Shawn’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Shawn’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I have taught US History at the middle and high school levels, focusing on the question of what makes one an "American". The issues of popular culture and identity are at the core of how US democracy had evolved over time; I look at the questions of who has rights and which rights they have as a reflection on who we say we are as Americans. Secondary foci include economic and diplomatic history.
Archaeology is not always like Indiana Jones running into a long-lost temple, chased by the locals or treasure-hunting Nazis. Since the 19th century, archaeology has evolved into a social science, and it has a painstaking methodology to objectively collect, interpret, synthesize and evaluate data to make and test theories about people and how they lived (and live now).
As a history teacher, I have integrated archaeological methodologies into my World and US History courses as well as an elective course called History Through Art. While a fan particularly of the Romans as far as Western classical antiquity is concerned, I also list as favorites ancient Greece (especially of the Iliad and Odyssey), and the maritime archaeology of the Americas in the period of European colonization (1500-1900). I especially like the archaeology of shipwrecks like the Spanish plate ships, such as the Atocha, and pirate ships, such as the Whydah.
As a history teacher, I have often brought art into my lessons and projects, as a means of understanding the spirit of a society and its times. I also have taught an elective course called History Through Art, a basic survey for middle and high school students that focused on the art of Western Civilization. My areas of concentration are in Renaissance, modern and contemporary art; my baccalaureate Honors thesis was written on the Bauhaus, a school of art and architecture in 1920s/30s Germany. I have also traveled to the centers of the Italian Renaissance in Florence, Sienna and Rome. I also have done extensive research in the art of Latin America and Haiti. My favorite artists are Michelangelo, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, and Franz Marc.
As a former Marine, I have taken the ASVAB myself, and like helping people interested in a military career take the ASVAB and get the scores they need to enter into the occupational specialties of their choice.
As a teacher and tutor, I have the background in study skills and prepping students for standardized tests like the ASVAB, AP exams and MCAS (the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System). I like helping people get where they want to go--let me help you jump-start your military career!
The Classics have been the core of my ancient history courses, as well as critical segments in my History Through Art course, standard college-preparation world history courses, and AP World History tutoring.
The ancient foundations of Western Civilization are the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. Reading the literatures of these traditions can give us modern-day folks a view into why we think what we think and why we do what we do--even fifteen hundred years after the collapse of the western partition of the Roman Empire. What I love most about the classics (and Shakespeare in the Greco-Roman-influenced Renaissance) is that the classics are about how we live and how we relate to our world and to each other. From the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, Ovid's Metamorphoses, the Bible (Jewish and Christian segments) and surviving works of drama, the classics served as behavioral and how-to guides to the people of the time, and serve today as behavioral guides and a means of understanding how the West came to be. The Classics are a way to understand who we are as a society and as individuals living in an area of Western Civilization and at a time of global Westernization.
I enjoy helping young students get better at the basic, foundational skills that they will need for later education. Focusing on the basics, I use manipulatives, hands-on activities and writing to teach the basics like phonics and spelling, basic math facts (adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) and basic concepts in science and social studies. I like the energy and responsiveness of young students as they make connections between the curriculum, themselves and their world. I have a Master's degree in Education from Worcester State College.
Building literacy through basic reading, writing, speaking and listening skills has helped my students' learning across the curriculum more meaningful and successful. They have developed the basic building blocks for being more successful students, and being more in charge of their lives and professional and personal opportunities.
Furthermore, I enjoy very much delving into literature with students as they come to understand it in its historical context, but also through its more timeless and enduring themes as they address the essence of the human condition and experience. Literature is about how we live and interact--it is about relationships; it is relevant to every person, academically-oriented or not.
Much of my ten years of teaching and tutoring has been with students not originally from the US and who do not speak English as their first language. This is also my circumstance at home, as my wife is from the Dominican Republic--her native language is Spanish.
I enjoy working with students to help them learn English and enjoy more personal and professional opportunities in the United States. I have helped students learn the basic sound-letter combinations in English, and patterns of vocabulary development and the basic structure of sentences.
I have taught European History at the middle and high school levels, and have also tutored AP European History students. My specializations include the dialectic between economic and political change, as well as imperialism and the cross-fertilization of cultures. My favorite period is from 1870 to 1945 (the Modern Period), when people wrestled with new technologies, scientific possibilities, and the depths of the human mind as reflected in psychology, philosophy and the arts.
I became a teacher to help people "get where they want to go". In other words, I like giving people a hand-up to improve their personal and professional life opportunities. A GED is a second chance in life.
