I earned my PhD in experimental psychology in 2003. I have 17 years of teaching experience at the college and high school level. I have taught statistics on multiple occasions as well as a wide variety of math, science, and psychology courses. I also have extensive experience tutoring.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Oklahoma Norman Campus - Bachelor in Arts, Psychology
Graduate Degree: Texas Christian University - PHD, Psychology
Sports, reading, science, cycling, video games
What is your teaching philosophy?
In my career, I have strove to become the best teacher I can be by utilizing successful techniques of my mentors and colleagues. Ultimately, I feel that I need to be flexible as an instructor to match my instruction with the course material. I strive to develop critical thinking skills in students, and to be available to students when they need assistance in any way. I feel like students respond best to instruction when they are actively engaged by the teacher. I feel I am best as a tutor and teacher when I learn how my students respond to certain instruction.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Before specific instruction occurs, I would like to get to know them a bit, but also get to know the course that they are taking. What are the expectations of their teacher, when are assignments due, etc.? I believe tutoring should be within the context of the course they are taking.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Through experience. Students are more capable than they often think they are. When they develop confidence, they can tackle any problem given to them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think the pacing of instruction has a lot to do with student motivation. If a student if feeling overwhelmed, they can develop learned helplessness and stop trying. They have to be shown that their effort does indeed produce results.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to understand where the disconnect is. The solution to most problems is conceptualizing the nature of the problem. Perhaps the student is having a difficult time connecting the concept to previously learned material. Perhaps the student cannot see the practical nature of the concept. Learning is all about making connections, and the instructor can help make them.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would suggest slowing down. They need to pay attention to key aspects of what they are reading. Also, the student can greatly improve their comprehension by summarizing what they just read.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think the key is always organization. First, get to know the student and the course that they are taking. From there, lay down a plan of attack: set a schedule of what we want to try to get accomplished.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I believe students will naturally get excited when they start seeing concrete results. It is genuinely exciting when you start to master a topic that you struggled with so mightily.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Students need to be quizzed and tested. It is the only way you can know for sure that they understand, plus merely the act of testing the student helps them further learn the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build confidence by gradually making progress in understanding the material. Students need to know that they cannot just hear something once and learn it. No one can. Instead, by actively learning the material, they can gain confidence step-by-step.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate student's needs by looking at their performance on assessments so far, asking them about their current knowledge base, and perhaps most importantly, I just ask them. What do you feel you are struggling with the most at the moment?
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring by constantly getting feedback on how they are retaining information. If one learning strategy does not work, let's try something else.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on the topic, but everything available. I believe tutoring needs to occur within the context of the course they are taking. That is, what assignments have been given? How is their teacher trying to instruct them? What book are they using for the course?