I've been a practicing archaeologist for 10 years with as much interest in fieldwork as laboratory methods, and I'm currently focussing on raising my toddler after a recent year long teaching appointment at MIT in ceramic analysis. Archaeology is often misunderstood strictly as the study of the human past, but it's more interesting than that: it's the study of human changes over space and time.
Every teaching or idea is only as good as it's applications. Archaeology has applications in and draws on all sorts of fields to answer questions including history, linguistics, geography, manufacturing and construction methods, geology, industrial science, photography, chemistry and so on. My subject palette reflects a close engagement with their applications in archaeological work and my personal reserach.
I also spent 15 years in Europe as a dual citizen, moving through Germany, Switzerland and the UK. As a young boy, this threw me into the deep end of a foreign languages and so I was always adapting to a new challenge to be a less obvious outsider. It was hard going no doubt, but I found that confidence with language was not a matter of learning endless tables and words and phrases, but becoming truly familiar with the tools and the gears that make everything work.
This independence is a lasting contribution of studying languages, and this is my tutoring focus. I will not have your student recite tables, we will investigate them and make them tools. Your student will not just learn vocabulary and grammar but will gain an appreciation for how closely German and English are related. And your student will not just pronounce words but pronounce them well (if they're making odd sounds it's because I told them to practice them: GOOD!).
I understand from personal experience how difficult education and standards and pressure can be. I am committed to recognizing how a student learns best and I value learning from them in return. Learning is a life-long two-way street.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Edinburgh - Bachelors, Archaeology
Graduate Degree: University of Massachusetts-Boston - Masters, Historical Archaeology
Comics, cultural heritage, japanese sword arts, film noir, hiking and camping
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Unless it's a yes/no question or an equation, there is very rarely only a single right answer (even then, there are a usually multiple ways to express it). And rarely do any two people learn exactly the same way. The trick is putting answers themselves to the test, demonstrating applications that a solution can be applied to. This provides different vantage points and handholds and routes to an enduring understanding.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I get a sense of how they like to learn, how they best remember things, and how to use ideas and skills they're fond of to get better at things they're not fond of. I find particular problems to focus on, and I find how much work the foundation needs. This allows realistic goals to be achieved, and that's a real confidence booster.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Much of learning is actually seeing. I constantly encourage students to see through the words or the dates or the names. There's a structure there, and an independent learner has X-Ray vision.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Aside from always showing how far they've come, I encourage the student to step back from the learning frame and find some other application of what they're learning. If you can't see the forest for all the trees, let's take a break and try to see the forest.