Hello! I'm Allie. From teaching piano, to critical reading, to precise writing, I've had a lot of amazing opportunities to work with a lot of different learners. My students have included second graders, freshman science and pre-professional majors, and even professors.
As a PhD student constantly thinking and writing about music in literature, I am incredibly aware of the importance of listening. I believe that it is important to listen to what students say and don't say to help them identify their goal and process to successfully reach that goal.
In addition to editing 1,000+ pages of undergraduate student writing each semester, I have also served as a Writing Center Consultant where I worked with undergraduate and graduate students at every stage of the writing process. I have also worked in multiple capacities as a detailed-oriented copy editor with professors and students on applications, personal statements, books, articles, dissertations and bibliographies.
As an online Nursing Writing Modules Coordinator, I am responsible for creating modules with new content related to science writing, including instructional videos, and am comfortable with APA formatting and medical language.
Undergraduate Degree: Chatham University - Bachelors, English and Cultural Studies
Graduate Degree: Duquesne University - Masters, English Literature
I enjoy reading, traveling, cooking, as well as playing the violin and piano
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that listening to a student's needs is essential. My experience listening to what a student says and doesn't say allows me to help empower them to envision goals, and create real steps to reach those goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I'd have the student tell me what their specific goal is for the session, and for what they'd like to work on over time. We'd talk about what the student already knows, and what specifically the student needs to sharpen in order to reach their goal in the most efficient way. We would discuss which specific skills they need to foster so that they could transfer those skills to their work moving forward. I'd love to jump in and start working on what the student wants, and create to have an action plan for the next time we meet.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The key to being a successful independent learner is planning. It is important to establish a goal and then create a specific strategy with small steps to successfully manage and accomplish that goal.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I have a lot of experience keeping students motivated-- particularly science and pre-professional majors in English and composition classes-- by helping them see the larger perspective, while also helping them create a strategy to achieve their goal in a manageable way.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would ask the student to specifically pinpoint what they are having difficulty understanding, then work through specific strategies to help them understand, and then practice.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I've had students literally draw what they think they're reading and understanding so that they can pinpoint what is unclear to them, and so that we can work together for a sharper understanding. More traditionally, I have students read what they're misunderstanding out loud and then talk through what they're thinking. To reinforce, I also have students write down what they think a passage means so that we can directly compare them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
1. Talking with the student about what they want to achieve. 2. Writing out an action plan with specific steps. 3. Always finish a session with a game plan for what to do leading up to the next session.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I frequently use popular culture references-- based on the students’ interests-- in my classes and tutoring to engage students. More traditionally, I believe in engaging students in conversation to discover what they care about so that they can understand why critical reading and precise writing is important.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I frequently use low-stakes exercises to determine whether a student understands material and to pinpoint areas that might be still unclear. I also believe in the power of talking through ideas to enforce understanding, and am very used to mediating this kind of conversation with classes of 25+ students to individual students.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I believe in clearly setting up specific expectations so that students know what they're working towards. It's important to clearly communicate to a student that they have reached set expectations to build their confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I first ask what a student identifies as their own need. I then ask what their goal is, and help them spell out and identify what they need to strengthen to actually meet that goal successfully and realistically.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I believe in frequently checking in with a student to see how I can better serve them. I'm accustomed to students' course evaluations and taking student feedback into account to make my teaching more effective. I'm also familiar with individual Writing Center reviews, where students offer suggestions to strengthen tutoring. I have five years of experience of taking student feedback seriously and adjusting in nuanced ways to help students be successful.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During a session, I expect the student to have an assignment sheet/description (if applicable), the text they're working with (if applicable), a notepad, and a pen/pencil. While I expect the student to put their electronic devices away, I understand that they can be useful to find information efficiently. I will have blank paper and a pen/pencil to take notes and draw out ideas if needed.