1. What are sessions like?
The type of writing improvement tutoring I do depends on the needs of the student. Usually a student already has some kind of writing assignment; we work on that to get it better. As I do this, I explain some of the principles of good writing improvement, which most students do not know about.
The Harvard method can take quite a while from beginning to end; multiple very short sessions can also play an important role. Time constraints won’t allow this for everyone.
2. You say you teach values. Does that mean religion or things like family values?
I do not teach specifically religious values, or get into what some religions call “family values.” I do teach things like the love of language and the love of learning. These are also values; we value language and value learning. I also believe that it is up to the parents of any child before college to decide values taught. If they do not wish their child to learn to love learning, I will probably advise them to find a more appropriate tutor for their aims. “Values education” has been a huge gap in the American system of education; see the Robert Thornberg article (see Works Cited) on this matter.
3. You were educated at two Christian universities. Does this mean you teach distinctively Christian values? Should there be concern for students who are not Christians?
I emphasize my education because I am grateful for it, and because the universities I attended were not as affected by the trend of “value-free education” which affected most American schools, and were thus especially good at helping me understand how to convey a profound love of learning to my students.
Fortunately, schools no longer strive for “value-free education,” and it seems that some are awakening to the utter necessity of a better approach to teaching and imparting a love for learning and language.
An Australian study (Lovat and Tomey, xiv) notes:
“Values Education is being seen increasingly as having a power quite beyond a narrowly defined moral or citizenship agenda. It is being seen to be at the centre of all that a committed teacher and school could hope to achieve through teaching. It is in this respect that it can fairly be described as the “missing link” in quality teaching or, moreover, as being in a “double helix” relationship with quality teaching ...”
I have not known the faith background of most of my students, and of those who have shared it with me, many more have answered that they come from a Hindu or Muslim background than a Christian one. There have been some also who seem generally agnostic regarding faith. The love of learning is a profoundly shared value, and virtually anyone, if asked the right questions, will come to see rather quickly that they already have at least a tiny spark of a love of learning which can be lovingly kindled into something more warm and radiant.
Lovat, T., and R. Toomey. "Values education–A brief history to today." Values education and quality teaching: The double helix effect (2007).
Robert Thornberg, “The lack of professional knowledge in values education,” Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 2008, (24), 7, 1791- 1798. Available here.