We sit down with Dr Chris Jagger
Passionate teacher, voracious reader and avid skier.
Today, we sit down with Dr Chris Jagger, as he draws on his teaching experiences both at Cambridge University and Deloitte, to share some of his thoughts on how students can learn maths most effectively.
Many students find maths challenging. However, it doesn't have to be that way. At EasyA, we believe all students have the ability to excel in the subject. What matters most, is the way maths is taught.
Meet Dr Chris Jagger, EasyA Academic Advisory Board
Chris has an extensive background in education, having served as the Head of Learning at Deloitte and a lecturer and research fellow in Mathematics at Clare College, Cambridge University. At Cambridge, Chris supervised and directed studies and served on the Governing Body at Clare College. His particular field of research lies in Combinatorics and Graph Theory. Chris has a PhD in Mathematics from Cambridge University.
Given your experiences both at Cambridge University and Deloitte, what do you think is the most important aspect of teaching?
Enthusiasm. When I first lectured at Cambridge I had no experience or training, but a great love of the subject, and a strong desire to communicate that to others and to deliver better lectures than I had received. Everybody switches off when you say “Sorry this is a rather dry topic today”, so I always tell people I train that if they don’t feel much enthusiasm for the topic, their main preparation is to persuade themselves that it is the most exciting thing they have ever come across!
What inspired you to join EasyA?
Too many people turn up at a lesson not understanding the previous one, which then makes it ten times harder to understand the current lesson, and this snowballs throughout the course, resulting in them spending far longer getting to grips with the work than if they’d learnt it at the time. The ability to tap into on-demand tutoring anywhere, anytime, is just what people need to help resolve any current problems so they can go into their next lesson fully prepared. In addition, for years schools have struggled to get mathematicians teaching maths, so it is vitally important to have extra options open to students.
Many students can find maths challenging. What advice do you have for them?
Maths is all around us, and it is important not to let it pass you by. If you embrace it, enjoy it, and regard it as important, it becomes much easier to work at it when you are finding it challenging, and then it becomes less of a struggle. In today’s world, so much research in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Medicine, Archaeology, Geography, Economics, and so on, relies on Maths (and in fact you will find many with maths degrees researching these areas), so it really is vital. EasyA's tutors love their subject, making their support genuine and inspiring.
What’s the best way to learn difficult topics?
Ask questions. When I was a researcher the most common question from the brilliant mathematicians around me was “I don’t understand”, and the reason they were so good was because they always asked when they didn’t understand. EasyA is ideal for this, as you ask questions anonymously so don’t feel stupid, and can go at your own pace to understand the responses. Getting fresh explanations from an EasyA Tutor may just give you the different perspective that brings a breakthrough in your understanding of difficult concepts. It also helps to analyse what the problem is (what bit is it you don’t understand?) and draw a picture.
What makes EasyA different from other tutoring services?
EasyA is cutting-edge – the ability to access tutoring instantly using appealing technology – and provides support from enthusiastic young tutors who can remember when they were getting to grips with the same ideas themselves, making this a great way to access support. Its unlimited nature means students aren't under pressure to understand within a time frame - the help is genuinely available until you understand the answer to your question. No booking ahead, no waiting - instant explanation at the point you need it in your studies.
If you have questions for Chris, please let us know here and we'll do our best to feature these in our next interview.
Stay tuned for part two of our sit down with Chris, coming soon. To find out more about EasyA's teaching pedagogy, read about our teaching methods. To sign up to EasyA's unlimited, on-demand tutoring, register here.
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