I have been a teacher all my life whether in the classroom or just in life. I love learning, and I am constantly seeking out new areas of interest, whether it's online courses or working on a new degree or taking up a new hobby. Interacting with students of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities always leads to that rewarding experience of helping someone learn something new. I'm always up for the challenges of teaching -- as a wise man once said, "There are as many kinds of intelligence as there are individuals"! Understanding each individual's unique learning process is the key that helps any student learn any subject.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Bachelors, Liberal Arts
Graduate Degree: Portland State University - Current Grad Student, Education
I love doing yoga, horseback riding, playing tennis, and riding bikes. I like to travel and learn about new cultures. I also love reading and do some creative writing for fun.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I first try to understand each individual's unique learning process, and then I work with that to either locate any barriers to learning or speed their rate of learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would find out about the student's interests, and what they would like to study and why. I ask them the question, "If you could study or learn anything all day, what would that be?" I find out what they see as their strengths as a student and what their goals are. Then we discuss any difficulties they see getting in the way of achieving those goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There are very simple basic study tools that can help students become independent learners. The first step is for them to decide why they are studying that subject. I ask them to explore the purpose of the subject; that is how it's used in the real world, in life and so forth. Then I have them look at why they would want to study that subject. It could be just to pass a test, or it could be to actually learn and apply the topic. Actual application of the subject makes learning fun, and that's always my goal for a student.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The learning process is fun and rewarding when the student can move step by step at his own pace and have a feeling of accomplishment for each step achieved. Then, when a student can use what he's learning and think with this new information, that's what builds motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I first check the basic words to see if all the concepts are clear. Then I try to break down the skill into simple steps and tackle one step at a time, going back and practicing the earlier steps if needed. In this way, a student feels he is actually making progress and has a sense of accomplishment.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I usually have the student read aloud to me in a relaxed environment. We then take up any concept or word that's not clear. I give him the chance to explain and demonstrate his understanding. I help him along by explaining anything misunderstood or looking it up with him. Often it's helpful to look at pictures or maps of the topic of the book.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I first like to understand any learning objectives the student has for himself, along with his strengths as a student. Then, I identify any difficulties he is having, along with any weaknesses that we can address. This sets the student up to progress with confidence and tackle any barriers by identifying them and learning to handle them.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
We start with reviewing the basics of the subject--the purpose, the meanings of the keywords, and his objectives in studying the subject. We take up the topic at a point where he has interest in it and move on from there.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would make sure the keywords are understood. We would use visuals of the topic so he can see what is being studied. Then, I would make sure he only takes up one step at a time so that he is progressing on a foundation of understanding rather than memorizing a bunch of confused facts.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would help him understand the basics of the subject and have him demonstrate what he does understand well and then tackle any areas of confusion, handling each until they are clear.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I try to understand the unique learning process of each student, his strengths as a student and his objectives. Then, I have him identify any area of difficulty and/or weakness in learning. Then, we'd take it from there, using simple diagnostic tests if needed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I can plan the lesson to help backtrack and handle earlier confusions if he is having trouble. Or, I can help the student develop strategies to speed up his learning rate once the basics are well understood.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I often use dictionaries, simple encyclopedias, a globe, or an atlas. With the Internet, I use Google images, maps, Google earth, and anything else to help make the learning process fun and engaging.