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Alan

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I am a retired Electrical Engineer and have tutored for approximately 7 years in a number of subjects. I also taught middle school math for one year, in addition to high school courses. My teaching at the high school level has included: computer programming, robotics, 3D Graphics and Animation, and Introduction to Engineering. I was the coach of the FIRST Robotics Team and ran a Game Development Club. I enjoy working with students and to help them build confidence in the STEM subjects. My approach is to help students understand the key underlying concepts -- whether it is programming, mathematics or physics. I like to help students reason through a problem. I rarely just give them the answer. I also like to make the subjects relevant to real world problems and to show them why the material is important to know and understand.

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Alan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Bachelors, Electrical Engineering

Graduate Degree: Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Masters, Electrical Engineering

Hobbies

Sailing, flying, robotics


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is to guide a student through the solution to a problem by first determining what key concepts they are missing. Then I teach the concepts and help the student reason through the problem. This helps them develop confidence, and then they retry a similar problem on their own.

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

First, I want to make the student feel comfortable and relaxed. I try to find out how they feel about the subject and what difficulties and anxiety they have related to the material they want to cover.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I have a wide range of resources that they can use to self study and gauge their level of understanding on a subject. Some of the websites that I recommend allow me to track their progress. Also, I may give them some initial guidance on solving a problem and then ask them to work on the rest of the solution on their own, providing them some websites to research.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students need to want to learn the material. They need to see the benefits in learning the material. In other words, how does this subject help them in a future career? So, I like to explain how the material will help them in the future, and also how it will increase their confidence as they make progress in understanding the key concepts.

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

I try to determine what is causing the difficulty. It could be that they do not understand a prior concept that is critical to understanding the new concept. So, we go back and start over to rebuild the foundation that is weak or missing -- or take a different approach in connecting or teaching key concepts.

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

If it is reading related to a word math problem, we break the word problem down into smaller parts, and I often will read the problem out loud with them.


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