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There is no such thing as someone who doesn't get math. Instead, it is the teacher who "does not get how to teach math".   I have come across many very good teachers, and the thing that differentiates them from the less amazing ones is this: they do not have a single "tried and true" method. The teachers who do have this type of "tried and true" method always find problem students, and those students get discouraged. However, those students need to know it is not their fault.   When teaching Multivariable Calculus this past semester, which is infamous for failing engineering students at Cornell, my fellow teachers came from different backgrounds. The less experienced ones would always complain about their students "not getting it" and it was because the teachers themselves did not understand the material to a depth that they could explain the math in multiple ways to students.   In my experience, I have... read more

So you want to learn the Arabic Language? Take it from an experienced Arabic Teacher & Native speaker of the language!   Be careful to NOT learn the "dialect" version of this language. Here is why you need to focus on learning the proper Arabic that is recognized by the U.N and 99% of the Arab League:   MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) is the standardized and literary variety of Arabic used in writing, and in most formal speech. i.e. as seen in Arabic newspapers, TV Anchors, Radio, Magazines, etc. ? Modern Standard Arabic is the literary standard across the Middle East, North Africa, Horn of Africa and one of the official six languages of the United Nations. o Most printed matter in the Arab League—including most books, newspapers, magazines, official documents, and reading primers for small children—is written in MSA. "Colloquial" Arabic refers to the many regional dialects and varieties derived from Arabic... 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

There are a few teaching strategies I've come up with - not invented, but rather discovered - in my time as a tutor that seem to keep the student both interested and focused. Of course, these may not work for other subjects. I teach language, a beautiful art in and of itself! One strategy is to start with the building blocks of language- the atom, or proton, or electron, or quark (I suppose this is now the smallest accepted particle of matter): vocabulary, both nouns and verbs, with pictures. Then sentence structure, and finally grammar. With the student, I build the language with them as one would build a model airplane. The key is to keep them involved. Language instruction in any kind of lecture format simply does not work.   The other strategy is something I use with more advanced students, or even ones with some basic foundation of a language. Starting with a text in Spanish - be it Unamuno or Cervantes, we start reading together. Throughout, we stop at vocab... read more

When I start a tutoring session,I first check up on my students and inquire about what they are up to or what is on their mind. Then I relate to that and segue into our goals for the next hour or so (session length). Second, I always bring up how I learn and how everyone learns a little bit differently. Thus, I encourage my students to let me know if they are not following my lead or have questions or concerns. Third, I always have my students "illustrate" outwardly how their minds are working through a problem by working entirely without assistance until they feel they have done their best. This fosters perseverance and lifts self-esteem and goes a long-way towards generating a "can-do" attitude. Then, I always make up games or riddles that challenge my students in what they are studying (Since, I predominately tutor in chemistry and math and SAT/ACT math prep, these "puzzles" are mathematical in nature.). Lastly, I mention something that relates the... read more

When I start a tutoring session,I first check up on my students and inquire about what they are up to or what is on their mind. Then I relate to that and segue into our goals for the next hour or so (session length). Second, I always bring up how I learn and how everyone learns a little bit differently. Thus, I encourage my students to let me know if they are not following my lead or have questions or concerns. Third, I always have my students "illustrate" outwardly how their minds are working through a problem by working entirely without assistance until they feel they have done their best. This fosters perseverance and lifts self-esteem and goes a long-way towards generating a "can-do" attitude. Then, I always make up games or riddles that challenge my students in what they are studying (Since, I predominately tutor in chemistry and math and SAT/ACT math prep, these "puzzles" are mathematical in nature.). Lastly, I mention something that relates the... read more

In my experience as a teacher and a tutor, one of the most important facts I keep in mind is varying learning styles. There are several different learning styles, and I try to include the styles best suited to the students I'm working with. Some of the ways I think outside the box in tutoring include: 1. making sure the student is comfortable, physically and emotionally. I provide honest encouragement and support, and I have the student get situated in a way he or she will feel the most comfortable.   2. Last summer I tutored a nine-year-old in reading. I left him notes as directions for a scavenger hunt, he had to read the notes to find the next step. The last note would be a "coupon" for me to take him to play mini-golf or go for an ice cream after the session.   3. Movement...I realize it is not always easy to sit for a length of time trying to learn something that is challenging. I always offer breaks for a snack, the bathroom, or just to... read more

1. Colors help the brain absorb information better. It also makes any subject at hand more interesting and appealing to the eye. 2. Note taking should never be a duty, I like to incorporate fun ways to write out notes that'll help with memory. 3. Music to set a relaxing but stimulating mood for the student. 4. Every 15 minutes, students need a quick break from focus to keep their attitude positive and upbeat.  5. The finish line should always be promising and have a silver lining. I like to let my students have something to look forward to when they complete their task at hand. 

      Connecting study material to real-world things that the students find interesting is a strategy teachers often attempt to use. The idea behind this method is simple: transform the material into something more relevant and the students will be hooked. It gives the students something interesting to maul over instead of having to work on yet another arbitrary problem they were given to complete.       However, if this strategy in not executed thoughtfully then it ends up alienating the tutor from the student and thus is rendered counterproductive. While trying to make the material relatable tutors can unknowingly offer examples that make them seem out of touch. This is because they often assume what kids find interesting these days instead of ask them what he, she or ze likes. People don't appreciate being stereotyped and interests are a personal aspect of someones identity. Therefor, a better way to utilize this strategy is to... read more

5. When necessary, I use my humor, acting skills, and comedic training to make the sessions more engaging. 4. I turn the tables and make the student/client the teacher/coach: they teach ME how to understand the concept.  If they can teach it, then they truly understand it. :) 3.  I don't continue to repeat the same thing if the student/client doesn't understand.  If the student/client doesn't understand, the problem is often not with the student/client, but with how I am explaining it.  Therefore, I always have multiple ways to explain the same concept.  This makes the lessons fun by ensuring the students/clients do not get discouraged. 2. I ask students/clients what would make the sessions more fun, enjoyable, or useful: 9 times out of 10, they know better than me! 1. I smile, enjoy myself, and have fun teaching!  You'd be surprised how many tutors, teachers, and coaches don't do these...

