Development of Strategies to Help

Slide 1

Anne Henderson
University College, Bangor Wales

Slide 2

Tutor Strategies

  • Understand difficulties
  • Empathetic group management
  • Flexible attitude
  • Effective communication
  • Different methods
  • Educational history

Slide 3

Specific Problems

Specific Problems

Slide 4

Importance of Language and Mathematics

  • Correct mathematical terms
  • Group work - research (Askew & William)
    • range of ability
    • techniques of 'snowballing' and 'jigsawing'

  • Group discussions
  • Active involvement by students in language is beneficial to their understanding. Vygotsky

Slide 5

Prof. Mahesh Sharma

Prof. Mahesh Sharma

Slide 6

The Language of Mathematics
Mathematics is a foreign language and the overlap between teachers / students / maths language is minimal.

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Listening and Understanding

Slide 7

Some Points about Reading to Consider

  • Reading ability?
  • Reading level of a pupil?
  • RA of mathematics books?
  • Speed of reading?

Slide 8

Confusion with maths words(1)

degreesrise in temperature
degreesfrom university
Three degreessingers
by degreesgradually
70 DegreesHotel in Wales
3rd degreeintense questioning
degreesmeasure of an angle

Slide 9


  • There are 180 degrees on a straight line
  • i.e. 180o
  • When asked 'What is a degree?' Chris replied, 'A degree is a little circle'.

Slide 10

Confusion with maths words(2)

degreesrise in temperature
rightfeeling fine
rightangle measure

Slide 11 and 12


  • Language: In a right angled triangle the area of the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.
  • Formula: a2 = b2 + c2
  • Question: A and B are points on two mountains. Find the distance between them using Pythagora's rule.
Pythagoras Question
  • A right angled triangle is one with 90 degrees on the right.
  • A left angled triangle is one with 90 degrees on the left.

Slide 13

Language Question

  1. Sami has 15 socks in the drawer, 4 of which are blue. She pulls out a sock at random. What is the probability that the sock she pulls out is blue?
  2. There are 16 counters in a bag, 5 of them are black. Miranda is blindfolded, then she chooses a counter from the bag. What is the probability that the counter she pulls out is black?
  3. The centre of the spinner (the arrow) is attached to the centre of the card, which is coloured as shown. The arrow is spun. What is the probability that when the arrow stops spinning its pointer will be on the black section?

Slide 14

Reading in Mathematics

Actual WordWord Read
uniform cross-sectionuniform cross-shape

Slide 15

Reading Numbers

  • See 5002 - Say 52 - Write 205
  • See 10.3 - Say 103 - Write 13
  • See 1,456.3 - Say 1.456.3 - Write 14.56
  • Large numbers that are bigger than hundreds need to be identified first from the right, then read from the left. This mean that direction as well as discrimination is involved in reading a number correctly.
  • 12345678
    Identified from the right is:
    678 345 thousand 12 million
    Then read correctly as 12, 345, 678

Slide 16

Spelling in Mathematics

  • Issolise Trangle
  • I Cosalystryangel
  • I Sosileistryangle
  • Sausolees Hirangut

Slide 17

Writing in mathematics

  • Extends students 'mental screens'
  • Allows students to put several ideas together
  • Enables students to look back and check
  • Allows students to compare & contrast methods
  • Allows student's work to be checked and corrected
  • Encourages students to share, talk & discuss

Slide 18

Analysis of Mathematical Terms

Additionad (to, toward)di (join)tion (act of)
Subtractionsub(under)trac (drawing)tion (act of)
Multiplicationmulti (many)plica (folding)tion (act of)
Divisiondi (half)vi (seeing)sion (act of)
Decimaldecim (tenth)  
Percentper (through)cent (a hundred) 
Fractionfrac (breaking)tion (act of) 
Perimeterperi (around)  
Primeprim (first)  

Slide 19

Maths Symbols

Maths Symbols

Slide 20


  • Use 0.7 cm squares
  • Use of margins
  • Number of the calculation
  • Use of rulers and columns
  • Show the answer clearly

Slide 21


  • Left and right
  • Reinforce position words
  • Where to begin

Slide 22


  • Pre-empt the problem
  • If the problem persists...
  • Practice checking back

Slide 23

Student hints on 'How not to teach'

  • not telling us cleerly enough what to do
  • copying all the time off the bord
  • teling us - not showing us
  • 'No questions, sit down' reely anows me
  • havung to colect homwork from pigeonhole
  • too much riting
  • tutor lieing about deadlines
  • too much work - we dont lern anything
  • being too quick with overhead projector
  • thaecher having bad handwriting

Slide 24 and 25

Student hints on 'How to teach'

  • lots of both oral & practical work
  • large desk with enough space to work on
  • group discussions / videos about a new maths topic
  • looking at the bord straight on not sideways
  • a teacher who takes their time
  • good displays on pinbord
  • good maths words on wall
  • quiet room
  • teecher not talking too much- gives you time to think and find an anser
  • able to talk to others about the maths topic
  • teacher using words we understand
  • if there is a rhime to go with it
  • a 'bit of fun' and a joke now and again

Slide 26

Give help by:

  • Praising
  • Having spare pencils, books etc.
  • Avoid asking them to read aloud
  • Allowing the use of audio tape recorder, calculator, laptop, dictaphone, spellchecker and ability to use diagrammatic answers
  • Not relying on oral instructions
  • Repeat new information - plus written and visual

Slide 27

How the School Policy can help

  • All teachers to understand the problem
  • There must be a whole school policy
  • A positive rewards policy should be in place
  • Have clear timetables
  • Provide study skills at all levels

Slide 28

Practical Ways to help

  • Provide a standardized policy on marking
  • Planning lessons to meet needs
  • Provide comprehensive worksheets
  • Use Word Walls

Slide 29


  • Provide visual stimuli, mnemonics, mind maps, tapes
  • Set targets for improvement one at a time
  • Relate new concept to past learning
  • Provide handouts with notes encourage sharing (buddy system)
  • Discuss marking system
  • Always be aware of Avoidance Techniques

Slide 30


  • West (1999) describes the dyslexic person as 'one who can see the unseen, understand patterns of incomplete information and comprehend the complex whole'.
  • 'Specialists in many fields recognise the power of visual approaches. Dyslexia should be viewed as a difference not a deficit and strengths in visualisation should be utilised.'

'I saw the crescent, but you saw the whole of the moon'
may well refer to the processing style of dyslexics
(Reid & Kirk 2001).