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Kevin B.

Patient and interesting tutor - MENSA member

Raleigh, NC (27614)

Travel radius
10 miles
Hourly fee
$40.00
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Kevin B. passed a background check on 5/13/14. The check was ordered by Kevin through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

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While I take education and tutoring very seriously, I also believe that learning should be a pleasant and enjoyable experience. In short, I like to have fun while I teach and I want my students to have fun. We need to understand the material, but it doesn't need to be dull or depressing. I can even make diagramming sentences fun - and relate it to uses in the working world.


My tutoring approach involves meeting with the student and parents, if applicable, to discuss the student's needs and expectations. Once we have established those, we draw up a plan for achieving those goals. This stage is very interactive; I look to make the student a partner in the learning process and to realize that he or she holds great responsibility for success. Successful education is interactive.

I use a variety of tools that vary according to the needs of the student. Literature, for example, might require discussion. English grammar might require writing and discussing sentences and word choice. Geography maps, history picture and timelines, government diagrams and speech practice.

The needs of the student determine the tools used.

I have a very eclectic background. As an undergraduate I studied Speech, Theatre, History, English, Political Science and Math. I graduated at the top of my class. As a graduate student I studied Economics, Political Science, History, Literature and Sociology.

I was the captain of the Speech team as an undergraduate and I won many awards on the local and national level. I was also active in Toastmasters International, teaching and winning awards as well.

As a teacher, I have taught English, Math, Government, History, Geography, and Speech, among other disciplines. I have coached debate and individual speaking events. I taught English as a Second Language in Saudi Arabia. I have worked directly with teenagers from Vietnam and Liberia.

As a Scout leader with both Boy and Girl Scouts, I have learned that young people will take on some of the most difficult tasks if they can find in them something that they can relate to. My task was to help them find that; it works the same way with the tutoring process.

I have taught everywhere from elementary school classrooms to gun decks on US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. I have taught all age groups from third-graders to adults. I believe that learning can be enjoyable.

We will work together. Everyone is different; everyone learns differently. My job is to help students find the best way for them to learn and and then to help them learn what they need.

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Kevin’s subjects

Aspergers

My approach to Aspergers is primarily behavioral. The spectrum of Aspergers symptoms is vast and each person needs a unique approach. I don't like to say that someone "suffers" from Aspergers, but rather he is "dealing" with it. This implies a situation that can be adapted rather than a chronic condition.

Someone who has difficulty looking at people may need specific instructions in eye contact and may need specific instructions. People with Aspergers often lack empathy, and that cannot be taught, but someone can be taught how to act in social situations.

I am not a therapist; I deal with direct behavior for specific settings. I have worked with children with these symptoms and the children have been successful.

ASVAB

I approach the ASVAB two ways: first in content and then in test-taking skills. Each student needs a different approach and the first thing I do is sit down with the test-taker and work out with him what he needs.

Discussion moves on to instruction. There are two ways of approaching that as well. Some people need and want a direct instruction approach and others prefer to be guided. Most often it includes both.

There are certain techniques that help you get a higher score that just come from knowing how to take tests. I have coached other students in these techniques and they have done well.

Most important, though, is the initial meeting.

Bible Studies

I have studied sacred scripture and I have an excellent understanding of both the Old and New Testaments.

Classics

The classics can be much more enjoyable. These are timeless stories of honor, glory and human foibles.

The Iliad is a story of jealousy, anger and betrayal.

The Odyssey is one of the greatest adventure stories ever written. It features terrible monsters and stories of loyalty and conquest.

The Aenied is a tale of loss and destiny as well as a tragic love story.

As a Latin student in high school, I translated parts of the Aenied.

I teach the classics with an appreciation for the stories and with a look to modern times. For example, the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series is steeped in classical literature. The "Harry Potter" books make many classical references. I teach the classics not so much to appreciate them as to enjoy them. I invite students to join me.

Criminal Justice

The criminal justice system is the means by which violators are arrested, indicted, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated. Our system presumes that a person charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. It also guarantees both the accused and the complainant certain rights. I have been involved in the court system for many years, providing support to District Attorneys, Public Defenders, Clerks of Court, Magistrates and their respective staffs.

Elementary (K-6th)

I like to think that I am smarter than a fifth grader. I love working with young people and I have considerable experience doing so.

I have taught and tutored basic arithmetic, reading, science, english, phonics and social studies. I would be a very bad choice to teach penmanship.

I have found that the best way to teach elementary students in a tutoring environment is to encourage and to draw out. Much depends on the subject. In some cases we can just talk about things and in others more direct instruction is necessary. I know that every child is different and every child deserves a unique approach.

