5 Ways to Help Your Students Improve Their Math Skills

Part of your role as a counselor sometimes includes motivating your students to push through the slog of study towards achievement. This often needs to happen in very practical ways. Students that don’t maintain standards in a few key areas can be severely hampered from entering college or accomplishing the goals they have for themselves. Math skills are one of these areas. Because of this, it can sometimes make or break a student’s chances at being able to study and pursue what they want.

With a bit of encouragement, many students can keep on task and get the math scores and proficiencies they need before any of it slips out of reach or becomes too daunting while in high school. A few tips and tricks can make this much easier. These strategies can easily be incorporated into your office, meetings, and plans with the students you serve.

Help Your Students See the Wide Breadth of Math-Related Skills

So often, classroom math seems arbitrary and pointless. It doesn’t help that many math curriculums don’t do a good job of making it clear to students why they’ll need those skills and what they’ll do with them once they’re finished with school.

Showing the link between math skills and other real-life aptitudes is a great way of helping motivate your students to engage with their math homework. Math skills can feed directly into larger, more all-encompassing skills like problem-solving, analytical thinking, and strategy. These skills are valuable in just about any profession.

Helping your students understand this connection can make them value their math classes just a little bit more and can encourage them to engage when they might not have otherwise.

Help Your Students Understand the Advantages of Good Math Skills for College

Math grades, proficiencies, and scores on standardized testing can sometimes carry more weight in the application and matriculation process for colleges and universities than other skill sets. Some schools offer more scholarships for engineering, mathematics, or STEM proficiencies even when a student isn’t necessarily pursuing a degree in any of those subjects.

And scoring well on math entrance exams can save quite a bit of time, stress, and money by allowing students to opt out of fundamental math courses. Investing time in keeping math levels high can be well worth it in the long run.

Have a List of Online Math Resources Available

Though most school districts are racing to incorporate more technology into their classrooms and curriculums, sometimes students still need alternative resources that might better fit their learning style. Many solid math teaching resources exist online that students often never learn about. Sometimes, having an additional tool or two available can make all the difference for a student trying to master a tougher math class or subject.

To help make your students aware of additional tools and aids they can use while taking on math classes, try simply gathering a list of online math tools and teaching aids that you can hand out to students that are struggling with math. You could include these suggestions in hand-outs or resources that all your students receive, or simply have them available in your office when needed.

Gamify Math Skills with Your Students

Gamification is the process of introducing competitive or game-like elements to things that wouldn’t normally include them. Gamification can make difficult subjects more fun and interesting. It can also help increase engagement from students who might not otherwise be motivated to learn.

One strategy for this is to use communal or interpersonal gamification. This might look like setting up a leaderboard or point system in your office for students to compete against each other. Be careful with your setup – students shouldn’t compete over things like grades or test scores. However, things like study hours, units completed, extra credit assignments, or number of flashcards answered on an app or online platform could be good objects to use for friendly math-related competition.

Another way of incorporating gamification is to help your students set individual goals for themselves. This could be any of the examples above or could also be a grade or level they’d like to reach for themselves. You could create handouts, punch cards, medals, and other aids that make these goals more exciting. The only limit is your creativity. Badges, prizes, and more could all motivate your students to engage more seriously with their math studies if you incorporate them into gamified structures.

Give Examples of How Math Is Used in Real Professions Your Students are Interested In

Finally, one of the most motivating tools you can utilize to help your students focus on their math skills is to help them more readily understand how those math skills translate into usable tools for the professions they’re interested in pursuing.

Posting charts or stories of how math can be utilized in professions your students are interested in can go a long way to help motivate them to continue focusing on their math classes and not give up on learning those skills.

By helping your students make math more approachable, you’ll help them stay motivated and engaged as they complete their high school studies.