By relating course content to students' lives, I have helped many students from age 12 to age 70 learn basic academic and job skills that have empowered them to get more from life.
I like helping students understand their world better, becoming more aware of how our world is a very interconnected "Global Village." Through the 5 Themes of Geography (Location, Place, Region, Movement and Human/Environment Interaction), my students have gained a better understanding of how people are impacted by the environment, how people impact the environment, and how these interactions affect history and society--from the prehistoric times of hunter-gatherer societies to the advanced civilizations of today.
Government & Politics
The age-old question of "Who's the boss?" is addressed periodically by all human societies. That question, as well as questions of how we determine who is boss, how they should rule, and are there limits for the boss are at the core of any study of government and politics. I can help your student understand government and politics thematically through these questions. (The answers to these questions are myriad,but one should know that democracy as we know it in the US is historically a relative new-comer on the scene.)
Grammar is not merely a set of rules to follow--it is a means to expression. One of my favorite authors, William Faulkner, took this concept to its max. Good writers use grammar to efficiently and directly convey what they are saying. This is what I can help you do.
I enjoy delving into literature with students as they come to understand it in its historical context, but also through its more timeless and enduring themes as they address the essence of the human condition and experience. Literature is about how we live and interact--it is about relationships; it is relevant to every person, academically-oriented or not.
My favorite authors are Tim O'Brien, Mark Kurlansky and Michael Ondaatje. Favorite poets include Louise Gluck, Pablo Neruda, and William Butler Yeats.
I treat writing as a process, based on brainstorming and free-writing, organizing and planning, writing a draft, editing, and finally, publishing. Whether the writing is reflective, narrative, expository, persuasive or creative, treating it as a process is essential to success.
In my proofreading work, I evaluate writing on how well it meets content requirements, and communicates that content effectively to the intended audience.
My experience ranges broadly as a teacher having evaluated hundreds of student papers and as an advisory proofreader for manuals and academic work. My approach to evaluating writing alloys artful creativity with the science of organizing and mechanics.
My lessons to help students with reading are based around central concepts for content recall and interpretation. Students use graphic organizers, cartooning and role-playing to improve comprehension and interpretive skills. In addition to phonics and spelling rules, I also emphasize vocabulary development through root words, prefixes, and suffixes.
My teaching approach is about helping students become better students even as they learn content. That is the lifetime gift that I give to my students.
I am a Catholic who converted from Lutheranism (Protestant) a number of years ago. That being said, I am familiar with the Catholic Cathechism, but also have a perspective on how and why Protestants disagree on certain doctrinal issues. I am also very familiar with the Bible Study, which I have done as both Lutheran and Catholic. Church history is also a strong suit of mine, as it is interesting to see how the Church has evolved over time and why it made the decisions it has made and how it has helped keep people together, but also as a source of understanding the essence of Christianity--which is what binds the Catholic and Lutheran together, despite doctrinal differences.
A history teacher specializing in cross-cultural interactions, I am also a husband of a native Spanish-speaker from the Dominican Republic. Although I am a norteamericano ("American"), I enjoy Spanish culture and history. I attend Catholic mass in Spanish and enjoy the expressiveness that pervades it. I would like to share my passion for opening connections and understanding between cultures and people.
As a teacher and tutor, I have helped my students become better learners--become better at apprehending, organizing, remembering and utilizing content. I use the Landmark Methodology developed by Joan Sedita to help students improve skills and focus on concepts and themes, rather than emphasizing rote knowledge. I can help students work to their strengths while developing their weaker areas in developing a system of learning strategies that works for them.
Everyone can improve their vocabulary, to include mastering technical jargon. The key is to understand the structure of words and language.
I teach through a variety of means, but the core of what I do is to look at how words are built within a language through the devices of a prefix, suffix, root word, or allusion. I link words by theme and category, as in words related to occupations, types of behavior, or foods. I also link words by their function in language, such as prepositional words. I have never had a student who could not increase their vocabulary through understanding these connections between words.
I have taught world history at the middle and high school levels and have also tutored AP students. My specializations include the dialectic between economic and political change, as well as imperialism and the cross-fertilization of cultures. My favorite period is 1870 to 1945 (the Modern Period), when people wrestled with new technologies, scientific possibilities, and the depths of the human mind as reflected in psychology, philosophy and the arts.
As a teacher, one of my specializations was improving student writing. I use the John Collins Writing and Empowering Writers programs to help students approach writing as an engaging and very personal process of expression. This process includes collecting thoughts through brainstorming and free-writing, organizing and planning, writing a draft, editing, and finally, publishing. I help students improve their reflective, narrative, expository, persuasive and creative writing.