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As a current undergraduate student at a mid-sized 4-year university, I have experienced and seen firsthand the frustration that many students of all ages have had when they struggle in a class. Working with another person on that subject one-on-one is the best way to clear up the bugs and turn confusion into clarity. I have put this into practice as a peer tutor in the Writing Lab on my university's campus, and have enjoyed helping other students maximize their talents and knowledge. I will do everything in my power to help you through any problems you may have, knowing that at some point I was taking similar classes and had similar struggles.

I attend the University of Indianapolis, and am expected to graduate from my undergraduate studies in May 2019. I am a Psychology major with a Pre-Physical Therapy concentration and plan to attend the UIndy Doctorate of Physical Therapy graduate school after my undergrad years. In my free time from school, I enjoy watching sports, cheering on my favorite sports teams in person, playing guitar, working out and playing intramural sports, and hanging out with friends and family.

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Ryan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Indianapolis - Current Undergrad, Psychology Pre-Physical Therapy

Test Scores

SAT Math: 730


Baseball, watching sports, guitar, music

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

One-on-one teaching is the best way to teach someone. It is not practical in today's world to get much of this, however. From my time as a writing lab tutor, I have learned that students retain more when they do the work and are challenged within their limits--and this is what I will try to accomplish. I will guide and provide the framework for understanding problems, and then help them grow their talents through practice.

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

In a first session, I will try and establish a trusting relationship, since we all learn best when we are comfortable and trust the person instructing. Next, I will gain an understanding of how much knowledge the student first has, and see how they approach the problems in the area in which we will work on. Finally, we will work together to establish goals and a plan of action to improve their ability to show their knowledge.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I can help a student become an independent learner by showing them how many resources are available at their fingertips. Many websites provide great videos and step-by-step problems to help supplement the student that gets the basics, but may need a refresher or a little help to fully understand. Also, I can empower a student to believe in themselves by showing them what they can do, instead of focusing on what they can't do. This confidence is crucial in motivating students to learn on their own. If a student gets frustrated and has no confidence, they will not want to learn or work on their own; however, with confidence, the student will be motivated to get better and know he or she CAN learn on their own.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would help a student stay motivated by finding out what their end goals are. Is their goal an A or B in the class? Do they wish to earn a scholarship to a prestigious university in the future? What is their dream career? By knowing what motivates them, I can help inspire them by relating how mastering this problem or developing the problem-solving skills for this subject will help better their lives in the future.

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

As I have learned through lifespan psychology, the best way to overcome struggle is to start with the basics: help them solve a basic problem, and then slowly scaffold them up to work on harder problems. First, however, they must understand the concept and WHY it is that way. Once they have this foundation, practice practice practice will improve their learning comprehension and ability to retain the material.

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

The best way to engage anyone in any subject is to put the subject into an interest area of theirs. For example, putting any subject into terms of baseball would engage me more since not only am I familiar with the sport, but I enjoy and understand baseball. Making practice problems or relating concepts to a sport or hobby will help draw in the interest of a student who otherwise may just see a math problem as a boring math problem they have to do.

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

Practice practice practice. There is no way to get better at something and test comprehension other than practice. Asking the question in multiple ways also helps, since if a student knows "the process" of a certain problem, they can fake their understanding by plugging in numbers or giving a go-to answer. Changing what information is given and the approach to the problem will test them to see if they truly understand the concept.

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

Showing the student what they CAN do versus what they cannot do is important. If you focus on what you can do, and how you can build on your foundation, it will be easier to motivate the student to work hard, versus focusing on what they can't do and then trying to get them to believe they can achieve and improve.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By having the student do practice problems, and then asking them to explain why they did what they did, it allows me to know what they can do. If they get 99% of a problem, but struggle on "why," or if they do not get what a problem is asking, diagnosing areas for improvement through practice and having the student explain their thought process allows me to see what they get and what we need to focus on.

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

I am a big paper-and-pencil or whiteboard guy when it comes to learning. I love being able to scribble all over the place and see my work, and be able to see my progress. I adapt this to my tutoring, using colors when looking at papers or whiteboards for other subjects. I would use whatever works best for the student, but from my experience paper, textbook practice problems, and a pencil is old-school, but works the best.

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