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For those who want to know the reason for writing "reflection" papers, consider how the process is simply another way to learn   Learning is not just about acquiring and using new skills, the process also involves “thinking about your thinking.” The actual term for this action is “metacognitive behavior,” which is a means to help you organize and reflect on information and behavior. The process may sound complicated, but this is simply a form of higher order thinking that requires you to consider how or why information is valuable as well as what makes it important or necessary. Sometimes, we do this automatically. Consider a time when you’ve been in the store and have been presented with two options for purchase. First, you go through a decision-making process, then select the product, and then take it home for use. Most likely, you will then know if you made the appropriate selection. At this point, you may likely reflect on why you made the choice... read more

The best question you can ask yourself with regard to tutoring is: Does tutoring encourage independence in the student, or does it undermine self-reliance by making the student feel as though he/she is incapable of learning?   Parents should consider what is actually going on with their child; is the child really stuck or are they simply in a temporary bind that they will most likely fight their way out of given some time?  If it's possible for a student to find their own way through issues, then tutoring is probably counter productive because it may create a sense of dependency where there previously was none.  If a student is genuinely stuck and needs a boost to help them find their way, then tutoring should be about reaching a point of self-reliance.  Much like parenting, if done correctly, tutors work themselves out of a job.  As parents, our goal is to raise our children in such a manner that eventually we're not needed...such is the... read more

Organization & Study Skill Tips for Middle School and HS Students 1. Calm Attitude- Be calm & patient. Don’t beat yourself up! 2. A place to study/appropriate environment- Large desk or table surface. Room for all of your books, computer/tablet, pens, notes. Good lighting and a sturdy chair. Bring snacks to you, don’t leave to get them. 3. System for keeping track of important notes- tabbed binder, folders, clean locker and book bag. 4. Planner or Calendar to track assignments, tests and long term projects 5. Estimate how long each project/assignment will take- Develop a realistic schedule with built in study breaks, around the sports, etc. 6. Break up big projects into smaller ones- Break up research projects and papers into more manageable chunks. 7. Communicate with your teachers- Know what assignments are due, upcoming and missing. 8. Take good notes and pay attention in class- Write down the main ideas; abbreviate; draw pictures, diagrams... read more

New sessions may bring a feeling of anxiety or uncertainty: will the new tutor be able to help me? Is it someone who I will be able to understand? Will they be able to answer my questions?   Here are some tips for clearing up the possible confusion to hopefully create a successful first encounter!   1) Be prepared to study: have on hand writing utensils, paper, textbooks as needed, and an open mind.   2) Have a list of the exact goals: both for that day, and your long term goals (what do you desire to accomplish through tutoring? How many sessions do you expect to have?)   3) Have a list of specific questions for your tutor: about their experience, methods, teaching philosophy, availability, fees. Also questions revolving around the subject matter at hand.    4) Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions! A good tutor, if they don't have the answer on hand, will be able to research, or guide your research to find... read more

I think, by far, the most important part of being successful in organic chemistry is the ability to stay on top of the material. I'll start with this piece of advice for those you who are planning on completing both sections.     Make flashcards.   I know, I know, it's advice that everyone gives for every type of memorization, but I think that it especially helps with the amount of new reactions that you will see, especially in orgo II.   My recipe for the cards is to make cards that have the reactant(s) and the reagent(s) with a question mark where the product(s) would be.   e.g. CH3CHCHCH3 -----Br2----->  ?     This way will help you to recognize which reagents do what.   The other style is to leave out the reagents.   e.g. CH3CHCHCH3 -----?-----> CH3CHBrCHBrCH3   (You'll want to draw them out probably, but this software doesn't allow that)   If... read more

The key to starting school strong is organization and balance. First, organize your materials. Use color-coding, blank calendars to fill in, map out your daily schedule, and be sure to leave time for ALL interests. Look ahead on the calendar to see when tests like MEAP and ACT are happening. Provide plenty of preparation time from the beginning of the semester. As you create your daily schedule, look also at your syllabi from your classes. Anticipate major assignments and exams by balancing study time appropriately. Early planning will prevent or reduce last minute writing papers or cramming for exams.   Yes, school work is a priority, but so is socializing with friends, reading for pleasure or exercise and yoga routines! If you are going watch your favorite TV program every Thursday, plan ahead by being sure to have homework done either Wednesday night, or before the program. Then the program becomes a "reward" for having your homework finished... read more

WWTK: What advice would you give students going back to school so they start the year strong? This is a great question, and one that I've answered before on this blog. In general, I'd say the most important thing for starting the new year strong is starting the new year ORGANIZED. Go back and look through your notebooks from the previous year, but not for content – look at them like a detective. What does your note-taking style say about you? Do you have spiral notebooks stuffed full of handouts with rumpled edges? Are your note pages just solid blocks of hurried scribbles that are all but impossible to read? Did you have to add extra notebooks halfway through the year?  And most importantly, how easy is it to find a specific piece of information in one of your notebooks? Take the opportunity while summer's still going strong to head to an office supplies store and wander around. Really look at all the organization solutions, and try to imagine yourself... read more

Going back to school is an exciting time of year!!!  New friends, new clothes, new supplies, new teachers.  The beginning of the year marks a new beginning, period.  This is the time to think back to last year.  What did you learn?  What mistakes did you make? What can you do better?  Make some goals for this new year!!! This is your time to start all over.  The past does not matter.  What do you want for your education?  For your career?  For your future?  Create an image in your mind of what you want.  Once you visualize your goals being achieved, write them down.  What are your goals? What can you do this year to get closer to reaching your goals?   Once you have your goals in mind and what you are going to do this year to reach them, focus on a few small strategies to help you achieve your success.  A few small steps that will give you big results are: 1. Be ready to learn by being organized... read more

