From 2012 to 2014, I attended and passed one of the country's most rigorous, fast-paced language courses at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California for Mandarin Chinese. There I achieved above-standard proficiency in Chinese and I also learned many study techniques and tutoring techniques to help my fellow classmates pass with me. Currently I study Linguistics at California State University, Long Beach. I am 23 and married. I can't wait to meet my new students and share with them my unique angle learning Chinese. Being a non-native speaker means I can better cater to the English translation portion of Chinese as well as relate better to native English speakers learning Chinese. I am excited to continue my Chinese journey by teaching and learning from new students and old students alike!
California State University, Long Beach - BA, Linguistics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe every student has a different and unique learning style. Few people are fully visual, fully auditory, or fully kinesthetic. I strive to find that perfect blend and maximize efficiency while studying and attending lectures alike.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I prefer to prepare several different levels of material in order to fully gauge a student's current stage of learning. Additionally, I would ask the student pointed questions in order to figure out what kind of tutoring he or she needs in order to succeed.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Study techniques differ from student to student. Visual memorization, auditory memorization, and kinesthetic memorization all are part of the learning experience. The option that seems most fun and enjoyable for a student is always the best option. Rote memorization, passive listening, and reading out loud are just a few study techniques that students can use to really push their Chinese to new levels.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Presenting fresh material can help keep things from becoming dull. Additionally, games using vocabulary or grammar patterns can increase energy and improve a student's attitude towards the language. The most important thing when attempting to stay motivated in learning a language is attitude. As long as you are enjoying the studying process, you will never lose motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Catering to the student's needs is one of my main focal points. Not understanding a skill or concept can be overcome through different avenues of approach; we can break down lessons in different ways to better show the student what it is that they are missing.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a difficult skill to master, especially in Chinese. I would first find out where the problem lies; it can either be a problem of translation or a multiple-choice comprehension problem. After diagnosing the issue, I would delve deeper into that area of study in order to improve the student where they are weak.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know a student and his or her tendencies, hobbies, interests, habits, and thus style of learning will eventually lead to a successful student-teacher relationship.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When a student begins to lose interest or struggle in a foreign language, one can often dig into the student's hobbies and teach language strictly from that point of view. For example, if a student enjoys basketball, give him or her a few articles about basketball in the target language. More often than not, they will be reinvigorated and seek to improve their skills.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Multiple choice is the tried and true way of "testing." It is not, however, the most efficient way to test comprehension. Translations into English will show whether or not a student really understands a passage, whether it's reading or listening.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Easier material can replenish confidence. In second language learning, confidence is something that can be filled up and diminished. A particularly hard passage can destroy one's confidence, while easier less dense passages can be a big help in terms of attitude.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Speaking, reading, and listening are the three categories that I mainly focus on. If I notice that a student has a particularly good ear for Chinese but is not as apt at reading, I will focus on the latter. To determine this, speaking and reading practice at the first few sessions is imperative.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The three types of learning styles can all be met head on with different tutoring techniques. Kinesthetic learners require some sort of activity to keep their mind engaged. Visual learners handle pictures, videos, and charts very well. Auditory learners must have listening attached to all facets of learning, such as reading out loud.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I attempt to incorporate any and every form of material that is physically available to me, but not necessarily all in one session. The use of technology and media can link this generation of learners to a topic, while pen and paper can really encourage kinesthetic learners to gain the muscle memory necessary to memorize by rote. Additionally, I am always open-minded in my approach, and if a student has an idea on how they feel they should learn or are learning, I am glad to give most techniques a shot or two.