My purpose is to help students become independent learners and help them identify a style that works custom for them. I've worked with students from elementary to college across both mathematics and music.
Undergraduate Degree: Brigham Young University-Idaho - Current Undergrad, Bachelor of Music
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is that, as a tutor, it is my goal to help students identify their learning style, build their confidence and become an independent learner.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Typically, in my first session, while reviewing the material or getting settled in, I like to ask the student questions about their interests and academic, professional and personal goals. I'll also observe the student and try to get a feel for their thought process. I'll pay specific attention to the way they answer questions and see where their confidence level is at. Oftentimes if I know that a student has created a recurring appointment, I'll ask what they want to achieve by the end of our last session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think the key is the perfect balance of motivation and observation. I think it is easy to praise and encourage a student when they do something well. But oftentimes, the struggle is helping the student see that they are much better at the subject than they think. I know one way is to always read the student to see how they really feel and also have them do problems on their own during the session without any help or correction until the problem is completed. It may be nerve wracking for both parties, but it can be extremely beneficial for both tutor and student.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student stay motivated by building their confidence. Most students know the material more than they think, but the struggle is helping them identify a flow that works for them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Switch it up. Versatility as a tutor is a key element. If the student isn't understanding a certain concept, it is important to assess the situation and really ponder on what they are understanding and what they aren't. If possible, build from what they do understand and try to trace their thought process to find another way to explain the concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It's important to break it down. Sometimes when reading a certain passage or word problem, it can be a little daunting, because you know all of the elements for the solution are in there, but it may be hard to identify them and know why they are important. Also, writing out what you find as you read is very handy.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It is vital to make sure that the student is comfortable. It may not be a strategy per se, but it is a part of the tutoring atmosphere that helps the student feel like they can be open about their concerns and answer honestly, knowing that they won't be ridiculed for a certain question or answer.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If I can see that a student is not excited or engaged in a certain subject, it is my responsibility to be both excited and energetic about the subject and empathize with the student in their struggle.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Having students do problems on a whiteboard or on paper without any help from the tutor is invaluable. It is beneficial for both student and tutor to see what the student can do and specifically where they struggle. Then once the student is finished, the tutor can go back and review and correct the steps the student took.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I think having them do problems on their own in the presence of the tutor but without the tutor's help is optimal. Encouraging and helping students see their strengths is great, but sometimes students have a hard time seeing this in themselves. It is best to have them work the board so they can prove to themselves that they can do it and that they know more than themselves.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Sometimes students know exactly what they struggle with and sometimes they don't. When they don't, it's important to watch the steps they take when finding a solution. Sometimes it's a confidence issue. It's all about being sensitive to the student's needs and trying to trace their thought process.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Some students respond well to energetic tutoring, and others prefer a more calm, tame approach. It's important to read the student and get to know them so you know what kind of personality they have, and then seek what kind of learning style they have.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I always encourage students to have a textbook available. It's also helpful to have sheets with formulas and explanations.