A photo of Debra, a tutor from Cornell University

Debra

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I have always loved to teach students! As a certified special education and general education teacher, with a Master of Arts in Teaching, I have been able to work in public schools to address the differentiated needs of elementary education students. Working one on one in tutoring sessions enables me to hone in on particular needs of my students, at different grades and levels. Sometimes, content or format modifications are required. Other times, delivery of instruction or positive reinforcement pertaining to confidence and motivation is needed. Input from family members and students is helpful to the learning process. Ultimately, the joy of current learning and motivation to learn in the future is of essence.

Debra’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Cornell University - Bachelors, Child Psychology

Graduate Degree: Montclair State University - Masters, Special Education

Hobbies

I love music- flute, singing; and yoga, walking, and swimming

Tutoring Subjects

College English

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

English

High School English

Math

Other

Phonics

Reading

Special Education

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Every person has their own way of receiving, manipulating, and expressing information. A multi-sensory approach is necessary to address all different styles of learning.

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

I would first ask students what their favorite subjects and interests are and why, modeling first before asking. I would then use that information for future learning content areas, i.e. if a student liked dance, I would incorporate dance into reading comprehension practice.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Independent learning comes through practice and confidence. I would use direct teaching and modeling through guided lessons, followed by independent practice. Ultimately, the student could check their answers on their own.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

A motivated student stays motivated if interested in their subject, so I would try to make lesson fun and focus on topics interesting to the students. They could also work towards a sticker, or a short game time when work is completed for the session.

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

Breaking down difficult concepts into separate skills will enhance scaffold learning of concepts. I would also have the student teach me, to reinforce learning and help to focus on problem areas.

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

Focusing on story elements and explicit questions first, one at a time. This is followed by implicit or inferences later on, after literal comprehension is established.

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

Establishing rapport is essential. Without it, the most perfect lesson will fail. Really listening to the student and his/her needs is necessary- verbal and non- verbal listening and observation.

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

I would make it fun by using visuals on the computer, or having the student draw about the content, or teach me, etc.

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

Direct question/answer- verbally, question/answer- written, in different formats- multiple choice, fill-in, explanation.

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

Present the information in a scaffolded manner, so that each skill builds on the previous.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Evaluation is done through consistent observation of the student's understanding of the skills. Initial skill assessments are also done to help determine future skill needs.

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

Pencils, paper, content books to work on, short games to play at end of lesson, the student's work if needed, and manipulatives for math as needed. At times, word processing or internet capability.