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I am from St. Petersburg, Russia. There I graduated from St. Petersburg State University where I studied Russian Language and Literature. In 2000 I got PhD in Russian Philology.

I enjoy teaching my native language. My experience in this field is about 10 years in total (all levels, in person, in a classroom, and online). I also teach Russian Culture and Literature, but I especially like teaching Russian Language because it is difficult. Tt is a challenge to help the students to learn it by assisting and guiding them in this uneasy travel through this "dense forest" to their goal to feel comfortable using it. I teacher teach Russian in mixture with Russian culture (knowledge brings forth more comfortable atmosphere) and through a variety of colloquial speech exercises, like dialogues and role plays. The personal approach is also important, so I create a special individual approach to each student adjusting the way of presenting class material to his or her individual learning style.

In my free time I like to read (History, Folklore, detectives and science fiction) and take pictures of beautiful North Carolina's landscapes and animal life.

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Yelena’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Graduate Degree: St. Petersburg State University - Masters, Russian Philology


Russian Folklore and History

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy contains a few facets: individual approach, emphasis on colloquial speech, and cultural experience.

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

Certainly, there should be an introduction and a general testing-- if the student already studied Russian before. In this case, there should also be a brief review. If the student has never studied Russian, we would start with alphabet and a few basic phrases like "Hello" and "Thank you."

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think it is possible through introducing the pattern, adjusting to that student's individual character, and giving well planned home assignments.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would do that by helping him/her grow confidence, learning the language gradually, increasing the quantity and level of difficulty step by step (without strong pressure), and using real life situations (a variety of role plays) when the student was confident in using the new language.

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

I would offer some specially "designed" series of exercises (both for class activities and for the homework assignments) to help.

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

I usually offer the audio recorded exercises for the student to have a sample. Also, I always offer a series of phonetics exercises to help with difficult pronunciation. Another way to help is to offer sets of short texts combined with a variety of developed exercises (e.g., Yes/No answers, answering the questions, filling in the table, etc.).

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

I prefer going from simple to more complicated while offering the vocabulary and grammar material, using "snowball" tactics and emphasizing material important for real life situations.

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

It is possible to reach them by mixing the elements of Russian culture into the lessons; it makes the class more "alive."

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

I like to use role-plays, and certainly I offer the material in step-by-step manner: from easier to more difficult.

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