DULUTH, Minn. – Dr. Michael Waxman, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at UWS, developed “Tutoring Without Borders”, a program used to help Ukrainian children continue to learn during the war.
When the war started, many Ukrainian citizens were forced to flee and enter new countries. This created many language barriers for those still in school and, in turn, inspired Dr. Waxman to offer his teaching services to those affected.
“We scientists believe in experimentation. experience shows that tutoring is important to a child’s logical state,” Waxman said.
He also says his main goal was to give the children a sense of normalcy and has already received positive feedback from the parents of the participants, “and she told me that once you started tutoring the boy , he has completely changed. He is back to being the same pre-war child I knew. He searches again all the time for physics, movies and YouTube. Just the same old boy.
The program started in March and has helped over 20 students since then. Waxman currently works with 7 students 5 hours per week. The material he provides is similar to his university courses, but at a somewhat slower pace.
Along with teaching, he is responsible for finding tutors and pairing them with students in the program. “American high school teachers would be great. You don’t need to know Ukrainian or Russian to be able to mentor these children. In many cases, English would suffice, I think.
Germany is a popular place of residence for Ukrainians, but adjusting to the language has been difficult. In Ukraine, they start learning English in the fifth grade, so many students are comfortable with the language. That’s why Waxman found it important to start the mobile program and he teaches in English and Russian.
“Our science needs are more or less covered, but our language needs. This is where the bottleneck is. So that is our concern. Polish, German, Italian, French and Spanish are some of the languages that desperately need attention.
Waxman says he not only teaches these children, but they have had an impact on his life as well. “It’s been one of the happiest times of my life, really. It’s incredibly rewarding to see kids who really want to learn. It’s an incredibly powerful experience.
The program is always looking for tutors and help with web design. Interested persons can apply online at Tutoringwithoutborders.org