Aims and motivation – the equation for success
Confidence + preparation = success
My aim is to ensure that on the day, the pupil is not phased or surprised by any question, because they have prepared well. Understanding the numerical methods, applying them in real life problems, active revision, and “exam management” are all part of the equation for optimising the new, tougher GCSE grades.
My motivation has two strands – first I am genuinely fascinated by secondary school Maths, Business and Science, secondly I really feel I can make a difference to something which will help a child for the rest of their life.
Rick Anderson’s private maths tuition service is based at our home in Twickenham and caters for pupils from most of the TW postcodes. I also do on line tutoring for instance to China and now U.K.
Subjects and levels.
My speciality is Maths, particularly the new GCSE maths syllabus with its tougher grade structure and content, for which I have created a brand new comprehensive set of imaginative and interactive lessons plans.
I also tutor Further Maths and i GCSE, cover other Year 7 – 9 maths levels such as KS3. Also Year 7 entry level entrance exams maths coaching for private independent and grammar schools.
For A Level I tutor certain specialities such as Maths for A Level Biology, or Maths to AS Level, or Business A Level (see below).
With a high Cambridge University Maths/Science degree, I also cover Physics,Biology and Chemistry GCSE, both as standalone syallabae, and also where Maths crosses over to them (which is frequently!) For example in Physics I have developed a “fast and furious” run through of all GCSE Physics formulae – ideal for Revision. And developed a Maths for GCSE Science 400 question excel quiz.
I have also tutored Yr 10/11/12/13 level Business Studies Units, particularly on understanding and application of the financial and and operational ratios used in questions and cases studies for analysis, evaluation, financial planning, business decisions and strategy.
Specialisms also include:
Cambridge NSAA natural sciences entrance exam . The exam is quite new so I have developed several mock papers to offset lack of official past papers. A key differentiator is speed so we practice fast answers. Likewise I also tutor Oxford PAT Physics entrance for Science and Engineering. I have helped achieve success in both of these.
Interview coaching – I tutor and practice for interview technique from Independent school up to Oxbridge.
QTS (qualified teacher status) often requires arts and humanities teachers to take a maths exam and the pass mark is quite challenging so I have coached the professional skills test for Maths
Experience and methods.
I have successfully tutored maths with traditional hands on methods, helping to achieve some remarkable turnarounds between mocks and actual results. I also employ advanced learning techniques with interactive touch screen materials, as described below in Lesson Plans. I develop not just numerical excellence, but also the ability to apply this in the increasing proportion of applied “wordy” questions found in exams, or where a question combines more than one technique. I have many hundreds of hours of tutoring under my belt.
Additional coaching experience.
I have additional extensive experience of coaching business numeracy in America, Asia and Europe. I have trained 1000 people in twenty countries, including presenting company accounts to trade unions and executives alike, and running training for statistical, financial and graphical techniques ever more relevant to maths at GCSE level.
My Master of Business Administration and years of real life business experience, combined with knowledge of the syallabus enables me to tutor large parts of the Business Studies GCSE and A Level programmes in particular financial and ratio analysis, and operations management.
As an I.T. specialist I can also offer informal help to parents and pupils alike, for example, with spreadsheets and powerpoints.
I have built lesson plans and coaching materials for all 80 Maths GCSE topics and similar for Science and Business. Ideally covering one a week for the full 2-year programme, if not then focused on particular priorities. Each follows the same template, including scene setter, a one-pager on all relevant formulae, methods and golden rules, worked examples revealed step by step, and winding up with “fly solo” questions to check understanding. Homework includes both web site questions, and writing out answers.
I can switch (with no advance warning) to the “topic of the week” if a pupil or parent wishes, or even from Maths to Science very easily, because my materials are well organised in a directory.
I have assembled towards a thousand past paper examples across my subjects along in each case with a worked solution often going over and above what the exam boards provide.
While religiously sticking to syallabus, I often bring an “infotainment” philosophy to the questions, constructing them around scenarios from film, music, TV, sport, social media and business. You’d be surprised how the number of re-tweets or Wayne Rooney’s bonus can add spice to a question!
I also try to use small extract from science videos practical points.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
I would not claim to be an expert in the field but several of my pupils have had a mild version of ADHD and I try to do little things to help, such as short periods of non-academic focus like sports or hobbies, and if they get extra time in tests encouraging them to use that to check answers, and understanding if they need tasks emphasising or restating.
