As an English and German educator for 6 years, I can honestly say that I love languages! I learned German fin Germany when I was on the year-long Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program in high school. I went to Germany knowing only a few words, so I definitely know language learning frustrations first-hand. I kept working at it, studied abroad again at the University of Bonn, and earned my Bachelor's degree in German! I was able to apply these skills as an educator when I taught English in Austrian high schools for two years. I have worked with K-adult learners, and I hope to be meeting you soon! Thanks/Danke!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Kansas - Bachelors, Germanic Langauges & Literatures
Graduate Degree: University of Kansas - Masters, Curriculum & Instruction
Languages!, Cooking, Running, Hiking, and Traveling.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
As most educators, I believe in being student-centered. While this may be an easy philosophy to believe in, educational implementation can be much more difficult. I believe that knowing your students both in their abilities and in their weaknesses is paramount. Tailoring lessons to specific student needs is essential, and being able to differentiate on the fly is something for which educators must continually work.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, assuming there is not a specific assignment we are working on for immediate homework needs, we will need to figure out how far the learner is in the given subject. I am trained to assess student readiness in a low-stakes, formative manner. This means no pressure and that productive feedback will provided. In a first meeting with a learner, I also always give the learner a chance to ask me questions about myself and my background.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As a tutor of 3 years, helping students become independent learners can be one of the most difficult aspects at hand. Learners need to be engaged in the subject matter in entertaining and meaningful ways. Finding a path to connect the content of a given subject to a learner's immediate reality is key. This path will be different for all learners, and assigning suggested tasks for learning goals can help with this.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Every learner gets frustrated. I always try to help learners understand that this is completely normal! I have no problem empathizing with students and sharing stories of my own learning frustration. These stories must always be told with how I managed to overcome my frustration. Going on this brief tangent often allows the student a short break and typically makes them smile, too.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a skill or concept is not getting through to a student, this is often a sign that there is something missing in the background knowledge that is required to move forward. In this case, I would take a step back and review the small pieces that put the greater, more complex puzzle together.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
In order to help with reading comprehension, an educator first has to have a way to monitor. Having learners explain what they understand often reveals enough to see what they have missed. Some students are also visual learners, so graphic and semantic organizers also help. There are also methods of generating questions (both ways) that can help with reading comprehension. This can be done as a stand-alone activity, or as part of a summary activity.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Learning must be more than rote memorization. This has become clear to most people, but what that means for learning and engagement is often left out. The answer to this question will depend heavily on the learner. Generally speaking, an educator has to find a way to connect the content to their own life. There has to be more of a connection than 'well, this will impact your grade...,' and finding these connections is not difficult when you take time to get to know your learner while teaching at the same time.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Starting a session by briefly reviewing previous content is important. This not only allows me to assess comprehension, but also sets the tone for the session and provides the learner a review. K-12 learners are already inundated with high-stakes testing, so I would focus on low-stakes/formative assessment. I always make it clear to the learner what this means and why we do this.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building confidence in learners can be tough and should not be superficial in nature. Noticing when learners feel the content click in their heads is key. When I see that light bulb go off, I usually ask them what brought them to that moment. Practicing meta-cognition recognition helps learners realize when something has clicked and builds confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluating student needs often comes in first understanding where a learner is at in regards to the content. Assessing student readiness is essential here. In addition to doing my own assessment for diagnosis and remediation, I also ask the students where they think they need the most help. This also helps build meta-cognition.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My master's degree program in curriculum & instruction focused heavily on differentiation. This involves assessing student readiness, student interest, student learning motivation, and the preferred method of learning.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This depends heavily on what we are learning. For example, if we are focused on vocabulary, I would use pictures and use the target language to talk about what the learner sees. The key here is to find materials that will engage the learners in a meaningful way. If we are focusing on listening/speaking, I have developed educational materials that can help us in topic-based learning. For reading, I try to find materials that are relevant to the culture of the target language. For example, I could use new stories (I know of resources that work for child learner and also adult learners).