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I believe that tutoring helps students to create an interest in their learning. I build up self-confidence by motivating students to learn the concepts in which they have difficulty. Tutoring means a lot to me. When I am not teaching at school, I still help students to make them successful. It gives me a satisfaction that I achieve my goal through helping students in my free time too. I make the learning fun and easy for the students by inspiring them with a lot of praises and positive comments. I always look for positives in them. The relationship that I create with students during tutoring brings a positive impact in their personality. I make them involve in learning through questioning and personal connections. I feel so proud when I see a smile on students' face giving me the message that they understood the concept.

I started my Physics course this Summer telling my students they are not allowed to say "I don't know," unless they can't read, listen to a recording, watch a video, or ask a question of someone more knowledgeable. When I was in school we did not have access to information like students do today.  In my humble opinion, students need to bulk up on two things like body builders do using supplements. What are those two things students need to bulk up with? Asking quality questions and learning how they learn.  Take for example, Google is an awesome resource, but if you ask the wrong question or use terms inappropriately, you will not get the answer you seek. Ask a bad question one gets a bad answer. Ask a wrong question one gets a wrong answer. Ask an incomplete question one may very well get an incomplete answer. Its that simple. Quality of questions is paramount and good questions come from meticulous vocabulary management. Therefore, students must become... read more

Even though I do not intend to be a public school teacher, I am taking Florida's certification exams so that I could get my temporary teacher's license.  Passionate tutors such as myself log many hours tutoring in their specialties.  We work with students of all capabilities, handicaps, aspirations, and needs.  We LIKE tutoring one-on-one or in small groups. What are my thoughts on this exam?  It was much easier than the SAT, ACT, or GRE.  I finished the 4 hour exam more than an hour early... and I had a cold when I took it.  The toughest part was the essay.  The exception is that the essay be approximately twice as long as the SAT essay.  More time is given; so it should be in "final" form, not a rough draft.  The reading and math sections had enough time so that I did not experience the typical time management stress most students experience on the SAT/ACT/GRE tests. My next three tests will be subject matter... read more

Games are a great way to make use of the language, especially for beginners, regardless of age! It's something I try to do at the end of each lesson, the last 10 to 15 minutes of the lesson.   Hangman - really gets beginners practicing to say the letters Cheese Dip - perfect for the younger ones, they will love to practice spelling words with those cheese letters and mice Go Fish - practice using tener, numbers and colors Guess Who - students practice describing using the verbs ser and tener and colors, body parts, and food Operation - practice body parts, the verbs doler, tiene dolor, el dolor esta... plus of course body parts and also use of estar Hedbanz - practice using ser, tener, estar, plus a wider ray of descriptions than "Guess Who" since there is more of a variety of objects, indoor items, outdoor tools, animals, vehicles etc. Would You Rather? - can be used to simply describe the ridiculous things happening or for more advanced... read more

  For those of you who may have purchased Apple's spiffy $79 external CD/DVD burner (or Superdrive as they call it), it may not have worked when you plugged it into your older Mac. A lot of times a person's built-in optical drive fails, and they see the new external at the Apple Store. They naturally grab one assuming it'll work because they'll be using it with a Mac. Hopefully there's a "Genius" selling it to them who's going to ask which Mac they plan on using it with. I'd think probably not. It turns out it's only the fairly newer Macs that support it. When you plug it in, your older Mac might very well inform you that "This Apple External CD/DVD drive is not compatible with this Mac. Please go to Apple Support to read more." What they show you is a compatibility matrix that seems to makes no sense. I haven't compared every spec of every Mac they list, but 2009 seems to be the general cutoff.   Perhaps Apple requires USB 3, and... read more

It is late January and the weather forecasters are calling for 70 degree weather today in Columbia SC.   Glorious!   Students should start gearing up for revision/review of earlier economic topics, specifically multiple choice. I know that you are still learning new information but success for the AP exam is definitely tied into the multiple choice question.   Remember that the exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions (66%) of the grade and 3 FRQ's which will be the other (34%) of your grade.   FRQ questions are fairly straight forward and there are 15 years of FRQ's to practice. If you do work on answering the fRQ question there will be no surprises.   Multiple choice questions on the other hand, are complicated and can be from any sections of the course.    There  are 5 past exams that have been released. 1995,2000,2005,2008,2012   Search for these online, download them and... read more

