This might seem like a really strange thing to talk about – how NOT to do maths. Surely it would be better for me to tell you all about how TO do maths. Well, that’s usually my first choice when I’m teaching – but what’s also really important is recognising incorrect, clumsy or just downright bad maths because sometimes you might not realise that something that you’re doing is wrong, or when you’re reading someone else’s work you might feel that something is wrong but not be able to put your finger on it.

Well I’ve made a few videos that go through some of the mistakes that I regularly come across as a maths tutor during my lessons. Each video is only a few minutes long – I’ve given an example of the mistake(s) and then given a corrected version of the calculation or solution. The videos are not intended to be comprehensive in-depth treatments of each topic – the focus here is intended to be on the error; in future I may make some videos about how to do some of these things correctly in more detail but there’s already a million different videos out there that in a lot of cases I can’t really add anything to what is already there. Rest assured, though, that if I have something to contribute then I will do eventually.

These mistakes are 100% genuine and are ALL things that I come across all the time in my lessons with maths students of all levels. Some of the mistakes are so easy to put right as well but they just don’t get spotted in school! Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at things) I have eyes like a hawk when it comes to my students’ work and these things do get spotted when I’m sitting next to them.

One thing that I want to be clear on – it is not shameful or embarrassing to make mistakes. You need to make mistakes in order to learn. Some of the mistakes that you make from time-to-time you will feel like kicking yourself when you notice it…BUT…I have been there myself. I continue to make mistakes to this very day and I will continue to make mistakes for the rest of my life. If you see that you are making a mistake – no matter how trivial you think it is – you are not alone; countless others will be making exactly the same mistake. If you see something in these videos and you realise that you’re making that mistake, please don’t feel ashamed. It is simply an opportunity for you to do something about it and put it right – once you’ve got it sorted out then you’ll be able to recognise it much better next time.

Here’s a few examples of the videos that I’ve made

If you want to see more of these videos then visit my Videos page. New videos will be going up fairly regularly so keep an eye out for them. If you have any questions about your maths work then please get in touch with me – if I can help then I will be more than happy to do so. Just ask…

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