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A retired doctor told me that all of the knowledge a physician has is useless if he or she cannot convince a patient to take the necessary steps to improve their health. A deep understanding of physiology and pharmacokinetics cannot really do much if your patient doesn't actually believe a medication or treatment will help them. In my experience, the same goes for teaching. Einstein wasn't born knowing how to do calculus, or tie his shoes but he did not let anything stop him from learning. I believe that this is most important, not giving up when you get stuck, trying to think about problems differently and knowing that many have come before you and you are no less capable than them. Maybe we all can't be Einstein, but we can all learn to help ourselves and each other understand the world a little better. My philosophy is that every student has the ability to succeed, it just takes a little patience and compassion. With this philosophy, I have helped many students improve their grades and test taking abilities and have also guided them through the college application process.

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Michael’s Qualifications

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching is not so much about what the teacher knows as much as it is about convincing the student that he or she is no less capable than the teacher, in his or her ability to know.

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

In a first session, it is important for both the student and tutor to get to know each other. I also like to do an assessment of the student's knowledge of and ability to work through problems in the topic. By the end of the class, I like to set a few short-term and long-term goals.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I will focus on the development of strong habits and discuss ways that I and others have used to learn things independently. The most important aspect of independent learning is to be self-motivated, and that comes with knowing that the time you take to learn something will not go to waste.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To help a student stay motivated, it is important to work with them to close any gaps that they may have in their understanding. It is possible that the students know about these gaps, but sometimes the student may not even be aware of them. So, it is important to engage the student in every step of understanding a topic or question to try and find their weaknesses and challenge them to improve upon them.

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

I would find a different way to explain the concept or skill, trying to focus on real world examples that the student is familiar with. I have found repetition is also a strong tool. I would also ask the student to explain what he or she knows about a concept and see if I can make adjustments that will help to guide the student in the right direction.

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

At first, I walk through reading and comprehension passages with them. In the beginning, I do not stress timing as much as accurate comprehension. Then, I go into answering questions while stressing going back to the reading for details and never inferring more than what the reading states.

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

I have found real life and big picture examples as well as repetition to be most successful and effective.

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

I would make connections to how the subject they are struggling with is being used in the real world and how it may be useful to them in the future.

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

I like to do quick assessments before and after class and also ask challenging questions that require some critical thinking.

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

I build a student's confidence by having them understand and repeat problem types.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate student needs by asking them what they feel they need most help in. I also evaluate their responsiveness during classes and their ability to work independently. Additionally, I ask them questions that test their critical thinking abilities.

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

I adapt my tutoring to each student's ability and responsiveness. Many students benefit from repetition of question types and concepts. However, some also benefit from settings where a more open discussion takes place. It also depends on how much time the student has to learn a subject and their ability to work independently. In all situations, I like to relate topics and questions back to a student's interests.

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

Though it depends on the subject. I like to use a packet or book with questions. If one is not available to the student, I make one up. I also like to use a book for reference; if one is not available, I use a computer.

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