Every student learns in their own unique way. My passion is to discover that learning style and to customize my teaching style in order to fit that unique student. A student who struggles with a certain subject does not necessarily mean lack of ability; it may simply mean that the student is being taught in a manner that is incompatible with his/her learning style. The key is to deliver the material and concepts in a way that is compatible with the student. Next it is encourage and affirm the student as he/she begins to understand what was once unclear.
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oakland University - BA, Spanish Language and Literature
What is your teaching philosophy?
A positive self-image and self-esteem are key in creating an effective learning environment. Creating an atmosphere that reaches out to each individual student and that appeals to each of their individual needs to maximize their learning experience is essential for maximum comprehension and interest.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to take the first few minutes to get to know the student. By interacting on the whiteboard, I like to ask the student some fun "getting to know you" questions. This allows him/her to get comfortable with the interface, while I get to know a bit of their personality and interests.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As a homeschool mom, it is imperative that I teach my children to be independent learners. I do this by not only teaching the material, but also teaching them how to teach themselves the material. This is achieved through a series of questions that I ask the student that lead them to essentially solve the problem or understand the material on their own rather than simply telling them how to do it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Praise the positive that I see! Encouragement is key to motivation. Positive self-image is a key to success in so many avenues of life!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Stop. Erase. Start over. Sometimes we just need to approach the problem or material from a different point of view and with a different strategy. If the student is not getting it, I am not teaching to their strengths. This means I need to change my teaching approach.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are many drills and skills that can be taught to increase reading comprehension. Through trial and error, I will suggest these skills to my student. We will work together to find something that works!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Enthusiasm is one key aspect. However, more importantly, after getting to know the student's likes and interests, I give real life examples as to how the subject he/she struggles with can be utilized in an area of interest in his/her life. For example, if the student is a soccer enthusiast who hates math, we will do practice math problems and use soccer as the theme. I would make it even more personal by having my student and his/her best friend be a character in the story problem.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Depending on the subject, this technique can vary. One way I find to be effective is re-asking a similar question in a different way. This allows me to verify that the student does indeed understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Make it fun. The more a student enjoys learning, the more he/she will learn. The more he/she understands, the more confident he/she will be.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First of all, it is important to discover the student’s learning style. There are three main types of learning styles: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. After discovering the learning style, I can than adjust my teaching to be compatible with the style of learning of the student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Break the ice with a fun "getting to know you" game. This cuts the tension and creates a more relaxed open atmosphere. This also allows the both of us to get to know each other a bit.