Talk to students, and you'll probably find that Maths is among the most unpopular subjects. It's boring, it's difficult, it lacks the excitement of what they really want to be doing.
The funny thing is though, that Maths is actually a fascinating subject, as well as one of the most useful for career success. Fields such as engineering and computer science really demand a good knowledge of Maths to succeed. And maths tuition, if geared towards the student's interests, can often light up the their abilities, even if they're not finding that interest in their school work.
The problem for many people may be that Maths is seen as difficult, because a grounding in the basics is essential before you get to the more interesting stuff. Think of it as being a bit like a Beatles song. Take it apart, and it's very complicated: melodies are overlaid on one another, chords shift into different keys, scales from foreign cultures suddenly enter into the structure of the song. But when you hear it, you don't think of the underlying structure of the song, you just think it's a great tune!
Just as we might not realise that some of our favorite things are built on complicated structures, students may not realise that their interests might be related to subjects they would otherwise find prohibitively difficult.
This is why a maths tutor with reluctant learners can really help their students understand the subject by igniting a passion in it. Relating a student's interests to the task at hand is just one way to create positive reinforcement in their learning. Perhaps their favourite song or favourite painting is built on mathematical principles. Maybe they're football fans, and don't realise that problem-solving skills are essential to a team's success. Whatever the method, by showing students how the most interesting parts of their worlds are structured on Maths, we can teach them that if they put in the work, they'll find more enjoyment than they knew existed.