Each and every person has his or her own best and favorite ways of learning. Sometimes those ways might need a little tweaking in order to make them more effective. Sometimes, in addition to the tweaking, we may need to sort out how to make those favorite ways more effective within the learning process.
Each and every person also has challenges in learning. Most of us tend to cover up or try to hide those challenges because somehow we feel embarrassed or ashamed that we sometimes struggle to learn. Part of my job is helping a student to discover the value of those challenges and struggles and to show a student how important wrong answers are to the learning process. It is only when we continue to let our struggles define us that progress is difficult to achieve. When there is no failure, there is no success. You simply cannot have one without the other.
Another note is the importance of planning and accountability. I once heard a coach say to her team, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." But, when we plan to achieve a goal, we create the best possible pathway to that achievement. Part of the plan must be step-by-step accountability: little imaginary dots on a graph that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that progress is being made, even when it might not feel like it or the progress seems too slow to believe it.
Finally, a student has to decide for him- or herself if mastering a topic is something that he really wants to do; really and honestly wants to do whatever she's got to do in order to get it done. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the student to do the legwork and to make the commitment to do so. Your teacher or tutor is there only to facilitate that learning; not do it for you! I can bring dancing girls, bells, and whistles, but YOU have to do the work. If, however, the desire and willingness are both there, solid and unwavering, nothing will stop your learning. Nothing. It WILL happen and I will be there all along the way. You've got this, but YOU have to believe that and know in your heart that you'll do whatever it takes.
Two quotes to think about:
"If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you are right." - Henry Ford
"Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." - Winston Churchill
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Oklahome State University - Bachelors, French, Spanish
Graduate Degree: School for International Training - Masters, TESOL
Camping, white watering, computers, reading
Basic Computer Literacy
College Application Essays
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School Business
High School English
High School Geography
High School Political Science
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
PC Basic Computer Skills
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
If any student ever wants to learn-- really wants to learn-- I will do anything in my power to facilitate that learning; and that learning will be successful! It's important to realize, though, that it is ultimately the student's responsibility to do the learning. If, at the end of the day, a person is only half-heartedly interested in improving, then his or her progress will only be half-hearted, no matter what kind of games, or teaching techniques, or technology I bring to the table. What I do know is that my efforts are always 100%, strongly believing that, while correct answers are good, so are incorrect answers. Why? Because they provide the opportunity learn what wasn't learned properly to begin with. Mistakes are not only good; they are GREAT! How many times do you think Edison had to try before we got electricity? How different our lives would be if he had just said, "Aw, rats. I failed and I'm sick of making mistakes. I'm not going to try anymore...!" My favorite saying is actually from Henry Ford: "If you think you can or you think you can't, you are always right!" I agree wholeheartedly. If you think you can, call me and I will prove it to you!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Our first session will be about setting goals, sorting out priorities, discussing successful study skills, deciding about how much technology we can use, and discovering what the student ultimately desires from working together. In addition, we will need to talk about how comfortable the student is with the current material, and if we will need to revisit some of the background information required before continuing forward in the learning. By the end of the first session, the student and I will come away with a study plan, desired increments of improvement (goals), a defined schedule, and a method of learning that will work for us both. This will help the student and I to be on the same page and be able to maximize the benefits from our time together in every session thereafter.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There is one fundamental question that must be answered before a student can ever hope to be an independent learner: do you really want to learn? Along with that question goes the degree to which the student is willing to make that learning his or her priority. With those answers in place, the amount of personal responsibility will be determined, and we can both design accountability that will be most useful to the learner. Responsibility + accountability = independence.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Um, chocolate always works for me. JK! Realistically, motivation is intrinsic to learning. When a person sees tangible progress, achieves goals that she, herself, has set up, and feels more and more confident in a subject, the motivation comes naturally. Chocolate melts, but the learning remains forever!