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Ben

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I am a motivated and energetic person and I love learning. I can't say I am an expert at anything, but I have a wide range of interests and abilities. I enjoy soccer, basketball, football, tennis, biking, board riding, exploring nature, cooking, eating, dancing, playing music, reading, and solving puzzles and problems. I try to have fun and be grateful every day. I enjoy my day job as an IT Specialist with Peace Corps, a federal agency whose values I share and whose work I love. My goal as a tutor is to help students discover their individual path to learning. Students do this by identifying their motivations, strengths and goals. Learning is about exploration, discovery, and growth so it should be enjoyed and valued.

Ben’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Marketing

Graduate Degree: Carnegie Mellon University - Masters, Public Policy and Management

Test Scores

SAT Math: 730

SAT Verbal: 700

GRE Verbal: 164

Hobbies

I enjoy soccer, basketball, football, tennis, biking, board riding, exploring nature, cooking, eating, dancing, playing music, reading, and solving puzzles and problems.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

To me, teaching means guiding people towards discovering their own path to lifelong learning. Everybody has different interests and learning styles, so an effective teacher must adapt lessons and methods to those of his or her students and make learning an interactive and stimulating process. Learning, whether inside or outside of the classroom opens endless opportunities for discovery and growth.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

An effective student must "learn how to learn." By this, I mean that students excel by: 1) discovering their learning style, 2) understanding what motivates and interests them, 3) recognizing and applying their strengths while identifying areas for improvement, 4) questioning and thinking critically, 5) setting goals and celebrating their achievement. My goal as a teacher is to help students do all of the above.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students must identify their own goals. As a teacher, I must help them make the connection between what they are learning and the fulfillment of their goals.

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

I would start simple and help them build confidence by understanding the fundamental theory or application of the skill or concept. We would start with basic versions of practice problems or scenarios and feel good about solving, expressing, or interpreting them before moving towards more advanced applications of the concept at a pace comfortable for the student.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Context clues are the key to understanding the meaning of a sentence or passage. I teach students to identify which words or sentences they understand well and to highlight which parts they don't understand. Usually by piecing together the parts they do understand, they can get a feel for the tone or context of what they are reading and more easily identify the missing puzzle pieces. If the major hurdle is difficult vocabulary, we can find clues for the meaning of a particular word by looking for other words that accompany it or looking for parts of that word that might be familiar. With reading, sometimes it is necessary to break a passage into paragraphs, a paragraph into sentences, a sentence into parts, a sentence part into words, and even a word into root, prefix, and suffix. Breaking down the elemental structure of language can help identify the gaps.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Initially, I like to connect informally with a student to know their interests, motivations, learning style, strengths, and attitudes. I also share with them my own interests and learning path. It is important to build comfort and confidence and for the student to understand that I can empathize with their challenges. Setting learning goals is a key initial step.

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

I try to connect a subject to something interesting and relevant in the student's life. For example, if a student is struggling with math and interested in sports, we can explore applications of geometry, algebra, and calculus (physics) in sports. If a student is having a difficult time with reading comprehension but loves music, we can look for uses of metaphor and other literary devices in music lyrics.

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

I always try to have a student arrive to the answers themselves and repeat the answers to reinforce them. I will give as many clues and as much explicit guidance as needed, but as I see a student begin to master the material, my guidance will taper and be replaced by their own thinking and reasoning. I will find myself explaining less to them and the student explaining more to me up the point where I do not need to say anything and they know how to answer a question. Patient, persistent practice is essential.