Tutorfair in National Science and Engineering Week

Hannah Schofield-Newton

March 21, 2014

Tutorfair has been very excited to take part in National Science and Engineering week.  It has prompted us to reflect on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) in the modern world.

Forty years ago, there were no mobile phones in sight, yet now they are everywhere and most people own one. We live in a world with groovy gadgets, transport to almost anywhere and medical advances finding more and more treatments for life-threatening diseases. All of these would not be around without science, maths, technology and engineering. These subjects enable innovation that is crucial for the future!

Yet, as our tutors have discovered, science and maths are subjects which children often struggle with at school. Of all subjects, tutors are required the most for maths and science. Why is that? Perhaps it has something to do with Dr Carol Dweck’s concept of a fixed mindset where people believe that traits and talents come naturally rather than being cultivated over time (a growth mindset). The phrase ‘I’m not a maths person’ often pops up because it provides this sense of relief to students and almost gives them permission not to try because they are bound to fail anyway. This is what a tutor tries to overcome. Tutors provide students with the confidence to cultivate a love of learning to show that actually, when a student puts in the effort, great achievements are possible!

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A tutor can also explain the connections showing how these subjects can be applied to the real world. That’s why, in celebration of National Science and Engineering week, we have held three events named ‘STEM Special Meet and Greet’ to encourage more enthusiasts in STEM subjects to become tutors. These great people realise how powerful STEM is in education and are keen to pass on their enthusiasm to others.

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So why do they love STEM?

Tim, a physics undergraduate, loves science because “it’s amazing to understand why and how things happen in the world we live.”

Aastha, a postgraduate studying dentistry surgery, added that science is fantastic because “it’s made up of logic and is happening all around you”.

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And Jasmine, a  maths undergraduate, made us all laugh with her pragmatism: “without maths, how would you calculate discounts? It’s vital for shopping!”

Junas, a science teacher added this thoughtful remark: maths is “a universal language. Wherever you go 2+2 will have the same answer.”

Junas also runs a STEM after school club for year 8 pupils to help inspire curiosity in these subjects. The sessions link STEM subjects together to show students the bigger picture. Junas loves running these sessions because they have “an impact on students’ actions in life and make them independent.”

We also went to an Edtech Investor Speed-Date (in association with NESTA, EdMix and Emerge) giving technological innovators the opportunity to pitch their ideas for improving STEM education to industry experts and investors. One particularly inspiring company was Itis3d which provides 3D printing workshops in schools.

We held two Careers and Pathways Workshops for sixth-formers at a London Secondary School, bringing in speakers in the medical and engineering professions to explain why they chose their career and how they got there.

Moreover, we were very lucky on Tuesday to have a special treat visit from the expert maths and science author Simon Singh, who shared his vision to inspire young people in STEM. See our interview with him here to find out more. We’ve certainly had a Eureka week!

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We need to excite the future generation about science, maths, technology and engineering; these subjects are fun as well as importnt! Professionals in STEM careers can transform the world – solving complex problems of today such as climate change, world hunger and inter-dependent world economy! STEM inspires innovation and this is why it is imperative to enthuse the young generation about its importance and its relevance to our everyday lives.

If you or your child needs help with any of the STEM subjects then please visit the Tutorfair website and book a private chemistry tutor, private biology tutor, private physics tutor, private general science tutor or even a private maths tutor to come to your house.

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Frank I  - Passionate about science with over 2,599 hours of experience. Subjects include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

Tasmin B - Passionate about her subjects and loves sharing that with her students. Subjects include Maths and Chemistry

Tony D - Experienced tutor creates an appetite for learning. Subjects include Maths, Science and Computing