The idea of a subject being simple or complex has its roots in the teaching methodology used by tutors. If a student is asked what her favourite subject is she usually has a lucid answer. It could be English or geography or math or any other subject that may not be a part of the curriculum too. But there are also subjects which students detest. In most cases, the reason is the lack of clarity and confidence about the subject. Like, most high school students who have a phobia for math are actually unable to understand the abstract concepts in algebra.
The aim of a tutor should be to teach so that you develop interest in the subject where you have difficulty. Once you become interested in a subject that you feared or disliked the most, the situation will turn around as you will start enjoying the challenges presented. It has been observed that a passionate teacher makes all the difference as there are cases where students who feared math pursued it as their career – thanks to an inspiring math tutor.
There are different perspectives on teaching subjects perceived as complex. The behaviourist looks at the situation in which learning is expected to occur. The communication expert looks at the mode of language with its intonations used to teach a particular subject. A constructivist looks at the impact which students receive after a class or a lecture. Tutors find themselves ‘thinking on their feet’ predominantly as assumptions regarding paradigms can prove to be ineffective. If a tutor focuses more on the subject then there is a widespread assumption that teaching will prove to be impersonal. But this need not be the case. If a teacher is passionate and focussed on the subject the students may also become curious and may try to inculcate the style of communication. Learning may happen this way as well.
The indirect ways of learning can be effective as it involves understanding the situation in which teaching takes place, the style of communication adopted, the range of learning aids used and the impact that makes students either quizzical or blank. No teaching can happen without students but learning, to a great extent depends entirely on the tutor – classroom, face-to-face or online. Many students prefer to learn online as they can be themselves and not worry about instant interactions with teachers and peers that can be very distracting. Online tutoring is an option for such students. If a complex subject is taught by a patient tutor who presents challenges that excite students then a complex subject can be mastered with sufficient practice. Once a student develops interest in a difficult subject she practices more and therefore learning is likely to happen more effectively.