# Free Tips/Videos

# End Math Struggles with NLP

**April 10th, 2013** by Tony Barlow

When people contact me online via Skype, or in person at my 1-2-1 sessions in the UAE, 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 !

## IN THIS ARTICLE

- 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

## THE TYPICAL SOLUTION? – GET A MATHS TUTOR

Having a math tutor is the obvious solution for students math issues, 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.

## THERE IS ANOTHER WAY – MODELING EXCELLENT MATH STUDENTS

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.

## THE TOP FOUR REASONS STUDENTS STRUGGLE WITH MATH

- 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.
- 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. - 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.
- 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.

## MENTAL STRATEGIES OF TOP MATH STUDENTS

- 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.
- 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.
- 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.

## HOW TO TEACH ANY STUDENT TO THINK LIKE A MATH WHIZ

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.

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.

Thanks

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.

Example:

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.

Tony

July 31, 2013 at 8:45 am, Manal said:

Hi..um 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,

Cindy

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.

Tony