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My name is Tamika Ono. I'm currently a graduate student at California State University Long Beach. My areas of excellence include linguistics (all sub-disciplines), English, writing/grammar/stylistics, and standardized test preparation. I've maintained a 3.7 GPA in my major pretty much since my sophomore year, and put the same dedication into most other areas of my life. I'm fun loving, bright, and energetic, and make it a point to bring that same spunk to my work (because no one likes to 'study' when it means being talked at and reading hundreds of pages.) Hopefully I will be allowed to bring the same devotion and results to whomever I tutor!

Undergraduate Degree:

 Rutgers University-Camden - Bachelors, English and Linguistics

Graduate Degree:

 California State University Long Beach - Masters, Linguistics

My hobbies include jewelry making, reading, and binge watching Netflix series'. I also very much enjoy to solve linguistics problem sets in my spare time (to keep my mind sharp), and to shop. I love to shop.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My basic teaching philosophy is that everyone learns in different ways. I am an audio-visual learner for example, but I know many others who aren't. I feel that true learning comes out of genuine interest, relatability, and enjoyment, so as a teacher or tutor, these are the most important factors to consider and implement. It is easier for a student to feign interest in a subject than for a teacher to spark genuine interest in it, but that's what makes teaching so special!

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

Get to know them. In order to be efficient at anything in life, the first step is to try to grasp and understand what it is that you're there to do. The most important part of teaching is understanding who you're teaching to. So, getting to know your audience, tutee, or student is crucial.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Instill a sense of curiosity and desire to learn that will extend beyond any institutionalized setting. While a student may not be interested in grammar specifically, if they have an interest in sports for example, teach them that sporting columns are a good place to look to for stylistic purposes or to even learn how different genres have different writing conventions. Basically, teach beyond textbooks and classrooms, and that subject matter exists in all places and that they are taught to us for a reason.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Reinforce progress and play up the feeling of finally understanding a concept with which they may have had trouble before. There is nothing like solving a problem on your own for the first time, and truly understanding where the problem was. Once real learning and analytical thinking occurs, just show them how easy it was, and how much easier all of the future problems will be. Demonstrate that lack of motivation stems from a feeling of defeat, but that defeat is a matter of perspective.

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

Try to weed out where the root is of the difficulty. I find that usually there isn't a single identifiable problem, so much as a root which has altered or molded a thought process, which, in turn, results in the wrong answer. I would try to find out why the student answered the way they did, and then work backward to find the root of the problem and then create a new track for the train of thought to proceed on for a better suited outcome.

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

The best trick that I learned, which ultimately helped with many other areas, was to paraphrase. When I had difficulty with reading comprehension, I would always read a sentence or paragraph and then ask myself what it was TRYING to tell me instead of focusing on what it actually said. The key for me was to remember that writers are also people like myself, so understanding what was being expressed was more crucial than the words themselves. This ultimately also helped with my writing, my analytical thinking, and my composition.

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

While different methods work better with specific subjects, for the most part the most effective strategies for me have been a seamless merging of think-aloud analytical thinking, argumentative defense, and "teach it back" exercises. First, I get students to talk their way to an answer that they believe makes sense. Then, I'll try to get them to make an argument about why they picked this answer and see if they can defend it above all other outcomes. (This has been especially efficient for test-prep fill-in-the-blank style vocabulary exercises.) And lastly, check for ultimate comprehension by seeing if they can explain back to me in their own words what I said, either by coming up with a new problem, or as part of their defense.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

By showing them that there's nothing to fear, and by making it more relatable. As a student, the largest obstacle for myself to overcome regarding a subject was my own fear of "getting it wrong" or feeling like "I just don't get it." Now, however, I think that these are both manifestations of the same emotion: fear. By pointing out that school work is really just school work, and not a life altering decision at this stage, I think students will be able to think more openly about solutions. In this same vein, demonstrating that there are other ways to think about a problem is also especially crucial. Math may not always be interesting, but perhaps the stats for Pokemon are. Using more relatable and interesting resources is important to instill a sense of genuine interest.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

"Teach it back" protocols. If a student can seamlessly, and in their own words, using their own examples, teach back to me what I taught to them, then there's a good chance they've mastered the material.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Keep drilling, reinforce progress, and when ready, get them to create their own problems. I feel that practice does make perfect, but in steps, the first of which is to become comfortable with the subject, because comfort will eventually translate to confidence.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

"Teach it back" protocols. If a student can seamlessly, and in their own words, using their own examples, teach back to me what I taught to them, then there's a good chance they've mastered the material.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Relatability is key. Knowing my students and their learning style(s) is fundamental to being able to present information in an interesting way. It is hard to learn something in which you have 0 interest. So, by getting to know my students and the ways in which they learn best (i.e.: what subject areas, how they are taught, what kinds of materials are used etc.), I can adapt my own methods of teaching to maximize both student interest and informativeness.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

This would depend wholly on the subject matter. If I am tutoring linguistics, I'm happy to bring my own notes and exercises from previous classes. I've kept every linguistics note since my freshman year of college. If it is test prep, grammar, or writing composition, I generally use books (often of the student's choosing), essays, or test prep manuals as guiding materials. I'll also sometimes ask students to bring their own writing samples or assignment with which they had difficulty, so we can go over them together and reanalyze with fresh eyes.