Our teaching philosophy is largely problem-solving based. We focus on teaching students the strategy of parsing problem information from words to pictures to symbols, so that students can visualize the problem and create mathematical models to solve them.
We believe in strong fundamentals; we often teach the underlying math skills that so many students are missing. Frequently this means going back months or perhaps years sometimes to re-build weaker foundations. We also have a strong focus on number theory. We encourage all students to learn their square numbers up to 252 and cubes up to 103. We teach students powerful ways to manipulate numbers such as recognizing that 13 x 15 = 142 -1 and 12 x 16 = 142 - 4 as well as many other techniques.
We work to identify the three common sources of error: visualization errors, definitional errors, and symbol errors (algebra), so that students can work to minimize these mistakes in their work.
Our belief is in teaching mathematics with minimal use of calculators. Instead we focus on number theory to help students gain a stronger command of numerical and algebraic manipulation. This also significantly boosts students confidence in math.
The UW does not allow students to use graphing calculators in the first year Calculus Series. Most parents and students are very surprised by this since High Schools require students to use graphing calculators. Some Professors do not allow students to use calculators at all on midterm exams.
Students are strongly encouraged to work on problems before each meeting. This way students become “invested” in the problems we cover and retain much more from each session. This is the start of building long term memory.
We believe that our job as tutors is not only to teach students math or science but also to serve as an academic mentor. We help students understand that preparation for a math exam involves lots of practice solving problems. We believe that good test taking skills start with good problem solving skills!
We encourage students to teach material they have learned from us to their peers, which is mutually beneficial. At Fusion Math, we are good at math because we teach math!