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Taught another class this past week, this one a killer. Eight straight hours of non-stop words. My throat was raw from talking, my thumb numb from pushing the button to slide up to the next graphic, my feet sore from standing. So why do I bother...? Not fortune, for sure. I’d make more sitting in the big chair, working the phones and running a film. Nor fame. Even if enthusiasm were really riches, there are limits to working the backroom at the software store. Then why...? Reason #1. Good students make smarter teachers. Happens every time I teach a class like this. A hand shoots up or a voice shuts me up. And someone asks something I’d never considered before. And in an instant my whole world lights up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I gain Insights I’ve never seen before, concepts I’ve never conceived before. Good questions like that kick the rust out of the immovable parts of a brain and grease the gears to turn again. After... read more

Understanding your child's / student(s)' learning styles is one of the most important factors in helping them reach success.  At the end of the day, why else did we become parents or teachers but to watch the next generation learn?  The problem is that we often assume that everyone learns and processes information the same as we do.  If they don't, does that mean there is something wrong with THEM?!  Absolutely not!! Respecting and building on the natural learning style of the learner, in my opinion, is the most important role of the tutor.   In my day, everything was pretty much done by taking turns reading aloud.   The problem for me was that I was not good at processing information while reading aloud nor was I savvy at auditory processing.  For several years I was treated as though something was wrong with me and given that I had an older sister who processed information "normally," I internalized that message for a very... read more

It's sometimes too easy to get bogged down with textbook definitions and explanations, but how many times do students (and even educators) actually understand what it is we're reading? At the end of the day, what we remember is what we discover for ourselves. During education classes in college, my professor time and time again emphasized the important of leading the student to the door, but letting them walk through it themselves. Socrates was notorious for this method. Many of his students got frustrated with him since he rarely gave his own opinion on a matter. Instead, he developed a method that allowed his students to think for themselves, abandoning the lecture technique all-together. Here are three ways of student-centered teaching that Socrates has inspired:   Know when to use lecture.   Lecturing can be productive under the right circumstances, with the right students, and with the right content. However, many times the students only remember bits... read more

I couldn't find any references to this tool in the blogs or forums, so I wanted to put this out there.   I use A Web Whiteboard (AWW) found at for all my online tutoring needs. No download, registration, or install necessary... and it's completely free! It also has zero ads or any other clutter you might associate with any free tool. It appears the developers behind AWW make their money by selling a premium product to those interested in that sort of thing, but I've found the free tool more than enough for my needs.   It has pretty much everything I'm looking for in a whiteboard tool: multiple colors, incredibly simple to invite students to join the board, cross-platform (any student with an internet connection can use it, and it works in every browser, as far as I can tell), and there is an option to save the images you create so you and your students can have material for reference later.   The only conceivable drawback... read more

Of course, learning should be fun.  Why?  Because if the student is having fun, that student will be giving his or her full attention to the matter at hand.     However, I do think that students need to be taught, as well, that learning is not ALWAYS going to involve fun, and that sometimes, to conquer challenging material, some effort must be made -- mental effort, an effort of time, reading effort, and problem-solving effort.     What adult's life is ALWAYS fun?  To prepare students for adult life, and for further advanced learning, I believe that it is not ALWAYS necessary to make learning fun.   A teacher should not be expected to be an entertainer.  But a wise teacher will inject a bit of fun every now and then.

What happened to the teachers that actually take the time out to make sure all of their students are grasping the concepts being taught? Not just failing the student instead of saying "Hmmm....this student has been failing the past few months! Let me help!" ????? My student is not stupid. He is in fact very bright. Though at times he just tries to rush through and doesn't read the problem thoroughly, I have found ways to help him understand and slow down on these things. Now why is it that I am with him an hour a week and his teacher is with him hours upon hours 5 days a week and is not seeing the same that I am seeing? Does anyone else have this problem? It has me so ticked off because I see the problems he is making and I have yet to receive my Teaching Degree, yet a woman who has had hers for years is lacking in this area?!? I am attempting to go along with what she is teaching him in school, but he tells me that she does not go over it and when he asks for help, she yells... read more

