I work in a University setting and I love it! The one thing I miss is direct contact with K-12 students. Tutoring is the perfect solution! I have tutored students in all grades, but most recently have worked on Reading and Organization/Study Skills with students 4th grade and up. For children and teenagers, I believe motivation is essential for learning, so we will select texts together (when possible) and develop an interactive tutoring plan to increase engagement and learning.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Barry University - Bachelors, Education
Graduate Degree: Syracuse University - PHD, Cultural Foundations of Education Special Education
kayking, watching my son's sports games, hiking, reading, hanging out with friends
Q & A
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The new lingo here is "Gradual Release of Responsibility." This involves modeling a skill/strategy (the number of times this is necessary will vary depending on the student, the skill, the content, and other variables), doing it together and then working toward student independence. This is a process!
What is your teaching philosophy?
Students must make materials their own - so they have to connect to the content in a meaningful way. This could involve drawing a picture or relating information about a war to their family history. Hanging content on one's own "mental tree" is important in making things make sense to an individual, given their background and experiences, it aids in retention and motivation. Use of visuals, hands-on materials, and providing students with choice (content and/or process) are important in effective learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know his/her interests, passions, learning preferences, and strengths and weaknesses.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By providing early and frequent successes. This often involves breaking down material and/or a process into manageable parts. Using visual cues and step-by-step approaches that can be used across disciplines can be helpful in keeping students motivated, because they are not overwhelmed by having to always learn new strategies. Setting manageable goals and helping students to reach them is a great way to stay motivated!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break the skill or concept into smaller parts. I would use the student's strongest modality (e.g., visual, auditory, kinesthetic) to deliver and/or have him/her demonstrate the content.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I utilize pre-, during-, and post- reading strategies where students must DO something to apply the strategy. This keeps them engaged. Proficient readers have an ongoing conversation with a text; struggling readers often don't do this automatically and this process has to be made visible and practiced - asking questions, making connections, making predictions - these are important aspects of reading comprehension that must be directly taught to many students. In addition, some students may need additional instruction on some aspects of decoding, vocabulary, or fluency - these also aid comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Asking questions and listening to the student's answers.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to tie the content to something they are interested in. I would set small goals with the student and set up a reward structure that would be meaningful enough for them to word toward. I would break the content/process into smaller parts so they can master pieces and feel success.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Assessment can be formal or informal. The lesson should be designed so that at the end of the lesson the tutor understands what the student learned. This can be obtained via observation (how did the student approach the content), permanent products (student work), and/or conversations with the student during instruction about the content.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By creating multiple opportunities for success!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This can be done formally or informally. For reading, I like the Qualitative Reading Inventory, 5th ed. But I can also assess reading via a read aloud or silent reading (depending on what's being assessed). For math, I would utilize an informal assessment (e.g., easy CBM, found online) that, minimally, looks at numeracy, computation, and problem solving. For older students, algebraic expressions and geometry may be involved.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The point of an individual tutoring session is to tailor it to individual learning needs, interests, and strengths and weaknesses. So I start with a general topic - say, improving reading comprehension - but how we get to the goal is determined by who the student is. It's impossible not to adapt instruction to an individual's needs in a 1:1 tutoring session!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on the student - his/her interests figure heavily, when possible, in selecting materials. In general, to teach a skill such as a reading comprehension strategy, I like to teach with short texts. This can be an internet article about something based on the student's interest: sports, bats, volcanoes, etc. If the student has school materials, we use these as a foundation. I almost always use visuals and/or hands-on materials during a lesson.