Inmyexperience,theformationofcognitivematurity,andthussociability,dependson one'scapacitytoseeone'sownrealityasasingleperceptionamongavalidplurality.Thestudy ofotherculturesandlanguagesthusopensthepossibilityforindividualstoseebeyondthe centralityoftheirownlives,anessentialriteofpassageinbecomingamatureandfairhuman being.Asateacher,Ihopetosharemyknowledgewithstudentsastheyfindnotonlytheirown viewoftheworld,butalsodiscoverthemyriadviewsaroundthem.
Ihopetoaccomplishthisgoalbyformingmeaningful,respectfulbondswitheachofmy students.Inthissense,Ihopetoformmentor/menteerelationshipsinwhichIguidelearners alongtheirpathoflanguageandculturalacquisition.However,Ialsoemphasizetheroleof learnersinthisrelationship,whohelptoguideme,lettingmeknowthebestwayto communicatenotonlyempiricalknowledge,butlessonsaboutlifeaswell.
Nowmorethaneverwehavethetechnologicalmeanstoenableandenhance cross-culturalcommunication.Oureducationalsystemsvalueforeignlanguages.Business opportunitiesprovideincentivesforstudentstolearntheselanguages.Iplantousethecurrent educationalandbusinessenvironmentnotonlytoprovidehighqualitylanguageacquisition skills,butenablestudentstoseethevalueinworld viewsandopinionsthatmaydifferfromtheir own.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Pepperdine University - Bachelors, Spanish
Graduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - PHD, Spanish
Reading, hiking, going to the dog park, cooking with my wife.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching Philosophy Robert Hultgren “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Ludwig Wittgenstein In my experience, one of the most important things that students can learn is the validity of another’s opinion. Now more than ever, it is paramount that we learn to communicate with one another and cross culturally. In the 20th and 21st centuries, entire ideologies have been formed on the basis that some people do not see the world in the same way that others do. I have seen first-hand the danger these ideologies represent. I have also seen the impact that an education can have on the critical thinking process. Learning to speak someone else’s language represents the most significant factor in recognizing the value in another. In my experience, the formation of cognitive maturity, and thus sociability, depends on one’s capacity to see one’s own reality as a single perception among a valid plurality. The study of other cultures and languages thus opens the possibility for individuals to see beyond the centrality of their own lives, an essential rite of passage in becoming a mature and fair human being. As a teacher, I hope to share my knowledge with students as they find not only their own view of the world, but also discover the myriad views around them. I hope to accomplish this goal by forming meaningful, respectful bonds with each of my students. In this sense, I hope to form mentor-mentee relationships in which I guide learners along their path of language and cultural acquisition. However, I also emphasize the role of learners in this relationship, who help to guide me, letting me know the best way to communicate not only empirical knowledge, but lessons about life as well. Now more than ever we have the technological means to enable and enhance cross-cultural communication. Our educational systems value foreign languages. Business opportunities provide incentives for students to learn these languages. I plan to use the current educational and business environment to not only provide high quality language acquisition skills, but also enable students to see the value in worldviews and opinions that may differ from their own.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would make sure the student feels at ease, find out what they would like to achieve with the language, and customize my lessons to meet those needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I help students become independent learners by fostering a love of learning and helping them feel successful. These are the two most effective ways to ensure that students enjoy learning and keep coming back to the classroom.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation really boils down to a feeling of success and progress. Tutoring is ideal because the sessions are based on finite learning goals. Accomplishing these goals offers many opportunities to ensure students feel successful and perform successfully.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I firmly believe that everything can be explained in a number of different ways, using different tools. If a student is having difficulty, I enjoy finding new ways to communicate ideas and concepts, either verbally, using drawings, writing things out, or other creative solutions.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Our first instinct when reading a text is to think of it as a formula: comprehension x every single word = textual understanding. This is a fallacy. I help students understand the broader meaning of the text by highlighting clues inherent in the text itself. For example, are there highlighted/bold words? What is the topic sentence? Is the text broken into sub-topics? Are there pictures? All of these provide clues to the meaning of a text that require a very low level of literacy to comprehend. Based on these clues, then we can go on to talk about some of the nuances of the text itself.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Build rapport. This means a number of things to me: trust, humor, acceptance, focus. As a learner, I develop all of these with my instructors, and I strive to do the same with my students.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I get students excited by making learning fun and highlighting their successes. At some point in our lives, learning was inherently fun. This usually occurs at the childhood age. The unfortunate reality is that as we age, we sometime believe that learning has to be "work." I enjoy tapping into that original feeling of discovery and success, which in turn, helps students become excited about learning.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I rely on feedback from my students and constantly assess they progress. This does not happen in the form of quizzes, etc. Instead, it is based on dialog, which gently pushes students to not only repeat the lessons they learned, but reformulate them in their own words as well.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Highlighting successes, no matter the size, is key to building confidence. I also like to provide a low pressure, yet highly focused, learning environment. I enjoy creating space to make mistakes and laughing with the student when mistakes happen.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I allow the student to do the talking, both in English and in the target language. This is a form of assessment that allows me to determine the student's level of proficiency and adjust my lessons accordingly.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to a student's needs by incorporating various media, lessons, and feedback. Based on how a student responds to certain exercises or lessons, I can adjust them to become more grammatically explicit, implicit, textually focused, communicative, etc.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I generally use some exercises from various texts that I've used in the past. I also enjoy creating my own sentences and grammatical exercises on the fly, which are inherently tailored to a student's needs.