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How to teach better as an online math tutor

If you’re an online math tutor looking for ways to improve how you teach math online, you’ve come to the right place. We have tips! Our experts in online education have narrowed down the top four methods that regular math tutors can adopt in order to level up your skills in remote teaching.

The four tips we’ve outlined below help online math tutors overcome the unique challenges in math distance learning. Read on to discover how a few tweaks to your tutoring style can drastically improve student outcomes.

How to teach better as an online math tutor

Key challenges when teaching math online

Working with students as an online math tutor comes with challenges common to distance learning situations. Our recommendations for improving as an online math tutor (listed down below) aim to minimize the following obstacles associated with remote tutoring of mathematical concepts:

  • Helping students feel calm and confident in their ability to learn math

  • Keeping students engaged during instruction time

  • Creating opportunities for students to practice, not just listen

  • Discussing and illustrating complex ideas in a virtual setting

You can overcome these challenges. Read on to find out how the four tips listed below can help you teach students better as an online math tutor.

Top ways to become a better online math tutor

You can effectively keep your math students engaged during tutoring sessions and help them progress in math, despite distance learning challenges. Try these four tips to improve as an online math tutor:

1. Follow the “You Do, We Do, I Do” model

Let your student sit in the driver's seat during their math tutoring session. This helps keep them engaged and suits the purpose of tutoring – helping students improve their math skills outside of their regular schooling. They need the freedom to work on the math subjects they need additional help with.

That’s why we recommend structuring your online math tutoring sessions according to the “You Do, We Do, I Do” teaching model.

Traditionally, many teachers have used the reverse model – “I Do, We Do, You Do.” This is useful for a slower, more gradual “release of responsibility” from the teacher to the student.

In a virtual math classroom, a speedier release of responsibility is better, so we recommend flipping the model.

The quicker “You Do, We Do, I Do” model allows your student to learn through “productive struggle.”

For example, you could begin a math tutoring session by asking your student to solve a math problem that directly relates to the concept they’re struggling with (You Do). You will be able to observe them as they demonstrate their level of understanding, and then step in to help (We Do).

Once you’ve worked together to complete a math problem or a few, and you’ve really slammed the concept home for your student, you can finish up by taking the wheel (I Do). Use this instruction time to review the overall math problem. Go through each step, briefly reiterating how you and your student arrived at the final solution.

2. Use a virtual whiteboard and calculator

Bring math problems out of the book and onto the screen! With a virtual whiteboard, not only do you, as the math tutor, gain creative ways to illustrate concepts, but your student can also interact with you.

For example, the virtual whiteboard built into the free HiLink online classroom allows tutors and students to collaborate seamlessly. It also has an integrated graphing calculator, supporting even high-level mathematics.

This method for tutoring math online is loads better compared to the alternatives, like drawing on a physical whiteboard on camera or having your student draw on paper. Take your written practice virtually, and your students will have a much better tutoring experience.

3. Gamify your math student’s learning experience

Whether you're tutoring a struggling math student or helping a math whiz prepare for college exams, everyone likes a little play! You can make math tutoring fun, enjoyable, and more effective by gamifying lessons.

It can be as simple as offering a silly math problem that doubles as a joke.

Or you can introduce any of the hundreds of different math games found online. For example, has a huge selection of online math games to explore.

4. Take screen breaks during tutoring sessions

Videoconferencing fatigue is a real problem. When students and teachers work virtually on camera for too long, sleepiness and disengagement can easily start setting in.

Combat this screen fatigue for both you and your student by taking adequate breaks during tutoring sessions. After a half hour of "You Do, We Do" practice, for example, you could break for five minutes before continuing to your "I Do" stage.

Encourage your students to stand up, take their eyes off the screen, use the bathroom, and otherwise give themselves a break from the computer.

Tutor math students with HiLink online classroom

It goes without saying that an online math tutor needs a great online tutoring platform where you can boost student engagement while increasing teaching efficiency. So have you checked out HiLink?

The HiLink virtual classroom makes it easy to implement all four tips we've listed above. And we are now providing users with FREE access to the full suite of features. Try the HiLink virtual classroom free today!

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