From my experience, designing a lesson for one student could be challenging due to not being able to include group or pair-work, which is not only a great way for the students to apply what they have just learned with a fellow classmate allowing them to feel more comfortable to make mistakes but also gives the teacher the opportunity to walk around and listen in and find common errors that can be brought up to the class as a whole instead of singling out a single student's mistake possibly discouraging them, but also because after some time the student can easily get bored deterring them from fully learning the material the tutor is teaching. Here are five things I include in each lesson to ensure that the student is actively learning and having a fun time doing so as well.   1) Make your first lesson informal so they feel comfortable with you from the get-go. They will be hesitant until they feel it is okay to mistakes and the sooner you can get them to let their guard... read more

We often cringe at the idea of having to deal with math and the problems that learning mathematics presents. However, one of the only ways to learn math is through repetition. Math is unlike other subjects because it involves a great amount of detail and effort. Math works when you repeat the process of learning and application over and over again. It is not impossible to learn math but it is going to take discipline to learn. The best way is to get those hands dirty and grind it out. 

The topic bridging sentence provides a smooth topical transition from one idea to another for the reader. It is a segue of ideas and allows for a logically relevant transition. The topic bridge sentence also challenges you as a writer to relate and connect your ideas between paragraphs in order to have a cohesive paper.Topic bridging sentences are the first sentence in body paragraphs of an essay. Approach Ask yourself: What is the main idea of the preceding body paragraph? What is the main idea of the following body paragraph? How are they related? Similar pattern/trend Share a feature Chronologically related Devices Basic Topic Bridge Sentence “In addition to <main idea from paragraph one>, such and such also was influenced/affected by <main idea from paragraph two>.” Complex Topic Bridge Sentences Connect the ideas from the two paragraphs in a more global fashion. Explain how... read more

As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memo_of_understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to talk to... read more

My goal as a tutor is somewhat paradoxical: I want to lose my job. In the best possible way, of course: I help my students develop skills that make my services  unnecessary.  it doesn't matter how confused a student is when they come to me, I know that with some instruction, reinforcement and encouragement, any student can develop the study and self-advocacy skills necessary to do well in their classes, on their own. One of the most powerful study skills in their new arsenal is notes.   Notes have incredible power to not only help a student complete their homework, better understand the content, and remember their lessons.  Note taking skills can be built up in layers to address these goals.   Layer one: My notes help me do my homework because they are organized and thorough.   One thing my students struggle with is the misperception that their notes need to look exactly like their teachers' notes. This is particularly bewildering... read more

A few good questions and thoughtful answers can make tutoring an actual learning process. This is substantially different from cramming sessions, emergency sessions to pass a class and homework 'completion'. I ask parents and students (where it is age/capacity appropriate) to explain their goals and expected outcomes. This question serves three significant purposes for the student and myself. (1) Is the student interested in learning or in getting by? (2) Does the student have commitment/perseverance or are they looking for an easy out? (3) Setting realistic expectations for outcomes. If the student is not interested in learning and will not be committed, I am not the correct tutor for the job. There are tutors who specialize in cram sessions. Setting expectations appropriately prevents surprises from happening to ardent wishes. An example of expectation setting is explaining to parents the following examples and being clear on this information: (http://talk... read more

This example illustrates how to use WSS to determine an appropriate number, k, of clusters, the following example uses R to perform a k-means analysis. The task is to group 620 high school seniors based on their grades in three subject areas: English, mathematics, and science. The grades are averaged over their high school career and assume values from 0 to 100.   # The following R code establishes the necessary R libraries > library(plyr) > library(ggplot2) > library(cluster) > library(lattice) > library(graphics) > library(grid) > library(gridExtra) > library(cowplot)   # Import the CSV file containing the grades > grades<-read.csv("grades.csv", header=TRUE, sep=",") > grades<-as.data.frame(grades)   # Let's take a look at the structure of the dataset > str(grades)   R output: 'data.frame': 620 obs. of 4 variables: $... read more

