Ask an Educator: Bradley Conrad, Ph.D.
Social-Emotional Learning, Perceptive Teaching, and Resources for Educators
Everyone at Yup shares a deep passion for education and improving access to learning resources. Many of us are also former teachers and tutors with combined decades of experience in helping students grow. We wanted to take a moment and introduce one of the many people who make Yup great and brings years of academic expertise to the team!
After graduating from Harvard University, he began his teaching career in Boston. Kreg then moved to New York and taught Algebra, Pre-Calculus, and Statistics at high-performing Brooklyn charter schools. It was there that he became Academic Dean, overseeing the professional development of a team of 10 teachers. Kreg currently serves Yup tutors and students as our Director of Academics, leading the strategy behind how our tutors teach.
We sat down with Kreg to learn a bit more about his background in education and what inspired him to join Yup. Keep an eye out for a second installment of our conversation, in which we’ll dive deeper into Yup’s teaching methods and Kreg’s hopes for the near future of tutoring methods and technology.
Teaching at a charter high school in New York taught me the importance of being able to measure that students are learning over time. What really struck me, and eventually inspired me to join Yup, was realizing the value of frequent intervention.
What I mean by that is, intervening early and often to help students learn in a structured way. This could be providing them with daily support in the form of half an hour of individualized instruction, at their level of need.
It was a huge part of it, yes! The first time I hopped on the app I was blown away by three things. First, ease of access. It’s just really simple for students to get started. Second, quality of instruction. The tutors and their teaching are really high caliber. Third, frequency. Yup gives students an opportunity to get consistent access to math help, and this repeated exposure helps them build more confidence and a positive attitude when it comes to math. If a student could get that intervention for even 20 minutes a night, it would be such a game-changer.
Great question. To back it up for a moment, let’s talk about good teaching. What is it? There’s a common misconception that strong teaching is a long lecture in front of a classroom. Very one-way. Don’t get me wrong, there are amazing teachers who impart knowledge to students like this. What’s missing, in my opinion, is the engagement that really gets students to think critically and retain information long-term.
Our tutor application and vetting process screens for this ability to push critical thinking. How do we measure it in action? Every Yup tutoring session is recorded, and it’s my team’s job to review them all and score the teaching according to our proprietary rubric. We’re able to control and prove our teaching efficacy in a way that most schools are unable to, primarily due to resource constraints. If you’re a Dean like I was, overseeing 10 teachers, you can’t possibly watch and give meaningful feedback for all of their lessons.
Piggybacking on what I just explained, one of the first things I noticed when trying the app is that our tutors don’t give away the answers. They ask questions to get at the core of the problem, and from there we go through steps to find a solution together. This is so important for truly mastering concepts. If you’re just getting the answer, you’re not learning anything.
I can touch on this a bit more when we talk about our teaching methods!
Here’s what I can say from my experience. A lot of the time, learning difficulty comes down to trouble forming habits and building a positive relationship with math. So many students I’ve worked with would give up fast when they got stuck, and wouldn’t want to ask for help. It’s such a common hurdle among students.
I think Yup can do a lot to serve these students in particular, because there’s no friction of use. They just take out their phone, open the app, take a picture, and a minute later they have help. Somebody who’s going to walk them through a concept, help them get unstuck, and be very understanding and empathetic throughout the process.
Keep an eye out for the second part of our conversation with Kreg, coming soon. In the meantime, get familiar with some of the other members of Yup’s Learning Team! To learn more about providing Yup for your child, check out our enrollment page.