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Teaching people with an average IQ

Discussion in 'Work and Education' started by Nico, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Nico

    Nico Well-Known Member IQ: 140+

    I have been giving private lessons for the last two years to several students. In my limited experience I some really smart students, but also some that weren't.

    I noticed, that I have trouble being a good teacher to average students. The problem is, that I sometimes do not know, what exactly they do not understand. They do never complain, but I notice, when someone does not understand what I just said. Often they are not able to tell me what they did not understand. Then I go back to the fundamentals of the subject, but this can be a problem, because it is to easy and they get bored. I do not think, that I am a bad teacher, but it just feels like I could do better.

    Does this get better with more experience?

    I also noticed, that some students just forget things really fast. Which means, if you want them to learn it, they have repeat something a lot of times. How can you get students to repeat something several times, without losing their interest in the subject?
    Chuck and Bright1 like this.

  2. Creedinger

    Creedinger Well-Known Member IQ: 120+

    Which subject(s) do you teach? How old are your students?

    In case your student is afraid to tell you what he/she does not understand then it is most important to lower their fear of being ridiculed.

    Ask them? In case you experience that they do not understand what you say you need to say it in more simple terms or define the words you are saying.
    Maybe writing them down helps to go trough all the terms to understand them. A good way is to go all the way with them and always monitor where they do not understand something and then just telling them this exact thing. The temptation is huge to tell them everything but then their learning experience will be limited.

    By letting them create their own knowledge book for example.

    People with normal intelligence are oftentimes afraid that they might seem dumb when not getting something right away and they have adapted to this by showing no interest (hey that is boring, so I do not have to learn it).
    Tell them that this stuff is really cool and try to motivate them by being a role model for them. Present the content in different ways to keep it interesting.

    In my experience the inter human communication and establishment of a relaxed working atmosphere was very important.
  3. Nico

    Nico Well-Known Member IQ: 140+

    Mathematics and Physics. My students are between 12 and 18 years old. Just to clarify I give lessons additionally to what they do learn in school, which means normally I prepare for exams with them or discuss their current homework.

    In my case, I do not think that this is the problem.

    Sometimes it feels like they do not understand anything. I think it is because they did not pay attention in class. Of course I am trying to formulate what I am saying as simple as possible.

    That sounds really useful. Thanks ;)

    Never heard of a knowledge book. Is that something I should know?

    I always tell them it is really cool, because I believe myself that this things are cool. The problem is that not all teachers in school are like me and there is the fact that the teacher gives 4 times more lessons to a student than me. So if they lose their interest in the subject in school, it is not that easy for me to convince them that it is actually cool.

    I guess this is something, that will surely improve with more experience.
  4. Creedinger

    Creedinger Well-Known Member IQ: 120+

    One common problem I have encountered is that they did not pay attention at some earlier point thus missing some basics.

    Motivation needs to be applied even in the face of uttermost frustration ;)

    I would almost do it by an algorithm

    Start with motivation
    When bored motivate
    When getting motivated stop current activity
    When Getting bored stop current activity
    When time is over motivate for 3 mir minutes then exit
    When motivated teach a

    I made this up.

    I usually translate formulas into common language to give them another approach as well as drawing diagrams and stuff.

    The idea is that they write this down on a piece of paper or booklet to have a short encyclopedia of the content.

    I did not teach physics but I think this subject is very well suited.
    Nico likes this.
  5. TheGreat

    TheGreat Active Member Claimed IQ: 130+

    I feel your pain, I get pretty frustrated when they do not understand and I hate repeating myself but, you have to be patient with them, do not assume they know what you are talking about so, keep asking them questions frequently.

    Lastly, if you don't want them to lose interest in the subject, you have to give real life examples, input funny names in the problem. E.g. The Joker has to carry 16 bombs to his van, if he can only carry 3 at a time, how many times would he have to walk back and forth? People with average IQs want to have fun, so make it fun. if you make it fun enough, I bet my right kidney, they wont forget.:ROFLMAO::thumbsup:
    Solaire and Nico like this.
  6. WheatieMuncher

    WheatieMuncher Well-Known Member IQ: 120+

    The first thing that comes to mind is making heuristic devices, like acronyms and analogies, to simplify the concepts that you're trying to teach and make them easier to remember, kind of like the memory palace.

