Teaching math during pandemic doesn’t always add up

By Sam Shriver - sshriver@limanews.com

Caren Beckett

Caren Beckett

Nick McCoy

Nick McCoy

Tena Roepke

LIMA — Learning math is hard enough during regular times, but during a pandemic, it’s a whole different story. For those schools that went to remote learning in the spring, it proved to be a challenge for teachers as well as students.

“I consider the most important part of my class to be the time when I’m interacting one on one with students. I teach the lesson, but then I always provide time for them to work on the assignment while I’m there to help,” said Nick McCoy, a math teacher at Bath High School.

“That, to me, is the most important part of my class and that’s what’s missing with online students,” he said. “Plus, in the middle of teaching a lesson, I can tell either by questions that I get, or just by the expressions on students’ faces, if they’re not getting a concept, and I can stop and go back over it or try another approach. I can’t get that kind of feedback with online students.”

Thomas Williams teaches algebra II and geometry at Ottawa-Glandorf High School.

“I think the hardest part about it is, especially with math, everything links into the next thing. So you kind of need that daily repetition. When you’re on the hybrid model, or if you’re working from home, it’s a little more independent learning than I would like for this level of mathematics,” Williams said.

Many parents are resorting to tutoring services to help provide that extra instruction.

Caren Beckett owns the Sylvan Learning Center franchises in Lima, Findlay, Defiance, Bowling Green and Holland, Ohio.

“We definitely have seen an influx in business in the last few months, for sure, more students that go hybrid or go remote, strictly. So, parents and kids realize they need that extra help to fill in those holes that the kids aren’t maybe able to get on a daily basis,” Beckett said.

Some students have fallen behind due to the remote learning earlier in the year.

“If they didn’t know the algebra I material, geometry and algebra II is going to be a struggle because it’s building on each other. We’re able to go back and find the holes and try to fix those problems so that they can move forward,” Beckett said.

Tena Roepke, a math professor at Ohio Northern University, points to a recent study by the Northwest Evaluation Association that shows students in grades K-6 have fallen behind in math during the pandemic as much as 5 to 10%.

She says teaching math can be made more interesting by posing a particular problem the students can relate to.

“I’m just going to throw an example like ‘who was the better basketball player: Michael Jordan or LeBron James?’ Let’s analyze their statistics. There’s a lot of math in there and it could be appropriate for a lot of different grade levels,” Roepke said.

Roepke says parents should help in making sure their son or daughter doesn’t fall through the cracks.

“The first thing parents can do is keep in close contact with the child’s teacher because a child’s teacher is going to know, these are the things that your child is supposed to be learning this year. These are the areas where your particular child is struggling. And most importantly, here’s some resources you might use that I could share with you where you could do things at home,” Roepke said.

Caren Beckett
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/12/web1_Caren-picture-cropped.jpgCaren Beckett
Nick McCoy
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/12/web1_McCoy-resized-.jpgNick McCoy
Tena Roepke
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/12/web1_roepke_tena-resized-.jpgTena Roepke

By Sam Shriver


Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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