I graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Management Information Systems. As a student who once struggled with classes in the past, I truly know the difference a good tutor can make. Tutors have the ability to break subjects down into more understandable ways for people who do not see things in the black and white ways that they are taught in schools. I believe that I have the skills to help others learn in new and creative ways like I was taught. There were many times where I faced difficult subjects in school. After almost giving up, once problems were re-worded or used in an applicable way, they were more understandable. I hope to be able to help others as a tutor by helping them find their best learning styles.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Rowan University - Bachelor of Science, Management Information Systems
Programming, being outdoors, spending time with friends.
College Computer Science
High School Computer Science
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that the best way to teach somebody is by first learning about them-- find out their interests and passions in life. Using that information, teaching the material can be much easier when phrased in ways that would better suit those specific people. Communication is almost as important as knowing the actual subject matter. You must not only know that subject matter well but also know the learner well enough to communicate the information in a way that they will absorb it.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During the first session with a student, I would try to assess their needs, pick up on their learning style, learn about their interests (in order to relate the tutoring to those subjects), and, finally, find out what the end goal of the tutoring is. I would also start collecting information about what they are working on (test prep, project, textbook info) so that I can make up practice problems and prepare other materials for the following sessions. If there is time, I would begin tutoring the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe students have the tools to become independent learners; they just need guidance and some trial and error to find their most efficient way of learning. The best assistance that I can offer a student is to learn as much as I can about them, work with them to find their strongest study techniques, and finally, show them over and over how to study for their assignments using those skills. This recursive approach will slowly transition the student from needing a tutor to being completely independent.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Working towards both short-term and long-term goals is important. Students need a light at the end of a tunnel. That light can be a short-term goal of finishing a problem set and getting 10 minutes of video games or free time to play or draw, or a long-term goal of being accepted to a prestigious college, getting a great job, or completing a degree. It's always important to make sure that something is being worked towards that will keep students attentive and motivated. I would help the student by identifying both long- term and short-term goals, which will motivate them to finish the required work.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Difficulty grasping certain concepts is not an uncommon thing. Many different people learn many different ways. Students sometimes need things to be re-worded or shown differently in order for the subject matter to make sense. Visual learners might require a sketch of the concept to fully grasp it, while auditory learners may just need a vivid description of the subject matter. It's important to try to see it from the student's perspective and try to identify where they are having a hard time.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Simply re-wording problems to make them more relevant to the student can do wonders. Instead of saying: "If you flip a coin 3 times, what are the chances of getting heads 3 times," a student who is very interested in cars may respond much better to "A race car has to go over 3 jumps, each jump has a 50% chance of destroying the car. What is the probability that the car will safely land after all 3 jumps?" Although seeming a bit silly, this changes the "theme" of the problem, while keeping the content the same. The student now has motivation to solve the problem since they might actually want to know what the chances of a car surviving all 3 jumps would be. Although this seems like a strategy that could only work for younger students, it is an extremely motivational tool to use with older students as well.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A very fun way to learn material is to try to reverse the roles and have the learner pretend to be the teacher. Having the student try to explain the subject matter to you in return can show you if they actually know the material. Teaching is also one of the best ways to master a subject matter since it forces the teacher to redundantly go over material. This simple trick of role reversal is one of the many techniques that can be used to make sure a student is understanding the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice, practice, practice. Confidence comes from knowing how to do things easily and consistently. It's hard to be confident unless you know something well (or think you know something well). By practicing over and over, the student eventually is able to correctly complete a problem set, which increases their confidence. Starting with an easy problem set will help bring up their confidence faster. Then, begin practicing the medium difficulty questions until successfully completing that problem set. Finally, reach the hard level questions and, once again, practice until a high level of confidence is reached. Confidence plays a key role in learning.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
An introductory tutoring session and/or conversations prior to tutoring are an important way to evaluate a student's needs. The student can portray their needs by explaining what makes the material difficult or by doing practice problems and showing me where they get stuck. It is extremely important to identify student needs before any actual teaching begins.