Archive for May, 2012

Teaching Bright Kids to Slow Down

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

-Albert Einstein

I’m sitting with 14-year-old Emma; we’re doing her algebra homework side by side. We started at the same time, but I’m on problem #3 and she’s already on #8.

Does that surprise you? After all, I’m the math tutor who has been doing this stuff for decades. And I’m not purposely trying to work slowly. Emma really is mentally faster than me.

I’m used to this by now. I work with many teens with super-high IQs who process information at lightening speed. Why on earth do they need a tutor?

Emma glances over at my paper. My work is in neat columns. All the steps are written out. Emma sees that her answers differ from mine on problems #1 and #3. She notices that she’s dropped a negative sign in problem #1. And she left out part of the equation in problem #3 because she didn’t bother to write it down; she was “doing it in her head.”

She goes back and fixes her errors; by now I’m on problem #6.


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