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Ian

Learning and teaching is never a process which can be properly dictated and planned for, it must evolve based on regular and meaningful interaction between a student and teacher. It is with this mindset that I approach every student I work with, always being cognizant of a specific student’s strengths and weaknesses and working to improve every aspect of their academic journey.
Moreover, I currently hold my Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Boston College where I wrote my thesis on the Middle East entitled, “Economic Opportunity and Inequality as Contributing Factors to the Arab Spring: The Cases of Tunisia and Egypt”. Prior to this I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and History with Magna Cum Laude and Dean’s List First honors, also from Boston College. Beyond this I have done certificate coursework at the National University of Singapore in Game Theory, Cambridge University (UK) in ancient empires and politics, Venice International University in globalization and its effects on the modern world, international business, social sustainability, & modern US, EU, and NATO relations, and Boston University in wine studies.
I truly look forward to helping with your academic pursuits and making the learning process a fruitful one.

Undergraduate Degree:

Boston College - Bachelors, Communication & History

Graduate Degree:

Boston College - Masters, Political Science & International Relations

Skiing, Cooking, & Running

College English

College Geography

College Level American History

Creative Writing

High School English

High School Geography

High School Level American History

Homework Support

IB Global Politics

Other

Political Science

Social Sciences

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

US History

What is your teaching philosophy?

To find a proper balance between learning and enjoying the learning process. All too often studying can be a boring and seemingly endless endeavor. However, with the right approach and a degree of ingenuity the interaction between student and teacher can, it be a fun, enjoyable, and fruitful experience.

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

First, it is important to establish a respectful rapport with the student. It is nearly impossible to interact in a meaningful manner without the necessary mutual trust and respect. From there it is important to learn where a student sees his or her own deficiencies and why they think that specific subject is a challenge. Once I know why a given student thinks they are struggling in a subject, from there I can begin to tailor my lesson plans accordingly going forward.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Aid them in developing the tools to make the leaning process a more enjoyable one. It certainly depends on the subject; however, helping with study skills and how to go about formulating individual thoughts and analysis based on the information in a given subject certainly makes leaning independently much easier and more enjoyable. Every student is unique, so learning what makes each person ‘tick’ will allow me to tailor his or her learning system accordingly.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Always maintain engagement with the student, keep it fun, take breaks when necessary, and be sure to always take note of an individual student's unique strengths and challenges and react accordingly. For example, if a student finds history boring, bring in stories from the time period being studied that shows just how interesting the historical figures were.

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

Slow down, return to the fundamentals of the concept, and actively work to find the area that is preventing the student from moving forward. It is never wrong to take steps backward, so long as they are aiding in generally moving forward.

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

Start small...in other words begin with very simple passages that have more discernible arguments, actors, protagonists, et cetera. It is important to find where there struggle originates; is it with vocabulary, critical thinking, or comprehension skills? From there I would tailor practice reading assignments to build the necessary skills.

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

Build a foundation based on respect and humor. If a student is enjoying themselves, they are much more receptive to learning and opening their mind. Additionally, identify a student's shortcomings early on to allow a strengthening of their broad academic skills, which in turn aids in the complete improvement of them as a learner.

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

Depending on the subject there are a host of tools I would use. Turning something into a game or into a story drastically aids in improving student engagement. Additionally, making something funny also greatly aids in maintaining a high level of engagement.

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

Reassessment is always very important, but done in a way that makes sure the student is not just blindly memorizing material, but actually understanding the fundamentals and intricacies of a topic.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Break it down into more manageable sections so that it does not appear as daunting. For example, learning just about the Constitution is much more manageable than American Politics. From there, help a student weave a mental map of the subjects parts' interrelatedness so that a complete understanding is achieved.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By actively engaging with them and analyzing where their specific weaknesses are. No two students are even remotely the same, so really focusing on and listening to a student is of the utmost importance. In other words, there is no such thing as a 'standard lesson plan'.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

By always engaging with them every step of the way and never having any preconceived notions of what the best way to tutor a given student is. One on one attention is only as good as a tutor’s ability to tailor their teaching methods, and maintaining flexibility is of the utmost importance.

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

It depends on the subject, but a mix of newer technologies used to complement more traditional interpersonal learning I think is the most effective. Additionally, utilizing materials that minimize distractions is highly important.