Elementary Math

I had trouble with math when I was in elementary school, so I can understand the struggles many children have with elementary school math.

I have become a math teacher, and I have helped many students improve their math scores.

I teach by gently coaching a student along. We work on problems together and the student then practices by himself while I am there to answer questions. I try and make the class enjoyable for students, and it works!

Elementary Science

My tutoring in Elementary Science varies according to the needs of the student. Scientific study in first grade, for example, is very different from the same subject in sixth grade.

As with my other subjects, I like to sit down with the parent and the student to learn what they would like to accomplish through tutoring. We then work together to develop a tutoring plan, one that is flexible for the student.

I have taught most types of elementary science: earth science, physical science, life science, and ecological science among others. What is most important is that first meeting and what we develop thereafter.

English

In English, we discuss composition and usage, as well as the understanding, appreciation, and analysis of works of literature.

ESL/ESOL

I am TEFL Certified.

ESL is the art of teaching those people taking English the skills necessary to understand, process and communicate in English. The process encompasses many skills: reading, writing, comprehension and conversation. I have taught ESL in Saudi Arabia, both in a classroom situation and one-on-one. I have also trained students from Liberia and Vietnam in a one-on-one environment.

European History

We cover all aspects of European History, from the ancient Greeks to current issues. We can discuss the Roman Empire; I studied Latin, through the development of the Carloginian and Holy Roman empires, through the Renaissance and the Reformation.

GED

I am a teacher and a generalist. On any number of occasions, I have taught Math, English, Social Studies, Science, and any number of electives. If you review all of may areas of certification you can get an idea of the breadth of my certifications. This makes me an ideal GED tutor. I can help you in all of the GED concentrations. I can take difficult ideas and help you understand them. We can also review test-taking techniques that can help your score improve.

General Computer

Computers can be confusing things. Terms like RAM, CPU, LAN, WAN and IP address can leave users confused and frustrated. I have spent years training users. I take a functional approach, concerned not so much with what a computer is, but what it does. I like to teach the user that the computer can be useful, and it is not hard to use. As an analogy, I teach how to tell time, not how to build a watch.

Geography

In Geography we study the earth's surface and our relationship to our environments. This includes how societies form based on Geographic locations as well as identification of geographic features, such as the names of rivers, mountain ranges, and islands.

Government & Politics

We discuss Federal, State and Local governments, the structure of government, how it works, and how leaders are chosen. I worked in State government for many years.

Grammar

We cover usage, punctuation, word order and sentence structure. I have taught grammar and usage to people of all ages and backgrounds, from normal grammar of all ages to English as a Foreign Language in Saudi Arabia.

Law

I teach the basics of law; enough for a high school student, but not adequate for the needs of a college student.

I look at three things: Written law, legal precedent, and practical application. The way law is practiced on a regular basis is very different from what is seen on television.

I have worked with the court system for sixteen years. I have worked with District Attorneys, Public Defenders, Magistrates and Clerks of Court. I can see the legal system through their eyes.

As is the case with my other classes, I first meet with the student to determine what kind of tutoring he or she is looking for. From there we design a plan of study to achieve the goal the student wants to reach. This plan is flexible; it serves as a roadmap to the goal and I recognize that there may be some deviations along the way.

Literature

What became literature was first and foremost entertainment. Shakespeare's plays were written for general audiences. Great Expectations was originally serialized in a magazine. The Hobbit was a story that Tolkein wrote for his children. What makes them literature is that they have an importance that goes beyond the time and place they were written for. Literature needs to be fun before it is analyzed. The reader has to enjoy it. I love discussing literature and I have tutored young people in their understanding and enjoyment of literature. This then helps in the classroom.

Microsoft Excel

I approach Excel from a practical view. I am not as concerned with the features as I am with the process. Why would you multiply? What formulas do you need for this function? Why would you want to total numbers and how would you copy full values or formulas?

I like to meet with the student first to determine what he needs. From there we design a learning plan to meet those needs.

Everyone is different, so there is no one correct approach.

Microsoft PowerPoint

Too often PowerPoint is taught by its functions: "This is a slide." "This is sound." I teach it differently. I lead the student through the creation of a presentation and I gradually blend in the various functions so the user sees things in terms of what he or she wants to do. Understanding of the various functions flows naturally. Beyond that, asking students to design their own presentations on subjects that interest them gives them a sense of ownership that traditional teaching lacks.

Microsoft Windows

I teach Microsoft Windows according to the student's needs. Some need to learn how to open windows, some need to know how to create icons, and others might need to know how to manage taskbars.

