I got my first degree, BS in Education from a State College in Italy. I have a BA in Italian and Spanish from Montclair State University. I am PhD candidate, in Italian Language and Literature, at Rutgers State University. I have been working with students for more than thirty years at all levels. I have been teaching and tutoring in Italian, Spanish, Latin and also ESL for company employees. I do not have a favorite subject, I love them all. I tutor students according to their needs and abilities. Every student is capable of learning.
I have a strong background in music. I studied Bel Canto at the Bellini Music Conservatory in Palermo, Sicily. I sing in the church choir (20+ years). I love all kinds of music, but my favorite are Opera and Classical.
I also enjoy crocheting, needle point and crafts.
Undergraduate Degree: Montclair State University - Bachelors, Italian/Spanish
Graduate Degree: Rutgers University-New Brunswick - PHD, Italian Language and Literature
crocheting, needle point and crafts.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I have used various materials, such as a whiteboard and computer (if available), the student's textbook, worksheets and other handouts, flashcards, and games.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In my sessions, I would not only focus on content knowledge but also on critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as "learning to learn" skills needed for mastering the particular subject area.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would use both a phonics approach, to help the student decode words, and a whole language approach, to help the student read for meaning. Before having the student read a passage, I would activate his or her prior knowledge in various ways (such as by using visuals and graphic organizers). We would work on making predictions about what the passage is about. I would make a list of difficult vocabulary words that appear in the passage, and have the student guess at their meaning in context. I would teach the student skimming and scanning techniques, which he or she would then use to find the main idea and specific details. In addition, we would do intensive reading activities, followed by checks for comprehension. We would also work on inferential skills.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have used a wide variety of strategies that have been very successful. I select my strategies according to the student's learning styles and needs, as well as the topic being covered.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find resources tailored to the student's areas of interest. I would also try to use a wide variety of materials, such as DVDs, YouTube videos, games (both online and offline) and puzzles.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use various means of assessment, depending on the student's difficulties. Some of these means of assessment are: tests and quizzes (both printed and online), worksheets, and oral questions and answers, interviews, and other oral activities
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A student's self-confidence can be built gradually, by praising the student for his or her achievement and effort. I would also make sure that during each session, students are asked questions that they are capable of responding to correctly.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would use an initial oral and/or written examination, and I would also have the student complete a self-evaluation form.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I would first assess what areas the student is having difficulty with on a particular day, and focus on those topics during the tutoring session.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students are capable of learning, but they have different strengths and weaknesses and different learning styles. It is the job of the teacher to discover the abilities of the students and then use teaching strategies tailored to the students' needs. They need to make learning interesting, engaging, and fun for the students, thereby motivating them to study and learn. In addition, they should work on building their students' self-esteem and self-confidence and on helping them overcome any psychological barriers to learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session would be devoted to assessment of the student's knowledge of the subject matter, motivation, and attitude toward the subject and toward learning in general. This assessment would be accomplished by interviewing the student and possibly by having him/her complete a self-evaluation form indicating topics that are academically challenging. I might also administer a short diagnostic test. Together, the student and I would then formulate a plan to best address the areas of difficulty.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would use materials and activities that are fun and engaging, and are in accordance with the student's interests. In addition, I would boost the student's self-confidence by praising him or her for his or her efforts and achievement. I might also connect with the student using social media at times when we are not engaged in tutoring sessions.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would utilize a variety of strategies, depending on the skill or concept we are working on, as well as the particular student's learning style. For example, for visual learners, I might use flashcards and graphic organizers. For auditory learners, I might use videos and music. For kinesthetic learners, I might use games, Internet activities, and other hands-on activities. I would also teach them mnemonic devices to help them memorize rules, words, and other information.