In any given primary or secondary class, you will find the teacher instructing a traditional subject, such as math or English. Nowadays, other kinds of curriculum are gaining notice because they enable students to explore their affective domains more readily. One such curriculum is the teaching of happiness and behavior that leads to a feeling of joy. Happiness curriculum should be explored by school districts, especially by those which take pride in improving school culture.   As an educator, I know that a happy student is more engaged in the process of learning than a sad one. Teachers can easily apply lessons based on performance objectives that focus on the acquisition of happiness. For instance, an art teacher who is showing the class how to make collages can help students to design pictures that reflect their own feelings of happiness.  Other teachers can use happiness curriculum to tie students' social practices to the joy and satisfaction they experience.... read more

Some teachers regularly lift students' test scores, while others leave their students with below-average results year after year. This can happen right next door from each other; same grade, same building. Results from dozens of studies point to the same most significant factor-a good teacher is the single greatest influence on a student's chance at success. Among the factors that do not predict a teacher's ability? "A graduate-school degree, a high score on the SAT, an extroverted personality, politeness, confidence, warmth, enthusiasm and having passed the teacher-certification exam on the first try," sites Elizabeth Green, writer for The New York Times. "Parents have always worried about where to send their children to school; but the school, statistically speaking, does not matter as much as which adult stands in front of their children," said Amanda Ripley, reporting on the statistical findings of Teach for America. Teach for America... read more

As a student, the one learning resource that you can always keep with you 24 hours a day is your textbook. And that makes the book your best friend, because it is always there to help you learn more. But some friends are hard to understand. Some don't speak English well, some whisper, and some are moody. So you might need an interpreter sometimes.   That's where your tutor comes in. The tutor gives you one-on-one attention, taking you step-by-step through the book to help you understand what the book is trying to tell you and what the book is asking you to do. Tutors slowly and patiently take you through the examples, even when your teacher can't.   Use your tutors to explain your lessons in ways that simplify the concepts and clarify ideas. Tutors can help break down problem-solving procedures for you in small, digestible steps. You'd be surprised how much easier things can be when someone skilled and patient gives you individual attention and shares their... read more

Rather than droning on about each subject in math at this point, I'm going to make a shift. I'm currently engaged in a conversation with a friend, and my most recent reply to him expresses my opinion on how math is being taught today:   ...The beauty of math is something that I have seen most of my life, and it stands in my mind as one of my fundamental motivations for studying math. As a person with that emotional tie to math, I realize that many students would find it difficult to identify with my assertion that math is beautiful. As a result, I often take a stance that might be a little self-protective, and offer an answer that seems to be weaker but more universal. In short, some aspects of math are of universal benefit, such as the skill of basic calculation, or the benefits of mental exercise. There are some benefits that apply only to a portion of the population, such as the ability to factor polynomials, or to find missing sides of triangles... read more

Do some of your students lack focus? Does pent up energy keep them from being attentive during their tutoring lessons? Do they thrive on activity, fun, and games?   If your students are anything like mine, the answer to these questions is a resounding "yes." Today I'd like to share 3 easy, "outside the box" tips for keeping your tutoring sessions fun and exciting.   1. Get Outside If weather permits it, go outside during a session for some outdoor activities and games. Play HORSE to review spelling words. Throw a frisbee; each time your student catches the frisbee they must answer a question to then pass it back to you. Jump rope while counting your ABC's. Often times, we as tutors can use kids' pent up energy to our advantage through games like this.   2. Play Music For memorization activities like the periodical table or the dates of WWII battles, play instrumental music and create a song to remember the facts.   3... read more

People say everything takes work work work...   The only thing I can see that takes that kind of work is trying really, really hard to NOT have fun! When we are engaging with our own brilliance, when we are opening up to learn more about ourselves and our world, that's the doorway to the most fun EVER! It's just that the conventional systems don't teach that way.    When you know you're on the right track, how does that FEEL? Doesn't your body feel awesome? Doesn't the anxiety just melt away? Isn't there just this open sense that all you want to do is keep moving forward? When you are educating yourself for the purpose of knowing your own brilliance and capacity, rather than educating yourself to perform a task, rather than to be the "best" or satisfy what someone else thinks you "should" have it made.  When your own brilliance is your number one priority, magic happens. All of your tasks get... read more

