can do (i.e. easy enough for them but not too easy) so that they get most of their answers right.  When they begin to feel relaxed, I can then start introducing new topics strengthening their weaker areas.

In addition, learning times table by rote, may seem old fashioned, but it makes maths so much easier.  Try reading a new language when you don’t know all the alphabet and have to look them up each time.  Much slower and much less fluent.  We try to do activities, such as lots of number bonds and tables, that don’t require much working memory and are highly repetitive.

The third approach is to change the mindset of anxious learners.  Maths is actually a subject that requires a lot of practice and repetition, but if people put in the hours almost everyone can improve.  A bit like jogging, everyone can do it, rather than fine art when you need a high level innate skill.  So rather than having a ‘fixed mindset’, i.e. some people can do maths and some people just can’t; students need to adopt a ‘growth mindset’ i.e. “I can do it if I try.”

Finally, parents can make maths more fun by putting away the study books and getting out some games.  Card games and dice games (yes the dreaded Monopoly) can make numbers relevant and fun.  At a younger age, using blocks such as lego can help with number, fractions, counting and shapes.  The abacus is an ancient tool which is still helpful today.

Learning to Love Maths

Anxiety about maths is certainly a problem for many people, but it can be overcome.  The more people worry about it, the bigger it can grow.  Sometimes a few deep breathes and a chance to express themselves, then reframe these fears, can make a big difference.

Many people have found that when they have come back to maths learning later in life they have actually enjoyed it!  Making maths fun can be a good way for both fearful parents and children to help each other overcome anxiety.

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