A photo of Sophia J., a tutor from Grambling State University

Sophia J.

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It is my privilege and honor to be an educator and academician for 25 years and support the holistic development of students from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Although my primary focus has been to educate and train college-aged traditional, non-traditional and mature adult populations for 18 of the 25 years, I am trained and have taught, trained, nurtured and mentored youth and children in the public school systems in Louisiana and Georgia. All students have the capacity and ability to learn and master content; however, a key component from my perspective as an educator is that students must be motivated: intrinsic motivation exists with some students, but for those with whom it does not, I impart it in the form of extrinsic motivation, or what Mr. Escalante calls, "ganus." My goal as a Varsity Tutor is to ensure that each client/student is excited about learning and therefore eagerly and courageously allows me to support their learning process.

Sophia J.’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Grambling State University - Bachelors, Political Science and Government

Graduate Degree: The Atlanta University - Masters, Political Science and Government

Hobbies

powerwalking, dance(teaching and dancing), cooking, aromatherapy, Mary Kay business, conducting retreats, journaling, writing my 2nd book, plants and flowers, studying nature, helping with interior home order.

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

African History

African-American History

AP Research

AP Seminar

Civics

CLEP Prep

CLEP American Government

CLEP History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present

CLEP Social Sciences and History

CLEP Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present

College Political Science

COMPASS Writing Skills Prep

English

GED Prep

GED Social Studies

High School Political Science

Other

Political Science

Social Sciences

Social studies

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is holistic and student-centered in concept. In other words, I advocate and practice teaching the entire person as an educator: mental, emotional, interpersonal, intellectual, and collaborative. It is important to ensure that a student's confidence is secure because this enhances her/his capacity to retain and exhibit their knowledge. Hence, pedagogy must be affirming, insightful, innovative, and relevant. I also advocate using multiple learning styles to accommodate the individual needs of a student. Some students are visual only learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Then, there are those who require a combination of pedagogical styles. As the educator, it is my responsibility to determine the best style for each student and apply the appropriate techniques. My philosophy also includes the utilization and practice of incorporating classical or jazz (avant garde primarily) because the neurological research suggests the positive impact of these forms of music on retaining information and building a strong brain activity. Finally, my holistic philosophy encourages students to be aware of the foods that are "brain foods," such as berries (all kinds), fish, walnuts, green veggies, and other foods that enhance concentration and focusing.

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

My plan would be to learn about the student, their strengths, and the areas that they need growth in. I would ask questions about the student's school experience, as well as their academic goals.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Building the student's self-confidence is the place that I would begin with in order to support them as they start to become an independent learner. Next, I would guide the student in developing a strong skill set in vocabulary, analytical reasoning, and the use of current knowledge to assist them in their independence. Finally, the student would be taught how to organize a study agenda and a daily/weekly study schedule to ensure that the student has proper time to focus on the learning.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would send the student constant messages of encouragement and positive reinforcement via email or phone, especially when we are not meeting. I could also teach the student intrinsic motivation skills, as well as give the student accolades. This could take the form of a certificate, and it could inspire the student and that show them that hard work pays off.

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

First, I would ask the student what they know about the skill or concept. Second, based upon the answer, I would identify connections and correlations from the student's experiences to set a foundation for the concept or skill. Third, I would guide the student in understanding the concept or developing the skill, then lead the student in an application process. Fourth, and final, I would give the student examples to ensure that they fully understand the concept or skill, and are clear and comfortable in using it or applying it with confidence.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

First, I guide the student in reading passages at different levels of difficulty to determine the student's level of reading, which influences their ability to read. Second, I would have the student begin to read a passage for understanding, beginning with a short passage that does not intimidate the student, and then we would discuss the passage and talk about the theme, the message, and make correlations and connections to the student's life experiences. I would also support the student in identifying the introduction, the body, and the conclusion and talk about their importance. Finally, we would target what the passage represents and address questions of relevance.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Creating an atmosphere of respect and cooperation is helpful, as is understanding the student's level of confidence. Sharing my desire to support the student in being successful as a learner, and being a motivator as a tutor can also lead to success.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Providing an attitude of enthusiasm towards the student is important, as is finding connections that the student can relate to with ease. I am also sure to show the student how this subject can enhance their life, and incorporate creative and innovative learning techniques that inspire the student's learning process. I can offer the student accolades when they make small strides of success as well, and I can continuously encourage the student throughout the process of learning.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would engage the student in a question and answer session, and also have the student write a paragraph about what she/he has learned. I could also have the student complete a brief assignment on the computer, and they can engage in another kind of kinesthetic activity that shows their knowledge level.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I build a student's confidence by providing encouraging messages in-person and through media platforms. This aids in helping the student focus on developing confidence skills, and inspires the student to stay focused on the learning process.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By asking questions about what the student wants or needs. Having a discussion with the parent/guardian to get their insight about their child is also helpful.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

By understanding the student's needs, and creating tutoring sessions that directly impact those needs. I also observe the student, and then discuss a plan of action with the parent and the student.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I use technology platforms such as videos, YouTube, assignments, and online resources that help the student develop strengths and acquire an understanding of the content.