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Justin

Throughout my own educational career, I have had my fair share of bad and good teachers and professors. As a university graduate now, I am truly appreciative of those who genuinely cared and took the time to share their knowledge with me and to create an environment for me to thrive and better reach my academic goals. Fortunately, I myself have also had the privilege of teaching and tutoring as well, and of passing on that same legacy of academic inspiration. After working with a variety of different students in different subjects, I realize that I love stirring enthusiasm in students and helping them understand invaluable concepts that will eventually lead them to their own paths of success. No one student is the same. My many experiences have shaped my teaching style and philosophy which can be outlined in three main aspects:

1. pace and style
When presented with new material, the first step is processing and understanding it. Different students take in and digest new material in different ways and with different timing. Hence, I utilize a number of different teaching methods and select those that best fit a student’s needs. For a visual learner, for instance, I would make sure to incorporate diagrams, pictures, and maps to best engage that student’s learning potential. As for pace, some students can only take in so much information at one time and I would break down information in a way that is easiest for them to digest.

2. mastery and dexterity
Perhaps the most important skill any tutor and cultivate in a student is critical thinking. When a student finally comes to understand material, it is important that he or she is able to execute those concepts in different contexts and in different scenarios. When a student asks questions, I often times like to respond with questions myself that help them guide them to the correct deductions and conclusions themselves. This will also help ensure their ability to do well on their tests when they don’t have a tutor around.

3. vision and application
A student’s motivation to do well should be driven by the ability to see the application and relevance of the knowledge they are learning. Whether or not a subject seems to have any direct correlation with their future career, there are always key concepts that will either help them better function in society or at their future career. I love helping students find take-away concepts from subjects and application in their own lives.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of California San Diego - BS, Neuroscience and Physiology

Graduate Degree:

 University of Southern California - MS, Global Medicine

SAT Math: 720

Piano, violin and fashion design.

College Biology

College Chemistry

College English

Creative Writing

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

High School English

What is your teaching philosophy?

I love encouraging and helping students think critically on their own. By asking questions and giving pointers that guide students to come to correct conclusions on their own, I hope to help students engage their own minds to their full potential to solve problems.

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

When I first meet a student, I like to get acquainted with his or her academic level, learning pace, learning style, academic history, weaknesses/strengths, goals, and personality in order to better tailor my tutoring to fit their needs.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

First and foremost, I always encourage students to think critically on their own in order to become more independent learners. There are usually more ways than one to approach and solve a problem, and an innumerable number of sources a student can tap into in this technological world.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

No matter the difficulty, a student is usually motivated to push through with a goal or reward in mind. Whenever a student is discouraged, I simply remind them of their larger vision and how overcoming the present obstacle brings them that much closer to their goals.

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

I would break down a larger concept into smaller ideas that the student could digest better. I would also approach the concept in a different style. For instance, I may use a visual example vs. a calculative example.

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

Reading comprehension is a major issue for many students. Oftentimes the issue is speed or inability to map out larger concepts and/or the main ideas of a passage. I would help read through and break down different passages with a struggling student in order to help them analyze and understand how passages are constructed and how they communicate certain ideas. I would also help expand their vocabulary and understanding of key words used in context. I would have them practice, practice, practice. With guidance, comprehending different material should become easier and easier, whether it be creative writing or academic papers.

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

Approaching problem-solving the way a student already functions cognitively seems to be the most effective way of helping a student learn at his or her pace and in his or her style. With visual learners, for instance, I would do my best to utilize diagrams, maps, and pictures to engage that student's learning potential.

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

Oftentimes, a student will lack interest in a subject because he or she does not see the relevance or application to his or her life. In such instances, I take the time to find the subject's importance in a student's life, particularly in relation to his or her goals. There is always something to glean from learning a new concept, no matter how irrelevant it may seem.

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

I make sure to ask the students lots of questions to ensure that they understand the material themselves. A student may seem to understand material upon hearing it, but they usually realize that they don't understand it nearly as well as they should when it comes to executing the material themselves. I have them demonstrate what they've learned through different practice problems, and then I have them reteach the concepts back to me.

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

Practice, practice, practice is key to building confidence and agility and executing new concepts. I like to present different subjects and concepts so students get a better grasp of what they are learning in context. This also helps them make better connections between different ideas.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask students about their academic history, style of learning, studying habits, lifestyle, and academic strengths/weaknesses.

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

As a tutor who has worked with a variety of students, I like to utilize a number of different techniques (i.e., visual, oral, calculative, etc.) to address a student's needs. When a student seems to thrive under one technique over others, I definitely make sure to incorporate and emphasize that type of teaching and tutoring in my work with them.

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

I have a number of textbooks, AP books, and SAT/ACT/AP/MCAT practice material that I have utilized myself going through grade school and university. I use the materials to help guide my teaching, and I will often supplement a student's practice with materials from these sources.