At a glance:
- My general focus: goal-setting, organization, and study skills.
- Primary subjects: math, Latin, grammar, science, standardized tests — read more.
- Grade levels and schools: students at over twenty schools — read more.
- My tutoring approach: The Socratic Method — read more.
My general approach to academics: goal-setting, organization, and study skills
In order for students to do their best, no matter what their innate abilities, they must first figure out where exactly they would like to end up and how to create a plan to get there. By thinking about and establishing long-term goals and then backing into what is required of them today, this week, this month, students are able to take control of their academics, stay focused on the task at hand, and achieve their goals.
Therefore, with all of my students, I begin with goal-setting, organization, and study skills to help them develop a mental concept of what they want to accomplish and what tools they will need to get there. These topics constitute the solid foundation on which to build an enjoyable and successful academic experience. Furthermore, these are habits that, if developed and honed, will become life skills, indispensable for applying to schools, choosing a career, buying a house, making investments, etc.
Using materials available on this website, I have my students review their last report card — the letter grades as well as the teachers' comments — determine a set of their own personal grade goals for the next marking period, and then write down specific areas they need to work on in order to achieve their goals.
Next I set them up with a system of organization that includes a three-ring-binder with dividers by subject, folder pockets, and sheet protectors so they can effectively keep track of schedules, calendars, handouts, assignments, and returned quizzes and tests. Reviewing and correcting quizzes and tests is critically important for them to understand the kinds of mistakes they have made so they don’t repeat them, and it also allows me to record their grades and let them know if they are on track to reach their goals. Additionally, reviewing tests allows students to think about and understand the types of questions a given teacher asks, and filing them enables students to refer to them in the future as they study for comprehensive tests or exams.
Finally, I provide a wide variety of study skills materials, from general ways to take notes and organize information for effective studying, to time management charts for daily homework and weekly studying, to exam preparation sheets for planning ahead and creating an exam study schedule. As I always emphasize with my students: take control of your schoolwork instead of having it control you!
All of these tools allow my students to succeed in reaching goals that they have established for themselves. Once they have the structure within which they can be successful, we turn our attention to the content of the particular academic subject(s) with which they may be struggling.
Primary subjects tutored:
- Math (algebra, algebra II, trigonometry, geometry, precalculus, calculus AB)
- Science (biology, chemistry, physics, AP physics)
- Standardized tests (SSAT, SAT)
Grade levels and Schools:
I primarily tutor 6th grade to 12th grade boys and girls, but I have also tutored adults and home-schooled three students. My students have come from the following schools:
Chapin, Brearley, Bronx Science, Browning, Collegiate, Dalton, Deerfield Academy, Dwight, Eaglebrook, Exeter, Fieldston, Horace Mann, Hotchkiss, Hunter, Gordonstoun, La Guardia High School, Lawrenceville, Lycée Français, Manhattan East School for Arts and Academics, Nightingale-Banford, Packer-Collegiate, Professional Children’s School, P.S. 6, Ramaz, Spence, St. Bernard’s, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Mark’s, Taft, Talent Unlimited High School, Trinity, Village Community School, Wagner, Baruch College, Columbia University, New York University
My subject-specific tutoring approach: The Socratic Method
I have often referred to my approach as the “Socratic Method of Tutoring” because I don’t give answers to my students, but rather I ask questions of them. Merely providing answers to students’ questions stops their self-directed thought processes as they passively receive the information and move on to the next math problem, science question, grammar sentence, or Latin translation.
Certainly many of my students might prefer that I did just give them answers, but then I would be doing them a great disservice. I remind them that I will not always be near to provide the answer – most significantly during a test or exam – so they must develop the capacity to lead themselves to the solutions they require, to train their brains to actively search for and make the connections that will get them back on track.
So, instead, I ask them questions to help them connect what they do know to what they are trying to figure out. In this fashion, I show them how to ask pertinent questions of themselves while they are doing their work or taking a test. This process enables them to create more neural connections and to strengthen existing ones in their brains. The end result is a student who is more independent and confident and better able to take on greater academic challenges with enthusiasm and desire instead of fear and loathing.