My name is Adam and I have twenty years of professional experience in Education. I hold a Bachelors Degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a Masters of Arts in Education from the American Jewish University. I love to help young people find joy in reading and writing and sharpening their skills. In addition, I love to learn about current events and to examine what happen in the past. Reach out to me if you want to experience reading and writing in new, imaginative and creative ways!
University of Wisconsin Madison - Bachelors, English Literature/Hebrew and Semitic Studies
American Jewish University - Masters, Education
College Level American History
High School English
High School Level American History
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Students learn best when they feel motivated to learn. The best way to motivate students is to work with them and to make them an active part of the process. Lecturing will not reach a young person, but teaching in an active way, using creative techniques, and having many tools in one's toolbox will ultimately produce a student who is yearning for learning, and whose hunger for learning will be ongoing and everlasting.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session should be an ice breaker. The tutor must get to know the student inside and out: what does he/she like to do in his/her spare time? What subjects does he/she love to learn? What subjects does he/she dislike? Do the two of you share any common interests? How does the student learn best, and what techniques may the tutor utilize to maximize a stimulating learning experience? By the end of the lesson, the student should walk away having learned something new, with a preferred technique supplied by the tutor.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The secret to giving a student independence in learning is to load his/her tool box with techniques for accomplishing that goal. By teaching a student to identify a topic sentence in an essay, for example, and practicing with him/her, he/she will gradually learn to do this independently. The key is to teach the technique, model it, and then direct the student to practice it until he gets it right.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
To keep the student motivated, every session must be as fresh as though it was the first one ever, and the tutor must be forever enthusiastic until the very end. Bringing in new creative tools and thinking outside the box in terms of delivery, will make the student eagerly anticipate what is going to happen from session to session. Nothing spells disaster more than a tutor who is clearly just going through the motions.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
That is deceptively simple to answer: practice, practice, practice. Make it fun, interesting, and even entertaining. Games always do the trick, sing songs about the concept, make a rap song, role play it, even turn it into standup comedy! Appear confident that the student will grasp it, so that he will have confidence in himself or herself.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I help the student first identify the topic sentence of the paragraph, and then write down his anticipation of what the paragraph may contain. I would tell the student to keep a piece of paper and pen or pencil handy, and to write down questions of key points while reading. At the end of the exercise, I would see how well the student can answer the question without reverting back to the paragraph.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Making connections is the first and foremost goal. I have had the greatest success when I attempt to lead the student to understand that we share things in common, such as interests or struggles that we have had. By seeing that the adult is a human being also, it will enable the student to open up and respond positively to the tutor.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Let the student see how it applies in real life. For example, a student may struggle in spelling and say, "What is the point? I intend to be an engineer. What does it matter if I can spell?" In that case, I would guide a student through a role play in which he fills out a job application and hands it the hiring manager (AKA the tutor.) The tutor then hands it back and says, "I am sorry, but I cannot accept an application laden with mistakes." This can point out the importance of being able to spell correctly.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I often ask follow-up questions. By summarizing the learning, specifically asking the student to summarize the learning, it is relatively easy to determine whether the student has learned the material, of if reviewing material is necessary for the next session.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Show the student that he or she can do it. For a student struggling in math, praise the student for the smallest accomplishment. If he or she answers one complex multiplication problem with adequate ease, make a celebration out of it! Repetition will eventually lead the student to believe that he or she can do it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This is what that first session is all about. Talking to the student and encouraging him or her to open up, combined with giving informal diagnostic tests, will eventually lead to understanding with the student needs--and more importantly, what he or she does NOT need.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Here, flexibility is necessary. This is why it is important for the tutor to enter the session, particularly the first one, with numerous tricks up his or her sleeve. Watch the student carefully to see if methods are working. If a student is not responding to a particular technique, I dump it and move on to something else.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Generally speaking, I use materials that allow for creativity. For example, if dealing with outlining the details of a chapter in a novel, I might have construction paper and crayons or markers for a student who may want to illustrate or draw related cartoons and comics. I also have ruled paper handy for those who may want to turn it into a dialogue.