Between the summer of 1665 and the spring of 1667, to escape the plague affecting Cambridge, Sir Isaac newton returned to Woolsthorpe twice. During that period, he also invented calculus and contributing significantly to the mathematics and science community. Though we may not have reach the level of inquisition that Sir Isaac Newton had during this lockdown period, things have significantly changed for schools, tuition centers and students alike.
At the beginning of the lockdown, schools and tuition centers were closed. Some students might find it difficult to find tutors to consult about their queries and may have been more accustomed to the face-to-face consultations in schools. Moreover, tuition centers could not hold physical lessons and some might feel that this eroded the physical touch of the tutor. Additionally, though some might feel that the comfort of home is better for studying, others lose their motivation. In the case of H2 math tuition, tutors might find it hard to teach and monitor the progress of the students initially and delivering physical notes to students during the lockdown proved to be another challenge.
However, A Level math tuition centers persevered to give quality content to their students. some centers would record the lesson and post it online, while others would hold lessons on online video conference calls. Having live lessons meant that tutors could immediately respond to any queries made by students and dissect the problem till the student fully understands the solution. Moreover, lessons retained the personal touch as tutors are able to constantly monitor the students’ body language to gauge how well the student understands certain topic and slow down their lessons if the need ever arises. Tuition centres that leverage on such calls could also maintain the level of engagement between tutor and tutee, making sure that the lesson is not just a boring lecture.
During this lockdown, understanding that students might find it difficult to seek help, social media groups have emerged to offer free online help on academic matters. Platforms like Instagram and reddit have communities of seniors and tutors offering help to juniors and other students whenever possible. You can simply snap a photo of the problem you have and send it to their account. After which they would match the problem to someone who is skilled in the subject and link the helper up with the student. Though their expertise might not match that of a professional H2 math tutor, they are determined to help others solve their problems and understand difficult content.
In addition to having lessons affected, there have also been a cancellation of common topics. In the case of H2 math, that would be correlation and regression. In this topic, students would learn how to find a relationship between 2 variables given certain data points and how correlated the two variables are. It is akin to linear law in O level additional math or drawing the best fit line. Some might feel that it is an easy topic as it is mostly using the graphic calculator and are free marks that are now gone. Others might have a different opinion and view it as a good riddance as they might find it hard to grasp the concept. In my opinion, I feel that it is nevertheless a relevant topic to learn as it is still important to know how to find correlation between two variables, to predict certain results and to find models. I think it would be a good skill to learn for those who are going to further their studies in a field that involves data analysis and the sciences and should pick the skill up after the A Levels.
The lockdown has impacted not only how H2 math is taught and learned, but our lives as well. I hope that this ordeal would be over soon so that we could return to normality, or at least the ‘new normal’.