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Kaiwen

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I have been a tutor since I was a Freshman at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where, I got my B.A. in Psychology and Mathematics with Education Specialization. I received my MS in the Teaching of Mathematics degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this past Spring. I did student teaching at multiple high schools in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. At both University of Minnesota and University of Illinois, I taught and tutored students of diverse backgrounds for a large variety of math courses, including algebra 1, 2, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and beyond. In addition, my education and psychology background also provides me with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that are essential to teach and interact with students effectively. On top of teaching, I have also designed curriculum for college math classes and school enrichment groups. Currently, I am teaching Algebra at the Portland Community College.

With my teaching and educational experience, I am confident working with students of diverse backgrounds. I believe everyone has the potential to learn well when they are presented the right method. My education in more advanced courses allows me to provide students with more resources and multiple perspectives that would promote their understanding of the materials. In addition, my teaching positions and knowledge have equipped me with the most up-to-date information and resources for student learning and effective instruction. I like presenting my students with interesting examples and applications for the topics we work on. I believe students learn better when they are motivated.

Kaiwen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Bachelor in Arts, Math (with Teaching Specialization), Psychology

Graduate Degree: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Master of Science, Math (with Teaching Emphasis)

Hobbies

Reading, traveling

Tutoring Subjects

Advanced Placement Prep

Algebra

Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4

AP Calculus BC

AP Chinese Language and Culture

Calculus

Calculus 2

College Algebra

Conversational Mandarin

Geometry

Homework Support

Languages

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese 1

Mandarin Chinese 2

Mandarin Chinese 3

Mandarin Chinese 4

Math

Middle School Math

Other

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Calculus

Psychology

SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1

SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2

Social Sciences

Statistics

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

Trigonometry


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe everyone can understand math if they are given the right approach. A lot of times, there are multiple ways to solve a math problem, but students are only taught one of them. My goal as a tutor is to provide students with multiple perspectives, not only to show them math is useful in real life, but also to help them find the best way for them to understand math.

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

In my first session, I like to get to know my student, and let my student know a bit about me. This ice-breaking process helps me know where to start when I tutor my students by learning about their background knowledge and their learning preferences. With this information in mind, I can tailor my tutoring to each individual student. Also, I believe my student would feel more comfortable working with me once they know me and my expectations for them better.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

When I tutor my students, I like my sessions to be very interactive. I am usually not the only one who talks math in the session. It is my way to assess my student's understanding by asking them guiding questions. Through these questions I ask, I can find out what concept is hard for my student to understand or apply in a particular problem. I believe it makes the tutoring session more effective when I focus more on where my student's confusion is.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

In addition to keeping the tutoring sessions interactive, I like to provide multiple perspectives and real-life applications for my students as much as possible. Math can seem really abstract when it has no connection to our daily life, so I usually try to find an example or two that a concept is used for.

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

I would step back a bit, and try to find out what my student is having trouble understanding. Through this process, I can also encourage my students to keep working on the problem by reassuring how much they already understand about the concept. After that, I will focus on the concept/skill my student is struggling with, and present it in a different manner.

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

I started learning English when I was in first grade, and I went through all the steps to learn a new language, including the struggle with reading comprehension. I think the trick sometimes is not to get caught up on one single word, and to try to look at the bigger picture. After all, it is more important to understand the general idea, and the student can always go back to look up the word at the end if it prevents them from understanding the problem or context.

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

I always find multiple perspectives helpful for student learning. Since everyone has their learning preferences, there may not be a universal way to teach a concept to all the students. Therefore, it helps to present a concept in a different approach when students do not fully understand a method.

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

I like to either apply what I teach to real life or use some interesting examples that use the concept. For example, math can be dull when it is just memorizing formulas without any connections or other context, so I usually like to use some word problems students actually encounter in their life. In some other cases, I would use some classic math problems in history or some anecdotes of famous scientists to motivate students. When students feel they are able to think like a mathematician or a scientist, they are more likely to put more effort into understanding the material.

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

I assess my student's understanding by asking them to tell me their approach to a problem. If they are able to explain the method to solve a problem, they should be in good shape. Otherwise, if they struggle a bit on solving the first problem, I will give them another example to give them a chance to present their solution to me so that I can see if they fully understand the material.

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

I am a very encouraging tutor in general. I like to confirm with the student when they have done the steps correctly. So a lot of times, even before they reach the last step, if they have the right approach, they will get my verbal compliments multiple times as they move forward. I find it effective to create a positive learning environment so that both my student and I are excited as we keep going with the subject.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Asking guiding questions is a very important part of my tutoring session. Through this step, I get the opportunity to interact with my student and get feedback from them about what they understand and what they do not. When I see a problem, I can spot where I need to explain more or provide more examples to my student. This method allows me to hear their needs even if they are too shy to ask.

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

If I see a student experiences difficulty in a particular concept, I will put more time on this particular topic and connect it to the other concepts. If a student has certain learning preferences, I can always present the material in a way that enables them to learn better. With my math background, I am able to find multiple approaches/perspectives for a single topic so that my student can choose their favorite way to learn that concept.

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

I like to use examples to allow my student to apply the concept they just learned. With my teaching background, I have a lot of practice problems and worksheets available for tutoring sessions. Every so often, I would also give my student resources to some educational games or apps that they can use to practice with during or after the tutoring session. That way, they can become more independent in the learning process, even if I am not there with them.