My eleven years experience as a college professor make me a successful tutor. I pay particular attention in listening to student learning needs. For me, it is of outmost importance that during a tutoring session, student and tutor focus on the concepts and skill the tutored needs to improve his grades.
My previous experience in the industrial world allows me to guide and motivate students by showing them the relation between what they are learning and their future profession. I firmly believe that when a student sees the real world application of what he is learning he will improve his performance.
I teach general chemistry for required and honor courses. My approach pays special attention in guiding a student in the use of mental maps, both, to improve their retention and problem solving capability. My ample experience allows me to know which are the most difficult aspects of chemistry for the students to understand. It is in those particular subjects where I apply self developed methods to simplify the understanding of abstract concepts.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I use the learning-centered approach. For that reason, I continuously encourage my students to assimilate knowledge by doing.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By providing them with the ability to make mental maps so that they can build their own methodology to learn particular concepts. Furthermore, this approach helps them to use the most adequate way to solve problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would find an example of a day-to-day situation that is easily understood by the student and then translate it to the concept or skill he has to learn.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
To establish a conversation so that the student can provide me with information about his expectations. At that time, I assess his personality so that I can tailor an adequate strategy to help him.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By exposing the student to questions that illustrate the relationship between the material they are learning and real life situations.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By finding examples of how that subject can help him in his professional career and even in his personal life.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use a session of brainstorming where I would encourage the student to generate his own questions about the subject.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
With homework that will allow him to face the subject individually and in an independent way.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By having a relaxed conversation where the student can expose his needs without feeling embarrassed. It is important for the student to understand that is normal to find difficulties during the learning process.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Finding the most effective communication channel with the student. Some have very developed sensorial channels and learn by hearing and viewing. Others tend to learn more effectively by doing. A teacher should be able to detect for each particular student which of these channels is more effective.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
An exercise very useful to increase reading comprehension is to have the student rewrite a problem using his own words.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Among other techniques, at the beginning of a lesson I start with a short story that somehow relates to the subject I am going to teach. I have found that this strategy relaxes a student and makes them more prone to assimilate the content that needs to be covered.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
In teaching chemistry, the most important material is a set of problems. Chemistry is a practical science and needs to be learned with practice.