I am a designer and teacher from Venezuela & Puerto Rico. Spanish is my native language but I am fluent in English with an (almost) native proficiency. I was incredibly blessed to grow up influenced by various different Latin-american nationalities, sub-cultures and accents. This makes me specially qualified to share a wide range of cultural undertones and nuances from an insider's perspective.
My tutoring method is to make language mean something to the student: make it relatable and practical. What is more relatable than speaking? What could connect people in a more effective way than language? Language makes love, art, science, sport and life possible. I teach language as a key to experiencing life itself. Having the advantage of a second language has enriched and changed my life tremendously. I hope I can help others experience that, too.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Make it relatable. Bring it home. How will the student remember? Why should they care about what they're learning? What will make the connection between what they are learning and their life? I tell stories with my teaching; I answer questions with anecdotes that bring the point home in ways figures and charts can't. I try to make connections between language concepts and everyday situations that will stick with the student way beyond our lesson. Like cavemen retelling stories by the fire for generations, I believe that it is not only the message, but also HOW it's shared that shapes our view of the world.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Share a bit about myself. Ask questions about how they feel about the subject we are studying and why they feel this way. Most importantly, I try to assure them that no matter how frustrated they may be and how mysterious and difficult Spanish may seem - it's something they can achieve.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Provide them with tools and resources. Try to understand how they learn best and encourage habits that fit these tendencies. For example, if my Spanish 3 student enjoys music, I will recommend excellent Spanish bands and songs that will be easier to understand, and we can discuss the lyrics together.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Find what they are truly interested in. Language is wonderful because it is engrained in everything we do. Music? Movies? Books? Sports? Art? Language is in all of these things. I would recommend (as much as is relevant) media and resources based on the student's personal interests in order to keep them onboard and engaged.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try a different approach! Explain it differently. Maybe through a story? Maybe through a piece of art or movie? Maybe the textbook has done it better? Or even ask the student: "How would you explain this concept to me?" Sometimes the student has to try to explain something themselves to truly grasp a concept!
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Get to know the human being. What does this person care about? How can I make this relatable to who they are?