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Tutoring

Reflections
EDTP 645 9040

Tajma Cameron
Tutoring Reflections 2

Abstract

This report provides a three part tutoring reflection of my time tutoring high school

students. This tutoring reflection is a component of EDTP 645 Subject Methods and Assessment

for the UMUC MAT program. I conducted the tutoring sessions over the course of seven days at

Broome Street Academy Charter School in New York, New York. The subject was Biology for

the Living Environment course with students in the 9th grade. I have logged 26 hours of tutoring

lessons with three students. The tutoring session began on October 10th and ended on October

18th. The hours varied day to day and the sessions took place at the adjoining center called The

Door which closes at 8 pm during the school week. I tried my best to divide the time evenly

between the three students however one student had an exam coming up and I decided to provide

him with extra time. The students names are Yosmarie a 14 year old female in the 9th grade,

Zaire a 14 year old male in the 9th grade, and Elvis a 14 year old male in the 9th grade. All of

these students are freshman at Broome Street Academy Charter School.


Tutoring Reflections 3

Reflection I
For the first day of each of the tutoring sessions I spent the first 15 minutes of each

session getting to know the students. This included finding out what they liked and disliked in

class. Understanding that I fit a different role than their teacher I decided to personalize the

learning experience and tailor it specifically to the kind of learner I was tutoring. I had a

notebook where I wrote down the specific objectives for effectively tutoring the students. I

wanted to ensure that I was incorporating real world connections to the students interests. I also

wanted to ensure that I was highlighting their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. It was

important for me to establish this early on so that each student would feel more connected to me

which would directly have an impact on my ability to effectively teach them. I provided

assistance with homework assignments as well as upcoming tests. Two of the students needed

more assistance with homework than with an exam so I focused more on the areas where they

needed my help. Although I was familiar with Benjamin Blooms taxonomy of learning

domains, I was not as familiar with his teaching on being an effective tutor. Therefore, prior to

my tutoring sessions I became familiar with his insight on the effectiveness of tutoring. This

helped me immensely me as Bloom emphasized the fact that students who are more engaged in

self explanation will perform more successfully. I also made sure to use higher order assessment

questions when tutoring the students.

All three of the students native language was English. The students reacted positively to

my questions and it helped them feel more comfortable with me when they learned that I am

close with the teacher involved in setting up the tutoring sessions. Once students felt comfortable

with moving forward I began the session by looking over their homework assignments and test

review. As we worked through the biology content I made sure to monitor student learning while
Tutoring Reflections 4

engaging my students. Using Schn's notion of reflection, I had to adjust my instruction

sometimes when the students did not understand something that I explained to them. For

instance, when I verbally explained the difference between atoms, elements, and compounds to

Yosmarie she found it difficult to remember the details. However, I came prepared with

manipulatives because I wasnt sure of the learning style of each student. This proved successful

because my foldable detailed information and pictures of atoms, element, compounds, ionic and

covalent bonds. I gave Yosmarie the foldable and she was so grateful because she is a kinesthetic

or tactile learner.

I spent a great deal of the session with each student assessing their understanding of key

concepts and terms related to the topic. I used formative assessments and constantly checked for

understanding. I also provided modeling, manipulatives, and examples to teach them the content.

I knew that by the end of our seven day tutoring sessions I wanted students to display meta-

cognition. To achieve this I actively engaged the students while also allowing them to explain

their answers rather than give me a simple yes or no answer. I noticed that Yosmarie was using

memorization a lot when teaching her so I made notes of that in my journal. Zaire seemed

anxious because he had an upcoming exam and was unfamiliar with some of the key concepts. I

realized that until he felt less anxious I would not be able to get through to him enough to

comprehend what was being taught. I decided to ask him what he liked to do for hobbies and he

told me basketball. I then used basketball to talk about atoms and how if an atom were the size of

a basketball its electrons, protons, and neutrons would increase. Zaire immediately lit up and

began asking me more questions. I noticed that Elvis like Yosmarie understood better when I

used manipulatives. I brought with me foldables and a 3D atom model that I borrowed for my
Tutoring Reflections 5

tutoring sessions. I decided to bring these manipulatives with me and to connect it to the content

that was found in the students textbook.

Since my first session with the Yosmarie, Zaire, and Elvis I have spent the majority of the

time ensuring that students understood the basic concepts of the unit. All of the students

indicated to me that they enjoyed visual representations of what they needed to learn. Therefore I

created flash cards for them and take home manipulatives that I prepared after Day 1. For the

first three sessions I spent a total of 4 hours for the first day , 4 hours the second day, and 3 hours

the third day. I divided the time amongst the three students but because Zaire had an exam

coming up I gave him an extra 30 minutes on day one and two. For all of the students I spent the

time on helping them with whatever they needed. For Yosmarie and Elvis, I spent the session on

their homework assignment. For Zaire, I spent the session on his exam using the flash cards,

manipulatives, and a worksheet I created after our first session.

I was pleasantly surprised that by Day 3 the students were showing a better understanding

of the concepts and actually improved on their homework. They were more engaged and even

though they still experienced some confusion they were able to articulate what was causing them

difficulty. Zaire seemed more confident because he had take home study guides. He remarked

that sometimes its difficult writing all of the notes down in class so having flash cards and the

worksheet helped him to focus on the material.


Tutoring Reflections 6

Reflection II

Since my last tutoring reflection report I have made successful strides with my students.

