I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. It is because of this love of learning that I feel most comfortable in aiding other learners along their journeys. To stop learning is to stop living a meaningful and abundant life. I could no more stop breathing than stop inquiring about the world around me.
It is for this reason that I teach others to appreciate and discover their love of learning. Leaning should be a joyful experience and not one of drudgery. Learning can build confidence in the learner to broach further information and then use it in their daily lives. This is my goal - to inspire others to take the path less traveled and continue to question what makes our world work. The student will apply this knowledge to continue to build a broader understanding of all subjects and how they so beautifully complement each other.
Each person will have their own journey, their own way of learning. It is the teacher that travels with them that can help them see and use the knowledge they uncover or stumble upon.
St John Fisher College - Bachelors, Political Science and English
Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester NY - Masters, Secondary Education
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in hands-on, experiential learning for students of all ages. The more a learner is exposed to subject matter, the greater the experience of all of the senses. This aids the student as they begin to internalize content and understand the basic concepts to build upon toward success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to get to know how the student thinks, and how they process information. I want to know what their academic background looks like to better understand what has worked or not worked for them in the past. I want them to see me as a guide instead of a taskmaster. I would probably use some type of assessment tool to measure their progress thus far. This will help direct their learning path in the future.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try to be a role model for my students. I ask general questions about topics of their day, and try to relate them to current coursework. This models learning in a different way, and allows the student to see how so many things actually build off one another. This increases curiosity and understanding for any subject.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I find something positive about a student's performance and build upon it. Depending upon how this learner is motivated, we can do an activity, discuss an interesting topic in their life, or provide them with traditional rewards like a good grade, or charted progress. The student has the power to choose the reward according to their learning style.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would find another way of reaching the student through a different means. The learning style would help dictate what that means might be. Changing the neuropathway can spark a completely different learning reaction.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
We communicate with each other. I ask more fundamental questions to assess what the real problems could be. It is then I can adjust and ameliorate the learning problem.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I need to find a point of connection to a student's life to begin to understand their learning style and their motivators. I have to build trust with them so they can relax their defenses to incoming information.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would find a real-life application of the subject matter, and expose the student to this experience. It should be non-threatening, fresh, and even fun! I would use discussion after the experience to underline the concept they had once found difficult to understand.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I believe in both quantitative and qualitative assessments. A written test can be very helpful, as well as reading through a learning journal that is far more informal. There is no single technique to accurately measure student progress. Just as learning style is unique to the student, so too is the way I assess their learning progress.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I believe in positive reinforcement. Give the student kudos for working hard and making progress whenever possible. Be reasonable and give only feedback that will enhance the student's experience.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I look for daily and weekly progress in their work. I use student journals to measure some of their progress. There is a place for testing, but only on a unit basis. Self-graded pre-testing can help student success.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to really know my students as individuals. This helps me evaluate their personal learning style, including what techniques will work the best. Each student is unique and may learn best with a variety of styles.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I plan to use the student's textbook from the classroom as well as homework assignments. As we determine what drills may be beneficial, we will discuss problem areas. I will provide drills to address those areas.