On a different note I have also a little experience tutoring a pupil with mild dyspraxia and gained understanding that some geometry tasks requiring spatial awareness might be difficult, or deciding if a graph line is going up or down left or right, or sometimes numbers are read in reverse. A learning experience for me too.
I firmly believe that an extra grade is up for grabs not just with the obvious tips like time keeping, but also employing skills such as recognising the type of answer required by carefully reading the nuance of a question, or following a specific set of steps when problem solving, including checking the answer! Also look out for “control words”, for instance in Business Studies “evaluate”, or in Maths “show that”, have particular connotations. My tutoring covers these approaches both during topic lessons and as standalone revision short courses.
Professional golfers harness “course management”, such as judging length and terrain, with sporting excellence and learn this from coaches and caadies.
I have made a rigorous study of publically avaibale examiners’ comments and have consolidated these into a special lesson for the “fifty things maths examiners do and don’t want to see”.
I have also recently qualified as an official examiner for the Cambridge Assessment panel for GCSE Maths. I marked around 400 GCSE papers and so know exactly the kind of mistakes students make and exactly how examiners award marks.
“Teaching to the test” sometimes has negative connotations but I take a close interest in the routine check out tests and mocks the pupils are taking and help them prepare by setting questions on the relevant topics. And of course focus on the particular GCSE’s being taken.
Approach to technology
There are many great maths websites – too many in fact! I have scoured most of them, bringing in some of the best ideas to my approach. A sort of “Go Compare” for maths! To avoid wasting time on endless YouTube journies or risk distraction by adverts I have focussed on just three such sites for the Homework, all of which absolutley are on-syllabus (not all are) and are free (and one, unsurprisingly, is BBC Bitesize).
For my own lesson plans I have created touch screen interactive materials, which reveal methods and worked example solutions step by step, rather than click and go straight to the answer as some do. Plus we will always finish with old fashioned writing – exams are written on paper not entered on screen!
Calculators are used in two out of the three new Maths exams so are a fact of life but during lessons I encourage pupils to try and use mental arithmetic up to the point at which it becomes difficult or risky.
I also for Science include short extracts from videos from typically Bitesize and have created numerous well documented links in my powerpoints such as to industrial distillation, to early earth atmosphere from volcanoes.
With the onset of virtual learning in the Covid lock down it ahs been fairly easy for me to go all-on line because I have used Zoom for many years already, teaching to Europe, USA and China. So I can share my own materials, equally pupils can share their own on-line materials back to me and I can “write” comments on screen back. to them.
You will also find my “Mathemateer” blog brings unusual angles which link maths and science GCSE to sport, music, current affairs and real world events in the media. These could vary from light hearted stories around the One Direction Maths song (didn’t you know there was one – nor did I !), or “could you wear the Pink Floyd Prism T shirt in a physics exam? ” ; to semi-serious commentaries such as “cramming till 10pm every night in Gangnam (yes that place)”; to informative but simple summaries of educational developments such as the new GCSE grade structure or the latest changes in school league table definition. I publish and sell many of my materials such as slide packs and multi choice quizzes on the TES website.
I have researched a wide selection of South West London state, grammar and independent schools in terms of their Ofsted and League Table performance, and admission requirements including if selective their entrance exam structure. So I can advise Year 5/6 pupil parents which it might be best to apply for. And I tailor the tuition accordingly, for instance I have built up a large selection of past papers or recommended practice papers for each school.
At GCSE an increasingly fraught choice for Maths and Science is whether to Foundation or Higher. For middle ability pupils there are pros and cons and I can take parents through the likely Grade Boundaries for each and their relative difficulty
For University application, I have manned the Science stands at Careers fairs and can advise parents and pupils on the type of careers available in Science and the appropriate route through A-Level and University courses. For Oxford or Cambridge I can help with choice of course and the entrance exam requirements and interview structure.
As a School Parent Governor I have served a successful full 4 year spell and got to know first hand much about modern teaching techniques and administration such as finance committee work, at an outstanding school and I build in that experience to my work.
I hope the above “package” of approaches and experiences can help your child. If so call Alison or myself for a free initial consultation.