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Landon Guenther

EDUC-250 22K
12 March, 2016
Tutoring Experience Journal 1
Chapter 2
I have actually gathered quite a bit of experience tutoring students. Ever since my third
semester in college I have been tutoring math, mainly in algebra. During this time, I have
developed two major ideas when it comes to tutoring, and teaching in general; firstly, perspective
is everything. When a teacher settles on taking a single perspective in a classroom setting, they
close themselves off to the possibility that a student is unable to understand something in the way
it is being explained. That leads me to my second belief, which is that it is important for a teacher
to know multiple different ways to explain something. By explaining how to solve a problem in a
way that students understand best, I believe that any student can store it in their long-term
memory. For example, when it comes to factoring binomials in algebra, most students do okay
with the FOIL method (First, Outside, Inside, Last), however I have also run across students who
have never heard of it. I also attempt to explain the basis of FOIL; that it is basically long-form
distribution, or I also have a strategy that calls upon the biology exercise known as Punnett
Squares. This is normally used to show how dominant and recessive genes interact, but I can
adapt it for binomials if a student is especially strong in biology or science.
Chapter 3
During tutoring, I often use positive reinforcement throughout, such as telling a student
that theyve done well when they have remembered the steps required in solving a problem, or
on occasions in which students will catch a mistake that I missed at one point. I also provide
negative reinforcement in that I often use problems from homework as some examples, helping
them to learn how to solve those problems while also helping them knock out some homework
along the way. I also help students to create notecards for tests when they are allowed to use

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them. These will take away stress and anxiety for the class and its work. I could easily end up
adapting this strategy to a larger class. Though I probably would not have the time to work with
each student individually, providing students with a notecard or a cheat sheet for things like
formulas could be beneficial to those who are not strong mathematically.
Chapter 4
Along with this reinforcement, I do what I can to passively encourage self-regulation.
Firstly, by making myself as available as possible, as well as doing everything in my power to
help my students. By doing this, I show my students that there are people there to help them; that
so long as they are willing to accept help and take the steps needed to get help, there will be
people around to give the help. By making this clear to them, I put the responsibility into their
hands. I usually find that students will rise to the occasion with this, and take that step
themselves. This may be a strategy that has to change in a high school setting though, as at that
age group independence is not as common. I may have to be a bit more firm, requiring students
to stay after class to get extra help or speaking to their advisor about it.
Chapter 5
Most often, the classic lecture setup combined with some hands-on practice seems like
the ideal way to teach mathematics, but that way only reaches out very well to visual and
auditory learners. With Math being such an abstract subject, especially one thats so difficult to
represent after the basics, it can be difficult to help tactile learners learn the subject. I find that
the best method is to walk them through the process as they write the problems. More often than
not, this involves the student at the board with a marker and me explaining the steps necessary,
usually after showing the student a couple of examples. This does not work as well in a full
classroom, as there is not enough time for every student to come to the board and solve a

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problem, but there is always the option of presenting a class with a problem and having them
work it out individually before going over it as a group. I also encourage students to break a
habit I find many develop, which is that they are very eager to do multiple steps at once during a
problem. I will emphasize that they should write down every step, even if its as simple as
drawing the lines between terms when they FOIL, just because that sort of thing can help to
internalize the steps better.
Chapter 6
As far as goals go, I have little doubt that my students simply have performance goals.
While it is always delightful to teach students with mastery goals, they also tend to be the
students who do not seek out tutoring or any extra help aside from asking their teachers in the
classroom. Math is the sort of subject that is enjoyable to few, but there are still days that,
regardless of their disposition towards the subject, I find students seem to genuinely enjoy the
tutoring sessions. It is those days in particular that I really enjoy this line of work, and I feel that
if I can find a student like that every now and again, I will have no problem with teaching for a
living. As far as anxiety goes, I do not see much during the tutoring. I suppose that is good, as the
students should feel comfortable around their tutor, though I feel as though some of them
probably have issues with testing anxiety. The biggest psychological issue I find is probably the
pure frustration. Frustration from difficult internalizing the material, as well as frustration from
excessively trying to study or work with these sorts of abstract concepts for long periods of time.
None of this frustration ever turns aggressive, though. I believe that the normal students I have
tutored are relatively well adjusted, although some of them have told me that they are on
academic probation (which, to me, indicates an exceptionality in their educational psyche).