Being able to problem solve in math and in life is a useful skill. Examples of problem solving include getting from point A to point B without going to point C, fixing electronics, cooking and finding the best vacation for you given a budget. Problem solving helps in making good decisions and avoiding bad (financial) decisions.
Tutoring & Problem Solving
When it comes to (math) tutoring, tutors can benefit from good problem solving skills. Every student is different in terms of personality, learning style and preference, learning rate, etc. There is no one size fits all tutoring strategy. Also, certain subjects are qualitative in nature and contain few numbers and other subjects are quantitative in nature (STEM) so tutoring styles and strategies will vary. If the tutor does not adapt to fit the needs of the student, then the student may not benefit from the tutor’s service and would likely look elsewhere.
Tutors may have to adapt to the student sometimes. This is where improvisation and problem solving comes in handy. If one tutoring method does not work, then a different method may be needed. Sometimes, a more simpler explanation will be needed.
In the math framework, a student may ask how to do a certain question. In this case, problem solving is obviously crucial here. There are times when the answer may not be there for the tutor due to loss of memory/skill or the question is actually that difficult. Most math tutoring deals with pre-university math and calculus and not so much of the pure math, proofs, and higher level applied mathematics.
For a tutor/educator/teacher to be successful and respected, being able to problem solve and adapt to their needs is a benefit. Tutors and educators have the power of influence and can allow students to reach their maximum potential. A strong sign of a job well done is when the student reaches their educational goal and smiles. The student’s success is the tutor’s (teacher’s) success.
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