Parents Benefit From Observing Math Tutoring Sessions

a child with an abacus

At the Emma Eccles Jones Early Childhood Education and Research Center, the Tutoring Intervention & Mathematics Enrichment (TIME Clinic) provides one-on-one mathematics tutoring for elementary-school students. The building contains state-of-the-art tutoring rooms, with two-way mirrors, built in video and audio recording systems and an observation booth with audio-monitoring headphones. The benefit of this technology is that parents can observe their children being tutored in mathematics in the TIME Clinic. During the observations, parents are able to watch research-based instructional strategies being used with their child. Parents can monitor the progress of their child and observe their child learning mathematics. These observations help parents to learn strategies that they can use to help their children learn mathematics at home.

Parents Appreciate TIME Clinic Donors

"My daughter, who is in remedial math during the regular school day, struggles with feeling like she is not smart. To have somewhere where she can go and get one-on-one attention while having fun and learning at the same time is fantastic. Because we’re on a tight, tight budget, to have this tutoring cost us nothing was such a benefit."

During the 10-week summer 2012 tutoring program, parents completed surveys and reflected on their observations of the tutoring sessions. Parents reported being surprised that mathematical learning activities could be a positive experience for their child, especially because these students had struggled with mathematics learning in the regular classroom. One parent explained, “Math and games never seemed to go together, but the tutor showed how almost any game could teach a math concept!” Parents observed that “math was not so scary” or “hard to learn” when the child was learning in the tutoring program. Parents learned that, even though mathematics was difficult for their child, concepts could be presented in ways that were understandable and meaningful. Parents watched the tutors break down difficult concepts into parts that were manageable for the child. Parents reported developing a greater appreciation for mathematics, a stronger understanding that children learn differently, and a desire to improve their own understanding of mathematics.

Observing their child during the tutoring sessions gave parents the opportunity to discover and study both the weaknesses and capabilities of their child. One parent stated, “I really enjoyed these sessions. It helped me not be as discouraged about our struggle (with math).” Some parents observed that their child’s learning style was different from their own and reported gaining insights into how they could adapt their homework assistance style with their child to better meet the child’s learning needs. The most common observation made by parents was seeing the benefits of developing a positive environment to promote mathematics learning and persistence.

Parents also found that it was important to use manipulatives, models, and real world contexts to develop their child’s mathematical thinking. Some reported understanding the importance of using multiple methods and strategies. Others noted how important it was for the child to dialogue their thoughts, which allowed the parent to identify where there were gaps in the child’s learning.

Support the TIME Clinic

For more information about how you can support the TIME Clinic so that an elementary child can receive mathematics tutoring services and reach their full potential in mathematics, please contact Frank Stewart, Director of Development, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

Contact the Director

For more information about the TIME Clinic services, contact the TIME Clinic Director, Dr. Arla Westenskow via email, at 801-540-7063 or Dr. Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Director, Mathematics Education and Leadership Programs, Early Childhood Education Research Center, Utah State University.