    High school teachers use these things often in math and science, like KPCOFGS, King Philip Came Over For Good Soup, to remember the basics of taxonomy, or likening the mitochondria to a powerhouse to help students remember it's role in the cell.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
    Nico likes this.
  7. Solaire

    Solaire Well-Known Member IQ: 140+

    Yep, adding emotions definitely works to get a better grip on the material. It might work even better if you try and add something from their own interests to the subject. That'll not only make them more enthusiastic, it will also make it easier for them to consume the material. This is what I usually do when explaining something to people or children, I try to involve their interests into the material.
    Bright1 likes this.
  8. Veku

    Veku Active Member Unclaimed IQ

    I am said to be a better teacher than my own teachers... The problem is most people have mental blocks and repulsions.
    There are always ways to work around cumbersome terminologies. Mnemonics, for example, soh cah toa for trigonometry.

    Demonstrating real life examples of problems such as the formation of equations and balancing in an interactive and creative manner is essential.
    If you can avoid using sophisticated words and terminologies then please do just that.
    There are always different methods to do the same thing.
    Equalizations for example- are repulsive for anyone who doesn't particularly like maths.Starting off by telling them why you have to add/subtract on both sides to remove a term from one side and move it to the other side whilst maintaining the equation is a bad approach.
    You simply need them to understand that the signs (+,-, roots etc.) change to their opposite signs when you move a term to the other side of the equation; only after letting them get familiar with its application, should you explain to them why this happens.
    Doing this, while you subtly appreciate their abilities will aid in them gaining confidence and hence eliminate their mental blocks. I have never taken tuitions but I have helped some very daft people.

    The best way to teach is to act as a friend. Act dull/condescending, and it may very well be at the expense of a bright kid developing a firm repulsion
    Artemisia, Beyonders and Nico like this.
  9. Needo

    Needo Active Member IQ: 140+

    There is a vast difference between teaching and tutoring. I spent the first part of my "adult" life teaching and tutoring mathematics at the college level. Tutoring is a very intensive process that you will spend more time learning how the student thinks then actually presenting information. This is done by having the student do various problems and questioning them on why they made the choices that they did. (It is particularly difficult to not ask leading questions while doing so.) After having them doing this for better than half of the time, I generally spent about 10% of the time explaining how to think of the problems in terms that they would relate to. The remaining 30% of time was spent putting the new methods to practice. A typical session would generally go through 2 to 4 of these cycles within an hour. These sessions were very exhausting but rewarding as well. From personal experience, I will say that I always learned more from the session than my students. Not necessarily about the subject, but more about different approaches to the subject, and about how people think in general. This experience led me to believe that most people could advance well into any subject despite not having a high IQ.

    Teaching broke my heart! Unlike tutoring, when you are teaching you have to focus on presenting the information to a large number of people who will not get the opportunity to know. I would spend a smaller part of the class asking and answering questions and more time working examples and explaining

    (just got called for work will finish the post within a day)
    Caro and Mohsin like this.
  10. Mohsin

    Mohsin Well-Known Member IQ: 140+

    I have tutored students with a range of abilities and I agree that tutoring intellectually advanced students is far easier than tutoring less intellectually able ones. Understanding the fact that students learn by different methods according to their own train of thought is important. In my experience, the focus should be on increasing conceptual understanding in such a way that the student can "apply" the concept. The best method in my opinion is to explain a concept diagrammatically because some of the 'weaker' students might be better suited to learn with visual representation of the concepts. Even if you are addressing a complicated concept, there are various ways to break it down conceptually and represent it visually to facilitate understanding. The key is to break down the concept in such a way that makes it easy to grasp; the simpler the explanation, the better.
    Artemisia and Caro like this.
  11. WheatieMuncher

    WheatieMuncher Well-Known Member IQ: 120+

    Use hand puppets.
    Artemisia likes this.
  12. Needo

    Needo Active Member IQ: 140+

    how to approach the problems. The biggest obstacle with this approach was the fact that there are usually multiple ways to solve the same problem. And, the easiest method for one student was not necessarily the easiest way for another student to solve the same problem. I would try to give examples of different ways to solve the same problem during lecture when it was applicable. (quadratics come to mind) I should have known that this was going to be a disaster, because in public schools, there was generally one accepted method of solving a problem. Any deviation from the accepted method would earn you a deduction on your grade or possibly an accusation of cheating. I understand now that it has to be this way because a sizable percentage of our math teachers lack a real understanding of mathematics. Thus, they are incapable of promoting an understanding in their students. I have tutored students in remedial mathematics that have gone on to finish their second semester in calculus without the need for tutoring in their latter classes. Most of the early work in tutoring consisted in stripping out the damage that was caused by inadequate learning institutions.

    IQ does help. But, motivation and a fair work ethic can usually make up the shortfall in most cases. I do "weakly" apologize for the rant. Education has been a sore subject with me for some time. It has been about 12 years since I have taught a course. And, I don't ever plan on teaching anything again in any official capacity.

