I would like some assistance in how to explain different concepts such that they are in line with the way taught in school. I don’t want to confuse the client by teaching in different ways as it might create more doubts.


This is a very valid concern. Giving the student too many methods and techniques while they are still just trying to grasp the concept is likely to create more confusion. The real question becomes about how you should figure out the methods being taught at school.

  • You could simply ask the student. Although they are unlikely to know everything 100% they should be able to point you to their class notes. Some students may not have many class notes which is a separate problem and you should encourage them and show them how to take notes.


  • If there are no class notes which directly show what the teacher is doing, the next best source is a student’s textbook. While a teacher’s methods will not necessarily match up with the methods outlined in the school’s maths textbook, much of the time the methods will be aligned. Either way, the textbook will typically use methods which are common or popular at this point in time. So if you are concerned that the way you learned a particular concept may be being taught differently in the student’s school, the textbook can point you in the right direction.


  • You can always ask the student’s parents if they have access to any handouts the teacher may have given, past test papers with worked solutions, curriculum or syllabus notes etc


  • Another option is simply to ask the teacher. If you wish to contact the student’s teacher you will need the client’s permission first.


While your concern is certainly valid, in practice mismatching methods is not usually a big problem. Every teacher has their own way of teaching each concept and it is impossible that you (or anyone else) will perfectly match a teacher’s methods. Assuming the student pays some attention in class they will at the very least be aware if the method you are using seems out of tune with what they have been doing in class. If you see that the student seems absolutely unfamiliar with your approach then you can ask them how their teacher does it, look in their workbook or textbook as mentioned above etc. Tutoring assignments usually last at least several months and it is not practical to worry about how a student’s teacher goes about every single bit of maths.  It’s only a problem if the student is getting confused. Also, remember that comprehension of concepts is the most important thing. If the student understands the concepts behind formulas it will not matter as much which methods they are using and they will be able to switch between methods quite easily.

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