What do you think of when you hear the words “Leaving Cert”? For most Irish students, the Leaving Cert means hours of study and piles of books and copies. Higher level maths is often seen as one of the most challenging Leaving Cert subjects, but since joining Adaptemy as a study advisor I have learned that maths can be much easier and more enjoyable than it seems.
Adaptemy takes a different approach to Leaving Cert maths, and its online sessions are unlike any resources I had when I was building skills and confidence for my own Leaving Cert in 2013. I joined Adaptemy in December 2013, six months after my own Leaving Cert exams.
With that experience fresh in my mind, the first thing that struck me was how different the system is to other online learning platforms. Online grinds typically involve a teacher broadcasting to a group of students with little or no interaction during the class, and this format can be tedious and one-sided.
I feel that encouraging interaction and creating a different learning environment are key to tackling these problems. My role as a study advisor is to connect with students and teachers, supporting interaction and progress as the session unfolds. Leaving Cert maths has changed hugely since the introduction of Project Maths, and my goal is to help students to adapt to these changes and adopt a different approach to their learning. Adaptemy sessions are live and exciting, creating a different environment to schools and grinds schools.
My fellow study advisors and I welcome students and introduce their expert teachers for each session, regularly checking in during taught topics, independent work, and exam walkthroughs. Staying in contact with our students as they progress through different topics allows study advisors to give instant advice and encouragement, and seeing students grow in skill and confidence throughout the year is incredibly rewarding. Different notes and walkthroughs are provided after each session, and students can work on the system between sessions using personalised online questions and solutions.
I have found that independent work is one of the most effective ways of tackling topics in Leaving Cert maths, and our system allows students to work independently with the support of different teachers and study advisors.
One of the things that has impressed me most about Adaptemy is the dynamic and adaptive nature of the system. Thanks to instant feedback from our students, each live session is different; student requests keep us study advisors on our toes! The teachers are always happy to focus on your needs, and each flexible tutorial can be focused on a different area of difficulty for one or more students. Feedback from students and teachers over time also influences the overall format and content of Adaptemy sessions. Changes are made to the tutorials and the system in response to the needs and requests of each student, ensuring that students are always the getting tailored support they need.
One of the most rewarding experiences as a study advisor is engaging with different students who have benefitted from my help before their exams. A particularly intense session was our last one before the beginning of the Leaving Cert in 2014. We went through a long string of exam walkthroughs, and seeing the speed and confidence with which the students answered each question highlighted the difference that the team and I had made in their learning. I finished off the session by wishing the students well in their exams, and I almost felt as though I was watching them fly the nest!
Connecting with different students over the course of their exam preparation allows me to get to know them as both students and people. Because I know only too well how it feels to be a Leaving Cert student, I try to provide every Adaptemy student with the necessary skills and confidence to ace their exams in June. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to different and interesting maths tuition when I was in school, but I love being able to create that environment for others as they tackle their own Leaving Cert exams.