Hi Students!   I hope you are enjoying the process of learning English. English can be a hard language to learn, even for native speakers. So here are some study tips and resources for you to use when you are studying for a test:         1. Make flashcards - write the vocab word on the front and the definition on the back. With this method,               you can quiz yourself.   2. Take practice quizzes - make a few practice quizzes for yourself using questions or information from other lessons. If you would like me to make a practice quiz for you, please send me an email!   3. Try to use English as much as possible - if you live with someone or have a friend who speaks               English, practice speaking with them. Try to speak English for at least one hour everyday outside of                 your lessons... read more

  The best way to retain knowledge during the summer besides doing their summer course work that is or tutoring is to go to the library and check out books on any subject that you wish to learn. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, it is the fastest and easiest way to learn new things and be sure to take notes; in case, it may be covered in school next year. Feel free to use charts, graphs, drawings, outlines, concept maps or even free writing to reenforce the concepts and turn them into a game like "Concentration" or "Are you smarter than a 5th grader"  to make it easier and fun to learn the concepts.                      Nancy N.

1. Make a study plan – The default mode for studying for exams? Wait until one or two days before the test and study – hard! But with several of material to review, your brain needs more time to re-assimilate the information, and you probably won’t have enough time to review it all in 2 nights anyway. So start studying a minimum of one week before the first exam, and write out a detailed schedule - which subjects you will study and for how long (giving more time to the earliest exams) and when you will study. Be specific and concrete – write out your plan, and assign (realistic) times for each day you will study. Write where you will study and what you should have with you. 2. Hit every subject, every day - Certainly you should give more weight to the first exams, but spend some time each day with every subject you will have an exam for, even if it’s just 15 minutes for those subjects with later exams. 3. Overlap your reviews - When you sit down to review a... read more

I am a proud teacher! A student of mine, around my age, is an artist who wanted to learn basic computer skills. She learned how to find the pictures of her art on her computer. She learned how to sign up to websites, safely. She learned how to attach files to her email, and how to upload them to a website. She went ahead and created an artist profile on Zatista. Two of her paintings where selected for a special show on One Kings Lane One of these was sold yesterday. She amazes me every week. She takes what I teach, explores, and gets creative with it. By the time I come in the next week she shows me how she did a few new things, and has great questions that come out of her own exploration. A curious student - what a gift to the teacher.

As tutors, our work puts us in an odd position. While part of our income depends upon spending time serving students, serving students means that we help them improve until they no longer need our assistance. In this sense, we work to make ourselves unnecessary. Some people might speculate that we would be motivated therefore to work less efficiently, to drag things out & spend more time than necessary to achieve our students' goals.   I can't really speak for other tutors, but I'm idealistic enough to believe that all of us want our students to be as successful as possible, as efficiently as possible, and we want them (and, in the case of children, their parents) to feel satisfied that we are working hard to do what is best at every moment & that they are getting their money's worth. After all, our great reputations as tutors ensure that we will acquire other students in the future - some of whom will perhaps replace those students who have improved... read more

The majority of the students that I have often have the same problem -- they aren't grasping the information fast enough or they aren't really able to follow the lessons a teacher gives.   Sometimes, teachers aren't adaptive to every learning style for each student in their classroom.  However, know that each student has the capability to learn math on their own.  It is just necessary to have key characteristics to make it successful.   Every math student should have: patience motivation adaptability organizational skills open communication between themselves and their teacher (inside and outside the classroom) breaks!! :)   Study Tips Always try to study outside of your home or dorm room. In our minds, those are places that we relax at and it can be difficult to turn your mind off from the distractions to study. Public libraries, universities, coffee shops, and bookstores are the way to go... read more

Please examine the evidence for yourself at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/to-remember-a-lecture-better-take-notes-by-hand/361478/.  However, the upshot is that, while I'm a big advocate for technology in many things, for some reason, handwriting seems to be a better retention tool than typed notes for most students.  (Though I myself had great success in college initially writing my notes, then reshaping them into a polished version on a computer when the material was still fresh and I remembered what all my own shorthand meant).  Take a look.

Engaging students in learning is one of the many goals that tutors face. We must adapt to meet changing learning needs, styles, interests and delivery formats. The sage on the stage paradigm, where the tutor provided all the knowledge to a passive student, is outdated. Today's students have more need for a guide on the side, who understands that the challenges they face, is willing to experiment with alternative tutoring methods, and acknowledge that engagement and feedback are crucial to a successful learning experience. One such tutoring methodology that has shown great promise both in the classroom and in structured tutoring sessions is problem-based learning (PBL). This concept has gained national recognition as a way for students to learn by confronting a problem related to the subject or the class material. This means that rather than the rigid and very traditional didactic approach, where a tutor simply “re-teaches” material covered in class through direction... read more

(This is actually a modified version of an article I posted a while back - Parents wait! Why a study skills tutor is what your child REALLY needs. But I think tutors should consider this idea of study skills even more than parents should.) After a dozen years as a classroom teacher and private tutor, I know the routine well. Like clockwork, October and March bring new report cards and parents start to get nervous. “An F in chemistry? I’m afraid I can’t help you there; let’s find you a good chemistry tutor.” This is the kind of dialog I imagine taking place in many households around this time. And chemistry is just an example – insert subject here and the reaction is the same. But that low letter grade on a report card can indicate many things – maybe the teacher is bonkers; maybe one major assignment was weighted too heavily; maybe the student can’t see the board and is afraid to say anything; maybe that particular class is a source of social anxiety; etc... read more

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