We speak to Community Member, Maryam Mohammed, about her experience in tutoring and what skills she has picked up along the way.
This is the second in a new series of Q&As with Community Members to explore our community and what skills, advice and support it can bring you.
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1. What is your academic background?
I have a BSc in Mathematics, an MSc in Mathematical Modelling and a PhD in Bioengineering. My research was in using mathematical equations to understand blood flow in human arteries and veins (specifically in the liver).
2. What subjects do you specialise in?
I tutor mathematics at GCSE and A levels, as well as solid and fluid mechanics modules at university level.
3. What is your favourite thing about tutoring these subjects?
Finding solutions. Most mathematical problems have solutions and each one of them is like a puzzle. I love solving puzzles and it’s even more fun when you get to solve these puzzles with your students.
4. What skills have you learnt in your tutoring experience?
The skills I have picked up vary depending on which (age) group I was tutoring. The top skill I would say is the ability to explain complex mathematical equations in simpler terms.
For the younger audience, I have to choose my words carefully so as not to make things seem overly complicated – this ties in with learning effective communication. Over the past few months I have had to learn how to teach online and I explored different online platforms. The sessions held by QT on Bramble and BitPaper have been particularly useful.
5. Why do you believe tutoring to be so effective?
When I was much younger, I struggled with mathematics. My dad used to tutor me during weekends and I believe he played a strong role in building up my confidence and my decision to study mathematics later in life. I have seen the difference having a good tutor makes to students at all levels.
There are many reasons students might struggle, including gaps in knowledge, learning at a different pace from their peers or even lack of academic confidence. For me, the key to effective tutoring is to figure out why the student is struggling and build up from there.
6. Name one game that you like to play in your tutoring sessions.
I do enjoy a bit of Maths Bingo! It always seems to be a hit with the younger audience.
7. What one word would you use to describe your tutoring?
8. Lastly, if you could interview one famous person, who would it be?
Barack Obama. He is so inspirational and always seems to have great words of wisdom.