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The Dioskouroi, also known as the Gemini Twins, as they ride off to war.  The Romans believed that the Dioskouroi would arrive at a battle's pivotal moment to turn the tide in favor of their supplicants.

Welcome

You've reached the homepage of Dr. Nicholas F. Russell, who specializes in training young adults in the reading and writing skills requisite to success at top universities and colleges.

I mastered the art of writing owing to the teachings of one of the globe's best-acclaimed and best-selling authors.  Under his direction, I earned my PhD from Tufts University, a Little Ivy.  I also graduated from Hillsdale College, one of the finest liberal arts schools in the world.

My services are unique.  No other instructor with comparable expertise will be available to your student outside of a tier-one institution.

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Classical Education with Global Reach

Since 2007, I've provided tutoring services to young adults, first in Boston and later in Traverse City.  I began at my graduate school, Tufts, where I studied History – which is, as I like to say, "The Study of Everything."  History is a special discipline whose practitioners use evidence and logic to make truthful, plainly expressed, written claims about the world we live in.  As historians, we teach our students to ground themselves in reality, to think independently, and to form meaningful opinions of their own.

Global historians like me – those among us who examine the history of the world, as a whole – are uniquely positioned to prepare your student for his or her future.  This is because of the range and scope of inquiry that is available to us.  We can study anything, at any time, in any place, for any reason.  No other discipline has this flexibility, and it is because of this specific background that I can offer to your student a kind of general preparation for college – and life, broadly speaking – that he or she will not find elsewhere.  Indeed, this is the essence of the liberal arts:  to provide a broad enough education as to produce a free man or woman, capable of intellectual achievements of his or her own, who is not enslaved to falsehoods and half truths.

Reading Together
What I offer

I educate my pupils to read and write at the proficiency levels expected at elite institutions like Tufts, Hillsdale, and the Ivies.  The quality of my instruction exceeds what most students will otherwise have access to, even after reaching college, and regardless of what name the college has.  This owes to the scarcity of individuals who possess skillsets resembling my own.  While most professors are superbly literate and impeccably well-spoken, precious few of them are familiar with the best methods for passing these traits on to their pupils.  In my own college experience, I found myself immensely fortunate – as though I had won the lottery, twice! – to encounter not just one but two special professors who taught me leading-edge instructional techniques.  If you permit me, I will use these methods to better educate your student and prepare him or her to meet the trials he will face when he goes away to a four-year institution.

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My Teaching Style

Writing

I teach writing as a discipline centered on the pupil's personality and aptitudes.  I start where he or she is – at whatever skill level he possesses – then take his arm (for a novice author is like a blind man) and gently support him as he charts his own hobbling course.  Over time, we will together experience the joy of the opening of his eyes and the awakening of his inner voice.  This process differs markedly from student to student, follows unpredictable timelines, and can only be completed face to face.  I have seen fantastic results and have never had a charge who failed to progress far past what had been possible in the classroom.

Reading

I impart advanced reading techniques via the Socratic Method and use sophisticated chains of questioning to sharpen each pupil’s acumen to a razor’s edge.  The pupil will gain deductive and inferential capacities a good deal beyond what he otherwise might have acquired.  He will begin to learn with greater alacrity and broader understanding, and he will ascertain the right questions to ask which is the most valuable aptitude of all.

Old Books

The Research Paper
and the

Tutorial

I can help your student in many ways, but there are two components of his or her education that must not be ignored:  the research paper and the tutorial.

Historians prize the written word.  It was at Tufts, in my mentor Felipe's classroom, that I first had the opportunity to guide college students through the task of writing research papers – an enterprise that unfolded much like a scientific investigation conducted in a laboratory.  It all begins with asking a question, of the student's own choice, that he would like to explore.  He then embarks upon the search for evidence, a journey that tests and refines his acuity at actively observing the world, as it truly is.  Finally, he must use his discoveries in a systematic, well-conceived, and rhetorically pleasing way, committing his thoughts to writing and making a persuasive argument trending one way or another.


The research paper is the supreme test of a student's mastery of the liberal arts and has the potential to incorporate all forms of non-fiction, including narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive writing.  No other mode of expression – including those available to exponents of the hard sciences – will more rigorously assess your student's overall intellectual competence.

My students prepare themselves for the ordeal of writing their research papers via one-on-one tutorials.  During these encounters, I deploy the Socratic Method, an ancient discipline whose practitioners relentlessly pepper their students with chains of questions pertaining to readings that have been evaluated in advance as homework.  I firmly believe that the tutorial method, combined with the Socratic Method, is by far the best way to furnish students with the academic skills that they need to become logical thinkers and efficacious authors.