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LaShonda

My academic training, passion and talent for interdisciplinary research and teaching, specifically in Literature, American History, World History, Women’s History and Performance Studies were honed in the American Studies graduate program at the College of William and Mary, where I earned the Ph.D. I also hold the M.A. in Women's History from Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, NY) and am a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.A. English Literature and Linguistics).

A crucial component of my educational experience has included international travel, sparked by experience as a foreign exchange student both to France and Germany. In college, I minored in German. Subsequently, I also enjoy tutoring in German. As an academic, my scholarship has taken me to over seventeen countries, including Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Holland, South Africa, and many, many trips to France and Germany.

For the past fifteen years, I have enjoyed a plethora of teaching experiences from academic posts, to tutoring and consultant work--and even to adult courses for non-matriculating students.

Beyond the college liberal arts classroom detailed below, I have also garnered high school teaching experience in Manhattan’s private, progressive schools. For example, I was a sick-leave replacement faculty member in U.S. history in the Upper School at The Calhoun School (2006), where I taught eleventh grade high school students. The keystone experience of 11th grade curriculum at Calhoun is an interdisciplinary research paper, which earns credit it both a student's U.S. History course and their English course. Drawing on my interdisciplinary experience, I successfully guided students through research skills, literary analysis and the tools requisite for historical perspective. Another example includes my experience working in New York City public schools, K-12, as a Curriculum/Professional Development consultant with Ventures Education Systems Corporation (VESC). As a consultant for this national school reform and professional development organization, I designed and delivered workshops in balanced literarcy, test preparation and critical thinking. I evaluated curriculum for elementary/middle school language arts and social studies and developed teaching guides with objectives, essential questions, activities, ongoing assessments, and state standards alignment.

For the past several summers, I offered SAT prep tutoring at Mini Ivy in Lower Manhattan, working with students in the age range of 13-18, primarily on preparation for the SAT but also in essay writing.

I have taught literature, history, jazz studies and women's studies at a plethora of the nation's ivy league universities and best liberal arts colleges, including: Columbia University (NY); Sarah Lawrence College (NY); Hunter College (NY); and Brown University (RI).

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of Missouri-Kansas City - Bachelors, English & Linguistics

Graduate Degree:

 College of the College of William and Mary - PhD, American Studies

writing, singing jazz, traveling internationally and domestically, dancing, cooking, reading, playing with my toy poodle (Django)

College Level American History

College World History

Comparative Literature

Conversational German

German 1

German 2

High School Level American History

High School World History

US History

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching principles include articulating clear expectations from students, formulating objectives for what students should understand and be able to use effectively, employing a variety of approaches to teaching during each session, and prompting students to critical and creative thinking.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

To gain a sense of the student.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

To promote independent thinking, I introduce students to several structured thinking skills during my tutorial sessions. These skills are quick, reliable methods that aid students in unpacking information (i.e. for a complex reading assignment); organizing information effectively (which puts students on a road of assurance for writing assignments, which may feel daunting), and methods for reviewing their work for submission. I encourage students to draw on their multiple forms of intelligence--to not separate bodies of knowledge but to have confidence in a more holistic approach to their work--drawing on information they may already hold from different subjects.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Personalizing work is a wonderful way to stimulate and motivate a student. As a teacher, I feel it is important to make personal connections to the material--even if the final outcome, the final assignment is not personally-oriented. It remains a good idea to think personally about the assignment--to make those personal connections--and to branch out from there. This gives the work an added significance and also helps the student to remember the work for some time to come.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

The first step in helping a student grasp a difficult concept or skill is to slow down the pace at which we are learning. Secondly, we dissect the components or steps in a problem, assuring that at each step or level, the student is clear on what is being asked. Often, clarity is a key toward unlocking a door to a problematic skill. Thirdly, we approach the skill or concept together--articulating aloud the approach(s) we are making.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension is a specialty of mine. I introduce structured thinking skills (that I've created) which aid students in breaking down large chunks of information--sometimes given in exam reading problems or school assignments. Learning how to dissect information on the page is a feat many students grasp quickly, and within little time students are able to transfer the page-skillset to their brain so that they can automatically dissect chunks of information, without even needing to write it down. However, I stress to students that note-taking and using graphic organizers (like those I use in tutorial sessions) should never carry shame. It is a wonderful idea to boost reading comprehension and also makes writing essays a much smoother process.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

The most useful strategy is communicating a work plan and thoroughly understanding each juncture of the tutorial session. I also find that scaffolding work, wherein I mean several different styles of lessons within any given session, optimizes student success because it enables students to assess their own "best practices" (the best ways they learn material.) I often solicit from students which of the styles of lessons they like best (and I ask them why). Later, if challenging material is being taught, we will definitely use the skill sets and styles of lessons the student feels the most comfortable with.