Karin’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Karin’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
Students with ADD/ADHD generally have trouble concentrating on and remembering material, tend to be easily frustrated, and have trouble controlling their impulses. I have worked for several years with students who have attention issues. I start by giving them a task, for example, a page to read and summarize. This gives me a chance to see their ability to stay focused and understand what they have read. We then develop a plan based on what they can realistically do — perhaps as little as 5 minutes of work followed by a short break. Over time, we keep lengthening the amount of time spent working and decrease the breaks. I had a student who was able to go from 5 minutes of work at a time to sitting through a full hour session over the course of a semester. Through this process, students both increase their skills and their confidence in their ability to handle their schoolwork.
We also spend a lot of time breaking assignments down into small, realistic pieces. For example, a research paper consists of deciding on a topic, researching sources and taking notes, making up an outline, rough draft and final draft, citing references correctly, and proofreading. We would list all of these steps with an estimated timeline for each. I am careful to make sure students complete each step before going on to the next, to keep them from getting overwhelmed.
I have worked for over two years in a program that assists students with Asperger’s syndrome who are taking classes at a local community college. While they are of high, even superior, intelligence, there are a number of factors that make it difficult for them to succeed in their classes. Some students are extremely shy or uncomfortable around other people, making it difficult for them to ask the teacher questions, speak in class, or do group projects. We address these issues by role-playing and practicing different situations until the student feels more competent.
Another frequent problem is difficulty with executive functioning, the ability to plan out a sequence of steps of a long-term project, or to see the "big picture" of what they are trying to achieve. Working with these students generally involves keeping them aware of timelines and progress, making them aware of the consequences of procrastinating, and motivating them to continue going to class and doing the required work. It is helpful to use calendars and/or agendas to help the student understand the scope of the work. I am very patient – these students usually need multiple repetitions of material – and I pride myself on finding creative, humorous, or interesting ways to make a subject come alive for my students.
I have experience with students on all points on the Autism spectrum, from basic tasks like shoe-tying and color-matching, to basic work skills such as data entry and money handling, to courses at a community college. Each student has a unique combination of strengths, challenges, interests, and personality quirks. Depending on the student, teaching techniques may begin with modeling, in which I do a task and the student watches and mimics it, then moving to scaffolding, in which the student does the final piece of a task, gradually moving them to do more and more of he work themselves. Higher-functioning students may need other things: anxiety management, social-skills reinforcement, timeline creation for assignments, etc.
I have been tutoring in ESL for about 4 years. Depending on the student's skill level, we may start with basic alphabet sounds and letter formation all the way up to advanced reading and writing. I take a very practical approach, emphasizing real-world vocabulary and conversation. For example, one of my current students is quite proficient, and is now concentrating on studying for her citizenship exam. I am also helping her to understand her children's homework and practice everyday situations such as teacher conferences and medical appointments.
I work with students who have difficulty understanding or processing material they are trying to learn, whether the issue is concentration, memory, anxiety, or some other reason. Through a careful assessment of each student's particular strengths and weaknesses, and their preferred learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc), we can create a game plan of how to proceed. We always break down tasks into smallest elements and plot them out in order, sometimes on the computer, sometimes on paper. I use a number of techniques such as scaffolding, webbing, and graphic organizers to help students stay on top of their work and feel confident in their skills.