My biggest asset as a tutor is creativity. That being said, certain attributes are staples of teaching: communication, repetition, and consistency. Within that realm, often being able to express an idea in multiple ways is the trick for understanding. I think I’m good at breaking things down to a rudimentary level and rephrasing when needed. Also, having experienced learning difficulties as a child (which were long ago rectified) forced me to become very skilled at developing personalized learning strategies. And having learned from experience how to elevate my own standardized test score from the 32nd percentile to the 85th percentile on the MCAT has been invaluable for teaching peers how to approach a difficult test and succeed.
See me teach an MCAT problem:
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Tulsa - Bachelors, Mechanical Engineering
Watching sports (NHL, NFL, NBA). Playing sports (football, hockey, soccer, basketball, ultimate). See me teach <a href="https://youtu.be/fUfJZyPZ01Y">an MCAT problem</a>
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
AP Physics C: Mechanics
MCAT Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
MCAT Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Certain attributes are a staple of teaching: communication, repetition, and consistency. Within that realm, often being able to express an idea in multiple ways is the trick for understanding.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
-Assess student's goals -Determine student's current deficits as graded by others -Inventory student's class history in the subject -Propose learning plan to student and revise in response to any student concerns.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Experience is one of the best blueprints for success. The best learners have, through experience, overcome diversity through individual coping schemes. As a tutor, I will demonstrate strategies effective for most of the population, as well as constantly attempting to discover what works best for an individual, through the process of learning the student's perspective. As a student overcomes hurdles, she/he gains confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. This in turn leads to more active problem solving by the student, who is "tinkering" with different learning strategies. If honed under the right circumstances, the student will become an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
As someone once did for me, I would remind the student of how his/her goals today and tomorrow fit into his/her plan for achieving XYZ (i.e. a good grade in microbiology) ... I would remind the student that XYZ is important to him/her because he/she values TUV (i.e. human life), which he/she is upholding by becoming as knowledgeable as possible about controlling pathogens, and will therefore be better able to succeed in this role both professionally and personally.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It depends on the why. Psychological/motivational: take a break and reinforce a parallel skill. Sometimes the brain needs time to rewire after an appropriate stimulus (learning). I would encourage habits of working skills/doing other assignments as a chance for certain brain circuitry to recuperate while also not wasting opportunity complete other goals. Wrong learning style for the topic: I would move to a different sense, i.e. -less talking and more diagramming vs developing mnemonics for critical information. Lack of cognitive engagement: I would to tangential topics that are more concrete that the student does understand. I would work the connection between the concrete and the topic of interest which usually encourages curiosity. A curious mind finds a way to relate prior information to a topic, which can be a superficial way to move towards understanding.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Advice: use the other circuitry of the brain. Alone, read the passage out loud. I've been amazed how much clearer of a picture I get when doing this. Alternatively, take notes on a separate sheet of paper, making definitions of unknown concepts.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Flexibility and humility is key--in strategy and in approaching each problem. On the other end is a human being who for whatever reason needs your help: the ultimate goal is to restore to such a person the confidence to solve his/her own problems skillfully.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Talk about the awesome things happening in the world because of such a subject (i.e., stoichiometry is so cool because it allows you to figure out how many pounds of CO2 per year is generated in an automobile versus the coal it took to charge an electric vehicle's batteries).
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Something my sister always enjoyed growing up (and I in my classes) --ask leading questions to get to certain concepts. See if the student can connect the ideas and see where you're going. This is like when a professor asks a string of questions. You're socially motivated because you get to show how much you know, and there's little shame when the professor has to help the class along (the good professors).
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Iterate what the student has already done right. "That 55%--you didn't get NOTHING right; if so, it would have been a 0%. It might take some effort to get up to an 80%, but it's a lot easier than starting from 0%. "
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I usually just ask. Once I've ascertained a student's recent grades, and seen that a student can successfully participate in the routine problem solving steps, I can fully focus on the student's vocalized needs.