Looping: A Tutoring Technique | Nurturing Wisdom Tutoring

Looping: A Tutoring Technique

looping math tutoring techniqueIf you were to observe a Nurturing Wisdom math tutoring session, you’d see the tutor and the student passing math problems back and forth, keeping busy almost every second. They’d be using wipeoff sheets and erasable markers to constantly add, correct, and erase problems. The tutor might be correcting an equation or setting up a percent word problem, while the student is solving a problem on perimeter. You might think to yourself, “These problems have nothing in common. Why are they doing it like that?”

In the midst of it all, you’d notice something even more important: not only does the student not mind doing a lot of math, they’re actually having fun! This is one of our favorite Nurturing Wisdom strategies: Math Looping℠.

While looping, the tutor is simultaneously working on three to thirty different math skills, one right after the other. At the same time, within each skill, the tutor is adjusting the level of the next problem or question to adapt to the student’s level of readiness. For instance, if a student gets a simple equation correct in the first “loop,” their tutor will give them a slightly harder equation in the next loop. If a student solves that equation incorrectly, the tutor will give them a slightly easier version in the next loop.

Math Looping℠ is a tutoring technique that’s based firmly in educational principles that really work:

  • Students should be actively engaged with learning as much as possible.
  • When students are learning, they should be doing, not just listening. The pen should be in their hands.
  • Students learn best in their zone of proximal development. This is the place where learning is challenging enough to be interesting, but never so challenging that it’s overwhelming. With looping, our tutors reflect on each question that the student answers and adjust the level of the next activity to stay right in that zone.
  • Students need to be exposed to skills over and over again. Instead of teaching in depth from the beginning, we present a skill over a much greater period of time, going a little more in depth as the student is ready. This helps get information into long-term memory, so that students learn concepts to mastery.

Math Looping is a service mark of Nurturing Wisdom, Inc.