Every week a colleague and I teach very basic computer skills at a local community center in Harrisburg, PA.   I am astounded as to the amount of computer illiteracy there is in Central PA.  It is almost 2015 and by now, computers have become more affordable and accessible.  The one thing that they have not become is easy to use.  Tables and smart devices have rattled things up when the first usable table entered the market in 2010.  This was the first generation iPad.   In almost 5 years, that influence has continued in the desktop and laptop markets.  People who purchase a smart phone, are forced to use it, or at least, shown to use it by family/friends/grandchildren.  This is a good thing.  All of us can be tutors, passing on knowledge.   That is my goal here at WyzAnt as well as whenever I speak/teach.  I remind people to know things/tasks so well that you can teach others.  This is how people are... read more

This is the question we are asked since childhood. When I finally figured out I wanted to learn about music, the answer was simple- everything! However, I soon learned that music is a deep and multifaceted subject, and had to focus on a few things in order to reach any level of mastery. So before you go into a lesson, ask yourself: What genres of music do you enjoy the most? Which would you like to learn to play? What are your weak points, things you'd like to work on? Who do you admire as a musician, composer, performer? Do you want to learn music theory? Songwriting? How to sing jazz? Or maybe you're looking to explore the piano as an instrument. The answers may come easily, or if they don't, ask your new tutor for advice. If you have a clear picture of what you'd like to learn, or a performance or goal you are preparing for, the lesson will have a much more productive direction. Sometimes having no answers is just fine- it gives you a broader palette of topics to explore... read more

I am so excited to be able to help others learn about the things I have a passion for. From sign language to business, I will be here to help others out. I have had years of experience and am now ready to bring these skills to the table and help others to master them.    

Every piano teacher uses different techniques and styles of teaching in their piano lessons. The way they teach is usually based upon their 'teaching philosophy' or their beliefs on teaching and learning and how they incorporate these beliefs into their lessons. Most experienced instructors will have a written teaching philosophy and students/parents should not hesitate to ask their teacher to share it with them. Two important concepts to consider within a teaching philosophy are 'performance goals' and 'learning goals'. There are pros and cons to both, so let us first read the following descriptions: -Performance Goals: emphasis on doing better than others and publicly proving one’s high ability. Approaching academic challenges with the desire to gain favorable and to avoid unfavorable evaluations of competence. Performance goals include learning a piece for competitions, recitals, or to impress teachers/parents/peers. -Learning Goals: emphasis... read more

Working with high school students is very straightforward. Kids in their mid to late teens are often focused and self-motivated to learn and perform. They are thinking about college and beyond, and usually have some goals in mind that they would like to achieve. Young children, however, are not as determined to plow through hours of mathematical tutelage as their older counterparts. They are substantially more disconnected from the real world and career ambitions. What usually occupies their minds on a regular basis is playing sports with their friends, video games, and sleepovers. In a word, their lives are primarily centered around “having fun.” And that’s a beautiful thing. In fact, I do what I do on a daily basis because I love having fun. It just so happens that my version of fun is teaching math. Because younger children are carefree, unencumbered by concerns of college admissions and career goals, it can be a challenge to command their attention. But after working with... read more

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." This quote, attributed to Albert Einstein (Dodd, n.d.), expresses the idea that is embodied by the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory, developed by psychologist and neuroscientist Howard Gardner, states that intelligence is not a single, fixed attribute--but, rather, multi-faceted in both capacity and degree (Koch, 2012). Far more than what can be measured by an IQ test, the multiple intelligences in Gardner's theory allows for many areas where people can be gifted in varying degrees. There are eight areas of intelligence that are widely accepted, plus three more that Gardner has proposed, but remain tentative. These areas include (Koch, 2012): Linguistic Intelligence, verbal or "word smart"-- the ability to manipulate words and languages; strength in reading, writing and other related applications... read more

Introduction   Teachers carry a tremendous responsibility. Their job is not just to educate the next generation of human beings that may one day shape the destiny of mankind, but they also have the opportunity to inspire the students that enter their classroom--to encourage creativity, to instill confidence and self-esteem, and to help students attain their fullest potential. It is not a profession for the weak or timid--there are many extraordinary qualities that a good teacher must possess. There are many complex issues that must be carefully considered by an individual aspiring to work in this noble field. Attributes of a Good Teacher What is it that makes a "good" teacher? There are several attributes that can be found in those individuals who fit this description.   A good teacher is knowledgeable. He understands the field of teaching as well as learning in the content areas (Koch, 2012). When a teacher makes an effort to know... read more

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