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I have made a career out of educating people of all ages, from elementary to adult learners. I get so much enjoyment out of the "ah-hah" moments and the look of the initial understanding ...
For the past 18 years, I have worked at a private special education school. I was with them from the start and so over the past few decades I have quite literally taught or tutored most academic and test prep. subjects. As a tutor, I take pride in doing whatever it takes to make certain that my students are learning the material and developing the skills necessary to be successful in school. I am well versed in numerous learning styles and the strengths and weaknesses that are inherent in many learning disabilities.
In the words of William Butler Yeats, I believe that "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Many times students need to see a tutor because they are frustrated or falling behind in school and those struggles can instill negative feelings towards a particular topic, a particular subject, or even worse, school and learning in general. I make a targeted effort to make certain that my sessions are not only productive, but also fun, often focusing on my students' strengths to compensate for weaknesses, rather than spending too much time trying to fix what might be broken. If we all spent a majority of our day doing what we didn't enjoy or were not good at, as many middle and high school students are asked to do, we would also not be feeling confident or content with life.
I want to help you or your child regain or establish confidence in themselves and get the most out of their education by teaching them the importance of being proactive students and how to stay organized and prepared.
Over 20 years ago, I was a college sophomore who had a difficult time getting through my freshman year. Classes seemed so much bigger and the organization required to get all of the work done seemed so much more difficult to me than high school did. I spoke with my adviser and was recommended to get some academic testing done. I was diagnosed with this thing called ADD and had not idea what it was or how exactly my affected my ability to learn, but at least I had a place to begin. Since that time, I have dedicated my life to working with students in need of something "more". The first tutorial I had 18 years ago was a high school Sr., recently diagnosed with ADHD, taking Algebra II. I was able to help him by teaching all of the organizational and time-management techniques that I learned in college, as well as explain the benefits to the disorder, such as being able to hyper-focus and multitask. What we, as educators, parents and diagnosed learners, know about ADD/ADHD is quite a bit. To an extent, everyone has some level of the disorder, but it is only recognized as a learning disorder when it's effects are detrimental to the ability to learn and function in a classroom environment. ADD effects the learners ability to organize thoughts and remained focused on singular tasks, especially those that may not be of immediate interest. ADD students are most noticeably affected in the area of time management. We almost seem to have our own internal clock that is just off from the rest of the worlds. We generally convince ourselves that tasks will take much less time than in reality, largely do to the fact that often even the thought of having to commit long periods of time to one activity or task, knowing that we have limitations, can create anxiety, further making us more distracted. ADD students are generally seen as procrastinators but again, this is attributed to a warped sense of time and poor time management skills. ADD/ADHD can be managed with proper medication, but it is just as important for students with ADD to learn applicable time management, organizational and study skills to be successful students.
My father told me years ago to "work smart, not hard." Effective study skills practice this same discipline. I am always intrigued at the variety of answers that I get from students when I ask them to define "study" for me. Study skills fall under the umbrella of intangibles that just aren't taught well or at all to a majority of students. When I work with students in the area of study skills, I stress the importance of making the transition from being reactive to proactive students.
Just because the next quiz or test hasn't been announced, doesn't mean that the student's understanding of the material that is current is not going to need to be assessed. So, why not begin "studying" the material at once? Effective studying techniques begin by identifying areas of weakness and strength and then committing the time towards the areas that are in need.
In my experience, students don't study because they either don't know how, or because the magnitude of the material is too much. Many times, students who want to study either spend hours studying everything or don't know where to start.
Frequently, I ask students what their grade would be if they didn't put their name on a test. When the answer is "a zero", I make the point that they had better study how to spell their name. Obviously, they can see the futility in studying the spelling of their name because this is knowledge that they have already acquired, but too often they do not see the same futility in studying other material that they already know. Although reviewing material that is already known can make the student feel good about themselves, it can also lead to fatigue and a false sense of confidence leading into assessments.
I instruct students to spend five minutes per class at the end of each day reviewing the notes and homework, looking for content that they are uncertain about. This content can be used to write questions for the next class period, which has a number of practical applications. First, the questions get answers with only a day or two of lapse time. Second, because the questions were written, separate from the notes/homework, a study guide is being developed of material that highlights only the areas of weakness, making actual "study" time more efficient. And, finally, it forces the student to become more active in classroom discussions, showing an interest that is greatly appreciated by all classroom teachers. The overall goals for my study skills students is to get them to a place where their time the night before an assessment is focused, efficient and productive. If the overall study time has been spanned over nightly 5-10 minute increments from the beginning of the introduction to new material, then there is seldom a need for the assignment of "Study for the test" to take hours. The practice of questions from notes gives students a place to start and it keeps them focused on only the material that actually needs to be studied.
Excellent — Mike is professional, approachable, and he uses humor to demystify the subject matter. We are so grateful to have found him. ...
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