Dr. Eric Fowler obtained his undergraduate degree at Queen Mary College,
University of London, in Mathematical Physics. He then went on to Cranfield
University where he earned his doctorate in Computational Mathematics.
His thesis was entitled Segmentation of Synthetic Aperture Radar
Images Using Fractal Techniques - sponsored by SERC (Science &
Engineering Research Council) & Marconi.
Who would benefit from private tuition?
The initial aim is always to find out what problems a student has and then to develop a structured study plan.
Very often a student does arrive with a list of topics anyway, but it frequently happens that the reason they find a topic difficult is actually because they have not understood topics from several years before. Over the years it has been noticed by many teachers and tutors that many GCSE students have not committed the times tables (upto twelve) to memory. This inevitably leads to slowness, lack of accuracy and makes problem solving almost impossible.
Mathematics, Physics and the sciences are cumulative subjects, that is to say they build on very basic concepts which must be learnt, understood and inwardly digested before one can advance to the next stage. It is not like History, for example, where one can understand the Tudor period even if one was absent from class for the Roman period or had never studied the Romans at all.
Experience suggests that it is almost always the case that students lose confidence at such key stages as fractions, percentages, algebra when one moves from concrete numbers to equations with abstract letters which stand for numbers and the many areas of maths where the rules of ordinary numbers and operations no longer hold and a new type of mathematics is needed. Such areas include many of the so called modern maths topics which include vectors, matrices, set theory, logic, complex numbers and probability.
Students must feel free to stop me at any time and not feel embarresed to ask questions if they don't understand. This is the advantage of one-to-one tuition and cannot be done in a class of thirty students for obvious reasons.
Finally the importance of doing examples on their own cannot be overstressed. This might not be good news to many students but it is true that the approach to learning maths and the physical sciences is easy in the sense that you just have to do the examples. If you get it wrong then think about it and try again. Struggle with it.
Have a break and let your subconscious muse upon it, then try again. It is exactly this procedure that moves you forward and gives you confidence which results in less mistakes. Of course there is no point in stuggling for too long, there is always a time when you have to ask for help.
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