For me, teaching and tutoring is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every student has a unique style of learning and I believe that it's my job to honor that.
I graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Spanish in 2012 I also hold a Certificate to teach English as a second language from the Center for Interamerican Studies in Cuenca, Ecuador.
After teaching groups in elementary, high schools, and colleges, working one on one with students is so rewarding because I love seeing students succeed and express themselves with language by meeting their individual learning needs. Tutoring Spanish and English are both fun for me because I can relate to the challenges and joys of trying to learn a second language.
Besides teaching at the university level full time and tutoring, I love to run and hike with my dogs, practice yoga, read, and watch movies.
Undergraduate Degree: Ohio University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Spanish Education K-12
Graduate Degree: Ohio University-Main Campus - Masters, Spanish
Music, running, yoga, dogs, reading, cooking, eating, movies, series
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is guided by my experience as an instructor and a student. Communicative Language Teaching motivated me to keep studying Spanish as an undergraduate, and it also orients my teaching goals in four areas: proficiency, flexibility, social engagement, and intellectual growth. Students of a second or foreign language should be provided with instruction, activities, and tools that promote the functional use of the language that they are studying. The inextricable link between language and culture must be consistently displayed so that students end the course with both linguistic and cultural competencies that allow them to participate in their academic, professional, and personal lives as responsible global citizens. Flexibility in instruction is needed because each classroom and student is unique. I implement activities that can be differentiated for learners of varying language strengths and interests. For example, when teaching a mixed proficiency level class with Upward Bound in 2013 students worked in groups to narrate a fashion show for their classmates after a shopping unit. Students were grouped so that each group had at least one higher proficiency learner and one beginner. This allowed them to learn from each other or lead others while producing language at their level. Meaningful social interaction is also a goal in my teaching. In a student-centered class, collaboration is key. I use activities that allow students to socialize so that collaboration can occur comfortably. By promoting these relationships, students become more engaged, and this helps them to perceive the relevance of using the language and relate to it personally. When students can relate to a topic and find the related language meaningful, language acquisition is more likely to occur. For these reasons I have implemented experiential learning into my courses with visual art in a variety of formats. Finally, I want to provide an intellectual challenge that promotes student introspection and personal growth. College is also about students learning what their own opinions are, and a language course should help them discover those. Whether they are studying Spanish for use in their personal or professional lives, I want students to leave class knowing that what they learned is relevant to the world around them. With each lesson that I teach I believe that I move closer to reaching these goals for my students’ benefit.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It's important for me to know what a student's goals are for our sessions together. Also, if I know what a student already does besides tutoring in terms of studying, homework, or classes, I can guide our sessions to be as productive as possible.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Being an independent learner is all about having a learning tool kit that works for you and knowing how to use it. I try to arm students with several different strategies that work well for them so that they can use those on their own to learn independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
We're all motivated by different things, so it's important for a student to know what his or her specific motivation is. Maybe it's a certain letter grade, a trip abroad, or advancing on to the next level. Whatever it is, I can help students keep their eyes on the prize be reminding them what it is they are working toward.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It depends on the student. Some learners need to take a break to practice a skill that comes more easily to them for a bit. This reminds them that they can do it! Later, it's important to look at a concept or skill from a variety of perspectives until we find one that makes sense to the student. Then, practice is key.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
A good strategy to employ initially to help reading comprehension is to slow down, focus on what you can understand, and draw logical assumptions. Through that process we can generally identify together what the specific issue is- vocabulary, particular grammar constructions, the text theme or style, or some other factor. Then, we can work on those specific problems.