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Math Tutor in Dubai – End Math Struggles with NLP

April 10th, 2013 by Tony Barlow

Math Tutor in Dubai-abu-dhabi

When people contact me regarding my 1-2-1 coaching sessions, or if they are looking for a Math Tutor in Dubai I often hear the following comments:
“I have a fear of numbers”
“I hate Math”
“I don’t have a Math type brain”
“My daughter is doing fine in school apart from Math”
“I’m just about to enter university and I’m scared that I won’t be able to handle the math”

Since I get so many requests for help with Math I thought I would write this article to explain some of the reasons I have found as to why some people struggle with Math and what the solutions are using NLP.

My approach using NLP is to look at what’s going on inside a persons thinking process, how they think about math and what the person does inside their mind when they are learning math is what is producing the poor result you see on the outside.

When you change what a person is doing INSIDE their mind, you can change their math ability ! Many students who are using a math tutor in Dubai, or wherever, don’t actually need one, they just need to learn how to think in the same way as a student who is successful at math !


  • Why maths tutoring may not work
  • The NLP approach – ‘Modeling Excellence’
  • The top 4 reasons students struggle with math
  • Mental strategies of top math students


Having a math tutor is the obvious solution for students math issues and there are many students who hire a math tutor in Dubai, but in some cases this does not solve the problem. Especially if you have no idea how to think about math in a way that works.

More practice without changing how you use your mind, will help only a little.


The NLP ‘Modeling Excellence’ approach that I take goes like this.

-Find students who love math, find it easy and are getting successful results without to much effort.

-Uncover what their attitudes and beliefs about math are and their internal mental processes while they are learning math.

-Teach students who struggle with math how to think like an excellent math student.

Students who excel in math have a way of thinking about math that allows them to understand what they are doing and memorize the methods and formulas.

IĀ runĀ individual coaching sessions in the UAE or on Skype, please contact me to find out more.


  1. Students who struggle almost always do not have a good mental strategy to learn,understand and practice new math concepts and terminology. So when it comes to exam time instead of understanding what they are doing they simply guess at what calculations to make in a random hit or miss way.
  2. Students who struggle in math do not have a good mental strategy for learning their math facts. Times tables, basic addition, subtraction that should be automatic and unconscious is still a tedious and slow process.
    This is very easy to correct and usually takes no more that 2 weeks to catch up on these basic facts once the student is using an effective mental strategy.
  3. Some students have developed Negative Beliefs about their ability to learn math well. “I’m not good at Math”, “I’m not a math type of person” etc. These beliefs come from continually failing at the subject. These type of beliefs if left uncorrected will often completely block any attempt to improve their abilities.
  4. Some students have been traumatized towards learning math because of past bad experiences such as another person/teacher telling them they are useless at math. Failing badly in tests etc.
    These students will automatically go into a bad mood/state even at the mention of the word ‘Math’ which of course blocks their ability to learn or perform well and needs to be corrected.


  1. Students who do well in math typically have a good mental strategy when they are learning new math concepts. They often visualize a new concept in their mind in a way that allows them to understand and remember the concepts and terminology easily.
  2. They have fully memorized their math facts such as times tables, addition, subtraction to an unconscious level in other words they don’t need to think to much about the answer to 9×7=, 7+8=, the correct answer just pops into their mind because it is no longer a conscious process.
  3. Because they have good mental strategies that work for learning math. These students have seen lots of evidence to show that they are good at maths therefore their attitudes and beliefs towards math are positive.


This is where the wonderful technology of NLP comes in. NLP allows you to uncover the thought process of students who are struggling in math and then teach them much better ways of using their mind so they can be successful.

There are 2 things a student needs to excel in Math.

  • Math facts such as times tables and simple mental calculations need to be unconscious and fast. Some students never learn their math facts properly and it drags them down and makes everything slower.
  • An effective mental strategy for memorizing and understanding new math concepts and formulas.

Most of the mental strategies I teach students in order to improve their math abilities come from a lady who was a ‘Math Genius’, She won awards for Math throughout her school life and had a way of memorizing concepts and formulas the first time the teacher explained them or the first time she read them in the book and she ‘had it’ from then on.

If you are interested in knowing more please leave a comment below as to what area of Math you or your child are having difficulty with and I’ll write a reply giving more specific steps to take.

