My experience encompasses both private tutoring and formal teaching. At the University of Richmond, I taught biweekly revision classes as part of the official French 221 course. My responsibilities included planning lessons covering grammar, vocabulary, and culture. During this same year I provided tutoring in French 221 to five student athletes. I worked with them four nights a week to review lessons, answer homework questions, and prepare for upcoming exams. In addition to my experience tutoring and teaching French, I have also served as a volunteer English as a Second Language teacher to adult immigrants in Richmond, VA. I spent the past year working as an English Language Assistant for the French Ministry of Education. My role as a language assistant involved leading small group discussions and creating original, culture and vocabulary-based lessons for English students in a vocational high school and general middle school. During this year I also provided private one-on-one tutoring to a French adult looking to improve his English listening and speaking skills.
I enjoy teaching and tutoring because it allows me to share my passion for the French language. I particularly enjoy adapting my instruction to individual learning styles to best meet a student's needs and to see their knowledge of the language progress and expand. Seeing an individual make personal connections with the language and seeing the language take root in an individual's worldview or academic path are the most rewarding aspects of tutoring. For those reasons, I remain extremely dedicated to helping an individual meet their personal goals. At the same time, I recognize that learning a language is not a linear process. Therefore, I remain flexible to experimenting with multiple approaches to see which is the best fit.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Richmond - Bachelor in Arts, French, Psychology
Graduate Degree: New York University - PHD, French and French Studies
GRE Verbal: 168
Soccer, Cinema, Reading
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
As a teacher and tutor, I strive to facilitate the development of effective learning strategies and cognitive approaches. Instead of having my students fully rely on me as a dictionary or translator, I hope to help them recognize patterns, draw personal connections, and think critically to absorb the material and make it unique to their own learning experience.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by instilling effective learning strategies, rather than serving as a dictionary, thesaurus, or answer key. As a tutor, I like to motivate my students to justify their responses and to make educated guesses before asking for help. Engendering the ability to seek patterns, to use context clues, and to create mnemonic devices is much more effective than declaring an answer correct or incorrect.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student stay motivated by setting progressive, realistic goals. I would include small ways of tracking progress towards those goals in my lessons, whether it be a quick vocabulary game, a review of a grammatical structure, or a creative writing exercise. I would also make sure to combine my student's strengths and weaknesses in a lesson in order to avoid mental blocks. For example, if my student felt more comfortable speaking in a foreign language than writing, I would include time to have a debate or open discussion on the subject of a writing assignment. I believe it's important to show how an individual's sources of confidence can be converted into strategies for tackling obstacles in the learning process.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student had difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would diversify my approach to the concept in question. For example, if the student experienced difficulty with a verb tense or another grammatical structure, I would incorporate reading or listening assignments that highlighted this grammatical point so that the student could see the form used in an authentic context. I would also look back to concepts the student had already mastered to draw connections such as similarities between roots or verb endings. I would also work to find mnemonic devices such as songs or chants to help the student best absorb the concept based on their preferred learning style. In conclusion, I believe that the best approach is repeated but varied exposure to the concept, in a way that allows both the tutor and the student to explore multiple approaches while demonstrating the utility of the skill and the impossibility of just moving on and sweeping the concept under the rug.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I help students who are struggling with reading comprehension by emphasizing main ideas and context clues. For example, I help students decipher key transition words that indicate contrasting ideas, reasoning behind ideas, or changes of topic. I help students recreate the author's outline by seeking the main idea and filling in the supporting ideas. I also find making predictions and drawing personal connections to a text to be an effective reading comprehension strategy. Before reading, I have a student make predictions about the content based on the title. I also have students share their background knowledge on a topic or issue to get them in a mindset to connect with the text.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to help students become engaged with a subject by drawing connections to their personal interests. If a student is passionate about music, I find a way to incorporate popular music in a vocabulary or grammar lesson. If a student is passionate about film, I find a film clip relevant to a vocabulary unit or cultural point. Where possible, I find it very helpful to play off of a student's outside interests in reading, listening, speaking, or writing assignments to show how the subject in question can provide further nuances to that passion.