I am a graduate student at Central Michigan University studying clinical psychology. I work at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan as a clinician, Wayne State University's Institute of Gerontology as a researcher, and Central Michigan University as an undergraduate instructor. As a teaching assistant and instructor I have tutored undergraduate students who needed a little extra help in their psychology courses. My graduate training, research, and clinical experiences have prepared me well to tutor individuals who are struggling in their math and science courses.
In addition to academic leadership, I also have experience as a coach and mentor. I have coached high school cheerleading and have been involved in the Girls on the Run program. Additionally I have taken on several leadership roles within my academic and professional organizations. I enjoy integrating my academic and leadership skills and make an effort to apply both to my tutoring practice.
I look forward to working with you and helping you to meet your educational goals.
The University of Akron - Bachelors, Psychology
Central Michigan University - Current Grad Student, Clinical Psychology
What is your teaching philosophy?
My approach to teaching can best be conceptualized as goal-oriented and collaborative. I work with my students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and establish defined goals for each session. Then my students and I will work together to achieve those goals. I prefer to structure my sessions to promote success and efficiency. However, I am also flexible, and when an approach isn't working I am happy to switch to an alternative educational approach. Ultimately my goal is to work with my students and play to their strengths to help them master new concepts.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During a first session I like to talk with each of my students about what their personal strengths and weaknesses are, and what their long- and short-term goals are. This allows me to tailor my teaching approaches for each student based on the way he or she learns. Understanding a student's short-term goals helps me to structure sessions and prioritize material to ultimately help them to meet their long-term goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As a psychologist, it is always my goal that my clients won't need me. I adopt a similar philosophy when it comes to tutoring. I provide a supportive environment for students to learn new material, and as they begin to grasp new concepts, I encourage greater self-reliance. I find that this approach helps students to better retain new knowledge and skills, and also promotes self-efficacy.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated in several ways. First, I always attempt to engage them in the learning process by using novel teaching techniques and academic tasks. Secondly, I try to get to know my students so that I can tie-in academic information with their personal interests and values. Lastly, I set multiple goals for each session, as well as long-term goals. Students are more likely to stay motivated when they are able to meet their goals. Similarly, when students aren't feeling motivated, I can better attempt to re-engage them if I can remind them of their goals.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having difficulty learning a skill or concept, I will ask them exactly what they are having a problem with so that I can engage a targeted intervention. If the student is unable to articulate exactly where he or she is having difficulty, then my strategy is to break it down and start from the beginning. If they continue to struggle, I'll break it down even further and start again. I'll continue to break the information down and start from the top until a student is able to understand the material.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension can be a difficult skill to master. For those students who are having difficulty, I would encourage them to practice. We would practice in our sessions by reading passages and then testing comprehension, but I would also encourage students to read as much as they possibly can. I might assign "homework," in that I would ask them to read one book per week and tell me about it at our sessions. Sometimes the only way to get better at things is to practice them!
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think the most successful strategies are those that are tailored to each student's own personality and academic skills. Patience, understanding, and humor can go a long way toward making most students feel comfortable with you and engage with you.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When a student is not engaged in a subject they are not excited about, it usually means they don't see value in it. Therefore, my first approach is always to help students to understand the value in learning the material. If you can get them on board with the importance or relevance of the material, then you can typically get them to become more excited about the material. If that doesn't work, tying in the material with something important to the student is another approach. Humor is another tool that can be used to help engage a reluctant student.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I might begin by having a student demonstrate their knowledge to me in some way (for example, completing a math problem for me). Next, I might switch roles and have the student pretend to teach me the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I think that setting appropriate and achievable goals is one way to build a student's confidence. Also, charting progress can be helpful, because it provides a visual representation of a student's progress. Also, by switching roles and having a student teach me a new concept, a student may become more confident in their skills and knowledge of the material.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I tend to evaluate student's needs in an initial discussion with the student. I might ask what they think their parents might say about their needs, or what their teachers might say about their needs; but then I'll always ask what they consider their needs to be. Typically this conversation would occur in an early session during our discussion of goals.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Usually I will start with an approach that I know tends to be effective for most students, and modify my approach based on each individual student's response. I like my sessions to be collaborative, and I encourage feedback from my students. By keeping an open discussion and mutual respect, it is easy to make changes that will help ensure a student's success.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This, of course, will vary depending on the subject matter. Typically I like to write things out or draw them using paper and pen. Oftentimes I find that using different colors helps to categorize things and improve memory of material. Also, the Internet is a wonderful resource, and electronic technology is worth incorporating into sessions, as there are unlimited resources, videos, animations, and other educational materials available online that can supplement my teaching.