Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"As the student is not currently enrolled in any humanities courses and does not have any assignments that follow an essay format, I am concentrating more on introducing an "insider" understanding of conversational American English, culture, and dialectical nuances. Since he had voiced an interest in picking up some American idioms and other slang, I am explaining word origins and cultural connotations through the historical movements and subcultures they may have emerged from ("cool" and "hipster" from the Beat era of 1950s New York and how other words from the same time period are sometimes used for a self-consciously outdated connotation; "awesome," "rad," and "dude" from the contemporaneous surfer culture occurring on the west coast). This cultural-historical approach seems like a generative area of discussion in regards to providing him with a more grounded, fluid grasp of English and its variations between regions and contexts. I have also recommended to him some literature that he may enjoy reading as a way of becoming more intimate with the language."
"Since we've covered a lot of humanities material, I decided to begin today by looking at some SAT math problems. The student knew most of the vocabulary in these problems. We then went over the essay that he had written for homework. It was much better in terms of presenting specific examples in support of the argument. After that, we worked from the TOEFL prep book. We did two listening exercises and several speaking questions. As with his reading comprehension, his listening ability is much improved. We will spend our remaining sessions working on speaking fluency. We finished up with a few exercises about phrasal verbs. His homework is to review his vocabulary flashcards."
"We continued in the theme of what we had done on Tuesday. We started by talking about what he liked to do as a child. This introduced the past simple as a tense and allowed us to explore the pronunciation and conjugation of various verbs. Then we transitioned into "what were you doing at X O'clock on Y Day?" This allowed us to explore the past progressive and then work on differentiating the two tenses. We then read the paper together an worked through sentence construction."