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I am a lifelong learner and have a passion for helping others learn. As a marketing communications professional, writer, editor, and former educator, I have focused my career on the place where education and communication intersect. I am a Northwestern University psychology grad with a master's degree in marketing communications from Illinois Institute of Technology. I taught ESL, TOEFL preparation, and pronunciation for many years and have tutored all ages and levels in reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, math, social studies, and ESL. I have also taught tutors how to teach literacy to adults. My teaching approach is to gently guide the student toward discovery and understanding of concepts through modeling, breaking down the process into steps, lots of practice -- and fun breaks when needed! I have found that taking a few minutes to tap into a different area of intelligence can be the perfect refresher that will allay frustration and power up learning.

What interests you outside of academia? Oftentimes, clients choose a tutor because they share a similar hobby.

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Brenda’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Northwestern Michigan College - Bachelor in Arts, Psychology

Graduate Degree: Illinois Institute of Technology - Master of Science, Integrated Marketing Communications

Test Scores

GRE Quantitative: 167

GRE Verbal: 163


Attending plays, dance and music concerts, art museums; tap dancing; photography; healthy cooking

Tutoring Subjects

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade



College Business

College English

Elementary School


English Grammar and Syntax


High School Business

High School English

Homework Support



Middle School

Middle School Math



PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills


Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep




Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I help the student learn how to think through a problem. I teach by example.

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

I would start by building comfort and trust between the two of us. We would get to know each other a bit. I might have the student write about himself/herself and discuss that. Then I would try to assess his/her competence and problems within the particular subject.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I guide the student to figure out the best way to approach a problem -- perhaps by example. Then I try to instill excitement about the subject by making it relevant to his/her life.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

It's different for each student. It's important for the student to have a base from which he/she feels comfortable and competent. When a student begins to feel frustrated, I would return to a place of comfort and maybe change course a bit before returning to the difficult topic. Some students stay motivated by taking on more challenge, so I would facilitate that, too. For some students, it's important to mix up assignments to keep it fresh. Others need to stay more focused.

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

I would try a different approach or technique. In some cases, the student may have a block, so I would mix up the lesson and then return to the difficult area.

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

I break up the sentence/paragraph/passage into more digestible parts, then put it back together again. I also help the student identify the topic and supporting sentences.

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

We need to experiment a bit to find out what approaches and style work best with the student and subject matter. I always try to stay flexible.

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

I'd try to find some way of making the subject relevant to the student's life.

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

I'd have the student walk me through the steps to solve the problem, or otherwise, I'd repeatedly apply the concept he/she has learned. I'd also return to that material in the future to make sure it has been integrated/retained.

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

You need to break the subject down into something more elemental before moving on to something more complex. There's no point in jumping ahead if the foundation is not strong.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I would have the student show homework in progress as well as report cards, and give him/her exercises to see where the problem areas are. I would also likely talk with the parents and the teachers.

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

I try to stay flexible. For example, some students need more direction, while others work better with less.

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

This would depend on the subject, level, student, etc. I might try to use the same books/resources the student is using in school, as well as other supplementary materials, or I might devise them myself.

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