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Brenda

I believe that all children thrive on positive interactions. I pledge each and every day when I go to work, as a teacher or in another realm, to do no harm. I believe that I can learn from everybody I interact with each day. Acceptance of individuals is an important step in creating success. Utilizing my experience as an older sister and tutor throughout school years, my years of experience running a classroom, and my education in Special and General Education, as well as Applied Behavior Analysis I can provide a varied approach to gain the largest amount of success as possible with the students I am privileged to work with.

Undergraduate Degree:

 UNM - Bachelors, Special Education

Graduate Degree:

 UNM - Masters, Elementary Education

Dogs, reading, walking, kettlebells, traveling

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that all children can learn. When provided the right methods and tools of teaching success is inevitable. Success looks like different things to different people. I would like to help children meet their (or their family's) definition of success when possible, regardless of how long that may take. I like to challenge people and know that a deep level of caring coupled with those high expectations is a quicker means to success.

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

I believe that building rapport while establishing expectations is an important first step with a student. Taking an inventory of interests while assessing basic skills would be a successful first session.

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

I would reteach it using a different method. Does the student need more visuals? Does the student need to manipulate the materials? If I 'run out' of ways to present materials I would seek out strategies before the next session.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

It is important to create independent learners and thinkers. This can be difficult, especially in tutoring, because often we provide more help than we realize. I try to provide 'coaching' and stepping back my support. Fading support is a large component of ABA practices, and I believe that I do an excellent job of providing enough support in the beginning and then coaching and encouraging independence.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation is individualized. It is key to find what motivates a student. Intrinsic motivation is the easiest to encourage, as the student stays motivated with success. However, many students who are being tutored for difficulties in school need some extrinsic motivation. It could be as simple as earning time on an activity during a tutoring session, or setting up earning something with the family over time, dependent on what the family needs. Finally, limiting negative feedback during a session is essential. When a student is not grasping a concept it is important to step back to a higher success skill to regain confidence and move back into the skill that was a struggle over time.

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

Students I've worked with have success with repeated practice, multi-sensory experiences, using technology during a session, and being able to tie the work to personal situations.

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

At the end of the session it would be beneficial to run a data gathering exercise to see if the student can perform the task. Then the following session provide this data gathering exercise at the beginning to see if the skill is still there. If not, work on reteaching or providing more practice.