Hallo, Guten Tag, Bonjour, Hola, Bom dia and Hello!
I am an instructor of German and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Indiana State University, where I work part-time. I teach on campus German elementary and intermediate German classes and all levels of ESL writing classes, as well as summer language and ESL writing classes. As an instructor of the lower level German classes, my goal is to introduce the German language to students through culture, and to show new language learners the joys and possibilities that come with learning a new language. On the intermediate and advanced level, the focus is on teaching language through culture, as well. At the higher levels the focus is also on working on each of the four skills, reading, speaking, writing and reading, more intensively. I teach German and ESL, because I grew up learning foreign languages, and find that knowing at least one foreign language should be everybody’s life goal! I’ve walked (and still am) many miles in a language learners shoes, and it has been a fun walk. I want to share my experience and expertise with YOU! I truly believe that everyone can learn a foreign language.
Originally from Düsseldorf, Germany, I am now in my third year teaching German at Indiana State University. I am an ISU alum, having earned my M.A. in Language Studies/TESL with an emphasis on teaching German and ESL at ISU in 2014. I have a B.A. from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, where I double-majored in Anglophone Studies and French Language and Culture. In addition to teaching German, I teach ESL writing courses for international students at ISU.
Personal language and culture experience: My language and cultural exchange experience is extensive. I began learning English in 5th grade and French in 7th grade. My life has become truly international at age 16, when I first spent time abroad during high school, and later in college. I spent my time mostly in the U.S., and the French-speaking part of Switzerland. I know bits and pieces of other languages, such as Spanish (of course!), Portuguese, and I have fun deciphering Dutch and Danish, because it is so close to German. In the U.S., I have lived in California, Kansas, Washington D.C., Colorado and Indiana.
In my free time, I like to travel, be it overseas or just taking a quick trip to Bloomington or any of the other cities in close proximity. I love to discover new music, magazines (all languages!) and books and have been on sports teams all my life. Before college I rode horses for as long as I can think and ran track and cross-country. Lately I have been keeping active and balanced doing Crossfit. I've never tried yoga, but really want to; it is the very next item on the to-do list.
University of Duisburg-Essen - Bachelors, Double-major: Anglophone Studies/French Language and Culture
Indiana State University - Masters, Language Studies/TESL
What is your teaching philosophy?
Without the knowledge of foreign languages, I would not be where I am today. For that reason, I want to guide others in discovering and effectively learning foreign languages. I see myself as the facilitator and motivator in the language learning process. All of my teaching is designed to put language into meaningful context, that is real-life, relatable language situations. Just as important as providing the right set of exercises is providing reasons for why language learning is important and introducing tools which make language learning effective. Last but not least, to be sure to cater to a variety of different learners, I get to know my students and try to personalize the learning material and approach.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first meeting, I want to learn who I am working with. What are their likes and dislikes, strength and weaknesses? What else is going on in life? We might do a little personal survey, where we both exchange information, and do some assessment to find out in more depth about their academic skills.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As a teacher of foreign languages, I am a facilitator and a motivator. I can help my students find reasons for why they are learning a foreign language, and I can try to make learning exciting through personalized and real-life language situations. Along with the right tools for memorization and (creating) their own practice exercises/situations outside of the classroom and tutoring, I am setting students up to becoming independent learners.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Finding motivation is a matter of seeing progress and purpose in what you are doing. Language learning is not about doing everything perfectly right from the beginning, but rather about monitoring errors, learning from them and progressing. Helping students see and monitor their own progress is a great tool for keeping them motivated. Next, reminding them of the importance of language study for their own life is another important factor.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Go back to the beginning of the problem, track where the student is stuck, and continue step-by-step from there. I would also try different approaches to introducing a skill or concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Prepare them for reading by introducing reading comprehension strategies, and by scaffolding. For example, first talking about the topic of a text in the student's native language, then introducing vocabulary in the target language, and associating images with target language vocabulary before continuing to the reading comprehension task.