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Steven

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I graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in May 2014. I received my Bachelors of Science in Physics with a Mathematics minor. I was inspired by my high school physics teacher to pursue physics; his fervor for the subject and for teaching has been my aspiration since I left secondary school! In my studies, I have found a passion for teaching, and have begun my second degree in Physics Education. My teaching experience started with instructing a local high school drum line (which I still pursue), and progressed to tutoring college students in physics. My philosophy on teaching is that everything can be accomplished through a set of small, achievable steps. An analytic outlook will help all students regardless of age or skill set to achieve not in the classroom, but also in countless facets of life. Math and science provide a new lens through which to see the world, and it is my goal to help all students achieve that vision.

Steven’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus - Bachelors, Physics

Graduate Degree: Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus - Current Grad Student, Physics Education

Hobbies

Drumming, photography, cooking, bonfires, and of course video gaming!


Q & A

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

One of the first things to do when a student is having difficulty is to explain the idea a different way. Along with a different view, I often use examples that are easily generalized. Not all students learn the same, and as a tutor I must be ready and able to teach each student the way they learn best.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that each and every question can be broken down into small, achievable steps. Answering these steps correctly reinforces the problem solving approach, while simultaneously boosting confidence!

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

I will first talk with the student about where they see themselves in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and what has brought them to me. Establishing a personal connection with students is important because tutoring is a joint effort. I will also try to work through an example to gauge how they approach problems. Seeing the problem through their eyes is a great way to anticipate problem spots!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

As a tutor, I can help students become independent by walking them through a structured problem solving approach consistently. Writing down what is given, what is sought, and any relevant equations is a good way to break the problem into smaller, more manageable parts.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Tutors are in an especially good position to keep students motivated because many are already frustrated at the point they need tutoring. Praising students for working through the problem correctly, rather than getting the answer correct, is one strategy I use. Another is reminding students of what they have accomplished to reach the level they are at now; it is easy to lose sight of the big picture and become frustrated with the present.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I think one of the best ways to get someone excited about something they struggle with is to show them a real world example or application of the subject. Specifically, an example of how one of their own hobbies might demonstrate a particular topic of the subject.

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

I would provide the student a question or two to do with as little help as possible. After the problem is finished, I check for understanding by asking the student to interpret their answer in their own words and describe what it really means.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

One way I like to build up a student is to give them simple problems that I think they are capable of doing. Once they solve those problems, I reiterate to them how a new subject is a derivative of the one they just showed mastery of.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate needs based on where the student is performing academically, but also how the student's attitude is about school and learning. A student who displays a negative outlook will have different needs than one who displays a positive outlook. Having the student work through a problem out loud is a great way to spot problem areas in their thought process.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I adapt my style to each student's needs by being able to explain the same problem several different ways. I also adapt by how quickly I work, and by how many leading questions I ask of them.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I typically will use pencil, paper, a relevant textbook, and a calculator as my primary materials. On top of those, I use graphs, charts, and figures to illustrate a problem. I also use supplemental practice problem books to provide extra practice.