For me teaching is all about making connections and understanding where a student is coming from. I think we all learn better when we've got a knowledgeable partner by our side that challenges and encourages. Reading and working alone is a vital skill, but in the end there is nothing like substantive, one-on-one conversation when it comes to developing concepts and making things stick.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY Albany - Bachelors, English Literature
Graduate Degree: Boston University - PHD, Art History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in creating a genuine, respectful working relationship with students off the bat so that we can have a real conversation. My main focus will always be on harnessing the student's underlying motivation. What is it that he or she stands to gain most on a personal level by improving their academic performance? Once this question is answered we can move forward together.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Establish a partnership and a mutual goal!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I like to create a firm foundation of assisted learning to a point where the lessons imparted during tutoring become internalized. I also like to reassure a student that the same resources he or she is drawing on now will always be available in some form if they only reach out.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By reminding themselves of the positives that will emerge from consistent study and practice! By contrast, staying motivated may also involve giving oneself regular breaks and not attempting to learn too quickly.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Initially we would just sit calmly with a difficult passage and try to diagnose the problem or problems. What is going on? Is it a mechanical problem (vocabulary, punctuation)? Attention difficulties? A lack of interest in the subject matter? Once this is decoded, we could try looking at similar content until he or she begins to feel like there is true understanding and an ability to respond (i.e., have a "conversation" with the author) is cultivated.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Establishing a clear plan forward by establishing a learning style and a motivation.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to establish some sort of link between the content and the student's own life so that the material becomes more immediate and meaningful.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would ask questions about the content, as well as the student's opinion.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A good way to build confidence is by establishing benchmarks. We would try each time an improvement is made, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Later on, when he or she is struggling, we can look back on the progress that has already been made. Oftentimes when we are working through something that is very difficult, we cannot perceive our own progress. This makes it transparent and helps to push a student forward by building confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would evaluate a student's needs initially by discussing them with the student and then by looking at some recent work that he or she has completed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By developing a variety of approaches and trying several before settling on one.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on the nature of a student's problems, I would try to have as much pertinent content as possible, as well as exercise materials (flash cards, keys).