I am a recent graduate of the University of California, Merced, currently the smallest college in the UC system. Being in such a small school allows a really strong sense of community, and as a result, I have gotten a lot of opportunities to help fellow students along with their homework and studying. What I've gathered is that learning why a student was doing poorly was just as important as learning what content they were having trouble with. What I have to offer isn't simply just holding their hands through their homework or drilling a student to death with additional problems to prep for a test, but a look at how they can improve at learning and taking tests overall.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Merced - Bachelors, Microbiology and Immunology
ACT Math: 32
ACT Reading: 30
Cooking, Comedy, Computers, Alliteration, and Foraging
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Ask them if they have any trouble with particular problem types or a certain area of knowledge and have them attempt a problem to see where they get stuck at and work from there. If it's something like cramming for the ACT or SAT math, I'd have them do a very short problem set when they first get in. If time is a problem for them, then we can work with some strategies to help overcome that. If they are struggling with just working out the problems accurately, we can go over strategies that work with multiple choice tests to help work out answers.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Try not to spell anything out to them and let them come to their own conclusions while nudging them along if they need it. While going over how to do something for the first time, constantly asking them questions about what they think the next step is or why they do a step helps develop the process of learning future things on their own. Just showing them how to do everything up front doesn't really help a person learn how to learn.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Joking around a bit and keeping the mood light is always helpful in preventing a student from burning out. It's also important not to show frustration or anger when they have trouble because it discourages them from asking questions in the future.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
In math I would have them guide me in their attempt to do the problem. We'll find where they're going awry, and fix it on the way to the solution. They'll continue to try it with additional problems until I think they can accomplish it without me looking over their shoulder. They'll try the problem on their own, and they should be able to finish it no problem. With learning concepts in Biology, it's all about explaining a concept in many different ways until you find one that sticks.