A photo of Michael, a tutor from Lyndon State College

Michael

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I am a veteran with a Bachelor's degree in graphic design and a certificate in web development. I have been teaching art and photography for over ten years in Vermont, New York, and, most recently, in the Tampa Bay area. I am also the founder of a web design, photography and illustration enterprise. My mission in my enterprise and in tutoring is to inspire, create and engage:
Inspire others to broaden their horizons, improve the quality of life and the world around them, and to make this world a better place in ways big and small.
Engage clients, students, friends and colleagues through positive interactions which challenge pre-conceived notions, integrate the best of what others have to offer and encourage healthy development of mind and spirit.
Developing your creative spirit provides benefits in better problem solving, increased productivity and a higher quality of life.

Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Lyndon State College - Bachelor in Arts, Graphic Design

Graduate Degree: Pinellas Technical Education Center-Clearwater - Certificate, Web Development

Hobbies

Costuming, music editing, photography, running, classic cars, travel

Tutoring Subjects

Art

College English

Creative Writing

Drawing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

Photography

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The most important factor in teaching is not in the material itself, but knowing how to learn. Once you know the best way to learn new material, being a student becomes much easier.

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

The first step is to assess where the student is presently, and where they want to go. Sometimes they're not sure; my job is to help them on their path. That will dictate my approach, to best fit their needs.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Knowing how to learn is almost as important as the knowledge itself. Emphasizing a positive, confident attitude goes a long way to helping a student become an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation is a finite resource; we all run out of it from time to time. I advise my students to step back on a regular basis, focus on something else, and recharge. The longer the mind is forced to focus on something, the less effective it becomes.

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

The key is to determine the cause of the difficulty. Is it the mindset? Is it the way the student is trying to learn the material? Each student learns differently, so an open discussion helps figure out the best way to learn.

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

Struggles with reading comprehension can be frustrating. Sometimes the solution is just knowing what the specific words are saying, other times it's understanding the concept, by putting it into different words. Learning how to learn, coupled with a positive mindset, is the most effective way forward.

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

Keep it relaxed and low-key. When a student is comfortable and at ease, learning and comprehension come much more easily, and is a lot more fun (learning does not have to be a drag). The other important component is communication. The instruction will only be as good as the communication from the student.

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

Goals. Connecting the subject to something the student wants to achieve, and demonstrating how the material will help the student get there, makes the subject much more relevant, and helps the student stay more motivated. Concrete, tangible, well-defined goals are an important part of staying motivated.

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

Communication between the student and instructor is the biggest one, with trust coming a close second. A student who doesn't understand the material but trusts his/her instructor will be much more involved in the process. Then it's a matter of reframing, re-defining and re-examining the material in different ways to help the student comprehend.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I have a discussion with the student about where they are in the process, where they want to be, and where they feel they are struggling. I also try to understand how the student best absorbs new information and concepts, as this will influence the teaching approach.

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

Since each student learns differently, it's a bit like a dance; learning each student's personality, mindset and level of motivation all influence how the material will be covered to make it approachable, relevant and fun to learn. Regular feedback helps make sure the lesson is remaining effective.

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

It depends on what is being taught, but visual examples are very effective and help to inspire the student and open up his/her mind to what can be achieved. I'm also a big fan of sketching and brainstorming without analytical thought; letting your mind off its leash is a very powerful learning technique.