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My core belief is that all students, regardless of age, want to be successful and learn complex, sophisticated material. I use my training as a teacher, my experience as a classroom teacher and tutor, and my own experiences as a learner to help understand the obstacles any student faces with challenging material and to provide scaffolds and supports to overcome those struggles.

I have been working in education the last 12 years in a variety of contexts: teaching English as a foreign language as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkmenistan, test prep to older high school students in Brooklyn, NYC, as an English classroom teacher to 7th through 12th graders in Queens, New York, a tutor for my advisory students in 7th and 8th grade, and as a teacher trainer at Columbia University. These numerous positions have helped me understand what it is like for a learner to engage in difficult material and to know how I can help learners make sense of their own learning process.

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Steve’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Ohio State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, English Literature

Graduate Degree: Teachers College at Columbia University - Masters, Teaching of English


Video games, board games, reading, physical exercise, spending time with my French Bulldog, and cooking

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe teaching is the opportunity to help students learn how to learn a kind of material for themselves. This means a skilled teacher not only knows the material but also understands their own thinking about the material; a skilled teacher can then provide questions, support, and thinking tools to help a student navigate complex materials in more nuanced, sophisticated, and metacognitive ways.

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

I would ask a few key questions: what do you like about this topic area? What do you not like about this topic? What kinds of questions or thinking in this topic get you excited or make you feel smart? What kinds of questions make you want to pull your hair out? I would also provide a few practice questions for students, so I could assess what their skills were and where I needed to step in and help.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teaching students the kinds of questions to ask themselves when they get stuck, processes for examining your work and your frustrations, and resources for finding explanations are the best ways to teach a student how to learn independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

All learners need to be reminded that not knowing and not being able to do is the default state for ALL learning. It is only through struggle and failure that you can work to understanding and ability successfully!

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