Chemistry tutor William Lin has the right formula to help students make sense of difficult concepts.
Boost Your Confidence And Grades
He used to dread chemistry classes when he was in junior college. But that changed after he signed up for tuition lessons by chemistry tutor William Lin.
Now 20 and in National Service, Mr Felix Tseng recalled how Mr Lin helped him find his bearings in chemistry and motivated him to do well in his studies two years ago. Mr Tseng said: "During chemistry lessons in school, I always felt lost and I couldn't keep up with the class. I found it difficult to understand the concepts taught in class." He remembered feeling demoralised after obtaining a U grade in his March JC2 chemistry exam. A schoolmate suggested Mr Tseng take up tuition in chemistry.
Mr Tseng signed up for classes at Making Sense Learning Centre founded by Mr William Lin
He recalled: "From the very first tuition class, Mr Lin changed my view of chemistry. I was blown away by the ease at which he helped us understand the concepts, link topics together and remember them. Chemistry went from being my greatest source of worry to the subject that I had the most confidence in.
"It was more than just for the sake of passing exams. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the subject and I found a lot of satisfaction when I could make sense of the concepts taught."
Under Mr Lin's tireless coaching, Mr Tseng scored an A in his GCE A-level examinations in 2014.
PASSION TO TEACH AND INSPIRE
Mr Lin founded Making Sense Learning Centre in 2011 offering students tuition in A Level Chemistry. He coaches over 500 students yearly, delivering structured and comprehensive lessons.
Mr Lin graduated from National University of Singapore (NUS) with an honours degree in chemistry and was awarded a PhD scholarship by NUS to pursue medicinal chemistry. As an undergraduate, he earned a place on the dean's list and completed a four year degree in three-and-a-half years. He began giving tuition in chemistry part-time while pursuing his doctorate degree. Midway, Mr Lin realised that his real interest was to teach and coach students in the subject he loved most.
Fuelled by his zeal in imparting knowledge and the satisfaction he felt when students did well, he decided to set up his own tuition centre. It meant giving up his scholarship.
"It was a tough and life-changing decision for me. While I was grateful for the scholarship, I felt compelled to give up my own studies as there was an increasing number of parents and students approaching me to give classes. I considered all factors carefully and decided I had to give my full attention and time to my students," he said.
MAKING LEARNING FUN AND ENGAGING
Mr Lin believes it is important to engage the students, such as by using teaching aids such as interactive smart boards, tablets and even YouTube videos.
He said: "Tutoring is like performing. You need to find a way to deliver content in the most interesting way. Part of me wants to teach, while the other part of me wants students to be entertained and enjoy coming for class. When they find chemistry interesting, half the battle is won."
Apart from establishing rapport with students, Mr Lin's way of connecting students to the subject matter is breaking down complex concepts and making them easy for students to understand.
He said: "I use simple and concise explanations to help my students to process and absorb the knowledge they will be tested on. This helps them learn effectively. It is a two-way process, my students get inspired to learn and I draw inspiration from them to always find new ways of teaching."
LEARNING BASED ON UNDERSTANDING
At Making Sense Learning Centre, students are challenged to question the rationale behind facts, think deeply and bridge missing links between concepts.
Mr Lin observed that new students who sign up for his tuition classes often tell him that they have spent a lot of time studying on their own but they were not getting the results they want.
"One common problem I noticed is that they spent time memorising huge chunks of facts but they don't actually understand what they are committing to memory so they don't quite know how to apply what they memorised to answer exam questions. I liken this to them accumulating many pieces of different jigsaw puzzles but they can't piece these together to complete the puzzle," he said.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Mr Lin ensures that the notes he provides are well-structured, detailed, concise and informative. He believes that these notes are tools that can allow students to stay ahead of the national average. Outside of tuition hours, students can reach Mr Lin through Whats¬App, SMS and e-mail to clarify their doubts or ask for extra help. He also encourages students to arrange for extra consultation sessions at no cost.
Mr George Wong, 21, one of Mr Lin's former students, scored an A grade for chemistry at his GCE A-level exams in 2013.
Mr Wong said: "To me, the one value that really makes Mr Lin such a special teacher is his 100 per cent commitment to students. "He has a few hundred students, yet he knows the strengths and weaknesses of almost all of them. He also replies to our messages without fail. He doesn't mind when we hold him back after class to ask him to repeat certain concepts that we don't fully understand. He is not just a chemistry tutor and he truly teaches us the intrinsic value of learning and motivates us to want to do well."