My name is Michael and I am a student at Ohio State University. I am pursuing a degree in Food Engineering, giving me a diverse experience with math, physics, and chemistry. I have previously tutored for Ohio State's math department and enjoy helping others work through questions they may have. I was a math tutor at the Conard Learning Center during my freshman year of college. I helped students as needed when they came to the learning center, but I also lead a small group of six students through their recitation periods.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
When trying to help someone learn a subject, you need to first understand how the student best learns, whether it is through reading, talking, or by looking at pictures. Once this has been established, you can then truly help the student learn to the best of their ability.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student I would get to know them. I found, in myself and in my tutoring positions before, more information is retained when there is a good relationship between the student and the teacher/tutor. Also, through getting to know the student I can pick up on different ways to relate the subject to something they enjoy.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become more independent by showing them some good studying techniques and sharing my experiences through my college career. Also, I think it is important to practice problems without help, so that way I can focus on the areas that need improvement. This might mean having a student do some homework problems without my coaching, and then once several problems are finished, going back and reviewing them to see what was done correctly.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
One thing I noticed in my previous tutoring position is that students like to hear they are doing a good job. I believe it is important to let students know when they do well in order to give them a confidence boost. If a student is unmotivated and doesn't believe in themselves, then they will not perform their best.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would ask the student to define what the skill or concept means and how it would be applied. This would give me an idea on if the student is struggling with the concept itself or the problem solving. Once that is determined, I would spend a little extra time talking about that subject and giving the student a few more extra problems to solve in order to lay a good foundation.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If a student is struggling with reading, I think it helps to take time and go over the subjects or specific words that are causing problems. I may be able to talk about the subject in a manner that makes sense without using very technical words. After the general idea is portrayed, then talk about the more technical terms and what they mean specifically.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I found that getting to know how the student learns is essential to being a successful tutor. Some students learn better when they are being talked to directly about the subject, where others learn better when they see an illustration. Understanding how a student learns will then decide how I approach the subject.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If a student is struggling with a subject and they don't feel like working, I would find a way to relate the subject to their everyday life. Another possibility would be to show the student what the subject looks like when it is applied to the outside world.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
At the end of the subject I would have the student do several problems that would require a solid understanding of the subject in order to solve. However, I would not put a time limit on it just yet. When students are timed they feel rushed and don't perform to the best of their abilities. Letting the student first solve the problems freely will show if they grasp all of the concepts. Once all of the concepts are mastered, then I would time them in order to see how quickly they can solve a problem.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Start by solving some basic problems in order to understand the general concepts. Once a student starts to see how the subject works, they will then feel confident enough to take on harder problems. Gradually make the problems harder until they are ready to solve the hardest problems available. During this time, reassure the student with positive comments, and let them know they are doing a good job.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would give the student several problems to solve, and ask them questions in order to understand what they know about the subject. From there I can make a plan to help further the student's education.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am flexible when it comes to helping others, and will do my best in order to tutor to the way the student learns best. This may require me to create a teaching plan in order to prepare for the tutoring sessions.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically, I have used pencils, papers, and dry erase boards when I tutor students.