I attended a Montessori school as a child and one of the most important things I gained from that experience was a sense of ownership over my own learning. It is easy for students to feel like passive participants in their own education and whether a student thrives or struggles in school often has as much to do with whether they have learned to play the game of getting good grades as it does with actual learning. When I work with a student I strive to form a personal connection with them and between them and the subject we are working on with the goal of helping them not only achieve their short term goals, but approach the subject in a more positive, productive way. One of my greatest strengths as a tutor is my empathy and attention to each student's individual point of view; everybody has different ways of learning most productively and I strive not to drill in concepts, but to help students see how they can best approach material to make it intuitive and natural to themselves.
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would want to get to know the student I'm working with and assess what their goals are and what they think they need the most help with in order to achieve those goals. I would want to get a work sample of the student in the subject area being worked on and define something concrete to work toward in our time together along with, hopefully identifying a motivating incentive to encourage the student to achieve their goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The best way-- perhaps the only way-- to get a student to be an independent learner is to cultivate an enjoyment and appreciation for the subject. People are always good at things they are curious about because they pursue knowledge of the subject for its own sake. This is also the only way knowledge is retained; if a student is only memorizing material to get a good grade, they will forget the material as soon as the grade is given. It is impossible to force someone to enjoy and appreciate an area of knowledge, but a teacher who takes the time to get to know a student and how the material being taught might relate to things the student already shows interest in is on the right track. Also, allowing a student to have some agency in what they are learning goes a long way. Even if it's only a choice between two options of what to work on today, giving a student a say in what they are working on allows them to feel some ownership of and connection to the material.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Establishing clear, concrete goals with some sort of motivation or reward system is a great way to motivate anyone. That can be done on a large scale in terms setting a goal to get a certain grade in class or on an exam or test, or on a much smaller scale such as setting a work timer and agreeing to work hard for that duration, and then taking a break when the timer goes off.