I graduated from Middlebury College - the 4th best liberal arts college in the country according to U.S. News and World Report - with a 3.9 GPA and a philosophy major. Among other things, that means that I excel at grasping and communicating abstract concepts, including those found in mathematics. I scored 750 on the quantitative reasoning section of the GRE. I also shined in the logic, computer science, and discrete mathematics classes I took at Middlebury, and I was an effective peer writing, philosophy, and logic tutor.
My background in logic and philosophy makes me uniquely qualified to teach genuine mathematical understanding. As I work with a student, my highest priority is to identify concepts, principles, and procedures that cause her/him to hesitate. Such hesitation usually indicates that s/he does not fully comprehend the role of that element in the overall rational and strategic context of the problem. By asking questions, exploring examples, and fleshing out critical definitions and assumptions, I seek to fill this gap in the student’s foundational understanding of the question and the methods that lead to its answer. In short, I emphasize the why and how of mathematical reasoning over the what and when of mathematical protocol.
This approach makes math more learnable, worthwhile, and fun (yes, you read that last word correctly). Not only is it better for the student’s performance; it is also healthier for her/his motivation and self esteem. Perhaps most crucially, it exercises the analytical and creative problem-solving skills that ultimately have much more to do with success than does rote mathematical knowledge.
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