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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

So after months of looking around I've finally settled on a part time job as a home tutor where I go around and tutor high school kids ie. help them with homework, prepare them for the Australian equivalent of the SAT.

It's going really well except for this one kid who my intuitions tell me is an ISTP (he's 15) . It's not that he is slow or anything actually the opposite, he goes )to one of the top high schools in the state, but he just won't talk :confused: instead sit their giving me the really kiddy-I'm-trying-to-be-friendly ISTP smile and that's really frustrating because how am i suppose to help him when I don't know which concepts he doesn't understand?:frustrating:

For example I'm teaching him geometry at the moment and I'll go through a question with him as an example and he's sitting there beside me nodding his head. So I ask him to do practically the same question (I've changed a few numbers around) , and he looks at it for while and he's like- I don't know how to do it. :bored: I ask him what he doesn't get and he just goes ummm.. When i ask him if he's got any ideas on how to solve it, he just sits their smiling looking clueless. We've been stuck on pretty much the same topic for weeks.

I'm not payed more if teach him better but I want to do a good job you know. How can I get him to talk more? :confused:
 

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@underdog - Can you run through an example of how you're going over concepts with him?
 
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This sounds like every teenager ever to me.

LOL personally I would never teach or tutor for this reason.

You need a lot of patience, do you really enjoy tutoring?
 

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Show him a couple example problem that he can watch you do, then work through one or two together, then have him work on his own. He probably literally has no idea where to start.
 

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He doesn't sound very motivated. I would talk with him a bit and explain why it's important he learns this stuff. Explain why it's practical. He also seems somewhat embarrassed that it isn't coming easy to him. Just talk with him and try and connect with him a bit.
 

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That sounds like almost every student I've ever sat down with. The key here is to make him do the problems for you. So give him a problem and say "ok, how would we solve this one?"

*blank stare* *grin*

"What do you do first?"

*blank stare* *grin*

"Well, look in your book. How does it do it in this example?"

The idea is to make him work so that he gets involved in the process of problem solving.
 

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Try posting in the ISTP forum, if you haven't already.
 

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Make a game out of it? If you can program or animate in flash, whip up a random equation generator or something and then give him candies when he gets one right.

... Okay, I don't have a clue what I'm talking about.
 

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My girlfriend (who is, admittedly, not an ISTP) is trying to get back into school, so I've been helping her understand some geometry/trig problems so she can take the SAT... I found it helped to explain to her what the point of the formula was. Once I explained why you would need to solve for X as a practical matter, she found it much easier to follow my explanation of each step because there was a tangible objective beyond just "getting an answer." Math, to many people, is a bunch of arcane mumbo-jumbo that has no practical application... once you can illustrate what a formula actually represents, it becomes less abstract and, thus, easier to understand.
 

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Increase the speed of reinforcement. What do 15 year olds like...Candy? Gum? Justin Bieber? Reward him for doing problems quick and fast and turn him into mathematical spaz monkey.
 

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My suggestion is to give a mini quiz on certain topics at the start of the tutoring session. If possible, end the session with a follow-up quiz.
 

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one idea I had was that perhaps some hands-on objects could help illustrate concepts.
 

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Khan Academy

Let him learn by himself and only ask you if he has a problem understanding. As a teenager I can almost guarantee it'll be much more effective. At least if it were me.

Increase the speed of reinforcement. What do 15 year olds like...Candy? Gum? Justin Bieber? Reward him for doing problems quick and fast and turn him into mathematical spaz monkey.
Imaginary internet points (see reddit's astounding success). And Khan Academy provides exactly that.
 

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Ummm....*stares*...I dunno...*continue staring*

Make tutoring math fun. Use people or objects to substitute for the math. Use dramatic voices. Use jokes. Entertain him! Math is dreadful and boring for most people. Yes, you're going to have to be creative and work much harder if you want to be a successful ANYTHING. But do try.

