One of the most effective ways to teach math to slow learners is to use explicit instruction. Explicit instruction is a teaching method that involves clear and direct explanations, modeling, guided practice, and feedback.

Explicit instruction helps slow learners to master math concepts by breaking them down into manageable steps, providing scaffolds and supports, and ensuring mastery before moving on to the next topic. Explicit instruction also helps slow learners to develop confidence, motivation, and self-efficacy in math.

In this article, we will explore how to apply explicit instruction in math for slow learners, as well as some additional tips for effective teaching. We will focus on two key areas of math: number sense and place value and operations. By using explicit instruction and other strategies, you can help your slow learners to achieve success and enjoyment in math.

## Strategies for Teaching Slow Learners: Explicit Instruction of Math Concepts

### 1. Number Sense and Place Value

Number sense and place value are the foundation of math. They involve understanding the meaning and value of numbers, their relationships, and their patterns. Number sense and place value are crucial for performing operations, comparing and ordering numbers, and solving problems.

To teach number sense and place value to slow learners, you can use explicit instruction and manipulatives. Manipulatives are physical objects that can be used to represent numbers, such as base-ten blocks, counters, beads, or coins. Manipulatives help slow learners to visualize and manipulate numbers, and to connect the concrete and abstract aspects of math.

For example, you can use base-ten blocks to demonstrate place value, counting patterns, and number relationships. You can show how each block represents a different place value, such as ones, tens, hundreds, or thousands. You can also show how to count by ones, tens, hundreds, or thousands using the blocks. You can also use the blocks to compare and order numbers, and to show how to regroup or exchange blocks when adding or subtracting.

Here are some steps for using explicit instruction and manipulatives to teach number sense and place value to slow learners:

- Explain the objective and the importance of the lesson. For example, “Today we are going to learn about place value. Place value is how we know what each digit in a number means. Place value helps us to compare, order, add, and subtract numbers.”
- Model how to use the manipulatives to represent numbers. For example, “Let’s use these base-ten blocks to show the number 123. We need one hundred block, two ten blocks, and three one blocks. We can write this number as 1 hundred, 2 tens, and 3 ones, or 100 + 20 + 3, or 123.”
- Guide the students to practice using the manipulatives to represent numbers. For example, “Now you try. Use the base-ten blocks to show the number 456. How many hundreds, tens, and ones do you need? How can you write this number in different ways?”
- Provide feedback and correction as needed. For example, “Good job! You used four hundred blocks, five ten blocks, and six one blocks. You can write this number as 4 hundreds, 5 tens, and 6 ones, or 400 + 50 + 6, or 456.”
- Repeat the steps with different numbers and different manipulatives. For example, “Let’s try another number. Use the counters to show the number 789. How many hundreds, tens, and ones do you need? How can you write this number in different ways?”

### 2. Operations

Operations are the basic math skills of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. Operations are essential for solving problems, performing calculations, and applying math in real-life situations.

To teach operations to slow learners, you can use explicit instruction and algorithms. Algorithms are step-by-step procedures for performing operations, such as the standard algorithm, the partial sums algorithm, or the lattice method. Algorithms help slow learners to organize their work, follow a consistent process, and avoid errors.

For example, you can use the standard algorithm to teach addition with regrouping. You can show how to align the numbers by place value, add the ones column, regroup or carry over the extra ones to the tens column, add the tens column, and write the answer.

Here are some steps for using explicit instruction and algorithms to teach operations to slow learners:

- Explain the objective and the importance of the lesson. For example, “Today we are going to learn how to add two-digit numbers with regrouping. Regrouping is when we have more than 10 ones or 10 tens, and we need to move them to the next place value. Adding with regrouping helps us to solve problems and perform calculations.”
- Model how to use the algorithm to operate. For example, “Let’s use the standard algorithm to add 34 and 57. First, we align the numbers by place value. Then, we add the ones column. 4 plus 7 is 11. We write 1 in the ones place, and we regroup or carry over the other 1 to the tens column. Next, we add the tens column. 1 plus 3 plus 5 is 9. We write 9 in the tens place. Finally, we write the answer. 34 plus 57 is 91.”
- Guide the students to practice using the algorithm to perform the operation. For example, “Now you try. Use the standard algorithm to add 46 and 28. Remember to align the numbers by place value, add the ones column, regroup or carry over the extra ones, add the tens column, and write the answer.”
- Provide feedback and correction as needed. For example, “Good job! You added the ones column and got 14. You wrote 4 in the ones place, and you regrouped or carried over the 1 to the tens column. You added the tens column and got 7. You wrote 7 in the tens place. You wrote the answer. 46 plus 28 is 74.”
- Repeat the steps with different numbers and different operations. For example, “Let’s try another problem. Use the standard algorithm to subtract 65 from 92. Remember to align the numbers by place value, subtract the ones column, regroup or borrow from the tens column if needed, subtract the tens column, and write the answer.”

## Conclusion

Teaching math to slow learners can be a rewarding and challenging experience. By using explicit instruction and other strategies, you can help your slow learners to master math concepts, develop math skills, and enjoy math learning. You can also help your slow learners to build confidence, motivation, and self-efficacy in math, and to prepare them for future academic and career success.