Made to Measure

I love the phrase made to measure. It indicates that my requirements, specifications and taste are taken into consideration. I remain a part of the decision-making process. It reminds me of Haute Couture clothing and furnishings designed for specific locations. 

Standing in stark contrast are the off-the-shelf or mass-produced items. The one-size-fits-all thinking infiltrates life and is evidenced by one shopping centre is much the same as another. Available clothing is designed to fit one or two body types in pre-prescribed colour variations. There is little consideration of the individual, and if you don’t conform, your options are to go without or pay to have specially made items.

Mass production is a cheap way of producing everyday items that may grow in shape, size or density but cannot think. Mass production is driven by economics and greed; therefore, it is easily mechanised and requires little human input. The human must adapt or lose.

Education is also driven by economics. It has become heavily standardised, regulated and success is measured by tests, competition and international rankings. However, how do we really measure success? How do we measure learning? Social constructs are not easily measured and are aligned to individual values. 

Measurement is a mathematical concept. It rests upon standard, thus meaning that once learnt, it does not change. For example, time is always measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years, or fractions thereof. Space is measured in terms of light-years. However, we can get into a bind when it comes to distance, area, weight/mass, and volume. Australia and much of the rest of the world works in metric measurement. The USA and other places work on Imperial measurement.

For those who run on the metric system, words such as metre, litre, gram and their associated prefixes, mega, kilo, deci, centi, and milli, are familiar, as they have been in our vocabulary for decades. Imperial measurement uses feet, inches, miles, quarts, gallons, pounds, and ounces. Confusion can result if a student is unclear about the origin of the material they are reading, particularly if they are asked to convert from one to another.

Recently we have been introduced to the byte, which measures data. Advertising tells us that the more data we have, the better off we will be. For years we worked comfortably with the prefixes centi, milli, micro, and nano for small things, and mega and kilo for large objects or weights. With advances in technology, we are now talking about gigabytes and terabytes.

It is not uncommon to meet people who have difficulty transferring from one set of measurements to another. There is a standard curriculum and massive pressure to get vast quantities of information transmitted to students. Often the concepts are not embedded, so students can find retrieving details difficult, leading to frustration and a sense of failure. Standardised scores are required to manage the education system, so they are part of life. What about  conceptual learning? Where does that fit? 

Numeracy is part of life; you find it in everyday activities such as making dinner, reading a timetable or menu. Our vocabulary is full of mathematically related words. However, for some, math is frightening, and it doesn’t need to be.

Tutoring is made to measure at Fruition Tuition. The measure is the student, and everything revolves around them. We start with an assessment to ensure that everyone understands how the student learns and their strengths and growth areas. We tailor-make a program to help them develop the skills they need to understand mathematical concepts and language.