Aren't N-types known to be creative? >_^
 

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My girlfriend (who is, admittedly, not an ISTP) is trying to get back into school, so I've been helping her understand some geometry/trig problems so she can take the SAT... I found it helped to explain to her what the point of the formula was. Once I explained why you would need to solve for X as a practical matter, she found it much easier to follow my explanation of each step because there was a tangible objective beyond just "getting an answer." Math, to many people, is a bunch of arcane mumbo-jumbo that has no practical application... once you can illustrate what a formula actually represents, it becomes less abstract and, thus, easier to understand.
My ISTP best friend is just like this. All throughout high school, she didn't make good grades in math because she didn't see the point.

I think that concept is sometimes hard for NTs to grasp. I like math because it's easy and it's something new to learn, I don't really care if it's practical or not.
 

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Sometimes I tutor high schoolers. I was really, really bad at first. I'm much better now, but I am constantly looking ways to improve. So far, I think the best way introduce a formula is by verbally telling and physically drawing it as a problem within a story and NOT as a math problem. It's difficult going straight to abstraction when you don't even know/care why it's important to represent as such.

Here is an example of what I mean:
How To Be A Little Gauss
(Summary of the story: Little kid Gauss causes trouble. His evil teacher punishes him by giving him a difficult problem. Gauss cunningly solves it quicker than expected. The problem itself is used for carrying out the story. It is not the focus of the story.)
 

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Give him a real-world application for the concept you're explaining to give him something to attach it to. Remember that he's a concrete thinker, and he's going to be more accepting of information that's concrete in nature.

That said, make it clear that you aren't there to see him smile when he doesn't understand something. Let him know that you're there to help him understand this stuff and that he should tell you the stuff that he doesn't understand. Make him understand that you aren't going to think he's stupid or anything for not understanding something immediately or even if he takes a long time to understand something. It might help to tell him that you actually think he's really smart even if geometry isn't his strongest subject.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay, thanks guys for the quick responses. Maybe I didn't make myself clear but, the little kid(well he's not little he's 15) he's "Asian" so he takes his studies and our session together pretty seriously. And the material I'm teaching him is way beyond the level that is expected of someone his age and tbh I would of had trouble understanding it myself if I was 15. His smile is not the cocky, figjam sorta smile, but rather a aww shucks I'm trying to be polite one (if you guys watch tennis it's kinda like what Nadal does lol). But the biggest problem is that getting him to talk is like pulling teeth, so I don't know exactly what he doesn't understand, so we have to waste time cycling through the same problem again and again knowing that he probably understands most of it- like:

Me: Okay so we've proved that triangle ABC is similar to triangle EFG, so what do we know now?

Him: Um... awkward silence.. I don't know

Me: So what properties does a similar triangle have

Him: That the ratio of the sides are equal??

Me: Good, so what should we do next???

Him: Um... I don't know?

Me: What did we do in the previous question?

Him: We turned the ratios into fractions?

Me: Good, so but the fractions they're asking us to prove in this question is all mixed up? How do we get from the side ratios to the ratio in the question- any ideas(he always(!) says he can't think of anything- but surely if he's thinking he must have some ideas??)

Yeah so I basically walk him through the problem and he says he "gets it", but when I ask him to do a similar problem he gets stuck again! HMMMMMMMMM.........


How do ISTPs do math? I would of thought because we are both Ti doms we would approach it the same way, but apparently not. All the ISTPs in my grade were math geniuses though.

I like Muck Fe's idea about turning theories into stories. I'll try teaching him simultaneous equations by pretending we are assassins out to "eliminate" variables, although he may just think I'm being weird.

And I'm trying to mention real world applications if I can, but most of maths (like euclidean geometry or simultaneous equations or hyperbolas) is purely theoretical or I can't understand the practical applications of it enough to explain it.

Anyway, I'll off to tutoring in six hours, I'll take your advises on board and we'll see what happens! :)
 
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