What it boils down to is that Windows is a powerful tool that helps make the computer work for you. Like all tools, the user needs to understand how the tool works and what parts of the tool to use when and how.

I have taught classes in aspects of Windows and Windows applications. I have found that the most effective teaching technique is to gently guide the student to learn things for himself. The learning is more permanent when this happens.

Microsoft Word

We can discuss and cover all aspects of Microsoft Word: Typing, editing and structure. We can cover everything through the most recent versions of Word.

Phonics

"Sound it out, sound it out."

That is, in essence, the way I teach phonics. We learn phonics in a very practical way. By looking at short reading passages, adjusted for age, we can show how phonics can help the reader become a very good reader.

I like classical phonics, using the phonetic alphabet, but that is just not practical for the average phonics student. Instead, we look at practical pronunciations. I use the Alphabetic method, which includes a discussion of vowel sounds, schwa, diphthongs and digraphs and blend it in with the Whole Language approach. I believe there is no one way to teach phonics and that the approach should be decided through the initial meeting with the parent and the student.

PSAT

There are many ways to approach the PSAT. My approach is twofold: We discuss the various parts of the PSAT, then we drill.

There are two skill sets involved in taking the PSAT: Knowledge and test-taking skills. I teach both.

Public Speaking

My credentials are considerable: I earned a degree in Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, cum laude, from Old Dominion University. I was on the speech team in both high school and college; I have won three state championships in public speaking I have qualified for and competed in six national speech tournaments. In the professional world, I have won numerous speech awards through Toastmasters International and professional organizations.

I have taught and coached both debaters and individuals speakers and many have won championships.

Here is how I teach: I first meet with the student to learn what he or she would like to accomplish. This lays the foundation. We then decide which is the best course to take, either speech mechanics like projection, diction, pronunciation and vocal quality or through organizational structure and practice with forms of speech styles: manuscript, extemporaneous, or impromptu.

Public speaking can be a very traumatic experience. We can discuss ways of dealing with nervousness and how to turn that into an advantage.

I teach a natural style. This means I am more interested in helping the student give a relaxed presentation where simple communication is the ultimate goal. I don't believe that there are any tricks to good speaking, just the confidence that comes from preparation and practice.

Reading

I teach reading through discussion. I first meet with the student to learn what he or she is looking to learn. Once we have established goals, we go to work. Most often, we read passages and talk about them, looking to identify the ideas or themes that the reading passage involves. Within that, we look at word meanings and uses.

I look a several reading techniques, including scanning and more in-depth analysis and how to decide which is appropriate and when.

Religion

Religion is a subject that is deeply personal. There are many beliefs and belief systems. I have considerable study and experience in Religion.

I attended a religion-affiliated high school as well as a religion-affiliated graduate school. I hold an adult catechist certification from the Diocese of Charlotte. I have a solid understanding of the many denominations of Christianity. I have studied world religions and have lived in Saudi Arabia, which acknowledges only Islam within its borders.

I hold a deep respect for all faith traditions, even though I am dedicated to my own faith tradition. I think it is best to discuss what the student is looking for before any commitments are made.

SAT Math

SAT math covers basic mathematics and test-taking skills.

SAT Reading

I teach reading through vocabulary and comprehension. We discuss how to analyze passages to understand what they mean; we also review test-taking skills.

I love reading and I enjoy helping others learn to read.

SAT Writing

We discuss sentence structure and composition, paragraph structure and composition, and essay composition. We cover vocabulary and usage. We cover test-taking skills.

Social Studies

"Social Studies" is a broad term that covers many topics: history, geography, economics, civics, and world cultures among others.

Each grade has a specific concentration and I tailor my approach specifically to the student and to grade level.

I bring a unique approach to social studies: I have been to many of the states and many of the countries we discuss. I have worked in state government for many years. I have taught social studies at both the grade school and high school levels. I studied history, geography, political science economics and international studies on the collegiate level.

This unique combination of education and experience makes for a strong tutor who can make his subject come alive for his students.

History: students based on grade level may study either national or world history. We can cover the basics from Columbus on for US history and the Mesopotamians on down for world history.

Geography: Again, this is tailored to the individual student. There are unique ways to learn states and their capitals, geographical formations and their names and how everything relates.

Economics: This is rarely necessary on the grade school but it is taught on the high school. We can discuss supply and demand, marginal propensity to consume, the Federal Reserve and the creation and destruction of money through the banking system.

Civics: This covers things a citizen needs to know to be a productive citizen. We cover governmental structure on city, state and national levels. We discuss the role of government and the place of the US Constitution.

