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Sam

Before Varsity Tutors, I was a teaching assistant for five undergraduate courses in the Social Sciences. I have completed both a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology and a Master of Public (MPA) with concentrations in International Development and Policy Analysis. I have spent significant time living and traveling abroad, including time in Argentina, Costa Rica and Western Europe. I not only have a well-rounded background and education, but I am also an adept tutor in test prep, Writing, Statistics and Social Sciences.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Indiana University - B.A., Psychology & Sociology

Graduate Degree:

 Indiana University - MPA, Policy Analysis & International Development

GRE Quantitative: 740

NBA Basketball, The Indiana Hoosiers, International Travel, Cooking, Pick-up Sports, Video Games (I run a mean NBA 2k), Literature, Current Affairs, Coffee

College English

High School English

Quantitative Reasoning

Social Sciences

What is your teaching philosophy?

All students learn differently. Effective teachers are able present materials through a variety of methods to engage all types of learners.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In a typical first session, I would attempt to understand where and why a student is having difficulties. By understanding why a student is having difficulties, I am better able attempt to give the student the tools to avoid these pitfalls in the future.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By helping students understand the language of different academic disciplines, I work to help them to better understand the material with which they are presented. This will help prevent the communication breakdowns that often lead to students' difficulty with complex material.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would help students stay motivated by instilling a sense of the importance of a firm foundation to one's education. Likewise, I would communicate the importance of a well-rounded education, not just for college admissions or employability, but also to help in becoming a more well-rounded person.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would try to isolate the specific stumbling points for the student, and then explain those specific concepts in a different way until it becomes more clear.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I encourage a "divide and conquer" strategy, whereby students isolate words and phrases into more manageable units, simplify the language used by the author, and reconstruct the sentences using more plain and simple language. In the longer term, I would encourage students to make an effort to expand their vocabulary (through flashcards or "word of the day" tools), as a strong vocabulary is essential for reading comprehension.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Listening to the student is essential, particularly as you begin to work together. By understanding why a student is having trouble, one can better address the root cause of their difficulties.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Oftentimes a subject can be made to be more relatable by giving it context in the real world.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

By having a student talk through their reasoning on practice problems, I can ensure that a student is thinking through the material in a complete and accurate way.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

By building a solid foundation in that subject, rather than simply teaching to a student's problem areas, I can help students gain the basic tools to confidently tackle more complicated topics in a subject which they may come across later.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By listening to the way a student describes their experience in a subject area, I can identify the gaps in the student's understanding. Likewise, by asking students to write out or map their thought processes in approaching a problem, I can identify where a student is stumbling.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

By identifying how a student prefers to approach new topics, I can adjust my teaching style to reflect those preferences.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Practice questions, study guides, textbooks, and online resources.