A photo of Madeline, a tutor from CSU Chico

Madeline

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I am a credentialed Language Arts teacher. My area of study focused on literacy and education which granted me the chance to study how people interact with new information, acquire new skills, and value the kind of learning they are being asked to undertake. I have worked as a tutor for students ranging from elementary through adult in subjects ranging from basic math and reading skills to ACT and SAT test preparation. Tutoring is such a unique opportunity to apply what I know about teaching and learning in the most effective way. I enjoy helping a student gain confidence, knowledge, and efficacy in any subject. Each student learns a little differently and I enjoy finding out how to best facilitate learning for the individual student and to help him or her achieve the learning goals desired. I learn how to best help a student by listening to and observing the student. Each student teaches me how to be the teacher he or she needs.

I attended George Washington University in D.C. and California State University of Chico. While at GWU, I studied international affairs, German, and eastern European literature. As I mentioned, I studied language and literacy at CSUChico. I taught high school English in northern California for 3 years.

I also speak Portuguese. I acquired that while I was an exchange student in Brazil for a year through the Rotary Club's program for high school students. I have traveled quite a bit and enjoy experiencing new cultures and environments.

My interests also include environmental sciences, macro-biology, hiking, camping, and agriculture. I have always studied and enjoyed interacting with nature. My mother was a biologist and I have a good amount of knowledge about biology ranging from soil science to the specific flora and fauna of a region.

Madeline’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: CSU Chico - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: CSU Chico - Current Grad Student, Secondary Teaching Credential

Hobbies

Reading. Nature, hiking, camping. Yoga. Agriculture. Having my own vegetable garden. Energy conservation. Cooking. Running.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The student determines the direction of the learning. Learning is best accomplished when it begins with utilizing what a student already knows. One must start there and then, through experience, determine how a student learns best. A good teacher listens and asks questions in order to understand how a student is comprehending the task at hand.

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

Determine what the student's goals are for learning. Ask about a student's experience of the subject(s), test taking, and what they are most nervous about or in what areas they feel most confidant. I would also try to find out what sort of learning style they might have, and their study habits.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Show a student how to find answers on his or her own. I would patiently give guidance about where to consider looking for information, to consider what they already know, etc. I feel it is my job to facilitate inquiry, not feed the student information.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Constantly point out progress the student is making at every moment. Take little breaks when I see the student is frustrated, and either try a different task I know the student will feel more successful at or take time to ask the student about something he or she enjoys.

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

Check to see if the student has the prerequisite skills or knowledge needed to learn the new ones. This is often the problem. Break down the new skill or knowledge into simpler steps and pieces to help the student achieve success a bit at a time.

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

Focus on the main ideal of small chunks of texts. Start with sentences before moving up to paragraphs and so on. Also, adjust the reading level of the texts so they are appropriately, but not overly, challenging for the student.

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

Establishing a basis of trust and authority is helpful. It is helpful for the student to believe that I am an authority on the subject and a skilled teacher, and that my goal is to help the student grow in ability and confidence with the subject material. I try to show understanding and hope for any goals or struggles the student has had in the past.

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

Find a way to connect that subject to something the student is already good at or interested in or has a goal for to demonstrate how this subject is of value to the student. I also feel that there is no match for a boost of confidence, and demonstrating that a student is more capable than he or she may feel is always a plus, so I set up tasks that I know a student can complete before moving on to more challenging topics.

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

Verbal questions and responses, written assessments that directly assess the student's learning, or assessments that have a student apply the learning to a problem.

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

Start with what a student is able to do and gradually make it more challenging.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

A combination of questioning to get a feel for the student's experience with a certain subject and tasks, and direct assessment. If it is math, I will see how the student does with a set of problems. If it is reading or writing, I will present the student with a writing task to get a sample or have the student read and answer some comprehension questions.

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

Figuring out how a student learns best is part of being a good teacher. Some students need things explained in different ways. Some students are very insecure, so building their confidence means balancing how much challenge they have in a single task. My tutoring will focus on the areas a student is lacking proficiency. I won't waste too much time on what they already know how to do. I will weave in things they already know how to do to help boost confidence and momentum.

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

I use flashcards for vocabulary and notes. I use highlighters to markup texts to illuminate specific types of information. I believe in taking notes in the margins if at all possible and keeping notes for any problems worked out together.