World Cultures: I have been to many foreign countries and I have lived in Saudi Arabia. Each nation has a separate way of looking at the world and the person's place in it. Culture covers the way people do things, their art, their music, their sports and their government. We discuss these as appropriate by grade and age.

This just touches the surface of civics. We decide what is covered based on the needs of the student.

Speech

I am an experienced speech teacher; my undergraduate degree is in Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, and I have taught many the fundamentals of good speech: American pronunciation, word choice, sentence structure and diction.

I teach primarily through direct conversation; I also use drills and verbal exercises to help students learn.

I start this way: we begin by conversing. I listen to the way the person is speaking and make note of pronunciation and accents. We look at the words and pronounce them. I often write the word and diagram it phonetically. After that, we converse and discuss word usage and speech patterns, practicing conversation and phrase use.

I provide gentle, constructive feedback. Speaking under evaluation is a very stressful experience; I do my best to help my students relax and grow during the tutoring experience.

Most importantly, I am interested in teaching effective communication. Communication theory provides several models as to how communication occurs. I don't discuss models so much as apply them.

Study Skills

One of the most disappointing things a student can hear is, "You are smart, but you aren't applying yourself. You don't study enough."

There is any number of reasons why someone has difficulty studying, and the one I cover here is how to study.

I approach this skill from the point of view of a person who had poor study skills and had to learn good ones. I moved on to become a strong and successful student, graduating at the top of my class in high school, college and graduate school.

I understand the difficulty students have in developing good study skills and I can help them.

Studying is a skill as much as it is a practice. Not every study technique is appropriate for every student, but there is a wide range of skills that can be applied:

Memory Training: There are way to teach the brain to trigger memory. These are called "mnemonic devices", and they are simply association triggers. For example, you can show someone the shards of a broken plate and call it "irregular fractions".

Note taking: everyone takes notes differently. They are just techniques to help the student remember and to recall as necessary, either to recollect at home or to bring forth at test time.

Scanning: This is a reading technique whereby the reader picks up on key words and phrases to help him understand the whole passage. It saves time and reinforces learning. It is also an advanced technique and is not for everyone.

In-depth reading: This involves reading carefully, possibly highlighting and making careful notes. The is a very valuable skill, but again it is not for everyone.

Time Management: This teaches a student to allocate his time carefully and appropriately.

Organization: This ties into time management and carries it a bit further. Organization helps the student keep track of what he needs and when.

There are other techniques and skills. I address what seems to work best for the student, and we determine that through discussion and observation.

Theatre

I graduated at the top of my class in Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. I have acted, directed worked as a crew member, and been part of a band.

The first thing I like to do is meet with a student. We discuss why the student would like tutoring and what he or she would like to accomplish. We then put a lesson plan together. I think working together is very important, because the student needs to own what he is working on; it needs to belong to him or her.

There are many different aspects of theatre to discuss: traditional proscenium stages to theatre in the round or projected stage. We can discuss different styles of acting, from method acting to the classic style. We can look at different performance types: opera, operetta, drama, comedy or improv.

Again, we look toward what the student wants to accomplish and proceed from there.

Vocabulary

We discuss words and word meanings as well as appropriate word choice in composition and speech. Among other things, we discuss the most effective use of a dictionary and a thesaurus.

World History

We cover South American, African, Indian, and Asian history and Geography. We can cover Mesoamerican, South American, African and Asian empires and cultural development.

Writing

Writing is more than putting words on paper. It involves word choice word order, punctuation, spelling and the development of a writing style.

Paragraph construction involves topic and supporting sentences. One suggestion in paragraph structure is that a paragraph have at least three sentences: a topic sentence, a supporting sentence and a concluding sentence.

An essay involves linking two or more paragraphs. These paragraphs are arranged in an order that demonstrates a more complex idea. There is great skill in choosing the paragraphs and developing a cohesive line of reasoning.

Each age has its own needs and interests. I address the student's needs as I understand them. We determine that at our first meeting and develop it as we go along.

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Education

Old Dominion University (Communicantion and T)

Old Dominion University (Graduate Coursework)

Gonzaga University (Master's)

Outstanding Tutor Kevin's awesome teaching/tutoring skills helped me to master my Persuasive Speech outline. He was very helpful suggesting new strategies for speech delivery, which resulted in outstanding Persuasive Speech Presentation. I recommend this tutor! ...

— Mike from Camp Lejeune, NC on 8/5/12);

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Cancellation: 12 hours notice required

Travel policy

Kevin will travel within 10 miles of Raleigh, NC 27614.

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