A photo of Michael, a tutor from Azusa Pacific University

Michael

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I love tutoring because it gives me the opportunity to help others enjoy the experience of learning as much as I do. Whether we are editing an essay or reviewing for an exam, I bring a natural passion and energy to my tutoring sessions that inspires my students to discover their own paths towards understanding. By creating a safe environment in which students are encouraged to develop their own critical faculties and to ask the question of "why?", I hope to equip all my clients with a thorough understanding that allows them to achieve mastery over their desired subject matter.

After receiving my Bachelor's in English Writing from Azusa Pacific University and my Master's in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, the bulk of my tutoring experience comes from my work as a Consultant for Fuller's Writing Center. Working as a Consultant for Fuller's Writing Center has given me extensive experience in providing writing and editing instruction to graduate students, which I have also put to use as I have continued to work with my own personal high school and college-level clients.

While I enjoy providing instruction for a variety of subjects ranging from history to psychology, I am especially interested in the process of helping others as they learn how to express their views and opinions through the written word. I believe writing is a useful skill in just about any walk of life, and I consider it my privilege and purpose to help others discover their written voice.

When I am not working with my wonderful clients, you might find me reading a dusty old novel, watching some sports, playing too many video games, or out walking with my dog, Hans.

Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Azusa Pacific University - Bachelors, English Writing

Graduate Degree: Fuller Theological Seminary - Masters, Theology

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 164

Hobbies

Reading, writing, basketball, football, soccer, playing video games, hanging out with my dog, and watching Netflix with my wife.

Tutoring Subjects

ACT English

ACT Writing

Adult Literacy

History

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

European History

GED Prep

GED Reasoning Through Language Arts

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

High School English

High School Level American History

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

PSAT Critical Reading

Psychology

Public Speaking

Social Sciences

Social studies

Test Prep

World Religions

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

To me, teaching is the process of helping another understand a given subject matter in the language that most makes sense to them. My goal as a tutor, then, is not to pass my understanding on to others by rote, but rather to help others discover the reasons and thought patterns they can use to best achieve their own mastery of the subject matter. By asking students tough questions and encouraging them to pursue the question of "why?", I hope to equip my clients with critical faculties that help them to pursue excellence in learning in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond.

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

I believe that establishing a safe and healthy learning environment is the tutor's first critical task. As a result, in my first session with a student, I usually spend time getting to know the student. Some of the questions I might be interested in are: What are the student's interests? What does the student like and dislike about the subject matter they are asking me to instruct them in? What motivates the student? How do I fit into their learning goals?

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My entire teaching philosophy is centered around my belief that helping students become their own independent learners is the purpose of pedagogy. By carefully translating all instruction into the language and rhetoric that is most conducive to the student's learning style and encouraging students to ask the question of "why?", I aim to help my clients develop critical faculties that will empower them as independent learners in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

One way I help my students stay motivated is by bringing my own passion and love for learning to every tutoring session of which I am a part. This is because I believe the best way to help a student to learn to love a given subject matter is by showing them what love for that subject matter looks like. However, on a practical level, I also recognize that my students will not always be as passionate about their subject matter as I am. In such cases, I also try to find ways to involve my students' other interests into their subject matter--whether that involves figuring out a way to help a high school running back write an essay about their favorite football player, or helping the hopeless romantic find that perfect book or novel that reaches into the deepest crevasse of their aching heart.

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

I try to help my students see difficulties in learning skills or concepts as opportunities for growth. When such opportunities arise, I am happy to slow down with the student and ask them questions about how they are processing the subject matter, so that I can communicate my instruction in the language that most makes sense to them.

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

I help students who are struggling with reading comprehension by helping them understand how and why their subject matter is written the way it is. I believe that helping students develop a deeper understanding of the form and rhetoric of the subject matter they are reading is the best way to help them become skillful readers.

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

Because my goal as a teacher is to translate my student's subject matter into a language and conceptual framework that makes the most sense to them, my strategies in starting out with students usually involve asking a lot of questions. This is because asking questions that help me understand how my students are processing their subject matter is the first step towards translating the learning they hope to receive into the language in which they can best understand it.

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

The first way I help students get excited/engaged in subject matters they are struggling with is by showing them what an excited/engaged person looks like through the natural energy and passion I bring to any learning environment of which I am a part. Pedagogically, I also help students get excited about and engaged in subject matter they are struggling with by finding ways to incorporate their other strengths and interests into their learning experience.

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

To me, the best technique for making sure a student understands the material we are working on is by making sure they can answer the question of "why?" in their own terms. I believe equipping students with the skills and thought patterns they need to answer the question of "why?" is the best way to help them achieve mastery of their subject matter, and, even more, to empower them with the critical faculties and confidence they need to continue to thrive as independent learners.

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

I find that students often lack confidence in a given subject matter because the instruction they need has not yet been translated into a language makes sense to them. As a result, I believe the best way to build a student's confidence in a subject is to help the student understand the subject in the way that makes the most sense to them. And when the "lightbulb" goes on, and the student finally hears their subject communicated to them in a language they can readily understand, I have found that confidence also naturally comes along as a result.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate students' needs by asking them a lot of questions that help me understand how they are processing the material. I believe tapping into the student's unique learning process and style is the first step, not only for identifying the student's needs, but for making sure my instruction is being communicated in the most clear and fruitful way possible.

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

Because my pedagogical focus begins with tapping into how my students are processing their subject matter, my teaching strategy is particularly effective at adapting to my clients' diverse needs. By asking my students questions that allow me to hear how they are processing the material in their own conceptual language, I also prepare myself to provide instruction in a way that is particularly conducive with addressing their unique needs.

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

The types of materials I use during my tutoring sessions vary depending on the subject matter I am teaching and the materials my clients usually use to learn on their own. My general strategy is to find out what materials my student utilizes in their own learning environment, so that I can come prepared with the materials necessary for re-creating that personal learning environment in our tutoring session. I believe bringing the materials necessary for recreating the student's personal learning environment can help the student incorporate the learning strategies we discover in our sessions into their natural processing as independent learners.