I am an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). I hail from Boston but grew up in Bolivia. Intellectually, I believe knowledge is not only fluid but requires practice. This is to say that anyone can reach their academic and intellectual goals with the right balance of theory and practice. I firmly believe that with the right dialogue and rapport, any student can thrive in developing their academic and intellectual agendas.
University of Pennsylvania - Bachelors, Philosophy, Politics, Economics
SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 710
What is your teaching philosophy?
I firmly believe that students should own their education, not the other way around. Anyone can memorize literally anything with the right amount of time. I don't call that learning. In my eyes, serious learning looks like unstructured and honest dialogue where a student not only masters their theoretical capabilities but also learns to apply theory. Ultimately, teaching, to me, is a collaborative effort where the student and the teacher can both learn from one another.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I believe in the 3 P's. Position. Possession. Play. First, I need to know the position of my student. I need to know his or her strengths and weaknesses. This way, I can customize our session to address the student's needs. Once we have identified where improvements need to happen, the goal becomes for the student to possess the right theory. The key here is for the student to seriously own their understanding of the subject matter and more importantly, how it connects with the bigger picture. Lastly, once a student is comfortable with the subject matter, he or she can actually apply their new knowledge. This can become fun if done right! In other words, the student develops such mastery of the topic that the work becomes entertaining.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to know my student's academic goals before working with them. This way, I can remind them of what they set themselves up to achieve and hold them accountable. I like to couple these reminders with positive energy so the student can continue to visualize their success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student faces difficulties learning, I like to use images to create a big picture, composed of smaller elements. This way, it is easy to make references and connect ideas. Furthermore, I like to break down concepts to their simple core. All concepts, regardless of complexity, are composed of simple elements. As such, I like to focus on the simpler concepts and from there, build up the complexity.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
This one is not easy. Reading is like any habit or trade. It requires practice and constant effort to see improvements. For those struggling, I like to give them a set of tips and tricks to help them achieve better comprehension. Overall, there are no easy shortcuts to reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Students like to have help from a friend, not be told what to do from a "teacher" who is basically a stranger to them. I've found a personal approach to learning to be most effective. I give my students a judgement-free space where they cannot only be 100% honest with me but can also express their frustrations and doubt. Although imperative, this is always effective because students become comfortable in addressing their weaknesses and insecurities.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The BIG PICTURE! I like to relate the subject to how it fits in the real world and if appropriate, how it applies to the life of a student. By relating subjects to real-world applications, students begin to understand the benefit of learning such a subject in the first place.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By pushing them to develop their own tools of analysis. Without understanding their own thinking processes and limitations, they can't become independent per se.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition! Practice with repetition and comprehension is the last bound step.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Through dialogue and discipline. We have to learn to not just trust in each other but also, in each other's critiques and assessments.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through basic and broad questions, I do my best to make sure a student knows not only my role but their role in the do's and do not's of learning and comprehension.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Typically, students have certain strengths in specific learning methods. I do my best to understand their methods to sharpen my own. Facilitation is the key, not dictation.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use visuals, metaphors and when appropriate, stories.