A teacher for the young, should possess some very essential qualities; even more, a math teacher. Some teachers inherently have these essential traits, which set them apart from others, and help them achieve great learning outcomes. At Cuemath, we train teachers to cultivate these qualities; we continuously review and monitor their classes to check if the recommended best practices are followed and share feedback, so that, in course of time, they come to embrace these qualities, become great teachers. Anyone who wants to be a part of a movement, to change the way children learn Math across the world can become a Cuemath teacher.
Why do these essential qualities matter more in math teaching?
The reasons are not far to seek.
Math is one of the few subjects in which early learning lags and discomfort can occur if not taught the way it should be, leading to a wrong mindset, an avoidance syndrome, loss of confidence etc. Right teachers possessing the right qualities adopting the right ways are most important to deliver great math learning.
A great math teacher makes sure early math learning starts on a sound footing, a child’s interest and curiosity are kindled and not killed, an opportunity to enjoy and learn a subject that is life skilling is not lost on the child. Let’s see what these key qualities are:
- Readiness to think anew, act anew
The Cuemath approach to math learning is designed to overcome all the shortcomings in the traditional ways math is taught, responsible for problems like dread of math, wrong perceptions that special abilities are required to become proficient in math etc. Focus on excessive drilling, learning by rote rather than deep conceptual understanding, focus on marks rather than developing problem solving abilities have been the bane of the traditional ways. Recognition of the faulty approaches, willingness to shed them to learn to teach anew, think anew and act anew is the hallmark of a good teacher.
The strength of Cuemath lies in its teachers who have willingly joined this program readily recognizing the need for a fresh and path-breaking approach to teaching kids. Our teachers embrace the Cuemath methodology and do not rely on the concepts and practices of a bygone era.
- Being less of a teacher and more of a facilitator!
A teacher should allow a child to persist and deal with a challenge by minimizing or optimizing guidance. A teacher should not rush to give away an answer. A teacher has to Cue a child first with oblique hints, allow the child to exercise its mind and then suggest more direct hints. A teacher has to do this optimally, to make the child move in the direction of the solution in a way that the child’s interest is sustained till resolution. Clever and calibrated Cueing will help sustain the child’s energy level throughout the challenge and move confidently to the solution. When a child arrives at a solution, the sense of accomplishment is much higher. This builds confidence and increases the child’s appetite for more challenges.
- Respect for the child’s pace
Children come from different backgrounds and widely differ in grasping abilities. Quite often, children who seem slow in grasp may be the ones who grasp deeply and not superficially. Curious and distracted children may grasp and respond slowly. A teacher should make the child comfortable, working at its pace. Pace is not an end in itself; it can improve over time and with practice. In a Cuemath class, a child’s learning pace is respected. A child’s pace is not dictated by or benchmarked to the pace of its peers.
- Never Comparing
Comparison kills creativity, fosters envy and negative qualities. The very act of comparison rests on faulty and questionable benchmarks. It loses sight of the unique abilities of a kid. A Cuemath teacher recognizes and fosters uniqueness in every child, never indulges in comparison and works to develop the fullest potential of a kid.
- Never ridiculing mistakes
Children learn through mistakes. In fact, all of us do. Freedom to make mistakes allows leeway for creativity, experimenting, and thinking in different ways. Criticising or ridiculing mistakes kills creativity. A teacher should encourage errors, highlighting the effort and encouraging pursuit of the solution rather than hurriedly course correcting a mistake. Quite often, children in Cuemath come up with authentic and creative solutions to many problems. Problems are deliberately open ended to allow multiple creative solutions. A teacher should celebrate credible defending of an argument for an answer where there is no one right answer.
- Check deep conceptual understanding
A caring teacher will make sure that the child understands a concept deeply, clearly and not superficially. A teacher should engage in a sufficiently probing conversation to check the child’s conceptual understanding. The Cuemath program has enough diagnostic tools at each stage to check that the child’s concept is clear before proceeding to the next stage. A teacher can use these tools to test a child’s deep understanding.
- Feel responsible for learning outcomes.
The teacher should feel responsible for learning outcomes in respect of each kid. Every kid needs individual attention. In a large classroom, adequate individual attention suffers. A Cuemath class provides the right eco-system to foster individual attention. A cuemath teacher has unrestricted access to resources appropriate to the learning needs of each child, to address learning lags. Foundation laying and concept building tool kits help fix lags to fulfil the teacher’s responsibility to every child.
- Be a friend of the child first
A child should have utmost comfort with a teacher in order to open up fully. This is possible if a teacher is caring, sensitive to the needs of the child, is encouraging, uses appropriate words, emboldens, and encourages a child to interact with her and ask questions.
The classes should hold great engagement appeal for the kid. The teacher must make every class a fun and relaxed session. In a digital class, interaction amongst kids is absent. A teacher must make up suitably for all missing fun elements in an offline class. Our teachers are trained to befriend the kids, be gentle and win their confidence.
- Nurture Sustained energy.
Children, by nature, get easily distracted. A teacher should show patience and allow optimal freedom for attention deficits. A teacher can add excitement and variety by introducing math puzzles and riddles to relieve monotony. A good level of sustained energy can be maintained through the class making interactions lively, drawing connections, arousing curiosity etc.
- Studying beyond books, connecting to the real world
A teacher should find out the child’s interests, engage in friendly conversations and play, connect classroom learnings to real life situations, give projects that can be done at home etc. Take math learning beyond books and the classroom to develop mathematical thinking and cultivate a math mind. Cuemath has enough resources to help engage in exciting ways beyond the regular classes.
Math, rightly, is the mother of all sciences. It is every child’s birthright to be skilled adequately in math. At Cuemath, we believe in promoting all these essential qualities among children in our personalised Live Online Math classes. Cuemath has the best-in-class resources and trained teachers for the right math education of every child. A right teacher is a great change agent in fulfilling the mission of Cuemath in helping every child master this life skill subject.
- By Ramesh Bharathi
Ramesh heads the training vertical of Cuemath. He has over 40 years experience in senior positions in leading industries such as Airlines, Investment Banking, Print media and Education. He is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Financial analyst and has also taught in ICFAI Business school, a leading Management Institution in India.