Taming the Culprits

I have often wondered about how the student-teacher relationship has changed over the years. We as children, used to respect our teachers and that respect was often expressed in the form of fear and obedience. Modern students tend to treat teachers more as their equals. Though some elicit fear, teachers falling in this category are very few.

Whatever the reason behind this behavior, the lack of fear among students will make it difficult for teachers to control the class especially when dealing with complicated subjects like Calculus. Not many students are Calculus fans. Teachers often find it difficult to grab the attention of students long enough during these sessions.

While some would silently wait for you to finish the session and leave, some would prefer to entertain themselves by disturbing other students, engaging in chitchat and the like. How can you as a Calculus teacher get control over your class? What can you do to make sure that the results in your subject will not devastate you?

Well, here are some tips:

Analyze your method of teaching. Probably, you are complicating Calculus by restricting your sessions to discussing formulas and problem-solving. In such case, students would obviously not have any idea on what they are learning or why they are learning it. You might be extremely disappointed to discover that your students have found the derivative of a function when your question clearly states ’find the integral’.

Let us concentrate on getting the idea through to your students. Let them know that calculus is not just a subject that can make or mar their grades; it is a collection of methods that can be used to find solutions to a variety of problems that people face in their day-to-day lives. Of course, you will have to do some research and find some good and simple real-life applications of Calculus in order to prove your point.

Never start a fresh session with a formula, a problem or a definition. Every new topic should be introduced with an explanation as to why the topic is being taught and how it is going to help the students. ‘What is in it for me?’ Your answer to this question could motivate students to work harder on Calculus.

Convince yourself that working out even two to three problems after understanding the concepts is far better and beneficial to the students then solving a hundred problems without the basics. Speaking of basics, take some time to understand your student’s knowledge with respect to the other branches of mathematics like geometry, trigonometry and algebra. As a Calculus tutor you would be aware of the importance of these subjects in Calculus.

Though these tips will help you make your Calculus sessions more interesting thereby allowing you to have better control over your class, we should never forget that grades are very much important. Good grades can help your students make better choices when it comes to further studies. So, do not underestimate the importance of recalling formulas once in a while. Human brain needs to be frequently refreshed in order to help it remember things. So yes, continue with the revision sessions where you revise the formulas and steps.