I believe that all students can and want to learn. This is often admittedly unclear for many students throughout their academic careers. All it takes is one bad day, one bad teacher, or one confusing topic to make a student feel hopeless and that a certain subject is a lost cause.
Tutoring is a great way to change a student's attitude towards a particular subject. I have always prided myself on getting to know the students in my class beyond their lives in the classroom in order to determine how they can learn to the best of their abilities. The one-on-one setting of tutoring offers an even better environment to develop a trusting relationship to take some frustration out of students' lives and give them more confidence in the classroom and in life in the process.
SUNY College at Oneonta - BS, Childhood Education
SUNY at Albany - MS, Literacy
What is your teaching philosophy?
All students can and want to learn. This truth, along with showing excitement as an educator, can go a long way for a teacher and tutor. Energy is contagious. Students who are already feeling like all the cards are stacked against them can use as much positive energy as they can get to realize that they do have what it takes to learn anything, and it doesn't have to be painful.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I would first take some time to get to know my student. Once we get to know each other, I would have my student complete some brief diagnostic assessments. This will ensure that we get the most out of each tutoring session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In order to help students become independent learners, I help them become self-motivated. I do this by constantly pushing them to be curious, critical thinkers. This critical thinking encourages them to ask "why?" Having students begin to ask and answer questions on their own will get them on their way to becoming independent learners.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I am a strong believer in self motivation. To ensure students are self motivated, I maintain a high level of enthusiasm and optimism towards students' problem solving abilities. Once they realize that they can succeed at a subject, they will become more and more motivated to ensure their continued success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would go right back to the basics of that concept. This would enable me to see what the student DOES know about the concept, and will also give the student confidence moving forward to the more difficult aspects of the concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If students are struggling with reading comprehension, I would have them read an article or passage from a book or magazine that I know would interest them. Once they realize they do have the skills necessary to comprehend what they are reading, they will have more confidence when they read something that they are not as excited about. Other strategies I would use include having students read the comprehension questions before reading a passage in order to have students get an idea of what they will be reading, as well as having students read a few sentences at a time, and then discussing with them what they just read. Breaking up the reading this way will make comprehension much more manageable for many students.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Successful strategies I use when starting to work with a student include getting to know the student on a personal level, and letting that student get to know me. Constantly checking in with the student to see what is easy, difficult, boring or exciting for them will help foster a solid, trusting relationship, which is very important in order for students and tutors to get the most out of each session.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The fact is, if a student is struggling with a subject, chances are they are not excited about it or engaged. However, I found that one of the best strategies to get students excited about a subject is to show the student that I am excited to teach it! Whether or not I am excited to teach the subject is irrelevant. If a student is taught a subject they are already not engaged with in a lackadaisical manner, then it will be nearly impossible for them to retain any information on the subject. This is why it is so important for teachers and tutors to always show excitement about every topic that they teach.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To be sure that a student understands the material, I would use a combination of formal and informal assessments. Throughout each session, it is important to check in with the student to make sure they are comprehending the material. Short formal assessments, both before and after some sessions, will help ensure that students are understanding the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Having students complete 'easy' problems related to the subject and helping them through problems in the beginning, step by step, will help them see that it is not impossible to understand the subject. This will also hopefully reduce frustration, which is one of the biggest factors in increasing confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A combination of diagnostic tests, regular assessments, and paying attention to a student's demeanor will help me evaluate each student's needs. The latter will most likely be the most effective evaluation method, especially once the student and I establish a relationship. Seeing students get excited, frustrated, or bored during a session will help show me which methods, strategies, and activities work best to help each student succeed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Simply keeping an open mind going into each tutoring session lets me adapt to students' needs. Realizing that each student has a unique set of skills and learning abilities, and that each day these abilities may even seem to change within each student will go a long way towards being able to adapt to each student's set of specific needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use whatever materials each tutoring session calls for. A variety of reading materials, hands-on materials, and formal and informal assessments could be used each session, depending on the subject and which materials and methods work best for each student.