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Ho Math Chess Research and Articles > How to find a good math learning center?

19 Jul 2005

How to find a good math learning center?


Frank Ho

Ho Math and Chess Learning Centre

BC certified Teacher

Vancouver, BC, Canada



Children's after school learning center and tutoring is at very high demand, math tutoring is the highest demand subject of all after school tutoring subjects.


How to find a good math learning centre? The most two important deciding ingredients for a good learning centre are the teaching materials and the instructors among all other factors.


There are many math learning centers which have not developed materials in a systematic and consistent way. The materials are perhaps simply collected in a binder by using each tutor's lecture notes and the owner calls them "the most valuable material developed by a group of outstanding scholars''.


Some math learning centers imported materials form other country then turn around and tell parents the material have been developed to meet local Ministry of Education's learning outcomes and curriculum.


Some learning centers use drill method but gives this drill method some big names such as "self-learning" method or even "innovative" teaching method.  Some elementary children who went to these drill learning centers and then come to my class criticized this method as boring and called it the worst teaching method they ever experienced. If only parents would listen to their daughter's or son's plead, the children would be much happier in their math learning experience. 


Don't be fooled by the colorful worksheets. Instead, think how often the author is willing to update the colorful workbooks? It did cost a lot of money to print all those worksheets in multiple colors and they have to be in large quantity to get some kind of discounts. If this is the case then how often are these worksheets to be updated to meet curriculum changes?


Examine the learning center's teaching method. Do we expect each child's learning curve at the same level as everyone else? Why school teachers always tell us the ratio of students/per teacher is very important in deciding the quality of teaching? If this "teaching" time and ratio is so important then why some math learning centers are still cramming as many as 10 or 15 kids in one room and teach them in a lecture style? Ho Math and Chess Learning Centre researched the ratio of the number of students to teacher and found an optimized number to provide the best teaching environment.


Watch carefully how the tutor marks your children's homework and check if the tutor actually follows it up if the student did not do it right.  Did the tutor check the computation procedure or simply only checked the answers? All these are signs if the tutor is a caring or responsible person. If there is no caring then it is a waste of money by paying big buck for a tutor's name or qualifications.


The genuine concern and caring must come from the heart of the tutor. Is the tutor concerned about the upcoming tests for your children? What efforts has the tutor put in to prepare for it? If nothing was done, then it is the time that you change the tutor. Is the tutor willing to listen to your concern as a parent or the tutor seems to only like to spend time to lecture you?


What is the owner's management style? Approachable? Is there any convenient business hours that you could talk to teachers or the owner? Is there any make-up system for missed classes? Is there any refund and withdraw policy?


Take into account all of what I have mentioned above, you would have a better chance to find a good math learning centre. 

Frank Ho


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