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Benjamin

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I am fascinated by the universe and the way it is revealed in math and science. Math is a very logical and orderly discipline, and I really enjoy discovering the elegance and simplicity behind it. Science is awe-inspiring, and it is a joy to study the beauty woven into the tapestry of life.

Some of my favorite topics to study in science are special relativity, astronomy, artificial intelligence, and molecular biology. I also enjoy creating music and art, and reading good literature. I am currently reading books by Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott.

One of my highest pursuits has been the study of education. I have been studying Waldorf and Montessori educational theories, among others, as part of a journey to better understand the learning process, especially as it occurs during early stages of childhood development. I hope that these studies will enrich my tutoring practice, and give me further insight into the capabilities and needs of students I work with.

I believe that every human being is unique, and every human being has great potential. I look forward to meeting your child and doing my part to help them along on the path to success.

Benjamin’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Rhode Island - Bachelor in Arts, Chemistry

Hobbies

Filmmaking, philosophy, piano, cooking, education, farming, wilderness survival.

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

Astronomy

High School Chemistry

Math

Middle School Math

Middle School Science

Physical Science

Pre-Algebra

Science


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Whenever I study math and science, I take the time to think about each concept, and really get to the bottom of it to understand what it means. I like to visualize concepts and break them down into their essential components. When I tutor, I start by getting to know the student and what they really understand about the subject. During the session, my goal is to present the great ideas behind each topic in an engaging and understandable way. If there are trouble spots, I like to track down their origins and get back to the basics behind the concept before we advance. When possible, I like to communicate ideas visually and use objects and drawings to tell a story and convey an idea. Over time, we will develop study materials together, and I may suggest extracurricular resources that will help the student in the subject they are learning. My mission is to help students understand the universe they live in and to present facts and figures in their larger context (not simply hand over formulas and tricks they can use to pass the next test).

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

In my first session, I want to get to know you better, as the student, and your parents (if they are present). I would like to know what goals you have for our sessions together and how you relate to the subject we will be studying. I will ask questions to measure your comprehension of the material, cover expectations for future sessions, and answer any questions or concerns you might have.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help students become independent learners by helping them realize their potential to learn and grow, and by giving them tools and methods they can use to study on their own. I became a lifelong learner when I realized I could take charge of my education and unlock the doors that held the secrets of the universe. My goal is to help each student discover that love of learning for themselves.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To stay motivated it is important to see the big picture and not get bogged down in details. I like to link small ideas to larger themes and show how each concept is like a note in a larger piece of music. It is also important to achieve small victories. I will help you realize your progress so you can keep your momentum going.

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

Difficulty learning a concept often indicates that a student does not have a firm grasp on a previous idea that is essential to what they are learning. Together, we will go back and examine each link on the chain of knowledge connected to that difficult concept until we find the broken link. Other times, a concept will be better understood if it is visualized or explained in a different way. I like to pull concepts out of the page and onto the stage of the universe, explaining them in a physical and tangible way.

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

For a student to be excited and engaged with an idea, the teacher must be excited and engaged. My goal is to foster in myself a sense of wonder about ideas, and present them in a living way, rather than as a series of academic facts and figures. Students often feel shame and frustration when they are struggling in school. Sometimes, it is just as important to learn how to deal with those feelings as it is to learn a new concept. I will do my best to help students navigate these treacherous waters and press on to excellence.

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

The best way to test someone's knowledge on a topic is to ask them to explain it to someone else. I will ask students to explain concepts verbally and visually. I will also test their comprehension by asking questions that are similar in nature to problems we have worked, but that address the concept from a different angle. Students who truly understand a concept will be able to apply it in all contexts.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

To develop confidence it is important to build up comprehension quickly, and reach the point where a student feels at home working problems, not lost in a sea of confusion. Also, by emphasizing and building on areas that a student comprehends already, he or she will gain a sense of confidence and a willingness to tackle new material.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

During the first session, I get a sense of the student's comprehension of the subject in question. Then, in subsequent sessions, quick reviews and quizzes help gauge areas a student needs to work on most. Communicating with parents gives insight into problem areas, as parents know the child best and often are present when needs arise.

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

Rather than approach each student with a standard plan of action, I remain flexible and adapt my schedule and pace to their individual needs. I am highly creative, and enjoy the challenge of finding solutions to best address the needs of my students. Outside of tutoring sessions, my time is also spent preparing and adapting relevant material for each student.

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

I bring plenty of blank paper, colored markers, pencils, and pens. I love drawing, especially with color, and I have great handwriting! I will also bring any instruments we might need, such as a ruler, calculator, protractor, or compass. If we are covering any material I can demonstrate with an object lesson, I will bring props for that purpose. Finally, I may bring reference material and study aids if I determine they are necessary.

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

When students are struggling with reading comprehension, I find out whether they are struggling with phonics, grammar, or comprehension of the ideas present. I then work on building a foundation of understanding across all three areas.

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

Outlining the problem and stating the goal of the lesson is usually very effective.