Advice from MLC Math Experts

Advice from MLC Math Experts

At MEK, our instructors are the heart and soul of every class and program we offer. MEK instructors are trained, certified professionals in their specific field of study. So, you can rest assured that your child is receiving the best instruction, materials, and support to guide them on their academic or admissions journey to math skills.

With middle school students, making sure they are building strong study habits and learning useful problem solving strategies and number sense skills is essential. And our MLC Math Programs curricula puts those essential skills as core objectives for instruction.

We talked to a few of our MLC Math instructors, Elise Kim and Rebekah Shore, to give you an inside look into the MLC classroom. Read on to learn how they build math skills, keep students engaged, and prepare students for tough high school admissions tests.

Boosting Confidence in Math Skills

Building confidence in students is a big part of teaching. How can students build math skills and boost their confidence?

Elise Kim: The most important thing students can do to build math skills is to practice what they learn in class outside of class. Students cannot have the mindset that simply attending class is enough to understand concepts sufficiently. Becoming a strong math student requires ample time applying learned strategies to a variety of problem types during independent study sessions. Students must review their notes and practice what they learned in order to see progress. That’s when the confidence comes, when they know they’ve put in effort into driving their own progress and see that their understanding has improved because of it.

I always try to make my students feel comfortable reaching out for help as well. I tell them that everyone learns at a different pace, so it’s important to take advantage of extra help sessions with the teacher if something isn’t clicking.

Rebekah Shore: It’s very important to meet the students where they are skill-wise. As a teacher in a group setting, knowing each students’ abilities requires you to pay close attention to and to analyze student scores. That way you are able to give students the extra time and attention they may need. At MEK, we have office hours outside of class where students can meet one-on-one with their teacher for individualized support. 

Growth mindset is also essential for becoming confident in math. If you meet students at their current level, whether that’s above or below grade level, and give them experiences where they are successful at that level, then you can begin to build up their skills.

The pacing of the summer curriculum moves quickly. Sometimes it’s hard for students to keep up. But if you give them practice with math problems at their current level, they build confidence and persistence.

Student Engagement with Math Skills

What’s your key to student engagement in the classroom?

Rebekah Shore: My main strategy to help engage students is to give each student personalized attention and praise. I make sure to acknowledge when students do something really well in front of the other students. I’ve found that this boosts their confidence in their math skills and is a strategy that I can employ in both the virtual and in-person classrooms. 

Students are motivated when they see one of their peers being praised. They want that praise for themselves. So, it reinforces positive skills both in math and in the classroom. For example, if I praise a student for remembering what we learned in a prior class and applying it to our current lessons, the other students will be inspired to do what that student did.

BCA Prep Math vs. MLC Math

What sets BCA Prep apart from other programs?

Elise Kim: The BCA Prep program sets high expectations for students. The best I can describe it is tough love. We don’t want to accept anything but the best from our students. It is their futures that are being built. We work with young minds at an age where some are not yet experienced with disciplining and dedicating themselves toward such a significant concrete goal. In this case, admission into top high schools. We teach students how to apply specific, proven strategies when encountering challenging question types, help them build test endurance through a strong mindset, and instill reliable study habits that we hope they will carry with them long after their time in the program is completed.

Advice for the ISEE

Persistence is key for succeeding on tough admissions exams. Do you have any advice for students taking the ISEE?

Rebekah Shore: Every student, but especially younger students, need to be cognizant and reflective of their progress. Students should be looking at their scores and tracking their progress with each practice test they take. They need to track patterns within their scoring and recognize what’s creating those patterns. Then, they need to ask themselves whether or not they are improving and what’s causing their scores to go up or down. They can create a plan that addresses the answers to those questions.

For example, if a student is exhausted by the time they get to section four of the ISEE, that is what’s causing their score to be low. They need to think of ways to prevent that test fatigue from occurring. Do they need to take more little mental breaks throughout the first sections of the test? Students need to track and be reflective about their progress, especially younger students.

Next Steps

MEK’s expert instructors are excited to work with your child to build the academic skills that yield amazing results in the classroom and create a lifelong love of learning.

Interested in our MEK Learning Circles program?

Take the first step in the MLC registration process by signing up for our free, virtual MEK Learning Circles Evaluation Test. Our MLC Evaluation Test is taken from the comfort of your home computer through our Canvas platform at no cost to you! You’ll also receive our signature score report via email that details your child’s academic standing in core subject areas of English and Math and a free consultation for course recommendations and next steps with our MLC Program Director, Ms. Binal Patel.

MEK wants to make our amazing results your amazing results. Contact us today to get started!

Robyn Neilsen

Robyn Neilsen is a Content Writer for MEK Review. She was a dedicated English teacher in the New Jersey public school system for 13 years and is passionate about sharing resources, content, and tips for students and parents.


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