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Michael

Teaching is one of my greatest passions in life. My end goal is to earn a PhD and work as a professor at a university for the rest of my life. I just completed my master's degree this summer, and am working for a year or two trying to make a little money before going back to school for that doctorate.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Oregon State University - BS, Biology

Graduate Degree:

 California State University-Long Beach - MS, Biology

Music, surfing, skiing, sailing, diving, and fishing

What is your teaching philosophy?

Almost anyone can learn almost anything with the right approach to the material.

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

During the first session, it's important to learn about the student. In order to be able to effectively help them, I need to understand how they learn and what their academic strengths and weaknesses are. What works well for one student may not work so well for another, so it's necessary to tailor my teaching methods to each individual student.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Often, students just don't understand how to study effectively. I know I didn't when I was younger. Teaching effective studying techniques, like highlighting and reviewing core concepts, or making flashcards for important terms or definitions, or even simply keeping a studying journal, can usually be a good way to help someone become an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Helping them keep their eyes on the prize, so to speak, is a good way to help them stay motivated. It's more difficult to put in the work when you don't have an end goal in sight, so it helps to stay focused on the reason why you're going to school in the first place (which is most often to attain a certain career).

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

I believe that almost anyone can learn almost anything if they can relate to the material. I have found that using easily-relatable analogies to help students relate to certain concepts has been very effective in the past.

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

One way to improve reading comprehension is to focus on the core message of whatever you're reading. Sometimes my mind can wander while I'm reading, and I don't end up absorbing much of the material when that happens. If I focus on the message and really think about the concepts while I'm reading, it helps me to stay mentally on-task and get more out of the reading than I otherwise might.

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

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

Sometimes it's a matter of finding a different way to look at and/or relate to the material. The fact of the matter, though, is that not everyone is going to be able to get excited about every subject. School isn't always going to be fun and interesting 100% of the time. Some subjects have to be viewed as a means to an end; sometimes it's just something you have to do to get to where you want to be in life.

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

I have a personal belief that you never truly understand something until you understand it well enough to teach it, so a foolproof way to be sure a student understands a concept is to have them explain it to me in a different way than I explained it to them. If they can do that, I can be absolutely certain they've got it down.

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

With a series of small but increasing victories. A subject always seems intimidating when you feel like you don't understand any of it, but if you break concepts into easily digestible pieces and work your way up, the entire subject begins to seem a lot more accessible.