I have many ardent interests in my life. Educating children in foreign languages and cultures incites the greatest passion in me. To sow and nurture the seeds that awaken in a young child interest in foreign languages and cultures brings to me great satisfaction. My attraction to the Spanish language comes from the cultural richness common to the people for whom it is their native tongue. Through my rigorous study of Spanish, I came to discover that the Spanish character shares much in common with my Russian character. A core tenet of my philosophy on teaching a foreign language is to first get the children to recognize what they share with a foreign people. Seeing what binds them to a different culture promotes a healthy respect for people and customs that differ from their own. I personally serve to illustrate how a non-native speaker can come to embrace and master a foreign language and culture.
A rule that I adopt in my class is the "no English" rule. I speak Spanish to my students at all times and expect them to also use exclusively Spanish. I have found that my students will master a language much more rapidly if they are prevented from using their native tongue while in class. If the class does not understand at first, I continue talking around the subject using familiar vocabulary until the students comprehend. Another tactic I use to improve proficiency in a language is to have the students speak in complete sentences. Building raw vocabulary is important, but without the ability to join these words together to express thoughts and feelings, mastery of a language is just not possible. I never translate or lecture my students. Instead, I engage them in an interactive dialogue that is adjusted to their level of competency. To foster their desire to express themselves, I integrate topics of interests to the students (e.g. soccer, vacations, food).
Teaching languages affords me lots of opportunities to do fun and creative activities in my classes. To avoid monotony, I use my imagination to come up with original dialogues with which the students can relate. I use a very animated teaching style and try to create anticipation in students to keep them engaged. I often use games and songs with younger children. With older students, I integrate more cultural components such as music, customs, art, sports, clothing, etc. My older students will come to understand that language is dynamic and reflects the culture in which it is spoken - language is cultural. The history of Spanish speaking countries is also incorporated into my curriculum. I employ cooperative group work and activities to improve student participation and bonding. I often use friendly team competition to help to motivate students.
My classroom management strategy is highly proactive. I try to avoid problems by providing a structured setting with clear instructions and expectations. I post a daily schedule at the beginning of each class. I establish a daily routine for collecting homework and distributing papers and assignments. Each assignment clearly indicates what is expected from the students and when it is due. I often provide handouts to help students organize their work and to provide examples they can follow. During class, I move around the room to attend to individual needs and to quickly respond to problems that might be brewing. I reinforce positive behavior and quickly remind students not exhibiting desired behavior of my class rules. If disruptive behavior continues, I make it clear to the student that they are pursuing a path that will lead to undesirable consequences for them consistent with my class rules. I also involve students in evaluating their work so they come to understand how I grade and how they can improve their grade.
Undergraduate Degree: Hertzen Pedagogical University - Bachelor in Arts, Education
Graduate Degree: Hertzen Pedagogical University - Master of Arts, Languages
Music, art, traveling, meeting people, trying new food, computer programming, reading literature, swimming.
What is your teaching philosophy?
A core tenet of my philosophy on teaching a foreign language is to first get the children to recognize what they share with a foreign people. Seeing what binds them to a different culture promotes a healthy respect for people and customs that differ from their own. I personally serve to illustrate how a non-native speaker can come to embrace and master a foreign language and culture.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In my first session with a student, I will introduce myself and talk about my student's interests and hobbies. The most important thing is to assess correctly the knowledge and level of the student's reading, writing, and speaking to choose the appropriate teaching materials and methods.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
For me, becoming an tutor who can instill life learning experience in his/her students is the constant work in progress. Everything I've done thus far has given me the skills I need to make a success of an education career.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I use music, role play, centers, games, and video games to help my students stay motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would come up with a clear action plan that can be backed up with examples to practice a new skill or a concept using different teaching techniques and methodology. I would create a game or a puzzle for a student that will help him to grasp a difficult topic.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
We read together out loud. Then we break the reading passage into smaller portions and we extract the main ideas from the reading. We answer questions and we read again. We retell the story after we read it several times.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I first get my student to recognize what they share with a foreign people. Seeing what binds them to a different culture promotes a healthy respect for people and customs that differ from their own. I personally serve to illustrate how a non-native speaker can come to embrace and master a foreign language and culture. It is important to motivate my student in the learning process.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
We talk about foreign language culture- topics like food, sports, music, holidays, and famous people. We talk about traveling abroad and being able to communicate in another language. We talk about friendship.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I usually use justification, review, repetition and examples to make sure my students understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I provide positive feedback to my students when appropriate to build their confidence. I tell them when they've done a good job on an exam or a test. Children thrive on praise and will push themselves to do well if they know I will be proud of them for their achievements.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Because assessment is an important process, and the information gathered should be used for planning appropriate support and correction, I usually begin my assessment of student's needs as early as middle school. Students in special education participate in extensive assessment procedures throughout their educational experience, and all of this information can be used to obtain a "picture" of the student's abilities, interests, and appropriate teaching techniques.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I change my teaching methods depending on how the student learns. I use a lot of visual, video, and graphic materials.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Reading materials, pictures, images, video, and gestures.