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Darwin

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My teaching style tends to focus around a combination of Progressive, Humanistic, and Radical pedagogy/andragogy. That is to say, I center the experiences and learning styles of each student at the core of the learning process.

I am a quick and creative problem-solver who is able to adapt to different learning environment and different students' needs quickly, using a variety of learning tools.

I have a Master's degree in Educational Leadership & Policy with a focus on Post-secondary Adult & Continuing Education. My professional background in this field means that I am able to build clear and concise curriculum that centers around a student's learning needs.

In areas of preparing students for testing, I am particularly adept at helping learners develop quick and quality essay writing skills to cut down on test time.

I believe in interdisciplinary education, meaning that I connect related subjects together in order to guide students towards a deeper understanding of whatever topics they are currently tackling. I find that this interdisciplinary approach also helps students in honing critical thinking and critical analysis skills by developing a habit of seeing the real-world connections and context of their subject matter.

I am best suited towards aiding high school students and adult community college/freshman and junior university level students.

Darwin’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Marylhurst University - Bachelors, English Literature & Writing

Graduate Degree: Portland State University - Masters, Educational Leadership & Policy

Hobbies

Building playlists on Spotify, writing (a lot, especially doing free-writes), watching Netflix, hiking, rollerblading, cooking, arts and crafts.

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Public Speaking

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy centers around first meeting students where they are at in terms of their education and the life experiences they are bringing to that education. That is, respecting the student as an already knowledgeable and capable person with their own valid experiences of the world and not treating them as an "empty vessel" to simply receive information/instruction. From there, I rely on an interdisciplinary multi-tool model of education which takes into account the student's current skill set and helps them enhance it. That is, I help the student build on what they already know, layering up the subject matter upon that foundation so that they can make the connections necessary to advance their knowledge. I am a firm believer in connecting theory-to-practice. I often incorporate activities that help students apply their learning to real-world scenarios. E.g. I may give a student an assignment where I challenge them to closely read and extrapolate meaning from a Facebook post so that they can practice applying critical thinking skills to an everyday form of communication that is used in professional and personal capacities. This kind of assignment also helps them enhance their own communication skills by considering ways to better align the impact/reading of their online communication with their intent. Lastly, I believe in incorporating at least some historical understanding/context into lessons wherever possible. History shapes our present experiences, and as I have stated above, I believe in utilizing experiences to enhance critical thinking skills.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

First, I'd spend at least 5-10 minutes getting to know a student. This typically includes a conversation about their history with the subject matter they are looking to work on, as well as a brief free-write reflecting upon what they hope to gain from our tutoring sessions. Then there will be about 5-10 minutes of getting familiar with their current course-work and reviewing their instructors' objectives and syllabi for the course so that I am familiar with where the student needs to be in terms of their outcomes. This may also include, if the student needs it, working out a time-management/homework deadline schedule for the student that suits their life/work balance and helps alleviate any stress about meeting said deadlines. Then it's on to working on current homework while establishing what practice activities and tools would help a student with testing and homework goals. This is so that I can build a basic tutoring curriculum that matches the student's needs in these areas and caters to their learning styles. Lastly, there will be a brief reflection free-write, 5 minutes at the most, where the student can express how they felt the session went, whether or not it was helpful to them, and if desired, offer any critique or feedback to me they may have in regards to how I can better work with them in the future.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I find that helping a student develop critical reading analysis skills goes a long way in helping them understand assignments. Additionally, I like to set aside a little time during a session to let the learner explore/talk/write about a subject they are personally interested in. I find that developing this self-directed learning enthusiasm helps learners to have a deeper interest in independent studying. Also, teaching learners the process of both academic and creative writing and research gives them a supportive structure to follow while pursuing independent learning. That way if a student feels stuck or blocked and doesn't have someone to help them out, they can refer to these processes as a guide.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would admit that the subject matter they are tackling is difficult and that we both need help brushing up on it, and we can learn it together. I would also note the student's strengths in related skill areas to bolster their confidence in being able to eventually grasp the material they are having trouble with. This removes any embarrassment a learner may feel in regards to not understanding the concept right away, which can lead them to relaxing into the learning process instead of stressing out about the things they aren't understanding. I would ask them to think back to a time when they learned a new skill or concept and ask them what helped them in learning that. Then I would tailor my teaching techniques to the positive aspects of that experience to help them learn the new stuff. However, sometimes students don't know or don't remember how their learning process works, and in those cases I would help them practice parallel skills and concepts to the ones they are struggling with. This helps build their internal frames of reference so that when we circle back around to the things they are struggling with they have a better chance of grasping it. The most helpful thing I find in these situations is to make sure the student knows that it is perfectly normal and okay to struggle in the learning process and that they have many skills already that they can rely on to help them learn this new skill.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would admit that the subject matter they are tackling is difficult and that we both need help brushing up on it, and we can learn it together. I would also note the student's strengths in related skill areas to bolster their confidence in being able to eventually grasp the material they are having trouble with. This removes any embarrassment a learner may feel in regards to not understanding the concept right away, which can lead them to relaxing into the learning process instead of stressing out about the things they aren't understanding. I would ask them to think back to a time when they learned a new skill or concept and ask them what helped them in learning that. Then, I would tailor my teaching techniques to the positive aspects of that experience to help them learn the new stuff. However, sometimes students don't know or don't remember how their learning process works, and in those cases, I would help them practice parallel skills and concepts to the ones they are struggling with. This helps build their internal frames of reference so that when we circle back around to the things they are struggling with, they have a better chance of grasping it. The most helpful thing I find in these situations is to make sure the student knows that it is perfectly normal and okay to struggle in the learning process and that they have many skills already that they can rely on to help them learn this new skill.