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Michael

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I am a University of Arizona graduate passionate about education. Our knowledge and skills are the keys to our future, and I am committed to helping students of all ages forge the keys to success.

As a tutor I am focused on providing individualized solutions to the challenges students face in their intellectual growth. I look for the student's unique perspective and gifts as a means to empower them into techniques for deeper and more effective learning.

Outside of tutoring, I am a professional jazz musician and have a decade of experience teaching music. I specialize in woodwind instruments.

I look forward to working with students regardless of background or academic history. Let the joy of learning commence!

Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Arizona - Bachelors, General Studies

Test Scores

SAT Verbal: 800

SAT Writing: 790

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Writing

American Literature

Arrangement and Composition

Basic Computer Literacy

Bass Clarinet

College English

College Level American Literature

Composition

Elementary School

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Flute

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Music

Music Theory

Other

Piano

Pre-Algebra

Saxophone

Songwriting

Technology and Computer Science

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

We all have special gifts and talents. Conversely, we are all presented with challenges to our learning and intellectual development. My teaching philosophy is that everyone has a brilliant mind, and with the right combination of techniques and strategies, we can all achieve our greatest aspirations for learning success. I seek to give students techniques based upon their own strengths and unique perspectives that will empower them into a lifetime of meaningful learning and intellectual exploration.

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

In a first session with a student, I would discuss her or his learning goals. The most important step to achieving goals is first understanding what those goals are! Then I would ask the student what they feel their learning strengths are as well as the challenges they feel they are facing. From there, we would devise a specific strategy for achieving goals designed around the student's individual learning style. After that, let's dive in and see how much we can learn!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The first steps to becoming an independent learner are developing a love for knowledge and realizing your innate and limitless potential to access and assimilate the information you need for deep learning and understanding. This is a process that does not happen instantly, so over the course of tutoring I would constantly be looking for ways to tap into the student's personal excitement and desire to learn. One way I would do this is by looking at what the student is truly passionate about and showing them ways in which the subjects they are studying can enhance and strengthen their passions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Many times a student might think, "I am passionate about something other than this particular subject, so why should I work hard to be great at something I'm not as passionate about?" This is a valid question. My job is to get the student to see the ways in which the subjects they are studying can expand their minds as a human being in a way that will fuel the fire they already possess about the areas of their innate passion and interest. The truth is that the more we know and the more we exercise the mind in ways that seem unrelated to our passions, the more flexible and creative we will be in the areas of life we care about the most deeply. Nothing is exists in a vacuum. For instance, if a student is passionate about music, I will show them the ways in which math and language skills can enhance their musical abilities. I want students to see how everything in life is connected and that there is no such thing as wasted effort. My hope is that when a student sees the benefits of learning about a variety of subjects, they will be motivated to put their best effort into everything they do.

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

The key to understanding a difficult concept is by drawing connections between the things that you know and the things that you have yet to understand. If a student has a physical or kinetic learning style, then we would devise activities that involve motion and movement to unify her or his already strong understanding of physical and spatial awareness with a concept with which she or he is unfamiliar. If a student is a strong aural learner, then we would devise activities that use sound as a means of communicating the concepts she or he is learning about.

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

Comprehension is all about drawing connections. If a student has trouble comprehending aspects of written language, we would connect the areas in which they are already strong, such as verbal or body language with the written text. Activities connecting written and verbal language might include having the student create a spoken story about what they are reading in their own words and then relating it back to the text. Activities connecting written and body language might include acting out the concepts in the text. It's all about activating the student's already inherent strengths in order to assist her or him with understanding the challenging parts of the learning. It is like using your legs to lift a heavy object instead of just your back. In the end, both the back and leg muscles are engaged in the lifting, but employing the strength of the legs will enable you to lift the load more easily, and with less strain on the back!

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

Goals. The most effective way I have found to motivate students to become their own teachers is by helping them identify what their deepest personal goals and aspirations are. If a student has dreams of becoming a doctor, it becomes obvious why they must work hard in all areas of study as medicine is a synthesis of all the subjects. If a student dreams of becoming an athlete, the connections between her or his dreams and her or his academic motivation are less clear but no less important. I would show them how an understanding of math can enhance her or his spatial awareness on the football field or the basketball court. Or how a great grasp of verbal and written language can help them to be a leader or her or his team, or perhaps eventually make a great coach. It is well-known that the greatest coaches, such a Phil Jackson, were serious intellectuals who encouraged their athletes to read and expand their minds! For instance, all the best coaches study Sun Tzu's Art of War. Without great reading comprehension and verbal skills, they would not be able to communicate the strategies and insights from that book to their team!

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

Goals and making connections. If the student can see how the subject they are learning about connects to the things in life that excite them, then she or he will want to learn and grow in all areas.

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

Perhaps the best way to see if a student is understanding the material at hand is to have her or him demonstrate a skill with little or no help from the tutor. Also, having her or him explain the concepts behind what they are doing as they go through the process of writing or solving a problem will ensure that they have the foundation to tackle other challenges of a similar nature.

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

Confidence in a subject is a process. When a student experiences success with the material, she or he will develop more confidence. The student must experience repeated success with the material to gain optimum confidence. Also, if a student can understand the fundamental reasoning behind the work she or he is doing, she or he will gain confidence. Part of the tutoring process will be to illuminate fundamental concepts and reasoning ,and then check in with the student to evaluate successes and areas of challenge she or he still faces.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I will try a variety of methods and strategies with a student to see what learning style resonates with her or him. Learning is not one size fits all. Discovering a student's strengths will allow us to use those strengths to focus on the areas in which she or he experiences challenges.

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

I will dial in my tutoring strategies based on a student's strengths and challenges. Through the tutoring process, we will discover which learning styles are appropriate for her or him. The activities we will pursue will be designed based on building connections between strengths and challenges.

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

I will bring materials useful in building connections between a student's strengths and challenges. If the student is a visual learner, we will use art supplies to illustrate concepts that are in the book. If a student is a physical learner, we will employ activities that use the motion and action as reference.