David Lubner has always been a tutor in some way. In his middle school classes in South Africa, “my friends used to ask me to tutor them,” he says. He tutored part time during college. And even in his free time as he started businesses as an adult, Lubner has always had passion for helping kids learn.
In early April, Lubner decided to make it his career as well. Now, out of Mathnasium on the Post Road, he has taken up a challenge to get Fairfield’s kids to love math by teaching them the applications and techniques and moving away from rote memorization.
“Drilling it into the kids works, but then they’re going to hate math,” Lubner says. “We’d rather give then the structure of how to get the answer.”
Mathnasium’s Chief Instructional Officer Larry Martinek perfected his method over 14 years of working with his own son. Now Martinek’s program teaches kids in 250 towns in the United States and 70 more across the world.
Martinek’s program uses a computer assessment to gauge how far along a student is when they arrive at Mathnasium. From there, kids mix work with math-based games to learn systems for solving math problems and real-world applications for what they’re learning.
“So often as adults we talk to kids using our adult knowledge,” Lubner said. “And we forget that what we think is obvious doesn’t necessarily make sense to them.”
Though Lubner works with high schoolers gearing up for the SATs, he says he prefers to get his students as young as possible to build up a foundation in math. He aims his program at grades 2 through 8. Kids falling behind have obviously come for help, But Lubner says he’s even getting exceptional students who are moving too fast for their peers and want to move beyond the curriculum.
“I’ve already gotten parents saying, ‘No, you can’t come back tomorrow,’” Lubner says.
Mathnasium is open, but Lubner will host a grand opening on Saturday, June 11, starting at 11 a.m. at 1700 Post Road. Along with a ribbon cutting, there will be door prizes, demonstrations and a live band.
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