14 Responses to “Math Tutor in Dubai – End Math Struggles with NLP”

May 26, 2013 at 7:45 am, Ghazala Sajid said:

my son is 7 years old and always mixes up word problems of multiplication, division and addition ,subtraction. For Example, he does addition for a multiplication requiring sum. how should we overcome this problem of mixing one thing with another.


May 26, 2013 at 9:34 am, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Ghazala, Difficulties solving word problems in Math is something I come across on a regular basis. Taking the NLP approach I have compared the internal thought process of students who find word problems easy to those who struggle.
This is what I have found:
9 times out of 10 when a student is struggling, they are not visualizing the problem inside their mind, so they don’t really understand what they are doing. Also the way solving word problems is taught in school messes a lot of students up. In schools they will probably be taught to “Look for numbers”, “Look for keywords”, “Decide what calculation to do” or something similar to this.
There are 2 forks. There are 3 more knives than there are forks. There are twice as many spoons as there are knives. How many pieces in all ?

Some students based on what they have been told in school will simply look at the 2 and the 3, then when they see the keyword ‘all’ they will add them together 2 + 3 is 5. So they are basically guessing without understanding what they are doing.

Here is the strategy of a student who is successful with word problems:
There are 2 forks. (Visualize 2 forks, and I suggest draw them on the paper) There are 3 more knives than forks (Visualize what that means, and then draw the 5 knives, or just write the number 5) There are twice as many spoons as knives (Visualize what that means and draw it or write down the number 10) How many in all ? 2+5+10 Now its easy to answer.

This is the problem 9 times out of 10 with word problems. I have had other students who mix up the symbols themselves, so inside their mind they are not sure of the differnce between a x or a + etc. This is a different issue. Hope this helps. Call me for a Skype chat if I can help you more.


June 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm, zoe green said:

We will be relocating to Abu Dhabi this fall and my 10th grade son will be homeschooled. We are seeking tutoring services.

Please respond, letting us know what you provide and your fees.

Kind Regards,

Zoe Green


June 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Zoe, Thanks for your interest I will respond to you by email.


July 31, 2013 at 8:45 am, Manal said: im a 9th grade student going to 10th grade now,I study in the British system so i’ll be giving my O’levels soon.I am hopeless at Maths and just pass every year but I am aiming for an A* so I cant aford that anymore.I live in Abu Dhabi and I would greatly appreciate it if you could get back to me regarding how much you charge.
Thank you.


July 31, 2013 at 6:38 pm, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Manal, I charge Dh300 per hour. I will teach you how to think in the same way as top maths students do. Once you are learning math in an efficient way the chances are you won’t need a math tutor going forward. 3-5 sessions with me and you should be on your way.
I will teach you the following skills:
-How to memorize math concepts and formulas in a way you can understand what you are doing and can keep the concepts and formulas in memory.
-How to study something once and then set up a memory review schedule so that you don’t have to go back and re learn before a test.
-How to catch up on your basic math quickly if that’s something that you have missed.
I will contact you when I come back to UAE in early September and we can have a chat on the phone.
Speak to you then,
Thanks for contacting me,
Tony Barlow


October 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm, Cindy Krolnik said:

Hi! My son is taking clSses online through private school. He was in public school. Having difficulty with orgaization skills and math. He has ADHD. I had him diagnosed last year for dyslexia. He has a mild case of it. He is a freshman. Our local public school is all Pre- AP AP classes. Its very much a college prep school. All kids in 8 th grade are doing Algebra1 . He got through Algebra1 last year with a lot of work. This year with his new online program he is taking Algebra 2 with geometry intertwind. Saxon math. He is on the IEP program. Which reduces the work load. He is really struggling with math. Hates it! We need help with math.
He struggles eith Spanish 2 this year as well. Any suggestions would be greatful .
Thank you,


October 27, 2013 at 8:13 pm, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Cindy,
Without actually meeting your son I can’t give you an exact solution but based on my experience this is what is likely happening with your son.
-ADHD and Dyslexia issues need to be addressed first. There are NLP interventions that can help him to focus his mind and get rid of any Dyslexia distortions. Keep in mind that these issues are correctable in many cases with NLP.
Being able to focus his mind is obviously critical for organization and learning effectively.

-The second thing I would do is to teach him effective ways to use his mind in order to learn math. And get rid of his limiting beliefs, by now he probably believes that he does not have ‘math ability’ and has lost some confidence. Math ability is not innate and can be taught and this type of belief can be reversed.
As well as teaching him HOW to learn math, organizing how he is reviewing what he has already learned is critical, otherwise he will get overwhelmed with the amount of work.

