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Teaching Methods for Remedial Math

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Teaching remedial math requires working with students to create a better foundation of math concepts by reinforcing skills that were taught at an earlier time. Learn ways to teach remedial math by identifying the student's learning issue and using a variety of approaches and assessments to overcome it. Updated: 11/30/2021

Remediation Defined

In order to remediate students in a certain area, it's important first to understand the definition of remedial. Put simply, remedial instruction is the process of providing help to students who are experiencing difficulties so that they can understand and master the concept with which they are struggling. In math, each concept is the foundation for new learning, and when a student has not mastered one concept they are unable to move on to the next concept. In this case, remediation helps to get the student back on track so they can continue their learning on the math continuum.

Teaching remedial math means that you will be working with students who might be missing foundational skills that are required for learning higher level concepts. Whether because of a learning difficulty or another situation that impacted their learning, these are students, for example, who may not have mastered adding one digit numbers and are now being asked to add two-digit numbers with regrouping.

This lesson will provide methods and strategies that you can use to effectively teach students who need remediation in math.

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  • 0:01 Remediation Defined
  • 1:07 Identify the Issue
  • 2:09 Use a Variety of Approaches
  • 3:33 Assess Their Mastery
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Identify the Issue

Imagine someone walks up to you and hands you a cake and asks you to taste it. You taste it, and something is just off. They tell you that yes, there is something wrong, and you need to fix the recipe. Without knowing the issue or mistake that was made, you can't begin to fix the recipe. You don't have enough information yet to really diagnose how to fix the issue.

This is how you need to approach remedial teaching. You can't just throw a bunch of ideas or strategies at the problem and hope something works for the student. You must first identify the specific area in which the student is struggling so you can begin to create a plan and strategies for remediation.

Using the example of the student struggling with one digit addition - you need to figure out if he hasn't mastered one digit addition because he has spatial difficulties that are interfering with his ability to regroup. Or has he even mastered counting? You would first need to identify what is causing the difficulty before you can begin working to help the student learn.

Use a Variety of Approaches

Math education lends itself especially well to approaching concepts from a variety of different angles. Just think of the wide variety of ways students can solve a simple addition problem. They can draw a picture of objects and count them, use manipulatives, write a story, count on a number line, or count in their head. When teaching remedial math, it is important to explore as many approaches to learning as possible to help your students.

For example, you may have to teach a student who is struggling with comparing fractions. For some reason, this student may just not grasp this concept, no matter how hard they try. Sitting down with the student, you discover that the student is just staring at the fractions trying to will the answer into existence.

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