    To answer Nico's original question: Concentrate on understanding the student and you can tailor your teaching to suit the student. As you get more students at one time, this will no longer apply, and someone is going to draw the short stick. I am afraid it is up to you to inadvertently decide who it is. The right answer depends on what "you" want. All choices have consequences.
    Bright1, Caro and AguirresPriest like this.
  13. Needo

    Needo Active Member IQ: 140+

    What about Bob?
  14. Nico

    Nico Well-Known Member IQ: 140+

    Agree, made the same experience. Now, I try to stay as close to the way that is an accepted solution of the problem. One of my students is actually very intelligent. His parents told me, that a psychologist told them that he is gifted, which made me assume, that he took an IQ-test and scored high. The strange thing is, that he has trouble in mathematics. There are two reasons for it. The first one is his terrible work ethic, but maybe he is not really to blame for it, because from his point of view, what they are doing in school is not interesting. The second reason is, that he is not allowed to solve problems in his own way. I saw several of the exams he got returned and a lot of times he got zero points, because the end result was not right, but actually he was really close to the correct result, but the teacher did not understand, what he was doing.

    In my experience people with a higher IQ are usually also easier to motivate, because they make more progress in the same time of effort. The work ethic can really make a huge difference. I do not think that people with a lower IQ are able to understand a subject in the same depth as people with a higher one, but if you look at the grades, I would say a good work ethic is more important, than a high IQ.
    Caro likes this.
  15. Preacherbob

    Preacherbob Well-Known Member Unclaimed IQ

    It's been my experience that when the question of "why" is answered to the fullest satisfaction of the student, practically any student will start to willingly learn.
    One of the first questions coming from any child is *why* and as we grow older, our brains are still in the same mode no matter what the task may be.

    When I was very young, I hated civics class because it didn't fit with everything I wanted to learn. Who the heck needs to know about how a politician becomes a president or the difference between a house and a home when my whole world was science and math?
    When my science instructor got wind that I wasn't doing well in civics class, he explained to me some things in a real life scenario exampling the ability of the government to offer grants to science and math projects that might change the world's future. Without the proper people in office then such grants might not be available. That wasn't all he said but the bottom line is that I suddenly got an interest in how the government runs and aced the class from then on.

    "Just because" does not answer the question of why and until that question is answered very few average students will carry home a good report.
    Moloch likes this.
  16. WheatieMuncher

    WheatieMuncher Well-Known Member IQ: 120+

    It's about time you got an avatar.
    Preacherbob likes this.
  17. Preacherbob

    Preacherbob Well-Known Member Unclaimed IQ

    Yes, I realize that my introduction was sans avatar. Getting old does have it's drawbacks in that I thought it would be appropriate to shake hands before I set up the fa├žade. But then, perhaps I was just in a hurry to get to the end and sit for a short while with a nice vanilla custard Cavendish and a bit of dry sac.
    Either way, my avatar and I are both here awaiting a highly educational journey.
    Bright1 likes this.
  18. Chuck

    Chuck Active Member Claimed IQ: 150+

    I have been there and feel your pain, lol. The way I have engaged this issue is to use a theory I've developed called "Dual (duel) Objectives. The play on words is that in some cases, the objectives seem to duel for resources.

    Dual Objectives says there are 2 issues in play, not just teaching. Imho there is a blend of teaching and training involved. I would suggest that the smarter the student, the more teaching can take place, but still solid training as well. For the less talented, more training must be used, but still teaching when you can.

    When can you teach? Imo, you can really only teach well when you can get the student to form the questions in their minds. Without the question up front, there is little for the student to do with the information you share. When the student shows up alert and full of questions, teaching is easy, right? When the student is just following your instruction with no questions, teaching falls mostly on deaf ears in my experience. Not much will be retained.

    How do we get students to form questions? For me, again I use Dual Objectives. I devise mentally challenging training exercises, and mix in questions of my own. These exercises and questions are formulated for the purpose of creating questions in the students mind. When they struggle with the exercise and get hit with a probing question, then you will often get a question back in return (if they don't surprise you with a good answer). A big part of training is a reward system. They asked a question and now they are rewarded for that question; which often not only makes them comfy with asking more, but even motivated to seek more reward. A reward could be a candy or even just a sincere look of being impressed and pleased. Once you can draw the questions from them, now you have an entrance to their mind where you can store quite a bit of info.

    With the student that isn't as bright, Imo there will need to be more training exercises, so keep them as interesting as possible and teach what you can. With the brighter students, you can teach a good amount, but don't neglect the critical training they need to lock things down.
    Hope this helps!

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