# Stephen

Certified Tutor

Undergraduate Degree: BYU-Idaho - Bachelors, Social Studies/Economics

Graduate Degree: Arkansas State University-Main Campus - Masters, Special Education Instructor Specialist

Basketball, gardening, hiking.

Elementary School Math

What is your teaching philosophy?

Education can be given in such a way that virtually everyone can grasp and excel in school, including advanced concepts in mathematics. A weakness of our education system is that often students, whose learning style does not fit the education mold, are forced to fit as a square peg through a round hole. This rigidness and lack of flexibility often creates learners who have apathy or resentment towards math that is unnecessary. In my own practice of teaching and tutoring I have found that often students who were judged to not be able to do complex math could do it with the right tools and guidance. Students who were decent students were also able to perform at a better level as well with improved guidance. The biggest problem in students understanding they often struggle or are weak in the foundational skills of math for that subject or the math subjects leading up to the current class, and are therefore trying to learn a new concept while simultaneously trying to relearn old concepts that were not understood in the first place. Math, more than any other subject, builds on itself. Students have to have a solid foundation or go back and reinforce weak areas in order to master further concepts. Mastery learning in math is paramount. We have to crawl before we walk and walk before we run.

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

I would do an assessment of the student’s overall knowledge of math concepts needed to master the subject that average students are at. I would also assess their learning style as well as understanding difficulties from the student's point of view.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I can help students become independent learners by having them teach the concept and show me what they understand after I have instructed them and given them the tools. Most importantly students need to learn how to think about math. When they have the understanding of the subject, math comes so much easier.