Federico Barbacovi - Private Tutor in London
I am a PhD student at University College London studying Mathematics, more precisely Algebraic Geometry. Before coming to London I studied at Sapienza University of Rome, where I obtained a Master (2018) and a B.Sc. (2016) in Mathematics. During the years at University in Rome, I started tutoring. If first came to me to start tutoring after the many chances I had had of helping my colleagues at University understanding concepts with which they were struggling with. Since then, I have had many opportunities to shape my approach to tutoring, both as a private tutor, and as a teacher (when I was in Italy I taught a short course to help final year high school students to prepare for their Maths exam; between October 2018 and October 2019 I worked for a company which produces e-learning material for high schools in Italy; during Covid-19 lockdown I taught an outreach course aimed at young students).
Subjects I Teach
My Education & Qualifications
University College London, 2018 – Present
Sapienza University of Rome, 2016 – 2018
Mathematics (Master): 110/110 cum Laude; Average Mark: 30/30 cum Laude.
Sapienza University of Rome, 2013 – 2016
Mathematics (B.Sc.): 110/110 cum Laude
High School I.I.S. Giuseppe Colosanti, 2008 – 2013
(Italian High School): 100/100 cum Laude
My Tutoring & Teaching Experience
I have been tutoring since I started to study Mathematics at University in 2013. During these years, I have had the chance to tutor students who were at different steps in their educational path. I tutored students who were at high school, as well as undergraduates.
In 2017, I have also had the chance to develop my teaching skills. In that year, I was asked by the high school from which I graduated to held a course to prepare final year high school students for their Maths exam.
During Covid-19 lockdown, I taught an outreach course aimed at young students. The course was held online in asynchronous teaching (I registered the lessons, and they were successively uploaded on YouTube). This experience helped me in shaping my skills in online teaching, with particular focus towards how to set up the environment for teaching using computers and tablets.
To top up on my other experiences, from October 2018 to October 2019 I worked for Power of Knowledge LTD. This company has an e-learning platform, PoK Scuola Digitale (PoK Digital School), aimed at high school students in Italy. My job was to produce content for the platform in the form of a script which explained the mathematical theory, and which was then converted into a video.
My Approach to Tutoring
Based on my experience in the subject, I believe that the most effective method to teach Mathematics is to help the tutee to understand it. There is no point in learning things by heart, especially in Mathematics. To achieve good results one must understand all the shapes and forms of the argument, so to be able to tackle all the problems which will be given in exams or homework.
When meeting a new tutee I first have a chat and ask them what are the things they have understood and what they haven't. Starting from this, I then proceed in either reviewing the theory if needed, or directly tackling exercises that have proved to be difficult. I also encourage my tutee to try to work by themselves between one lesson and the other, so that at the beginning of the following meeting we can thoroughly go through any doubts they got stuck in.
More precisely, during the lesson I tackle two aspects: the theory behind the Mathematics involved, and the exercises. Thorough comprehension of the theory is the basis on which I build to prepare the student to solve the exercises. To achieve it, I discuss with the tutee which of the concepts we are studying they found hard, and try to make them clearer. Once this first step is completed, I turn my attention to the exercises. When solving Maths problems, I guide them through the process of discovering the solution by themselves, occasionally pointing them in the correct direction if they run out of ideas. It is fundamental that the student develops their own way of finding a solution, as not all the exercises are equal, and the ability to solve even the hardest ones comes with practice.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what I would like to convey is that Mathematics is a beautiful subject, but understating it requires a certain amount of work. Nevertheless, the efforts are completely repaid by the striking excitement given by the understanding of the beautiful results Mathematics can provide.
Fun Facts About Me
Outside Mathematics, I like reading. The first books I have ever read are the ones of the Harry Potter saga. Curiously enough, I read them in reverse order (when I started, the latest published had been the fifth, so I read from the fifth to the first, and then waited for the sixth and the seventh). Since then, I have been reading a lot.
I played volleyball for 14 years, reaching good results (2nd place in Italy when I was 16, and 7th when I was 18). I now keep myself fit cycling to University, going to the gym, and training at home.
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