Tutoring at the edge of understanding
Exceptional coaching for learning when the usual sources of help aren’t available.
What is a tutxor?
For most things you need to learn, there are many experts on the subject from whom you can learn, and a vast range of learning materials: courses, textbooks, videos, communities. For most topics, there’s an agreed curriculum, a set of things that most experts agree you need to know. But for the most difficult, the most challenging, and the most ground-breaking learning, there’s almost nothing to help you. That’s where tutxoring comes in.
It’s a new and unique service. The tutxor provides you with support, guidance and accountability as you work on a project where there’s no well-worn path to tread.
A tutxor can’t directly teach you what you need to learn. You’re beyond what an ordinary tutor can do. So the tutxor works more like a coach. This is for situations where there are so few experts that they’re not available to teach you – or, perhaps, there are no experts, because the topic is so new. You need to do the learning, and it’ll be challenging. But you can have someone by your side to help.
What’s it like?
The model comes from the later stages of PhD supervision, or some forms of an Oxbridge tutorial. While the supervisor or tutor usually starts with a better understanding than the student, good students will, by the end, be among the world experts in the specific area they’re working in, and the role of the supervisor or tutor becomes much more of a guide than a direct teacher.
Metaphorically, it’s like climbing a new route up a mountain, where there are no previous climbers to learn from. Having advice from an experienced alpinist will be an immense help, but they can’t tell you the route: you must find it yourself.
Why Doug Clow as tutxor?
I have many years’ experience in helping people in this way, and I have a unique background that makes me well-placed to provide the service. I have a very broad and deep level of background knowledge.
For over 20 years I was a successful PhD supervisor and postgraduate tutor, often working with students in areas far from my core subject expertise. In that context, I’ve helped people working on difficult topics ranging from the theatre to mathematics, from the complexities of human meaning-making to the complexities of transfer learning in artificial intelligence.
My key skill is rapidly learning new topics, and I find pretty much everything interesting. As well as my broad academic knowledge, I have a wide grounding in practical domains including architecture, aviation, business, economics, engineering, finance, law and policy, local government, and medicine and healthcare. You can be confident that even if I don’t already know a lot about your specific domain, I can quickly develop enough of a grasp to be extremely useful in terms of the detail as well as the wider picture.
Tutxoring is not the same as teaching, but I do have a strong teaching background. I’ve been a teacher at an advanced level for over 25 years, in a wide range of subjects – see my Training page for topics I currently offer.
Using a personal, caring approach, I carefully balance support and encouragement with constructive criticism and incisive questioning.