I philosophically believe that all students can learn.
Making mathematics understandable, interesting
and fun is key to being an effective tutor.
Understanding how a student learners and
tutoring to those strengths is essential
to good instruction.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Colorado Boulder - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: University of Colorado Denver - Masters, Secondary Mathematics Education
Reading, Bike riding
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I philosophically believe all students can learn. Effective teaching takes place when the teacher understands how their students learn and can present ideas and concepts in a manner meeting the students' learning style. This sometimes means presenting ideas and concepts in small steps but building upon each step for mastery.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It is important that I get to know the student and the student knows a little about me. Understanding the student's concerns and areas of need are important. Assuring and building the student's confidence in me and in him or herself is important.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Assuring that the student has the necessary "stepping blocks/foundation" to becoming an independent learner is very important. Providing this foundation and building the student's confidence is critical.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Individuals who feel they can accomplish a task at hand are generally motivated. Through genuine praise and assistance, I have been successful in motivating students to do well.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Many mathematical skills and concepts require a good mathematical foundation. Helping students build this foundation leading to the learning of new skills and concepts is critical.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To begin, I would have to monitor/assess the student’s level of comprehension. What does the student understand or not understand in his or her reading? I would build the student's vocabulary skills next. This could include graphic organizers, and effective questioning on my part would also be important. Lastly, I would ask the student summarize the reading passage in his or her own words. This would illustrate his or her level of understanding.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Building the student's confidence in letting them know they can master the concepts of mathematics is important. Breaking concepts down into understandable ideas can lead to building this confidence. Knowing that not all students learn the same way requires that as a tutor I have multiple methods to explain various ideas and concepts. As the saying goes - there are lots of way to get to 8.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Mathematics has tremendous application in all of our lives. Presenting real world applications would be one way to engage a student.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Having students display that they can successfully work problems with the concept(s) that need to be mastered would be important. Asking questions to have students explain their understanding/thinking is also valuable. Having students summarize their thinking is also another technique I would use.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Allowing the student to successfully demonstrate their understanding of a concept by working similar problems would be one method. Also providing genuine praise is required and valuable.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Students have different needs and learn in different ways. I would begin by finding out what the student knows. This can build the student's confidence. I would also assess how the student communicates. Do they understand things better because they are a visual learner, do they understand things better with a verbal explanation, or perhaps do they understand things by using their hands? I would then ask questions to evaluate where the student is having trouble. Monitoring the student's progress through my own notes would help me build on successive tutoring sessions.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Knowing how the student learns is critical. I would prepare for each individual tutoring session based upon the learning style of the student. Getting the student to a mastery level is the goal.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
To begin with I would rely on the curriculum content for the subject I am tutoring. The types of materials I would use would accommodate the student's learning style.