Feb 17, 2018 | Newport Beach

Teachable Moments

By Jasmin Mortazavi

I recall when I was going through my masters program for education, one of my professors talked about the importance of teachable moments and it has stuck with me ever since.  As a parent and educator I know that teachable moments are happening on a daily basis.  For my daughter as I  change her clothes and put her arms in her sleeves and count off each arm, I know that my daughter is learning to connect the concept of counting from such a simple teachable moment, as putting on her clothes.  When my son was in first grade and asked about multiplication, I knew that this moment was the foundation of what was to come.  From that moment, I taught him that multiplication is repeated addition and when we were in the car we would do basic problems to strengthen the foundation.  Once he was in third grade, he learned his math facts with such ease that it only confirmed the importance of teachable moments for me.  

Now as the proud owner of Mathnasium of Newport Beach, I try to implement teachable moments for my students.  Showing them the connections in math perhaps earlier then they are ready, however, when they are ready they recall the discussion or interaction we had about that particular concept.  This is one element that makes Mathnasium of Newport Beach stand apart from any tutoring out there.  We are not just putting a bandaid on current struggles but are handling the deeper underlying issues and then preparing the students for things to come.  We look for teachable moments to develop the students’ natural math ability.

I noticed an instructor working with one of the 2nd graders on developing her understanding on money while showing her the real coins that we have in the center.  Following the instructor’s great session with the student, I saw a teachable moment stand out.  I asked the student whether they had ever seen a half dollar before today.  And the young girl shared that she had never encountered the coin before.  So I asked her if she knew why it was called a half dollar and she said she did not.  We discussed the value of one dollar and how much half of a dollar is.  From that one teachable moment, the student learned that a dollar is 100 cents and that half of that is 50 cents, which is why a half dollar has been named such.  

Moments like this teach kids that math is logical and natural.  It is not random but there is a reason behind it all.  Math tutoring does not provide this sort of exposure to teachable moments.  Mathnasium of Newport Beach highly values such moments and looks for them.  A tutor will handle the nights homework, while an instructor at Mathnasium of Newport Beach will look to the future for what will benefit the child.  Teachable moments are happening all day long and as a parent one should keep their eyes open for them.