Why Do Difficult Subjects Freeze Students’ Minds?

What comes to mind when you hear the word fault? I have several things that come to mind, including laying blame. The title of today’s blog refers to a geological feature that causes earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. When they are quiet, there is no cause for worry. When they move is when danger threatens to overtake us. There are times when our brains do similar. They will work perfectly well, and then something shifts, and we find ourselves caught in a place where we don’t seem able to make sense of something.

Brain fault lines are experienced as freezes or a mental block whenever a particular subject is mentioned. There is no blame attached; it is just that for some people, the moment the word maths is mentioned, their brain freezes. At Fruition Tuition, we see many students who freeze at the mention of mathematics. Primary School seems to be when this phenomenon starts. What can we do about it? Plenty.

At Fruition Tuition, we always start with assessing a student’s current level of expertise and learning style. This assessment provides an understanding of how a student approaches problems, their mental agility and preferred learning style. Our experienced and reliable tutors will then work with a student using a multisensory approach to untangle the many layers involved in a brain freeze.

Primary school maths and maths tuition revolve around the four mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Addition makes things grow, works from left to right, and builds on the understanding of place value. Subtraction requires the knowledge of larger and smaller, also place value. Addition and subtraction both work from left to right to be effective. Most students master these two operations with little assistance.

Multiplication and division, however, can cause fault lines to occur. Multiplication builds from addition but causes things to increase faster. Times tables are pivotal in learning multiplication, and there is no easy way to do it. Repetition is essential, using a rhythmic approach, and the use of large muscles in marching, jumping, singing or chanting provides multisensory input that helps lay the information in the memory. Some people are put off by the thought of the noise and repetition involved, possibly misled by the idea of rote learning. Despite being repetitious, this process is not rote, and for some, tedious, but it is well known for embedding multiplication tables into the memory. Once learnt, it will not be forgotten, for over the following years, this information will constantly be accessed. At primary school tutoring centre Epping, we have a structured, sequential process that builds on prior knowledge to engender success. One-to-one tutoring will assist your child in developing the routine and skills to master their tables.

Once multiplication is mastered, division becomes possible. Division involves breaking things into smaller pieces. Unlike addition, subtraction and multiplication, which all work from right to left. Division works from left to right. New methods of working also require a student to multiply and subtract during the process. I found it confusing until I worked out what was needed. I am unusual in that I like maths, and then find science, which is the application of maths fascinating. However, imagine what it is like for a student whose brain freezes when asked to use three functions in one process. If your student is freezing at the thought of long division, book in for an assessment at one of our local centres and allow us to assist you with one-to-one tuition. During a lockdown, we move into remote learning mode.