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I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Special Education at the University of Pittsburgh. I received my Bachelors of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology and my Masters in Special Education both from the University of Pittsburgh as well. After obtaining my Masters, I moved to Northern Virginia where I taught for several years. While there, I worked with general education and special education students from Kindergarten to Fourth Grade. Throughout my years in education, I have also had the opportunities to work with students from preschool through Twelfth Grade. Within my tutoring sessions, I work to ensure that my students experience error-less learning - we start with foundational skills already in the students repertoire, and then move on to the application of those skills to higher-level problems. In my spare time, I enjoy relaxing with my two dogs, reading with a cup of coffee, and keeping up-to-date on my numerous educational interests (including, teaching to mastery, teacher preparation, and student achievement testing).

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Justin’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh - Bachelors, Applied Developmental Psychology

Graduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh - Masters, Special Education


In my spare time, I enjoy relaxing with my two dogs, reading with a cup of coffee, and keeping up-to-date on my numerous educational interests (including, teaching to mastery, teacher preparation, and student achievement testing).

Tutoring Subjects

College English

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Graduate Test Prep

High School English

Homework Support


ISEE- Lower Level

ISEE- Middle Level


Middle School Math




MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior



Social Sciences

Special Education


SSAT- Elementary Level

SSAT- Middle Level


Test Prep


Q & A

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

A typical first session begins with getting to know the student. Even before the work comes out, I want to get to know what the student is like outside of school. I want to know their likes, dislikes, and their interests/hobbies. This information will allow me to connect with the student in future sessions. I also will try to incorporate real-life examples that match their interests to help make abstract concepts concrete.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students become independent learners through scaffolding and feedback. When a new skill/topic is addressed, I will provide the students with a lot of support and guidance. Then, as the skill becomes acquired, less guidance will be provided. The ultimate goal of all instruction is that the learner will become independent and praise themselves for their hard work.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students will participate in error-less learning: each step/problem will be treated as a learning opportunity. Something that the students did correctly will be immediately praised. I will then analyze mistakes for misconceptions and work with the student on the skill. Throughout the entire session, praise and feedback will be provided.

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

I first take a step back and identify the necessary foundational skills. I then work with the student to show them how they can identify parts of the problem they already know how to complete. After doing this, we work together to address the rest of the skill/concept. After completing one or two examples together, I have the student attempt examples on their own while walking me through their thought process as I provide feedback and guidance.

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

Reading comprehension is an extremely multifaceted skill. The first thing to do is to identify any foundational weaknesses (i.e., fluency, decoding, etc.). Having addressed those, we will then move on to how to accurately complete reading comprehension questions and other test-taking strategies.

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

As mentioned before, I spend the beginning of the sessions talking with my students. I want to get to know them and their lives. We will work to identify shared interests and use those to form a successful tutor-student relationship. Throughout my tutoring sessions, scaffolding and guidance as key for motivation and success.

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

When working with a student on mastery of a concept, I first provide guidance and support. Once they can do the skill with my help, I remove that support and ask them to complete problems independently. I ask them to "talk me through" their thought processes as they solve the problem. During this "talk through," I correct any misconceptions and provide guidance as necessary. If the student can independently answer a number accurately, I can confidently assume they understand the material.

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