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Jack

I'm an undergraduate at UC Berkeley with two years currently under my belt and the intention to double major in anthropology and biology. My focus is on understanding human biological and social origins through analysis of human artifacts, biological remains, and environmental reconstruction, with a parallel interest in preservation strategies. Outside of academics, I’m passionate about all manner of developing sciences and technologies as well as current events and the history behind them.

When it comes to tutoring, I try to understand how a student is thinking about a problem before deciding on a specific course of action. My job isn’t to be a second lecturer, and the reason that I’m there is often that simple lecture isn’t sufficient, so going for an approach that is personalized for the student is essential.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of California Berkeley - Current Undergrad, Double in Integrative Biology and Anthropology

SAT Composite: 2360

SAT Math: 800

SAT Verbal: 800

SAT Writing: 760

Natural history, futurology, hiking, science fiction.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My job as a tutor is not to simply provide a second set of lectures on the material. Working one-on-one means that I have the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of how a student thinks through individual problems and concepts, and that understanding allows me to identify places in the thought process where I can make smaller clarifications rather than simply running through all of the material again. Ultimately, the ideal goal is to take conceptual patterns that a student is already comfortable with and apply them to the ideas at hand.

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

A typical first session involves evaluating a student.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Self-confidence is key here. Confidence not that they are right, but confidence in their capability to evaluate their own understanding and successfully remedy any shortcomings they might find. The best way to build up this confidence is to practice these abilities. Rather than simply giving a student the next step of the solution when they have difficulty solving a problem, I will try to guide them to it by reviewing the key concepts on which the step is based. This is where understanding how a student thinks is critical, as it allows me to supply the hints that best fit into their own thought processes.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

In my experience, students respond positively to proactive engagement and respect for their position. Very little kills motivation quicker than feeling that your difficulties aren't being understood or appreciated. It can be difficult to foster a genuine interest in a subject in a student, but removing any judgment associated with difficulties or failure goes a long way towards making sure that studying is not something that a student wants to avoid.

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

Most skills and concepts can be broken down into simpler ones, in which case the first step is to narrow down exactly what the source of the difficulties is. Once that.

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

Rewording or restructuring a passage is the best way to ensure that a student understands the entirety of it. Graphical methods are often useful, allowing a student to break a question up into its constituent parts and organize them hierarchically.

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

Get to know how they think through the material at hand.

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

The best way to evaluate understanding is to have the student explain the material to me.

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

I’d go back to the basic concepts behind the material and make sure that they can get through those before progressing on to the more complex areas. Confidence is knowing where you’re going, and that requires being comfortable with where you start.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I start by working through some of the material with them to evaluate both what they understand and how they understand it. From there, I can determine what approach best allows me to take advantage of a student.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Any way that I can.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

My preference is to start with the materials that the student is using for their class, because that is what exams are likely going to be based on.

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

Usually when a student is particularly unmotivated in a specific subject, there's something in the way that it is being conceptualized in class that just doesn't work for that student, and I can say from personal experience that that's extremely frustrating. What I'll try to do is find a way to approach the material that comes more naturally to a student, allowing them to bring in bits of knowledge and understanding from other areas in a way that makes the material more enjoyable.