Learning should be fun, and you never stop learning!
That has been a mantra that I’ve carried with me throughout my entire life. I’ve had the good fortune to work with students in countries all over the world; Holland, the UK, Italy and Japan. No matter what, we all have something to learn. I’ve seen that the best way to help with retention is by making the experience enjoyable. That’s where I come in!
I am an NYU grad with a BFA in Theater, with a minor in Applied Theater. I’ve worked in youth development for the last ten years and have created some amazing relationships with the families I’ve worked with. The most important thing I’ve learned is that everyone learns differently. No two students take in information the same way, and having a flexible and personal approach is key.
For me, tutoring is more than just helping out with homework or getting the right answer. Tutoring is mentoring. It means developing and building trust in a way that is empowering. Whatever the reason a student needs a tutor, I feel it is incredibly important to create a strong relationship in order to support a healthy and positive learning environment. And fun. Building that foundation can lead to amazing growth.
NYU - BFA, Theater
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning has to be fun. Otherwise, it's like going to the dentist, and no one likes going to the dentist.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Ask questions and listen. It's more important for me to learn about who they are and the best way to engage them. Otherwise, there's no foundation to build upon to help them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By challenging them. Setting up a challenge systems sparks competition, and healthy competition can lead to giving them the power to work on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By being an example of hard work. Perspective is challenging when you are younger. However, my sense of perspective as a tutor and a mentor allows for a deeper ability to communicate and motivate.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Getting it off the page, out of their heads and into their bodies. Sometimes it is easier to understand something if you experience it, rather than trying to memorize it.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Storytelling. Getting them to share stories and then drawing parallels allows for a different, deeper understanding of what they are reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It really depends on the student, but usually doing something other than studying. We are developing a relationship, and the foundation of any good relationship is trust. Talking, listening, or playing a game to break the ice are usually great starting points.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I'm a ball of energy, so my go-to is something physical. Make it a game: jumping around, tossing a ball, or racing back and forth. And it doesn't matter the age. Getting up and getting the blood flowing can help find a different approach.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Rapid fire quizzes. Answers should come fluidly and immediately. If not, then go back to step 1. Oops, you messed up on 9? Back to step 1. This level of repetition really helps retention.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive reinforcement. There's nothing better than letting them know they've done a great job. Also celebrating all successes with them, no matter how incremental.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluating a student's needs comes from speaking with the student and the parents. Learning what their past education experience has been, any teachers they loved or had a particularly difficult time with, or any obstacles/challenges they've had. It's really about listening and learning, being patient and asking questions.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Again it comes back to listening. If a student responds to a method (lots of quizzes), then you go with that. If I feel a sense of dread and not excitement, or the exercises I try doesn't stick, I have no problem tossing that out and trying something different.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Paper, pens, pictures, bouncy balls, yarn/twine, lots of kinetic energy and the Internet.