Updated: Jul 12
Math anxiety is all too common in our schools — even more so after distance learning and the COVID-19 pandemic took kids out of the classroom for more than a year’s time. Thankfully, simple solutions are available to help students feel confident in math, whether they never have before or they simply need a boost after taking such a long break. And peer tutoring is one of the best answers to solving math anxiety in our kids today.
What Is Peer Tutoring?
Peer tutoring is just what it sounds like — when peers teach peers. It includes one student who is well-versed in the material and one who happens to be struggling with that particular topic. It’s informal but effective, allowing kids to get the help they need in a fun and fear-free environment.
Peer tutoring relationships are typically formed by an adult who knows and understands the skillsets of both students. It can take place in-person or online — whatever is easiest for the participants involved.
How Does Peer Tutoring Affect Math Anxiety?
Peer tutoring has been studied time and time again to find its effectiveness in education. It’s also been studied to show its potential to reduce the anxiousness that often comes with learning math.
In one study, 420 middle schoolers, grades 7, 8, and 9, were examined while taking part in peer tutoring. Their instructors were high school students who knew the subject material well.
The statistics showed dramatic improvements in lessening math anxiety among the group that participated in peer tutoring, with no changes at all to the control group, making it extremely clear just how effective this teaching style can be.
Another interesting piece of information is that math anxiety was improved for both skill learning and testing. These two worries are very different from each other, but both can be supported through peer tutoring nonetheless.
There were no differences between age groups or genders, showing that peer tutoring works for students of all kinds.
Along with less worry about math in general, these students showed improvement in their classes, too. This is likely due to the fact that they were no longer concerned about the subject at hand, and they picked up plenty of math knowledge along the way as well.
How Can Peer Tutoring Support Your Child?
If your child struggles with math anxiety (or simply needs some support in any subject area) peer tutoring could be an excellent option to try. It’s been proven effective over and over again as shown above, and its personalized, casual feel makes learning comfortable for students of all ages and ability levels. It could be the solution you’ve been searching for as you aim to support your child with their educational needs.