I would be willing to chat with you on Skype and give you some more specific advice if you would like.
Tony Barlow


November 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm, jamal said:

Hello Tony, this is jamal from beirut lebanon .I’m a university student,and iam suffering from dyscalculia from childhood but know one seem to recognized so i would like to ask you if you know some one who can help me by private tutoring. Thank you for reading this and best regards


November 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Jamal, Often Dyscalculia issues can be caused by ineffective mental strategies for Math which can be corrected and improved. Tutoring is a good idea but I would solve your issues with math and then start the tutoring.
I would go for an online tutoring company as they tend to be available 24hrs per day and more reasonably priced.
I would be happy to help you get past your math issues, I offers sessions by Skype.


September 11, 2015 at 10:10 am, Sally draki said:

Hi i am sally I am grade 7 and I am in chouiefat school in Dubai I am looking for private math teacher I have algebra as my math task I live in Dubai Marina


September 11, 2015 at 10:28 am, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Sally,
I offer individual coaching for Math at my office near to Mall of the Emirates.
Please ask your parents to contact me and we can set up a first meeting.
Click Here for more information, what I do goes beyond math tutoring. I will teach you the thinking process of someone who is excellent at math so that in the future you will be able to easily handle any type of math.


January 05, 2017 at 3:47 am, Pia said:

Hi, My daughter is 7 and she’s falling behind in maths. Today I asked her 1+3 and she said Shen hates doing near doubles because she can’t do it. As per your example she says pictures her fingers in her head and counts on those. She counts from 1 every time even when the problem is 7+8. She takes ages to answer simple numbers. She has rote learned number facts but doesn’t seem to remember she knows them or recognise when she needs to use them. She can use blocks and concrete materials it’s the abstract she has trouble with. please help with some strategies here.


January 05, 2017 at 9:53 am, Tony Barlow said:

Hi, What matters is what your daughter is doing inside her thinking process while doing math. If you teach her specifically how to visualize and what to visualize she will likely be fine.
Something like near doubles requires that you already have your doubles memorized.
Anyway do the following in the following order:
1- Check she can count up starting from any number. So say 7, and she should count 8,9,10,11…. Say 9 and she should count 10,11,12….. If not then practice this until she is comfortable and smooth.
2- Using the chart I sent to you by email. Have her memorize the numbers with the dots next to them exactly as they are on the page. Until she can write them from 1 to 7 with the dots next to the numbers. 8 and 9 no need really.
3- Then have her look at something like 4 + 3= on paper (with 3 dots on the 3) and have her count up starting from 4 and then point to the dots on the 3 and count up. So, “4” 5,6,7. Do a few of these on paper with the dots next to the smaller number.
4- THE IMPORTANT PART. After she can easily add small numbers on the page, Ask her to visualize 4 + 3 with 3 dots on the 3. “Pretend you can see 4+3 up here and put the 3 dots on the 3.” “Now count 4, 5,….”

This will probably take 20 mins or less.
Just stay with each step until she is smooth and easy, building her confidence with the successes.
After a while she won’t need the dots anymore and she will know automatically what 4+3 is etc.

Here is my best tip going forward:
Whatever you are doing in math, lets use near doubles as an example. LOOK INSIDE YOUR OWN MIND (Slow down and notice) how you do near doubles. What specifically are you visualizing and saying in your thought process.
5+5 would be a double and 5+6 is a near double.
For 5+6 I imagine 1 floating away from the 6, and the 5+5 automatically changes into 10. So then I can see 10 1 =11
This assumes that 5+5=10 is thoroughly memorized.
So then you can say to your daughter “Imagine 5+6, see 1 floating away from the 6 then see 10 1”

Stick with the dots first until she is very comfortable before doing anything else, things need to be easy enough to always be succeeding.

If you are certain that your daughter is doing the above correctly and she is still having trouble, she may be having trouble visualizing. For example when she visualizes 4+3. The 3 disappears ! or moves. This is a different problem and she first needs to learn how to visualize steady and still images.
If learning to visualize steady and still images is difficult or impossible then she may have a more extreme learning difficulty.
Most students do not have learning difficulties they just need to be taught effective thinking strategies.

If you need clarification or more help just let me know,


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