I got my doctorate in the social sciences at Yale and have more than a decade of teaching experience. My areas of specialty are test prep, writing and grammar, psychology, analytical reasoning, and study skills.
Few things are as exciting to me as watching a student grasp material for the first time. Helping students learn is a passion.
For fun, I like to take beach walks with my two-year-old Cavachon (a mix of a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and a Bichon Frise); play competitive Scrabble; and spend time with family and friends, preferably at a high-end or ethnic restaurant. As an adult, I have moved to every region of the country, which is not uncommon among people who work in higher education, and have found things to love about all of them. That said, the beauty--natural and man-made--of my adopted hometown of Santa Barbara makes it hard to imagine living anywhere else.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Bachelors, Psychology and French
Graduate Degree: Yale University - PHD, Organizational Behavior
Hiking; walking my dog on the beach; listening to podcasts; Scrabble
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would aim to form a supportive connection, identify the student's goals, and seek to discover how he or she learns best. If time permits, I would also assess his or her skills in and knowledge of the subject matter.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would help a student become an independent learner by equipping him or her with the study, research, and critical thinking skills needed to be an autonomous, life-long learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would attempt to help a student stay motivated by reminding them of what their personal goals were when they sought my tutoring services. By delivering the material to them in the way that is best suited to their learning style, and being encouraging.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student were to have difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would try to connect the skill or concept to something he or she has already mastered, in order to establish the "Velcro" onto which the new material can be stuck. Once students see the relationship between what they already know or can do and the new concept or skill, they are far more able to grasp the new learning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I help students struggling with reading comprehension by breaking down passages into their basic meaning units and helping students to do the same.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is that students learn best when they are having fun. So, I like to incorporate play into my sessions whenever possible. I also subscribe to the "Velcro theory" of learning, which is that people need some prior knowledge for new knowledge to stick to. For this reason, I try to find something in the student's background that could be applicable to the subject. Last, I know that people have different learning styles. Identifying whether my tutee prefers to learn through sight, sound, or movement enables me to support their progress.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Establishing rapport is important for teaching and learning.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To get a student excited about or engaged with a subject in which they are struggling, I would try to make connections between the subject and whatever their hobbies and passions are, whether it's music, sports, computer games, etc.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To be sure that students understand the material, I would ask them to explain the concept(s) to me in their own words or execute the skill. I would have them complete parts of a school homework assignment in my presence -- or if they don't have one, I would use the tutoring company's problem sets -- and would have them explain their answer to me.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build a student's confidence in a subject by creating a series of small "wins" that enable them to see that they have the ability to learn the material.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate students' needs, I ask them what their goals and challenges are, identify how they learn best, and observe them working with the subject matter.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to students' needs by using teaching methods that are best suited to the learner. Some people learn best through reading words or seeing pictures, while others acquire information more readily through listening or engaging in movement. After identifying a student's learning style, I adapt my teaching methods to suit him or her.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During a tutoring session, I would use the student's school text(s) and homework, and supplement them with materials I find on the web and the tutoring company's online platform.