Parentlife with Yossi Suissa

Summer 2019

Math concepts are like building blocks, and the foundation always needs to be laid before moving forward”


The top 5 reasons students struggle with math

Recent surveys report that 37 per cent of teens aged 13-17 found math to be the most difficult subject – the highest ranked overall. So, why do so many students struggle with math?

1) Math often involves multi-step problems. This requires staying actively focused on the task at hand. Unfortunately, students often lose focus and become distracted during the lesson. Revisiting prior concepts is one of the main benefits of an individualized tutoring approach towards learning.

2) Students often do not fully understand some previous lesson’s concepts and they are likely to struggle when newer concepts are introduced. Unfortunately, many students feel uncomfortable or embarrassed asking questions in class when their teacher has already moved on to the next lesson. Math concepts are like building blocks, and the foundation always needs to be laid before moving forward.

3) Concepts are learned, but not fully understood. Often students know how to perform an operation from repetition, but don’t really understand the meaning behind it. That’s where individualized tutoring really shines!

4) Students often feel confident after watching their teacher explain the lesson in class, only to find that doing it independently can be a lot more challenging. There’s, unfortunately, no quick and easy solution to learn math – it requires lots of practice and patience! As tutors, we try to specifically identify the areas in which students need improvement and focus on closing these “gaps” in learning.

5) “When am I ever going to use this?” This is a great example of the disconnect students sometimes experience when learning math. It is crucial for a student to recognize how mathematical concepts relate to real life for them to truly understand the material.



Yossi Suissa M.A. is the owner and education consultant for Tutor Doctor Airdrie and Calgary