Story of one of my SAT student Wow! Student’s score bumped up by 90 points in 5 weeks tutoring only! I got very excited and thrilled when I saw one of my SAT students’ score got improved by 90 points only after 5 weeks of tutoring. That student’s score had been fluctuating between 1100 and 1130. Its parents requested me to tutor the student for the  SAT test. We had only 5 weeks  left for the test. I tutored the student three times a week.  I also assigned homework to the student for the days when we did not have sessions. In the final week of tutoring, we covered test taking strategies and how to handle test anxiety. All of the effort and hard work got paid off when the student’s score got improved by 90 points!

To my fellow educators and students,   I know that it is very tempting to give your students answers to their questions immediately, but sometimes it's best to let a student struggle a little. Asking students why they are doing what they are doing can help students to make lasting connections that go beyond that next test or ACT exam. This approach can be frustrating for both teachers and students at times, but it is quite rewarding.   I have a student who was completely scared about sharing their opinion on an answer they gave. Throughout most of the lesson i refused to give them a yea or nay answer. I asked them to talk it out and see if they could understand why they did what they did. The student was correct, but having students explain their answer and even get frustrated with me some helped this student achieve deeper understanding of the material. 

We all have one: that one subject that our brains just refuse to understand, and no matter how much we study or how hard we work, we never feel like we really truly GET what is going on.   For me, that subject was always Physics. No junior high or high school teacher could ever answer the unending string of "...but WHY?" questions that I needed answered before I could understand even the most basic concepts of our Introductory course. It wasn't that I couldn't understand, but rather that I wasn't being taught these ideas in a way that made sense to me.    As an adult, Physics is now actually one of my favorite subjects to read about because I have found some books written for people just like me, people who need explanations fulls of examples and explanations and lots of pictures! I may never discover black holes or split an atom, but I now know enough that I can understand the people who do those things. :-)     So,... read more

As we get closer and closer to the end of the academic year, a lot of math students will be studying for exams.  Some of these tests are comprehensive exams that cover everything from day one to the day before the test.  I believe that as tutors, we need to help those we teach with ditching old, faulty study habits in favor of successful, incremental approaches.   What is the biggest bad study habit you might ask? Cramming...   Cramming, at best, will help students remember the material the day of the test and promptly forget it the next or, at worst, actually degrade their academic performance.     Researchers at UCLA have found that excessive "cramming" actually makes students perform worse on average than those who adopted daily study habits.  This was published in the Journal of Child Development in 2012.  In another study conducted by Time.com in 2011, the average student who crammed for the exam only passed... read more

Tutoring an academic subject is almost pointless if the student has trouble concentrating or thinking clearly in general. Many students have difficulty learning because they (often unintentionally) do things that sabotage the learning process. The following document contains a summary of what I learned about improving my mental clarity, focus, and mental stamina while I worked on my B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in physics. I hope this is helpful for other people.   http://www.wyzant.com/resources/files/261780/tips_for_optimal_learning_and_mental_clarity   This is a very short summary. If you have questions, let me know!

A conjunction is one of those words that can be kind of elusive. First off what is it? Well, a conjunction is a word that provides context and lends emphasis to the parts of a sentence. Often they connect two sentence clauses with the help of punctuation, or "set up" the meaning of a particular kind of clause. Some conjunctions are coordinating meaning they link two closely related independent clauses. They add slightly different meaning to each clause and coordinate the reader's understanding. Examples of coordinating conjunctions include: and, but, yet, or, nor, for, so. Other conjunctions are subordinating which means they connect an independent clause to a dependent clause. These conjunctions imply a particular relationship between the two clauses. Examples of subordinating conjunctions are: because, since, so that, although, though, after, before, while, if, unless, as if, as though. By recognizing the purpose of these parts of speech, you... read more

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