Unfortunately, on day 5 Zaire wasnt feeling well so we didnt get to go as deep into his studying

session as I wanted. Yosmarie and Elvis brought in their graded homework this week and they

both improved. There are still some concepts that they are confused about so I decided to focus

our time mostly on getting to distinguish between elements and compounds. I brought in a copy

of the periodic table for Yosmarie and Elvis so that I could teach them a few tips that I learned

with respect to remembering the types of elements. The students seemed even more at ease with

me and we were able to go through the tutoring session with only minor interruptions.

Sometimes they would glance down at their phones so I would calmly ask them to wait for our

session to be over before looking at their social media. Before starting the sessions I spent about

five minutes asking them how they were doing and how they spent their weekend. Once they

settled in I began going over their new homework assignments. I wanted to improve from the

week before so I asked my students what part of my instruction worked best for them. They

informed me that when I had images to accompany vocabulary terms or key concepts it helped

them to visualize the information much better. Therefore, I didnt use the flash cards these

sessions because it wasnt as effective as I thought. Despite have success with my students I have

also faced some challenges that I will document in this reflection.

I usually spend between 1 and 1 hours for my tutoring sessions with each student. In

the case of Zaire however on two occasions he received hour more time because of his

upcoming exam. The new content that I introduced has provided some challenges for Zaire. He

wanted to focus on information that he already knew but I told him that this would not help him

with his upcoming exam. I started to sense some anxiety with relation to the exam and him not
Tutoring Reflections 7

feeling that he would perform well. I tried to ease his mind by telling him that I would construct

another worksheet with all of the useful information he would need. This idea seemed to ease his

concerns but he was still a bit distracted. Yosmarie scored a 4/5 on her homework assignment

which was an improvement from 3/5 the week before. Elvis also scored higher on his homework

assignment which was scored out of 10. He told me that he got a 6/10 and how happy he was to

now score an 8/10. I was so happy to know that the combination of images and words assisted

the students as much as it did.

I created a quiz that I gave to the students the last session of this reflection. I incorporated

multiple choice and short answer questions. I noticed that they scored well with the multiple

choice questions but struggled with some of the short answer questions. I decided to give them

partial credit if they answered portions of the question correctly. The results of the quiz have

allowed me to gain an understanding on what I need to improve upon for our next sessions.

Yosmarie remarked that some of the wording was confusing so I will adapt my new questions to

be more clear and concise.

Another challenge that I have faced deals with pacing. Even though I have an agenda

when students are having trouble understanding some information I dont move on to other

problem areas. I will take steps to improve my pacing for the final three days of my tutoring

sessions. I think that once I address the challenges that I have faced I will become a more

effective tutor. Yosmarie, Elvis, and Zaire have all been vocal in telling me what is working for

them and what they need more help with and although I only have three more days I know that I

can successfully make the necessary changes.


Tutoring Reflections 8

Reflection III

My tutoring sessions have come to a close and because they were done over 7 days and

two weeks I was able to see improvements in my students. I noticed that since the last reflection

Yosmarie and Elvis have increased their homework completion and with accuracy. Zaire now

sets goals and uses a weekly agenda which is something that I recommended he create so that he

would not be overwhelmed. Overall I have been happy with the results and progression and my

ability to improve on my organizational strategies. Zaires general study skills have also

improved and he doesnt seem to get stuck on one concept or thought as much. I was a bit

discouraged after my last reflection because I thought that I needed more time with my students

to teach them on their content. I felt as though if I had a little more time then I could provide

them with more useful techniques when completing homework and tests. However, after

speaking to Yosmarie, Elvis, and Zaire, I was pleasantly surprised with their assessment of our

time together.

Since my last reflection I unfortunately was unable to go over new content with Zaire.

However, the content that he needed to understand for his exam was covered and the worksheet

provided to him after my last reflection. I think that the students were able to make connections

through imagery and some prior knowledge. This gave me the ability to use scaffolding to

support their comprehension of new ideas. This showed me that these students can use

metacognition going forward in their education. Students were able to activate their schema and

made references about current events related to the lesson. For instance, when discussing

covalent bonds Zaire made a remark that covalent bonds are responsible for how our clothes are

created. This was definitely a positive sign that our sessions allowed Zaire to draw inferences

from the material being presented.


Tutoring Reflections 9

During these last sessions with Yosmarie and Elvis I was happy to see that they went up

one point on their homework assignment. Zaires exam is this Friday (October 20th) so I wont

know the results until next week however, I am confident that he will score well based on our

sessions. Yosmarie and Elvis improved mostly with reading questions carefully and responding

with the accurate answer. Since my last reflection I have kept the same agenda for each tutoring

session. I wanted to make sure that all of the students understood the concepts needed to properly

complete their homework and prepare for any exams. Homework assistance lasted between 30-

40 minutes, 20 minutes was spent on vocabulary reinforcement typically with advance

organizers. During our last sessions I introduced all students to the Jeopardy Labs website. This

was a great way to wind down the lesson while still providing the students with important

information. It was an engaging interactive activity that I used to replace the quiz from the first

sessions. I have spent less time with the flash cards as documented in my Reflection II. I decided

to provide reinforcements in a variety of ways that was most suitable for the type of learner. This

meant using a combination of texts with visuals, manipulatives, and interactive activities.

Throughout my tutoring sessions I had successes and challenges. I feel confident in

stating that I addressed challenges and adapted my teaching style to meet the needs of all my

students. The successes of the students have made this tutoring experience extremely satisfying. I

feel that we connected and were able to accomplish most of the goals I set for these tutoring

sessions. The challenges that I faced also pushed me to become a more effective tutor and thus a

more effective teacher. In the future I will make sure to focus on pacing so that I can meet all of

my objectives.