Location: Philadelphia PA USA
Tutoring and Homework Help
Mr Adam W. of Philadelphia PA USA Tutor Profile
Tutor Personal Information
Tutoring Style and/or Experience
Adam Academics tutors implement an active teaching technique called PROGRESSIVE DYNAMIC RESPONSE (PDR) that goes beyond the passive tutoring style of simply showing students how to do problems. PDR involves progressively augmenting a studentís comprehension of material based on feedback retained via real-time testing. The testing is performed with dynamically created questions designed to move the student in the direction of understanding the full concept. The important difference to note is that in our method tutors take full control of the learning process and do not rely on students to attempt to absorb information. This is especially effective because most students donít really know how to learn from a tutor or a lecture. The technique can be summarized as follows:
FRAGMENTATION: Tutors fragment problems into smaller sub-concepts and teach those concepts one-by-one. If the fragments are still too complicated, material is fragmented further until a sub-concept that is feasible for the student to grasp is reached. Sometimes tutors will be required to go back multiple grades to reach a level where students can easily grasp the material. It is important that tutors are meticulous and patient and take the time to go back as far as necessary.
REPETITION: Next tutors drill each sub-concept to increase speed, accuracy and retention. This requires creating a number of similar problems that are unique through the use of different constants (values). One of the biggest difficulties for tutors is choosing constants that produce neat solutions. Tutors are strategic when creating these problems.
DEMONSTRATION: Tutors test smaller sub-concepts to ensure comprehension BEFORE moving onto new, more challenging sub-concepts. Testing can be achieved by designing problems that strategically target isolated pieces of comprehension. The tutorís ability to do this requires mastery of the material and acute attention to what the student understands. This is sometimes achieved when drills become easy in the repetition step and it is clear that the student has developed a proficient speed, and accuracy.
AUGMENTATION: Tutors repeat these steps with increasingly difficult sub-concepts until the full concept is reached.
This method is not for every student and every situation. However, it is very useful and effective for most.
Teaching Proofs of Formulas, Not the Formulas Themselves
Many times students have trouble remembering formulas and when to use them. This issue can be avoided by teaching the students proofs of formulas and not the formulas themselves. Tutors start by asking the student to use prerequisite knowledge to answer a question that the formula would normally allow them to do in one step. Then they show the student that they can find the answer. If they canít, the tutor will teach them to be able to using the PDR technique. Next, tutors ask students to do the same problem with variables in place of the constants.
Improved retention of formulas
Improved understanding of core concepts related to formulas
Improved confidence when using formulas
Putting the Concept in Context of the Entire Discipline
Tutors put the concept that is being studied in context of the entire discipline or even just the entire course. This helps the student gain perspective and assists in retention. It also makes learning of the material more fun and interesting. Learning something that is seemingly useless and isolated is far more difficult than learning something as part of a whole. Tutors do not spend a great deal of time doing this because it can confuse the student and take away from the development of the immediate concept. However, spending as much as five or ten minutes can make a huge difference.
Increased interest and attitude
Putting the Concept in Context of Other Disciplines and Real Life
In much the same way it is very beneficial to put the concept in context of application. This is especially helpful for students who donít enjoy math or who donít understand how it can possibly be useful in the real world and their lives.
Letís take the same student learning about graphing points. Say they would love to be wealthy one day and are interested in stocks. A tutor might quickly pull up a graph of a stockís value over the last few years. Say they pull up Appleís stock and point out the trends including what happened when the original iPhone came out in June 2007 or when the market crashed.
Increased interest and attitude
Development of Student Attitude and Motivation
Mentorship is just as important as the pure development of techniques and comprehension. Mentorship benefits students in the following ways:
Increased interest in math and science. Often times the only difference between students that succeed and students that donít is as simple as motivation. Years of a student not applying themselves in class and not taking homework seriously are more often than not the reasons for failure! Our tutors are passionate about Math and Science and let this passion be contagious.
Increased desire for success. One of the reasons we look for tutors with an exceptional level of scholastic and non-scholastic achievement is that it makes them mentors and role models who can stress the importance of doing the best at everything you do, even if it is not your passion. Our tutors get students excited about the fact that they are the masters of their fate, that they can achieve anything they want. Our tutors get students excited about the opportunities that are out there for people that want them, and making them aware that grades and intelligence in ALL subjects are critical to capitalizing on these opportunities.
Tutors encourage students or even force them to get ahead. Getting ahead and teaching our students the material before they hear it in lecture can help students to do the following:
Determine what the teacher is most interested in them knowing. With a grasp of the material, the student will be able to see what the teacher favors and can use the lecture as a means of gauging the likelihood of the certain problems or concepts showing up on the test.