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

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

I've been through a long journey with music, and have changed my style and genre focus according to what is fun for me. Music is my profession and my passion, so if I'm not absolutely loving it, why bother?   Here are my tips that make my tutoring fun!   1. ASK QUESTIONS! What does my student want to learn? What musicians do they admire? Who do they want to sound like? What songs do they want to cover? Why do they love music so much? This lesson isn't about me, it's about the student. I'm here to help them along on their journey, and give them the skills and reinforcement they need to get there!   2. BE SILLY! Music is personal, and I have experienced musician's shyness myself from time to time. By letting my students know that lesson time is the time to learn, be silly, be yourself, and make mistakes, they can let go of needing to feel "perfect" and just focus on improving! Music isn't about perfection, it's about expression.   3... read more

         After 30 years of tutoring special education children, I have decided that all academic problems are mine, not the students. Thus, I analyzed what has already been provided in detail to determine what does and does not work. For example, children have different learning styles that are not rigid, but flexible. Each of us may be good at a tactile sport but not efficient at a sport requiring gross motor skills. Or a student may read silently better than aloud, yet prefer to read aloud to younger siblings. Another child may draw a concept better than listening to a teacher's lecture. Learning by both visual and auditory processing may be best for others, who do not prefer writing. Tactile learners can use both visual and auditory means for success.          I was talking with a student about his needs who listened attentively, yet was not making progress. I switched to a visual approach, placing my directions on 3 x 5 cards... 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

It is very popular the adagio “styles make difference …” and that is true when we talk about teaching styles and learning styles. Teachers around the world use different teaching styles to delivering lessons, and it methods are attached to their cultural environment learning experience. As a consequence their students developed a cultural learning style that melts cultural background and individual learning styles to impact the motivation to learn. United States is receiving immigrants from every corner of the world: Asia, Europe, South America, Center America ... people of all ages that at any giving moment could make the decision to continuing their education. and teaching them could become a serious challenge for any teacher. Teachers that not research about this cultural issue before trying to teach something to these students, soon teachers will be experimenting difficulties to reach students learning Knowledge, as well as behavior problems for misunderstood communication... read more

  "I can't do this.  Why do I need to know this anyway?  Can't we just use the computer to do this?"   We have all heard this from someone; ourselves, our spouses, friends and all too often we hear this from our children. We have seen math as a difficult subject for our generation and now we are seeing math become even more "frustrating", "boring", and "intimidating" for many of our children.  We have tried collaboration, individual tutoring and even extra home work as a means toward improvement.  But many of our efforts are met with failure, anger and even tears.  What is the key to overcoming the math "Mount Everest"?  While there is no band aid for healing math confusion, there are tips and strategies that are fundamental in changing your child's view of math and developing "number sense".   Math Must Make Sense The most important thing is to remember that math... read more

When students think of text in a classroom, they tend to think of pages of paper filled with words that intertwine together to make a story. Many teachers stick to the traditional way of providing students with novels to teach a unit on a particular topic and then use a film as a complimentary piece to add visualization to the text that the students already read. Instead of using it as complimentary pieces, teachers should begin using film as a non-traditional base text in the classroom. Film not only helps students focus on the writing of text, but it allows teachers to instruct students on cultural representations, visual aspects that play into a textual analysis of a film, and it allows complimentary texts that relate to the film connect to real world events.             Film portrays cultural representations in many ways. It uses sounds, acting, and visual settings to show the audience time period, social class,... read more

  I have spent nearly two years working entirely with students that struggled with mild to severe ADD. First, both students with ADD and those who teach them need to be knowledgeable of WHAT ADD is.     A few basics: 1). ADD is NOT simply being easily distracted, or lack of focus. For the student suffering with it, it feels as if there is a mental fog around everything they do. Tasks requiring long and acute attention are draining for the average joe, but can feel nearly impossible or even painful to an ADD/ADHD student.    2). ADD is caused by by under-stimulation to the areas in the brain responsible for thinking, solving, and task management. I often hear older students (17-18 yrs) say they are not allowed to drink coffee. Coffee couldn't be more appropriate, actually (if you are on medication, talk to a doctor before adding coffee to your routine). In fact the drugs used for ADD are heavy-duty stimulants that are chemical cousins to... read more

I wanted to share my teaching philosophy for any individuals who are considering selecting me as their tutor. My teaching philosophy highlights my beliefs about learning as well as my teaching strategy (a strategy that focuses on active student engagement, applied exercises, and the use of analogies and examples to help learners grasp complex topics).   My Teaching Philosophy Beliefs about human learning.  I believe that, as a teacher, I am responsible for increasing subject matter knowledge and, more importantly, assisting students in connecting this knowledge to the real world and laterally across fields.  Learning should not, and cannot, exist in the absence of this integration.  A sole focus on surface level content (ex. facts and definitions) fails to meet the needs of students who wish to advance in the learning process.  Specifically, students need to progress to deeper levels of processing and understanding.  This will allow them... read more

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