Teach and Move On is a fundamental cornerstone of the Mathnasium teaching methodology and is a huge driving force behind the student success stories we see in our centers day after day. Throughout the 11 years of Mathnasium’s existence, Teach and Move On has come to mean different things to different center owners. I want to explicitly define Teach and Move On as a teaching practice wherein a team of Instructors physically rotates around the center as they help students, with each Instructor disengaging from a student once a concept has been taught and moving on to help others. I also want to address some of the most common misconceptions and points of confusion regarding Teach and Move On as well as shed some light on where we’re headed in terms of improving training and other resources that support the rotation of Instructors as a team.

Over the years, I’ve seen two main interpretations of Teach and Move On in the field (with variations): either with a stationary Instructor in a pod providing individual instruction to a fixed number of students, or (as stated earlier) with the entire team actively standing and moving around the center, serving all students in the room at a given time. The latter incarnation is Teach and Move On. Through in-center observation and training, it’s what we’ve found to be most effective and efficient out in the field in terms of affecting overall student progress, allowing you to manage student teacher ratios so all students consistently receive the individualized attention Mathnasium is known for.

The confusion over proper implementation of Teach and Move On is understandable. Whether consciously or not, many people (Mathnasium franchisees and center staff included) associate supplementary education with tutoring, an education model that involves one-on-one instruction provided by a stationary teacher. From an aesthetic standpoint, many consider the pod seating arrangement to be more appealing, as it’s less reminiscent of a school classroom environment, and places more visual emphasis on the personalized aspect of instruction. However, based on our evaluation of different center setups and franchisees’ experiences, pod table units will no longer be included as a recommended table set up simply because it has proven to encourage Instructors to stay put rather than to move around the teaching space. As part of our commitment to provide better training and support for Teach and Move On, we have updated the Operational Guides to include center layouts that best support a teaching model with rotating Instructors. These layouts are all built on table units of two tables placed end-to-end. This ensures face-to-face instruction, eliminates unusable space associated with pod corners, and allows instructors to easily move around the center. Please refer to the Operational Guides for our updated recommendations.

Also, while Mathnasium University Course 101 serves as an adequate primer on the basic principles of Teach and Move On, there remain gaps. In the training videos, I demonstrate Teach and Move On while working with three students. The intent was to highlight concise explanations and the students’ individual reactions (both indicators of effective teaching), not to imply that it was preferred for Instructors to remain stationary with a small fixed group of students. To better demonstrate team instruction, we plan on releasing instructions that more clearly explain how to implement Teach and Move On, with a tentative release date in November 2013. We will follow this up with a Teach and Move On training video (scheduled for release in the first half of 2014) that presents a more precise demonstration of how this methodology should be executed on the floor.

There are several benefits to the “rotating Instructor” model intrinsic to Teach and Move On. When a staff member remains in the student’s pod area after providing assistance, the presence of an authority figure close by can serve as a mental crutch for many students. In contrast, the very act of Instructors physically moving on from students once they have been helped promotes a sense of space and separation that encourages students’ intellectual independence, helps build their confidence, and promotes further progress.

Students benefit by learning from multiple voices—one or two voices may resonate better with a particular student than others. Establishing an educational framework that promotes students’ exposure to multiple perspectives—all based on the Mathnasium Method—paves the way for a robust, individualized learning experience.

Also, we’ve all been there—sometimes students require more one-on-one instruction on a given day, at a given time. A single Instructor working in a pod with students may get caught up assisting one needy student, leaving other students in the pod waiting. You may have quieter or less motivated students who won’t necessarily seek out help even when it’s sorely needed. Multiple well-trained Instructors rotating as they read and own the teaching floor ensures that all students receive responsive and proactive attention when needed, even when the Instructor in closest proximity to a student in need is otherwise occupied.

Some of you may have had different experiences in implementing a rotating Instructor model. It’s critical to note that Teach and Move On must be bolstered by a team approach and clearly defined staff roles and responsibilities for proper execution. This teaching framework can only function when all Instructors are aware that they’re accountable for the success of all students in the center (not just those in their immediate area) and it’s their responsibility to actively rotate and read the floor, engaging students when appropriate. Designating a Lead Instructor to manage the flow of the center by staying on top of each student’s goals for the day, proactively checking in with the students to see that those goals are being met, and assisting students (or directing other Instructors to do so) when necessary frees up Center Directors’ time to attend to non-instructional aspects of day-to-day operations while monitoring the overall center environment.

It is the Center Director’s responsibility to train and manage center staff so that this teaching model is executed properly. As Teach and Move On is a methodology unique to the Mathnasium system, odds are that your Instructors have never taught in this manner until they started working at your center, so consistent observation and adequate training is key. Once Instructors complete the required Mathnasium University courses, continue to incorporate Teach and Move On training into your individual instruction coaching and regular staff meetings. Ongoing evaluation and feedback solidify the necessity of a team approach to the teaching model as well as address any issues you’ve noticed on the floor. Proactively check in with your staff members to see how they’re feeling about their workload and provide them with coaching as needed.

When it comes down to it, parents turn to Mathnasium because they want results that their children have been unable to achieve elsewhere. Implementing Teach and Move On allows your students to achieve their educational goals through one-on-one, individualized instruction in a group environment. We are currently working on improved and more concise training tools and other resources to support all Mathnasium franchisees and staff as they implement Teach and Move On at their centers and we will keep you informed as these tools become available for use. Keep watching Mathnasium Matters and your inboxes for these updates in the coming months.