Actually getting something out of the lecture. Most times a student that is remotely behind will sit in a lecture and have very little comprehension of the material being discussed. If the student has already learned or started to learn the material, they will already have a basis for understanding the lecture and will be able to use the lecture to reinforce and/or build on what you have already begun to teach them.
Increases participation in class.
Creates confidence and the sense that they are the smartest in the class, which in turn creates more confidence and better attitude and effort.
Investing in the Fundaments
Tutors convince students to invest in learning the fundamental as well as they possibly can. Spending a lot of time in the beginning to make sure that one knows fundamental material at a very natural and fluent level will help save that student time in the long run. Many students spend a great deal of extra time in more advanced classes trying to understand concepts that are difficult without a flawless comprehension of the fundamentals. Itís like learning to write poetry without knowing the alphabet: it is going to take a lot of work to develop a beautiful poem this way. So, tutors always push for the student to INVEST in their fundamentals by putting extra effort up front, and making it clear to them that they will probably spend less time in the long run and perform better if they do this.
The TI calculator is an excellent tool for the following reason:
It can be used to increase student speed
It can be used to check answers either through use of programs, graphing, or other techniques
It can assist in the development of comprehension via the graphing function
While the calculator must not be used as a crutch, which would prevent learning, it must certainly be used to increase scores on tests where they are permitted, for visualization of functions, and to lessen the time it takes to do busy work. Our tutors know every nook and cranny of the calculatorís functionality. Here are some important calculator skills that every Adam Wes Academics tutor has:
Be able to write a basic program that takes in variables, plugs them into an equation and outputs an answer, or a couple answers (must be able to write a program for the quadratic formula at the very least)
Be able to maneuver the home screen effectively using the insert key ([second] [delete]), the get previous line key ([second] [enter]), the jump to the beginning of a line or the end of a line key ([second] [right arrow] or [second] [left arrow])
Be able to store values to ďxĒ or any other variable for the efficient recalling of that value and to keep values exact in the case of repeating decimals and irrational values
Be able to compute definite integrals and the derivatives on the graph or on the home screen
Have a good understanding of all the zoom options
Know how to use all the functions under the MATH menu
Appendix A (pg. 566) contains all the syntax that you will need to know to develop basic programs.
Verbal Development and Hijacking the Pencil
There are some cases where students are either writing too slowly, writing too messy, or so unmotivated that waiting for them to write something on the paper is very inefficient. When this happens tutors will do one of two things:
Have them put the pencil down, sit back in their chair and just talk about math with the student. This gives the tutor an opportunity to move faster and engage the studentís brain with more control. It has another added benefit, which is to develop the studentís ďmental whiteboardĒ which they will have to utilize while visualizing the math and/or science that is discussed. This technique literally involves talking out problems as if doing them on paper. For this reason, problems generally have to be shorter but more can be completed in a given amount of time.
Hijack the pencil. Just take the pencil from your student and do the writing for them. Let them tell you what to write and add in what you think will assist in the process of them learning. The great thing about taking this approach is it also gives the student an idea of how they should format their work, and exposes them to certain notation that is useful and can eventually be turned into habit. Anything that can help neatness and organization is very valuable.
Tutors use this technique sparingly since students can become accustomed to it and not develop in ways that writing the work down on their own can do for them. Using it intermittently even if only for a few minutes can boost focus and speed up the process of learning. Sessions should be intense and packed with as much learning as possible and this helps a lot!
Attending to Careless Mistakes
Possibly one of the most frustrating issues for students, tutors, parents and teachers is careless mistakes. This can be so frustrating because most feel like these mistakes are impossible to avoid and will happen sporadically. However, this is not the case! While students vary greatly in their innate vulnerability to careless mistakes, they can all be trained to make less and given tools that can assist in catching them.
Training the student involves developing their awareness and helping them create the habit of assessing every mark that is made on their paper. This can take many sessions and must be constantly enforced.
Taking Short Breaks
Tutors are highly aware of studentís level of focus. Some students donít require breaks in the slightest, but most high school, and just about all middle school students do. When a studentís focus starts to wane, the tutor will act to bring their focus back. Taking a break for 30 second to 5 minutes normally does the trick. This break could come in a lot of different forms and is designed to alleviate and also energize the mind. By switching the subject away from the subject at hand, the studentís mind will be alleviated from the thought tension that the tutor has been imposing on them. By talking about something that interests them or gets them excited, the studentís mind will be energized. The goal of the tutor is to spend as little time as possible doing this since these breaks are for the sole purpose of teaching the student more in the allotted time. Thatís right, when done correctly, strategically placed breaks can actually help the student learn more.
Tutoring Fee and Tutors Availability
|Pre-K / Kindergarten, Elementary, Junior High School, High School, College, Graduate
|Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
|Long Term or Open-Ended Tutoring Commitments.
|$35.00 to $85.00
|This tutor offers a sliding scale for students with economic hardships.
|More than 50