That "click" moment when a student "gets" the material and realizes "I DO understand and CAN successfully advanced" - that's why I love teaching and tutoring. I WANT students to reach their goals. I thoroughly agree with Socrates' famous maxim, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel."
My desire is to challenge, motivate, encourage and help each student to accomplish the task set for them. I want to tap into the knowledge the student already has, to help develop, strengthen, build upon, and apply that knowledge. I want to help the student leverage that knowledge in order to learn now, prepare for further learning, and have firm mastery of a tool which will be a meaningful and useful addition to their toolbox, necessary for life beyond the classroom walls.
Some of my particular teaching passions are languages and literature. As one who has lived 40+ years in Latin America, and am in a bi-lingual extended family, I speak near-native level Spanish and can tutor it at any level. I also tutor French, as well as English as a Second Language, and English grammar and literature.
My many hobbies include camping, hiking, gardening, reading, crafting, and travel.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Hardin-Simmons University - Bachelors, Spanish/Secondary Education
My hobbies include but are not limited to reading, hiking, gardening and crafting.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Personal Philosophy of Teaching Robin E. Tinley No matter how well I may teach, if learning is not taking place the purpose of education is defeated. I thoroughly agree with Socrates’ famous maxim, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” My philosophy of education is to challenge, motivate, encourage and help each student to light that flame of passion for learning as a life-long pursuit and application. I want to tap into the knowledge the student already has, to help develop, strengthen, build upon, and apply that knowledge. I want to help them leverage that knowledge so they can successfully learn now, prepare for further learning, and have firm mastery of a tool which will be a meaningful and useful addition to their toolbox, necessary for life beyond the classroom walls. My philosophy of education also means tailoring learning as much as possible to the individual class body and student, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. The articulate S.M. Lockridge once quaintly said in a dialect of the times, “If I shoots above the heads of my people, it does not mean I have superior artillery. It means I am a poor shot.” Additionally, I consider it of paramount importance in this rapidly changing world to challenge students to have a comprehensive understanding of their world, to be competent to face these unique times, to become men and women of integrity and strong values who can invest in their community, country, and world. Specifically in the area of language, I believe a bi-lingual or multi-lingual person has an edge not only in the competitive work world but in the joys of learning for pleasure. As a learner myself, and a lover of learning, I want to teach and inter-act with students with such enthusiasm and passion that the student not only learn at the time but also become a self-starting learners for life, acquiring skills, knowledge, and the ability to become independent and motivated learners in the future. I believe in a varied and participatory learning atmosphere. I am familiar with and use principles of TPS (Total Physical Response) for language acquisition. In conjunction with language learning, I consider it of great value and importance for students to also acquire a familiarity with other countries, cultures, and worldviews. I want students to see that their present learning situation has great potential for a practical – as well as enjoyable – effect on their future. I believe it is necessary and right to clearly articulate and convey to the student the expectations, to work with the student in accomplishing those expectations, and to lead the student in cross-cultural awareness. I intend to clearly define for them the concrete course requirements and the concrete means by which they may achieve their best possible results. Why do I teach with enthusiasm, passion, and an understanding of the students? The following brief anecdote demonstrates to a large degree how I formed my philosophy of teaching and why I bring to teaching what I do. As part of my degree plan I was required to take a course in a subject of no interest whatsoever to me: Economics. I took the course merely to complete a requirement and check off a box on my path toward a degree in my chosen area. That same semester I took a course I’d looked forward to with great anticipation: Latin American Areas Studies. What a surprise was in store! My Economics professor was knowledgeable, articulate, compelling, and above all passionate about his subject. A new hitherto unknown window on the world was opened to me. I learned so much in that course. Meanwhile, my LatAm Areas professor, although he may have been knowledgeable, was not articulate, not compelling, and not passionate about his subject. I still resent how he cheated us, his students. I want to be the teacher who inspires to greater learning and practice those who already have an interest in - perhaps even a love of - Spanish and French, challenging them to an ever-greater understanding of other peoples and cultures so that they may gain access to new worlds through mastery of another language. I want to be the teacher who opens a window on a new world for those who think they are merely completing a course and checking off a requirement, so that they will be surprised into new thinking and learning, and perhaps even a new love. I am vastly privileged to have lived and worked in Latin America for over thirty-five years. I have traveled or lived in all of Middle America and some of the Caribbean. During the past 4 years I have worked in, and taught in every Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country in South America, as well as Cuba. What a wealth of experiences, information, knowledge, and areas for further exploration has been mine, that can now be translated to the classroom setting. What an opportunity and challenge for thoughtful and thought-provoking teaching and learning in a purposeful and meaningful way.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I would listen to the student (as well as a parent, if involved), hear their expectations, frustrations, and ideas. I would then assess the student's level by means of oral questions, as well as looking at any work already completed by the student, and then match their needs with the teaching.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think the best way to help a student become an independent learner is to inspire the student, challenge the student, show the student their capabilities and capacities, and model a learner attitude.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
As a learner myself, and a lover of learning, I want to motivate and inter-act with students with such enthusiasm and passion that they not only desire to learn they are under my tutoring, but that they also become independent learners themselves, acquiring skills, knowledge, and the ability to become independent and motivated learners in the future. I believe in a varied and participatory learning atmosphere in which the student is challenged to read the highest potential.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Helping a student who has a difficulty learning a skill or concept is a big part of what tutoring is about. I would assess the reason for the difficulty and take the learning in a direction that meets that need. I would also break the learning of the skill or concept into do-able steps that build one upon the other. I would encourage and work with the student until that "aha" moment occurs.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For students who are struggling with reading comprehension, I would assess whether they are primarily oral or literate communicators and learners. I would work with the student to determine their current reading comprehension level, then build strongly upon that base until the student reaches the desired level. Since reading comprehension is vital to successfully thrive in this world, I would encourage and motivate every step of the way.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Strategies I have found most successful as I begin work with a student are: 1. Knowing and understanding the student. 2. Assessing where the student is regarding the study material. 3. Assessing where the student desires/needs to arrive in the study material. 4. Designing and implementing a process for addressing desires/needs and reaching those goals.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If a student is struggling in a subject, I would encourage them to realize they ARE capable of understanding and learning it. Specifically, I would identify what they already understand in the material and build upon that. I would work with them to master the foundations, which will allow them to engage the subject and become excited about it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To be sure that a student understands the material, I would first listen to his/her frustrations or areas of concern to identify what barriers to understanding need to be overcome. Next, I would work alongside the student on appropriate exercises, practice, and drills to take them to the point of knowing and "getting" the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
To build a student's confidence in a subject, I would highlight what the student already knows, understands, and has as a working tool for further learning and understanding. I would work with the student to build step by step upon that foundation.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by listening to the student or parent of the student, assessing their expertise in the subject matter through a series of questions or exercises, and by being with them as they work to see where they "stutter" in the subject matter.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
In order to adapt my tutoring to the student's needs, I first make sure I am really hearing the student's felt and expressed needs. I then make necessary changes to fit their style and needs. For instance, if a Spanish student has no need to learn grammar or how to read, but wants entirely to be able to converse with Spanish-speakers, I would focus sessions on building conversation skills.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The type of material I typically use during a session depends considerably on the student's needs and existing materials. For instance, if my student is in a school system, attempting to improve in class, we would of course use the classroom materials. I would also, however, add in useful exercises and drills of my own. If, on the other hand, a student had no materials, I would assess which would be best for them and give recommendations.