Why Multisensory Math
Not everyone understands what I mean when I say I am a “multisensory tutor” so I thought I would explain what that means to me.
Foremost is the use of Mortensen Math base ten blocks to build math problems. Building problems with your hands activates more areas of your brain. In very simple terms, the more senses you use when learning something, the more likely you are to remember and understand what you learned.
Maria Montessori hit upon this idea more than 100 years ago. During the 1960s, Jerry Mortensen spent a year in Italy, studying under Mario Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s son. After returning to the USA, Mr. Mortensen was a teacher in a Montessori school. He saw the need to expand the use of Montessori methods to all levels of math, not only the early years. Mortensen Math comes from the Montessori classroom.
So, multisensory tutoring involves using manipulatives to build math problems. In addition to that, students learn to draw pictures of math problems. This step helps with comprehension and reinforces memory. It is another part of the Montessori technique called the Concrete-Representational-Abstract Method.
Also, there are a number of things I do based on reading “brain science” research which have been shown to increase each client’s chances of learning. These include providing gum to chew, meeting in restaurants, tutoring outdoors as often as possible, providing opportunities for movement, and giving clients a choice of several scented hand sanitizers. Clients are allowed to lie down, stand on chairs, work on the floor, swing, bounce, and climb trees as available. Students are provided extra large pencils and dry erase markers for writing, or clients tell me the answers and I write for them. Additionally, bilateral movement and crossing midline exercises are included in my “tool kit.” Meeting a client’s sensory needs is an important part of creating an environment where they are able to learn.
All students can learn math, some just have to work harder at it than others. Base ten blocks make things visually obvious. Using a multisensory approach has been proven to remediate dyslexia and is recommended for students with dyscalculia.
All of these things are incorporated in my interpretation of “multisensory tutoring.” If you think these things will help your student to be more successful, please contact me to discuss how Kirk’s Tutoring may help you.