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Closely related to its umbrella subject Biology in terms of the skills and assessment required for success, Human Biology tuition provides a more specific focus on aspects which relate to the human species and our interaction with the natural world. Important topics include genetics, behaviour, population, health and immunology, and these usually build on broader knowledge acquired during previous study. As the syllabus evolves, new units are appearing such as Physiology and Neurobiology, however many of the traditional themes remain prominent, and a Human Biology tutor is capable of adapting to the particular course requirements of each student. Outlined below are some typical units studied by candidates, and many benefit greatly from one-to-one Human Biology tuition, to help comprehend the more complex material.
Example Unit: CELL FUNCTION AND INHERITANCE
This unit teaches students about the functioning of the living cell, through which they can begin to understand how entire organs or bodies operate. This includes the role of enzymes in cell metabolism and protein synthesis; processes which can be reiterated and solidified by Human Biology Tuition. Pupils learn about the transfer of energy and substances within and without cells, and how viruses enter and alter metabolic pathways. This unit also includes the study of genes and chromosomes, looking at inheritance as a result of dominant and recessive combinations. A Human Biology Tutor not only helps students to understand technical concepts, but also gives them a clearer understanding of their application in society, and asks them to consider the ethical issues involved in processes like genetic screening.
Example Unit: THE CONTINUATION OF LIFE
This unit details the human reproductive system, from gamete production to fertilisation, implantation, and pre/post-natal development. Students also discover forms of artificial intervention, and once again a Human Biology tutor is sensitive towards the ethical issues that may implicate each individual. It is hoped that through gaining an understanding of bodily mechanisms, students will be able to make informed choices and develop a sympathetic approach towards different perspectives. Human Biology tuition develops knowledge about cell interaction through transportation and exchange of materials, extrapolating details to demonstrate how larger body systems function. Other topics include waste removal and regulating mechanisms such as homeostasis, and candidates will be expected to have a broad knowledge to answer multiple-choice, data-handling and extended response questions in their exams.
Example Unit: BEHAVIOUR, POPULATIONS & THE ENVIRONMENT
This unit explores how human behaviour is differentiated from the lives of other animals, such as our developed nervous system and sophisticated communication skills. The complex cerebral cortex of the human brain allows for the study of language, motor skills, the senses and memory, whilst genetic and environmental factors inform students about individual developments like intelligence and maturity. Community living, which modifies patterns of behaviour and facilitates social interaction, gives a uniquely social or psychological element to the course. A Human Biology tutor encourages students to become self-reflexive as they pursue their studies, examining how their own behaviour patterns are affected and subject to change. This unit should extend to the influence of modern technological developments on human interaction, as well as population growth and its causes, limitations and consequences.