My style of tutoring is very practical and to the point, with an emphasis on
the use of technology and The Internet in order to accomplish the task through
visualization, real world examples, and resourcefulness. I try to avoid as much
as possible memorization and repetition and instead concentrate in teaching my
student general key concepts that they can use through all of their technical
classes. I do use repetition, memorization, and mnemonics once I realized the
level of disposition and learning ability of my student is not very high on a
specific subject. My major emphasis is on trying to make the learning process
fun, engaging, and interesting; I accomplish this with back-and-forth questions
at the moment when the student faces a challenge. I use regular reviews
(generally after every exercise through which I noticed the student have
struggled), and light topics of conversation to avoid mental obfuscation
(mental blocks), and frustration.
My tutoring sessions generally consist of the following: Reviews, at the
beginning of the session, after every challenge, and at the end of the session.
Questions, as needed, to teach the student how to ask the right questions, to
encourage the student to ask questions, and after every challenge. Challenges,
to solve the actual exercises or homework at hand and to reaffirm concepts.
Light related (slightly unrelated) conversation to relax the mind, and separate
topics and concepts.
I am currently working on my certification as a NCAA tutor. With that goal, I
have taken several seminars dealing with different styles of learning or
limitations. Combined with my years of experience as a tutor, this preparation
allows me to quickly asses the type of student I am tutoring, identify their
weaknesses, and if needed, to build their confidence so they develop the
willingness to confront their leaning challenges and fears on specific topics.
My primary goal is to teach my students how to think in a way that is general,
inductive, and out of the box so they can apply those same skills to any facet
of their academic work and life. Some tutors solve exercises for their student,
other tutors teach how to solve specific exercises, etc... my goal is to teach
my students how to solve any exercise, but more than anything, to teach them
how to teach themselves so they become autodidacts!
In State College, I currently work as a tutor/mentor for the MASCSA center and
have worked for ITS Training Services as an Instructor Assistant, Instructional
Developer, and Programming Instructor for Penn State, I also worked for South
Hill School of Business and Technology as a programming instructor. During my
studies at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico I worked as a math
tutor for their science labs.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - Current Undergrad, Mechanical Engineering
Mathematical modelling, Computer Programming, Web Design, Science Fiction, Astronomy
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
College Computer Science
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics
High School Computer Science
HSPT Math Prep
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My primary goal is to teach my students how to think in a way that is general, inductive, and out of the box so they can apply those same skills to any facet of their academic work and life. Some tutors solve exercises for their student, other tutors teach how to solve specific exercises, etc... My goal is to teach my students how to solve any exercise, but more than anything, to teach them how to teach themselves so they become autodidacts!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student a little bit! Ask them why they are taking tutoring in order to assess their disposition. Check how challenging is the subject/course for them and provide reassurance if need it. Ask them about good/bad experiences during their leaning process to establish what the best way to help the student is. Get an outlook of their course and get to work! Probably on homework and/or current material the student is learning.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I generally help a student become an autodidacts (independent learner) using the Socratic method. Through the years I have found it very useful in obtaining a high degree of scholastic independence.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
To help students stay motivated I providing interesting, inquisitive, and fun tutoring sessions. To this end, I talk to them about interesting examples from history, daily non-obvious experiences where the subject they are currently learning could be utilize, and anecdotes from my professional life.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try a different approach by mapping the new concept to a common everyday life experience or hobby practiced by the student and come up with simplified, easier examples while gradually increasing their difficulty until the student can work the current problem.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To better comprehend a set of statements I would help the student by first asking if the student understand all the words that he/she is reading. Then break the each paragraph into each one of its sentences and think about what each of them means while pointing out relevant information. If the reading is related to math word problems, then translate each sentence into a relation, equation, or diagram.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I generally start by asking how they are filling about having to go through a tutoring session and motivate them a little if needed. Talk to them about the importance of the subject that they are learning, then move on to a quick review, and ask if they have questions about material studied during previous tutoring sessions. I believe motivation is the key!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By far, relating what they are learning to their hobbies and common, everyday life experiences. Diagrams and geometric analogies work well as well as anthropomorphizing the concepts in questions; anthropomorphizing works particularly well with female students!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Have the student work out a previously solved exercise, but with a slight change to it. This will boost their confidence and increase their enthusiasm. Then, have the student solve a new problem while he/she explains their procedure to me; in short, give them the opportunity to be a tutor!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
To build a student's confidence in a subject, I generate for them simple examples easy to work and understand, and then gradually increase the difficulty of the examples.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate a student's needs I would start by asking the student simple questions, experiences, in order to assess their level of enthusiasm for the subject. Depending the student's answers, I might ask them to solve some exercises to estimate their mastery and speed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
To adapt my tutoring to the student's needs I get familiar with the actual material the student is learning. I check the syllabus, textbook, and exercises, as well as ask some questions about their teachers and classroom atmosphere.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Since there is plenty of didactic material already, most of the material that I use is generated in a per student, per session, per exercises basis; this allows me to identify weaknesses in the student's knowledge base and prescribe appropriate exercises to re-mediate them. In some cases I do also provide my own notes depending on the student, but I try to avoid this practice in order to avoid dependency, and therefore encourage a more autodidactic behavior in the student.