I spent two decades of my professional life teaching English in Germany authorizing and co-authorizing textbooks for the English classroom. Since I have been living in the United States, I enjoy teaching German from beginner to college level. My teaching experience ranges from children at the elementary school level till adults who need German language skills for their career of for enrichment.
During my stay in the US, I had the opportunity to develop curricula for teaching German in public schools as well as private schools and wrote articles in the field of German literature. Undoubtedly, my academic background (MA in German and English and a Ph.D. in the field of education) help me to provide solid work for my students.
Back in Germany as well here in the States, I had ample opportunities to teach individual students German or English as a Foreign Language. The age range was as young as 8 while my oldest student was 73. I am looking forward to pass on my knowledge and skills in the German language to anybody who is curious and interested in learning this language in the San Antonio area, which I call home since the end of 2014. Willkommen! Welcome.
What is my approach? First of all, I listen carefully, very carefully. I believe it is important for an excellent job to know precisely what my client wants to accomplish. Understanding this is the prerequisite to give good advice, guidance and then, of course, a plan, a kind of strategy to follow in order to reach these goals. There will be a permanent interaction between my client and myself to monitor the progress, eventually speed up the tempo or, if necessary, to slow down.
There is no dogma; there is only one main criterion: success.
About my hobbies and interests, I may add that I like history, other cultures, and, of course, languages. Watching a good movie, enjoying nature, playing badminton, walking, and reading are other interests. When time permits I love to sit down for a game of chess or just talk to friends and neighbors about what the world makes tick.
Education & Certification
Graduate Degree: Humboldt University, Berlin - Master of Arts, English/EFL/ESL
Graduate Degree: University of California-Santa Barbara - Master of Arts, German
Plays badminton and table tennis. . Likes being in nature. Is interested in history. Likes classical music and easy listening. Likes to play chess.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
What is my approach? First of all, I listen carefully, very carefully. I believe it is important to know precisely what my client wants to accomplish. Understanding this is the prerequisite to giving good advice and guidance. Then, of course, I come up with a plan, a kind of strategy to follow in order to reach these goals. There will be a permanent interaction between my client and me to monitor their progress, eventually speed up the tempo, or, if necessary, slow it down. There is no dogma; there is only one main criterion: success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session is an exploration of the student's goals, expectations, prior knowledge to build on, and determination of the way he/she can learn best.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Besides teaching the subject area, I always incorporate strategies of how the student can continue his/her studies after finishing the course with me. These include methods for independent study.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A permanent interaction with the student, including monitoring his/her progress, and praising every step towards the goal certainly help the student to stay motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
At the beginning of the course, the interactive exploration of steps gives a solid foundation for the student's learning abilities in the subject matter. This is one cornerstone to build upon. In the special case of language learning, a concept would translate to grammar and syntax. Here, the connection to the student's native language or communicative language forms another cornerstone for assisting the student to overcome his/her difficulties. In order to improve, skills in the field of language acquisition pattern drills and connections to his/her native or communicative language are a valuable help.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It depends on which aspect of reading comprehension the student is struggling with. If the difficulty lies in the field of vocabulary, then strategies of vocabulary improvement would be applied. Should it be in the area of grammar, then strategies of concept (grammar and syntax) explanation would apply. Should it be a lack of intellectual capability, then strategies from the educational field of special education would be applied.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The most successful strategy, in my opinion, was and is the building of trust between the student and the tutor (teacher). Without it, nothing really works. Then, of course, the exploration of his intellectual abilities, his social background, and his prior knowledge forms an important prerequisite for successful work.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Depending on the kind of struggle they have, different strategies will apply. A general strategy that is always helpful is to explore the knowledge and the skills the student has available. This might be a good starting point to build on.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
One of the first actions I take is to have the student skim the material. Most of the time, the students have questions afterwards. The kinds of questions they pose indicate their level of understanding of the material. Another approach is to have the student read certain parts of the material (for instance, a grammar rule) and have them ask questions about it. Should there not be any questions, then applied exercises will show very soon what sort of 'gaps' the student has.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The approach of small steps with praise after mastering them is a sure method to build the confidence of a student in a subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
As I outlined earlier, the first meeting with the student has a number of explorative aspects. One of them is getting to know the student's goals, expectations, and intellectual abilities. This helps a lot to understand his/her needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Again, I have to refer to the very first meeting with the student. Here, the explorative stage is crucial to any further step concerning teaching approaches. Monitoring the student's process during the process of tutoring provides ample information about his/her needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
In the case of my subject matter, teaching languages, the main material is a textbook of the language in question.