I have taught courses in American history and Western Civilization at Arizona State University, Scottsdale Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College. In addition, I have taught courses in the history of the American Southwest, Native American history, and American Indian studies. I have tutored students in English as a Second Language, reading comprehension, and essay writing.
I use various types of information technology for class sessions, projects, and assignments. I have used both Blackboard and Canvas for my courses in conjunction with other online applications. I blend technology and traditional methods of instruction in my courses. I have worked in various capacities outside of the academic setting, and I utilize my experiences as an example how historical knowledge and methods are applicable outside of the classroom.
I strive to show how topics relate to current events and stress the "cause-and-effect" aspects in history to show how history is relevant. I demonstrate how what occurred impacts people on a personal level with emphases on adaptability and continuity. Another of my goals is developing students critical thinking, writing, research, and collaborative working skills. I emphasize that materials presented in class are a starting point in seeking knowledge, not the final word.
I view teaching as a major method for people to enrich their lives and broaden their views, in addition to their career preparation. I enjoy teaching and see it as a profession that is always evolving when it comes to the use of technology. I encourage visits to museums, heritage sites, guest lectures, and cultural events. I feel students can conceptualize what is being taught in the classroom through interaction. Students themselves are an invaluable resource in teaching each other. I approach every term as a learning experience for myself as well as my students, and encourage students to relate experiences relative to class topics. This gives students more confidence, encourages dialogue, and shows that the conveyance of ideas is not one way.
However, my job does not end with class. I have encouraged and mentored students from various backgrounds in my career. It is greatly satisfying when they come to me requesting letters of recommendation to a program, law school, graduate school, a scholarship, or a job posting. It is gratifying seeing students apply what they learned to further their endeavors and enrich their lives.
Undergraduate Degree: West Virginia University - Bachelors, History and English
Graduate Degree: Arizona State University - PHD, History
Hiking, travel, reading, and writing.
AP US History
College Level American History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
What is your teaching philosophy?
I view myself as a guide to the concepts and materials I teach. I want students to understand how developments unfold, why they do and did, and the larger implications of those events as well as the specifics of an occurrence itself. This shows how events in the past are relevant to the complicated issues of the present. I also see my role as teaching transferable skills that students will need in their academic career and beyond, such as critical thinking, writing, and working in groups. I convey to students how different cultures view historical events. Although I utilize various methods in teaching, no one method fits every student. Each student is unique, and, therefore, I try to find the best method or methods for instruction. I encourage students to visit museums, heritage sites, and cultural events. I feel students can better conceptualize what is being taught through interaction. I encourage students to relate their experiences relative to what is being discussed. This gives students more confidence, encourages dialogue, and shows that the conveyance of ideas is not one-way. I emphasize that topics examined in a course should not be taken as the final, definitive word, but only as a beginning. Dr. Scott E. White, Ph.D.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session, I try to build a rapport with the student by asking about their interests, hobbies, etc. That way I can assess what type of approach to the subject matter would work best. I ask the student about the class/subject they are in - what they find most interesting and what they find the least interesting. Then I see what they are having difficulty with their particular subject. The first session essentially is to build a connection and for me to see what approach I need to use and how I can generate interest in the topics.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I encourage them to look at topics in a class as only the start to their knowledge, not as the end. I teach transferable skills, such as critical thinking. I try to build a rapport with the student, build on their interests, mentor them, and get them motivated to want to learn not only for academics and their career, but also for self-enrichment.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would get the student to try to approach the topic in different way. Also I would connect with their interests or something current (if it is a historical topic) to show the relevancy. I have found that role-playing also helps to keep students on track with a topic. However, I would also ask the student why they have "hit a snag" and let them know that I am available to help them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing would be to ask what the student finds difficult about the concept or skill. I would then try to find how the concept or skill can relate to the student's goals, interests, or experiences so that the student can relate to it. I also would try to get the student excited and interested in the skill or concept to show how it is applied and used. Then I would go step-by-step to instruct the skill or concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I ask the student to tell me what topic they are reading about and to summarize it. I then ask them to show me the parts of the reading they do not understand and the parts that they do understand, and why that is. Then I have the student read through the parts they are struggling with to see if the issue is with vocabulary, seeing how that part fits into the larger context of the reading, or if the student is having difficulty relating to it. Afterward, I read along with the student to help them understand and connect with the reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One strategy I use is to build a rapport with my students. This is especially important for one-on-one and small group instruction. Another strategy is to learn about their backgrounds, interests, and goals. This greatly helps me in tailoring instructional methods and approaches. When it comes to a particular topic in which a student is seeking help, I ask what they find most interesting about it and what they find least interesting and most difficult about it. This helps me to relate what that student finds interesting to what they are having difficulty with in that particular subject.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would connect with their interests, hobbies, goals, and/or experiences. This helps to show a connection between the student and subject. I would show how the topic has a "real life" application so that the student may better conceptualize it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
One method would be a sample test/quiz with objective and subjective components, such as multiple choice, descriptive definitions, and brief essays. Another method would be for the student to explain the material to me. For example, I would tell the student to pretend that they are the teacher and I am the student, and to tell me about the subject. Depending on the topic, I may have the student prepare a short report or summary.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
One way in which I build a student's confidence is showing the student how they are progressing and keep encouraging them. Another way is to have the student explain to me what they have learned. In that way, I can give positive reinforcement that they have learned parts of the subject already, and that they will be able to learn the remainder.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask the student what they find easy and difficult in a particular subject. I also ask what they find interesting and not interesting. I would also need for the student, if they are willing, to share exams, essays, assignments, and any other assessments from their class. I would also build a rapport with the student to see how I should approach instructing a particular subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to flexible in my availability, which includes being on-line. Since no one methodology or approach fits every student's need, it is important to have a rapport with students and get familiar with their personality and background. That will help in finding why that student is having difficulty in a topic, play to their strengths, and come up with a strategy and approach that will get them interested in the subject and better address their need.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a variety of materials. I have used the traditional materials such as books, pens and paper. I have used PCs, tablets, and smart phones. In addition, I have used classroom management systems like Canvas and Blackboard.