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William

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I have a PhD Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. I have twenty-five years experience in the the teaching and tutoring of all levels of Mathematics. I believe the Socratic Method is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. Chess is excellent for improving logic and critical analysis skills. The game of World of Warcraft is excellent for improving organizational and attention-to-detail skills. Reading novels of your favorite genre is excellent for improving reading comprehension.

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William’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Oregon State University - Bachelor of Science, Mathematics

Graduate Degree: University of Wisconsin -- Madison - PHD, Mathematics

Hobbies

Online chess league


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

A curious colleague once inquired about my teaching "methods." I found myself at a loss for words. Good research is a matter of rigor and method, but good teaching is a matter of heuristic and mindset. As one personal mentor put it, "God makes you a teacher." Another advised, "You learn best by osmosis." Yet, there must be some method to the madness. So, the first principle I set forth is the obligation to perform any task better this time than it was performed last time. As one application of this notion in the realm of teaching, a colleague stated, "Just be sure they learn something." In other words, progress is the goal. The second principle is really a contract, a "meeting of minds." A teacher does not "grant" degrees nor does a teacher "give" grades. A teacher conveys knowledge to the student and evaluates the resulting performance from the student. All roads are two-way. Equality and symmetry are the standards. A student is tested on exactly the material that is taught, no more and no less. This poses an equal burden for both teacher and student. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The third principle is flexibility, liberty if you will. It is human nature to solve problems and defy obstacles. Students need more problems and fewer obstacles. For example, the necessity of transmitting grades by a certain date and time does NOT translate into a necessity of taking exams on a certain date and time. A student given the latitude to delay an exam more often than not voluntarily strives to meet an exam date. A student denied latitude resorts to guile, subterfuge, and circumvention. As my grandfather put it, "Locks and laws only work against honest folk." In short, I am a progressive egalitarian libertarian.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

We would review a recent homework assignment.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I recommend a dedicated study time each day.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I set a disciplined schedule while allowing time for recreational activities.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would try to find a different approach or explanation.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I recommend reading fiction and nonfiction from a variety of authors.


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