As a longtime university professor and legal professional, I care deeply about the humanities and social sciences and how they are taught to develop scholars and citizens. I've taught in college part-time for almost 20 years, including at Rutgers and community college. I've also taught graduate students in clinical education programs. My education includes three higher education degrees--BA summa cum laude from Rutgers, JD from Boston Univ. and a Master's from UPenn. I am a published constitutional lawyer, currently inactive, in four states. My modeling of critical analytical skills falls short if not accompanied by a genuine love for the subject matter and concern for the academic growth of the student. My concern is genuine and intentionally animated to inspire in students an infectious, lifelong love of learning. Tutoring allows me to continue in my passion for teaching, even during periods of work sabbatical.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Rutgers University-New Brunswick - Bachelors, Double Maj: Polic Sci & Africana Stds
Graduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania Boston Univ School of Law - Masters, Masters of Liberal Arts; Constitutional Law Juris Doctor
poetry, guitar, exercise, travel, sports
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is rooted in a student-centered, multiple learning style model. In the classroom and one-on-one, I seek to engage the student with the materials by first gauging the cognitive strengths, knowledge bases, and learning style (visual, demonstrative, auditory, etc.) of the student in order to tailor effective teaching tools and examples.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I typically introduce myself and ask students about their favorite school subjects, school activities and academic-career goals. I also ask them to consider taking any one of several brief online learning style assessments to assist their study strategy and our sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner in many ways. Many of these tools are subject-specific or task-specific, and others relate to the particular challenges of the student. For English Composition exercises in expository and argumentative essays, for example, I would equip students with sequential steps for outlining a strong essay. I would then practice each step together with real examples. I would model the step in an example relevant to the specific students, for instance, developing a thesis statement about the efficiency of instant replay for football games, or the appropriateness of cell phones as learning tools in classrooms. I would challenge them to refine the scope and clarity of their own position in this field of interest and then to develop three main supports, a rebuttal to the opposing view, a contextualizing introduction, a crystallizing conclusion, connective phrases, etc. We would complete several such outlines collaboratively and gradually shifting a greater portion of the work onto them each time. Finally, I would quiz them on the steps of the formula until they knew them cold, employing mnemonic or other memory devices if needed.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
If they showed a continued crisis in motivation, I would simply remind them of their vision for their future career or the degrees and purpose of the course as a part of that vision. I'd note the broader uses of the skills they would learn from staying on the task. I'd share data on the greater earning potential that came with their vision and ask what they planned to do with all that money and influence.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If it was a misunderstood concept, I'd find other ways to explain it and give examples that this student could relate to based on her hobbies or interests.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I encourage them to read the text with an end in mind. For example, if the lesson involves deciphering the writer's thesis and main supports, I suggest they approach the text as a map, looking for the main direction and major turns. If the task is to locate only specific historical information, I'd propose a treasure hunt, scanning for key dates, and capitalized proper nouns.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to start with introductions, and then pose a number of open questions and listen as much as possible to the student's goals and perspective concerning our sessions. From there we outline a plan, review it together, revise if necessary, and produce an initial specific lesson plan for the first session's portion of our overall plan. If the overall plan will entail multiple sessions, I strongly advise the student to complete a learning style assessment to inform my choice of teaching methods.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I start by asking why they are in the course, whether as a required core subject or to learn a needed skill, etc. After surveying their overall academic and career goals, as well as hobbies and interests, I build as many bridges as possible to the student's passionate areas. I also ask questions to diagnose and address why they are struggling.