Before moving to Florida, I graduated from McDaniel College with a Master's Degree in Deaf Education. I have worked with deaf students (ranging from elementary to middle school, both with and without mental disabilities) at a deaf school in Pennsylvania. In addition, I provided manipulatives and hands-on activities in order to assist my deaf students with lessons they were struggling with, and volunteered to tutor struggling students at home. Currently, I hold a Florida certification in Deaf Education. I also love teaching elementary math and grammar at the third-grade level or below, and American Sign Language for students aged 10 and up. Sign language is very fun to learn and use, no matter what your age may be.
My favorite subject is math because people use math every day, from everything from money and measurements to time. I love to enable students to think of different ways to calculate addition, subtraction, and multiplication, and to consider writing those equations in multiple ways. In all of these subjects, my students develop their skills over time and improve their mastery of math on a daily basis.
As I value students' education, I believe in a student-centered style of teaching--partly because students love to take ownership of their own learning, but also because putting students in control of their education enables them to remember information readily. Through this approach, they develop thinking skills by doing tasks independently or in small groups. They are also given hands-on activities and computer games to pick up new ideas, adding to their prior knowledge. Those activities help motivate students to become more engaged in the learning process. As a result, I believe that ownership over their education helps students develop and master skills.
I believe it is also essential to help deaf students think and answer questions independently. By asking questions and letting them answer as best as they can, I am able to ascertain exactly how much they understand and have learned. I like using various manipulatives, such as board and computer games, in order to better develop the skills of motivated but struggling students. After American Sign Language (ASL) sessions, I also like to have hearing students practice ASL at home, using computer programs and websites like ASLpro.com. I will engage them in natural conversation at home, beginning with simple signs until they have learned enough to work on more complex ones.
Gallaudet University - Bachelors, Accounting
McDaniel College - Masters, Deaf Education
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Visual aids or hands-on activities are effective for deaf students, whom I would start working with. For example, struggling students are able to use manipulative for multiplication. Bingo chips, small stuffed animals...many things can be an example. So I believe that deaf students are enabled to think critically and independently of other ways to calculate. Therefore, I strongly believe that thinking critically will lead to a student's mastery skills.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By building a student's confidence, I would look for her weaknesses and strengths through assessments. Then I would boost her confidence from a beginning level to a challenging level to do a subject.
What is your teaching philosophy?
As I value a students education, I believe in student-centered learning. Student-centered learning is a useful tool where students enjoy ownership in doing tasks. As a result, they are able to learn more and to develop their skills effectively. They are more motivated in a student-centered way rather than in a teacher-centered way. Once they learn new ways with prior knowledge, they will be able to do tasks together or independently.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Providing support and study guides boost students' independence in learning all things. Also, manipulatives help students become independent. So do computers. As a tutor, I would like to ensure my responsibility to encourage students to develop their skills independently, and even to listen attentively to what they have to say.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Using a graphic organizer, such as five literal questions (who, where, what, when, why), I would use colored index cards as a part of the hands-on activities for reading comprehension. Deaf students struggle with literal questions to answer. Starting with index cards for the questions (5 Ws), I ask a reading student a question, then she will answer one word to the question. Once she develops this skill, a graphic organizer will be used to answer questions in writing.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
As for projects and fairs (math, science, social studies), I would use a rubric to evaluate a student's performance and skills in expressing clearly and understanding peers and teachers' questions. In addition, I evaluate a student through an exit ticket with a short, essential question on it at the end of the session for checking to see if he understands. I develop tests and quizzes for a student's learning skills in content areas. Once an assessment is made, I would provide better teaching strategies and make a clear lesson for the student to improve his skills.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Both paper materials and computer for educational purposes are effective tools for a student's learning. Examples are math books, graphic organizers, an iPad for free educational apps, and websites. Using a computer motivates students to learn quickly and to boost their confidence in any content area. As for a math book, fractions are difficult for students to understand. So the story on fraction helps students see clearly as I use a manipulative to show students visibly.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I might prompt some questions about the student's interests, hobbies, subjects, and goals by encouraging the student to talk. In order to ease anxiety and to increase an understanding of given assessments or tests, I would explain why assessments are necessary for me to know his or her strength. Assessments can be done through natural observation, or via basic subjects, such as math and grammar. Another way is to start evaluation by using manipulatives so the student can show her strengths and needs.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In a lighting and temperature controlled environment, a student will be able to learn better and to be more motivated. Through learning experience approach, a student will be able to view a video of Bill Nye the Science Guy with closed captioning in it. The student will be motivated to ask some questions and to answer tutor's questions. Another way is to use a board game (i.e. Hangman) to get the student's motivation. If there are two students during the session, I would engage them in hands-on activity or the Smartboard to play a competitive game, such as math. Using small whiteboards, I would write multiplication to prompt them to write answers on the board and to show me the answers. Therefore, motivation means to keep students busy with educational tasks.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
To increase a student's understanding is to ask her critical questions to engage her in critical thinking. With prior knowledge, I would provide her a graphic organizer called KWL (What I Know, What I Want to Know, and What I Learn). I would have her list "What I Know" relating to prior knowledge. Also, I would have her list "What I Want to Know" questions. Therefore "What I Want to Know" questions would motivate her curiosity to explore a topic of science. I would encourage her to work on one task at a time. Another example is to highlight clue words in math questions to help students see clearly. Practicing to read clue words in light colored highlighting again and again can boost a student's confidence. For example, "all together" in highlight means to add, OR "take away" in highlight means to subtract. I would have the student keep index cards for meanings or keep notes or Concept Circle graphic organizers in a notebook.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Incentives or rewards are an example of positive reinforcements. Once a student completes each task for four days, she will use a computer every Friday for educational purposes and for fun learning. Another way to get a student excited with any subject is to enable her to create a poster in math, such as for fractions. She may draw fractions or create pictures of people, things, or animals that can show fractions. In addition, if I tutor a student at home, she can use their own things in math, such as money, cookies, and apples. Another way to get student's motivation with a subject is to engage her in the author's seat for reading aloud. It may trigger her reading comprehension. In all, a student forgets all about being bored and is motivated to keep herself busy doing various tasks in spite of struggling in any subject.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A student is expected to go through repetition and examples in order to recall and remember what she has learned. One of these techniques is an example of anticipation guidance that includes true/false or agree/disagree. For example, before a student reads a story of Charlotte's Web, she will check true or false as she thinks or believes. Then she reads the story. Once she finishes reading, she will again check true or false as she has read. Both pre and post anticipation guides may show differently. While she is reading, she will have some activities, such as video, creating posters, role-play to view, preview and review. In all, a student with prior knowledge reviews a new concept of the story through hands-on activities for repetition and applications to understand examples and concepts.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Generally, mentally challenged students are required to repeat what they have remembered or learned. Adapting my lessons to the student's needs is challenging because as a teacher or tutor, I would have to look for teaching strategies to help trigger a student's learning. So what I do is to provide mini-lessons to adapt to the student's learning needs. Mini-lessons can include unfamiliar vocabulary words to introduce before a student is engaged in reading or math. I will explain the objectives to the student so she can understand better and can be comfortable doing things. Also, I will provide hands-on activities, such as flashcards (i.e. picture of verb actions with written verb words). In all, they are examples of differentiating instruction that helps students learn things again and again.