A photo of Laura, a tutor from Towson University

Laura

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During college, I worked as an essay-exam grader for an introductory level class. Now that I've graduated, I'm eager to help students with their writing before it reaches a grader. I know the challenges students face and what teachers/professors are looking for in papers. Good study skills can also make all the difference to a student's efficacy and I enjoy finding what works for them!

I take a positive, motivational approach to what is often a frustrating situation for the student. We will work together to meet their specific needs and learn self-sustaining skills. I teach largely through asking directed questions that allow the student to see their own mistakes so that they can be confident working on their own in the future.

I have a Bachelor's in Art History and a passion for painting, reading, and watching Jeopardy! reruns.

Laura’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Towson University - Bachelors, Art History and Studio Art

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 164

Hobbies

Art, trivia, and running!

Tutoring Subjects

AP Studio Art: 2-D Design

AP Studio Art: Drawing

College English

College Essays

Conversational French

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

French

French 1

French 2

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Verbal

High School English

Languages

Other

SAT Reading

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I work with students to help them discover their individual learning style. Once they know how they learn, they can find study methods that work with them not against them!

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

If they can teach it, they know it! Asking students to explain the concepts as if they were teaching them to someone new allows them to reinforce their own understanding, or it reveals what part of the process they're stuck on. It's my favorite comprehension check and is particularly useful when studying for tests.

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

In a first session, I will come prepared with several problems appropriate to the student's grade level to gauge their strengths and to identify areas we can improve together. I also like to review any of the student's recent schoolwork to see how they are doing. I will also ask the student about their interests outside of school so I can create work that they find enjoyable and appropriately challenging within their learning styles. We typically will talk through some short-term goals by the end of the session.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

As much as I love helping students with their work, the goal is always to help the student get to a place where they can succeed without my assistance. I teach strategies to help students locate their own mistakes and reinforce good review habits so that each student can improve on their own. Typically, good study skills can go a long way in helping a student become independent, so I like to find what works best for them.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I help students stay motivated through encouragement, working within their level, and by finding their interests. Almost any academic work can be re-framed so that it includes a student's extracurricular interests. When working with an elementary student that hated math but loved basketball, I created word problems and graphs that featured sport statistics. Instantly, he was focused and excited to learn new math skills.

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

Small steps are crucial to tackling academic roadblocks. It is easy for a student to feel overwhelmed by a topic then stop trying. By breaking down each topic into manageable portions, we can reinforce each step of the process thoroughly before moving up to something more challenging. I also like to bring in visual aids, songs, or short videos to help students with complex topics as I find giving the material in a different medium really helps it stick.

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

The most common barriers to good reading comprehension are a lack of visualization and material that is above level. If a student has trouble remembering what they have read, I'll have them draw a picture that they add to every sentence and when they get more comfortable, only every paragraph, so that they have consistent checkpoints to see if they are retaining the information. If a text is above level, we will skim it together and highlight words the student isn't sure about. Typically, by defining them before the student starts reading, the material becomes instantly more manageable.

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

I use books, videos, diagrams, online learning games, and lots of colored pencils and crayons when working with a student. Keeping a student excited and interested by the material is crucial to working through difficult topics. I like to vary how I introduce material and often find that online resources are enjoyable introductions that the student can access and practice outside of our sessions. I normally recommend outside materials to help students reinforce what they've learned throughout the week.