A photo of Ricardo, a tutor from University of Havana

Ricardo

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I am a native Spanish speaker who was born and raised in Cuba. I have a bachelor's degree in Art History with a minor in Physics at the University of Havana. Later I became an award winning fiction writer and a school teacher. Upon arrival to the US, I attended the City College of San Francisco in California in the disciplines of Information Technology and Graphic Communication.

As a language student, I understand what it takes to overcome the obstacles and obtain the necessary skills to succeed. I advocate knowledge as a source of joy and enrichment, therefore, anyone interested in fruitful lessons while having some fun is welcome. I teach different age groups and levels of Spanish. As a tutor my goal is to instruct from a current stage towards enhanced self-learning, by providing the right tools in grammar, composition, vocabulary and conversation.

Ricardo’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Havana - Bachelors, History of Art

Hobbies

Reading, writing, science, arts, traveling, hiking, martial arts

Tutoring Subjects

Conversational Spanish

Languages

SAT Subject Test in Spanish

SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening

Spanish

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Spanish 4


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I learned teaching by observing my best teachers while enjoying their art. Then by performing the profession, which is pursuing the magic of guiding students to grab the awareness and skills required by level. I think everyone enjoys being in contact with knowledge as much as feeling the pride of beating contents and obtaining good scores.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

After all introductory protocols that suppose meeting someone for the first time, it is my goal to assess the level and issues of my student, and start working right away on his or her learning needs.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

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How can you help a student become an independent learner?

It is my opinion that showing the right tools of study works; where to find them and how to use them. Inherent to any subject, there is always some sort of learning methodology that can also be instructed. Many times the student is needing a little boost of self-esteem, which can be solved with a few tutoring lessons that enhance the student’s acquaintance with the subject.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

A good explanation can most of the time clarify any doubt. It is important the way a subject is exposed; many times digging deep to the essentials makes concepts simpler. Furthermore, it is always a good idea to repeat critical themes as many times as the student needs, using all variations can be imagined.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Sometimes it helps to read to the student small fragments and ask some questions about what was just read, then make him or her reread that fragment and so on, keeping in this process with the rest of the reading. This practice would eventually awaken the skills of comprehension, by allowing the student the opportunity of participating in the process of analysis and co-creation.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Friendship, which give the student the confidence for working in the subject comfortably. Patience, so the scheduled time and procedures can merge with the actual time the student needs to grab knowledge or accomplish assignments. And the most important one, the learning aspect; it is the main goal and has to be covered in every meeting and all the time during the lessons, giving the student the feeling of progress.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

When the student discovers that they, after some explanation or lesson, is able to understand easily whatever concept has been a headache or a mystery so far, they would be of course excited and therefore engaged in the overall subject.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would test the student after every material, related questionnaire or assignment. Many times the student is happily using new knowledge spontaneously, so it is a matter of giving him or her the chance to create from it with related activities.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Once the student overcomes a sequence of concepts and is able to use the consequential knowledge successfully, they would then feel confident in the subject, which would any remaining learning process easier. Education is all about building confidence.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

One part of the student’s need is known just by asking; most of the time the student knows better than anyone else his or her needs, but also through assessments you can tell what the student is missing and what aspects the teacher needs to make a priority.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Creating a teaching plan that fulfills the student needs, then accomplishing it the best I can. Also by ensuring comfort and well-being during sessions. Asking the student how he or she is feeling and how he or she would like to proceed in future meetings, and of course getting to a balanced consensus for action.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

First of all, I use fiction books. Particularly teaching language as I do, it is always critical to practice reading and comprehension of fragments. Also it could be used to practice conversation and writing about selected texts, as well as to review grammar concepts and incorporate tons of vocabulary, all in the most enjoyable way, which is working with and from literature. Additionally, I love to use didactic games; they are most of the time very useful and relaxing. Also computers, flashcards and other technological resources, starting with Google.