Welcome to my Page! I'm Tyrone. I'm glad you're here. Education can transform lives, and teachers help facilitate this. I speak from personal experience about this. My teachers did not see an academic career for me at school – and they did very little to help me change this. I was considered a low achiever and expected to be a plumber like my father. There is nothing wrong with plumbing; it just wasn't for me. If you've read this far, I hope you will continue as I map out my journey.
I left school with a list of low-grade GCSEs and 1 A-Level - yes, it was Biology! I had no hope of going to university with these grades, so I got my first job testing soil samples. Still determined to study science at university, I enrolled on several open university (OU) courses. I did well on the OU, which allowed me to study Immunology at King's College, London. I did this after spending three years as a medical laboratory assistant in the NHS, my second job.
After graduating from King's with a BSc degree and a fascination with cancer biology, I joined Newcastle University. I spent the next four years researching anti-cancer drugs' effects on DNA. I successfully developed novel ways to measure the level of anti-cancer drugs stuck to DNA. It was a great day when the Royal Society of Chemistry published my work. The Royal Society of Biology rewarded my academic and research experience with the Chartered Biologist status. Charted Biologist is the recognition of professional competence.
On returning home to Wales, I had my first taste of teaching 16 to 19-year-olds – and I loved it. However, teaching at Bridgend College was only for maternity cover, and my contract soon ended. My next position was with Loreal (yes, I am worth It) as a microbiologist. Loreal was great as it was a weekend position and allowed me to teach part-time at Gower College Swansea during the week.
I have spent the last 17 years teaching A-Level Biology at Gower College Swansea full time. During this time, I qualified as a teacher from the University of Wales with a PGCE. The Biology department is highly successful and renowned. The department has a 100% pass rate and grades well above the national average. I learned so much here about helping people with their education. It was where I saw firsthand how a teacher could facilitate the real transformational effects of education. I am proud to have helped so many students of varying abilities gain success in A-Level Biology.
Along with teaching at Gower College, I continued to tutor students privately. I started my tutoring business at Bridgend College and now tutor full-time online.
As your A-Level Biology tutor, I will use my vast teaching experience to guide you towards academic success. I strive to cultivate a nurturing and engaging learning environment where you can flourish.
Join me on this exciting educational journey, where we will unlock your potential and pave the way for a successful future.
My Approach to Teaching
Teachers and tutors may seem unnecessary nowadays because of Google and AI. The most valuable thing a teacher can do for their students is to teach them thinking skills. Students must analyse the information in questions to achieve high grades in A-Level Biology exams. It’s not just about memorising facts like what Google and AI can provide; it’s about understanding the underlying concepts. This, and other areas, is where I can offer my professional assistance.
To provide effective help, I customise my approach for each student. I communicate with students and their parents to identify the areas that need attention and create an initial plan for improvement. These plans are regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to address the student’s specific needs. I monitor students’ progress using questions, tests, and activities, making adjustments as necessary to keep them on track. I keep parents up to date with their son/daughter’s progress.
Now, let’s explore some of my other techniques and their importance.
Simplifying Biological Concepts:
Breaking down complex biological concepts into simpler parts makes them more accessible for students. This accessibility enables students to establish meaningful connections between what they have learned and what they are currently studying. These patterns help them link ideas from the entire syllabus, giving them the confidence to tackle extended answers, such as the 25-mark questions in the AQA or the 9-mark QER questions with the WJEC/Eduqas.
Active Learning and Feedback:
I adopt a holistic tutoring approach, focusing on active learning strategies combined with feedback. These strategies include: retrieval practice, puzzles, quizzes, spaced repetition, Socratic questioning, and CRIME (chunking, rehearsal, imagery, mnemonics, and elaboration).
Understanding Scientific Language:
Learning biology is akin to acquiring a new language. Throughout the A-Level Biology course, students encounter numerous scientific terms they must understand early on. To facilitate this, I teach students comprehension strategies and the meanings of biological terminology, allowing them to develop a deep understanding of biology and apply it effectively.
Mastering exam techniques is another crucial aspect to cover. Helping students comprehend exam questions and analyse data significantly improves their grades and confidence. This skill is vital for writing precise answers needed at A-Level. It can be challenging for students to develop this level of precision, often causing frustration. Therefore, I employ various activities to guide students in honing this critical ability.
Consistent Study Habits:
I emphasise the importance of consistency in studying to all my students. Even with ample assistance, improvement can be limited without personal dedication and regularity in studying biology. Transitioning from GCSE to A-Level Biology can be overwhelming for students due to the abundance of new concepts, words, and facts. This transition is often referred to as the “big step up.” Students may feel confused, frustrated, and disappointed when progress seems lacking or test results are unsatisfactory.
I teach my students that progress occurs incrementally through consistent effort and active learning strategies. With my guidance, their efforts will compound, leading to rapid advancement. This approach makes the learning process more enjoyable and less stressful. I focus on establishing solid foundations, good study habits, and providing support.
Embracing Failure and Mistakes:
My understanding of the struggle and the value of failure sets me apart as a tutor. Although failure can be discouraging, it is crucial for making improvements. With my guidance, I help students turn failures and mistakes into valuable learning experiences.
Ensuring accessibility to biology with all its complexities is paramount to me. My experience as an examiner and teacher and my diverse science background qualify me to provide the highest quality tuition. Creating a warm and friendly atmosphere in my lessons is essential to fostering an environment where students feel encouraged to ask questions, explore, and embrace their curiosity.
Learning should never be dull; instead, it should be an exciting journey of discovery and growth. To ensure success in A-Level biology, I infuse my teaching with engaging activities, relatable examples, and stories that captivate students’ interest.
For more than 25 years, I have worked with thousands of students of different abilities to teach them A-Level Biology successfully. Throughout this experience, I have developed effective teaching and learning strategies tailored to each student’s needs. These strategies consistently empower my students to achieve high grades allowing them to move forward in their lives.
Bridgend College is a college for further education in South Wales. I taught here for approximately a year, instructing students pursuing the veterinary nurse HND qualification. My subjects included anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and the practical aspects.
Gower College, Swansea:
Gower College is a large further education college located in Goresinun, Swansea. Over the past 17 years, I have taught A-Level Biology at this institution. The biology department is sizable, with over 300 students enrolled each year. As a department member, I have contributed to its success by ensuring student achievement, resulting in a 100% pass rate and grades that exceed the national average. In addition to teaching, I organised the British Biology Olympiad competition, served as the curriculum leader for GCSE science, and acted as a personal tutor, providing support to students.
Examination Board Experience:
Throughout my 25 years of teaching, I have taught the specifications of all UK exam boards, including WJEC and Eduqas. As a result, I have a comprehensive understanding of the requirements necessary to prepare students for their exams.
Moreover, I have worked as an examiner for the WJEC, Eduqas, and Edexcel exam boards. This experience as an examiner has equipped me with valuable skills and strategies in exam techniques, which I utilise with all my students to help them achieve high marks.
Research and Laboratory Experience:
A-Level Biology encompasses a significant practical component. I possess extensive experience in experimental biology, having worked as a microbiologist, an industrial chemist, and a research scientist.
Continual Professional Development (CPD):
I am a member of the Royal Society of Biology and the Chartered College of Teaching. These affiliations enable me to stay informed about the latest developments in education and biology.