My name is Julie Blackburn. I live in Wilmington, NC and I am a native speaker of French and am fluent in Spanish. In college I majored in both languages and studied abroad in both Paris, France and Seville, Spain for a semester each. At La Sorbonne I was able to use my already acquired French fluency and broaden my French with further study of language, literature and culture. All classes were in the French language and included art, history, civilization, phonetics and much study of culture was acquired directly through visits to plays, musicals, museums and more. My semester in Seville was more of a stretch at the time as I was not yet fluent in Spanish and moved in with a family in a direct immersion program. In contrast to La Sorbonne, "Semester in Spain" was small private school with Spanish professors who gave each student personalized attention and offered culturally relevant events as well. I did an independent study of a modern novelist during my stay as well taught privately by a Spanish professor after hours.
These opportunities offered me invaluable education and experience above and beyond the double major I received in both languages in 1990. After graduation I began teaching languages as well as special education and some ESL. I have taught Spanish grades K-12 and French from 7-12. I have also had many tutoring and translating/interpreting positions over the years. I transitioned from teaching to social work about 10 years ago where I have used the Spanish language daily to assist the special needs population in accessing the resources and services they need, as well appropriate health care. I have an excellent rapport with people from all populations and cultures and I am quite respected in the Latino community. I welcome any questions or requests to clarify my credentials further.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY College at Oswego - Bachelors, SpanishFrench
My husband, our adult children and 2 small dogs; interventions for special needs children; nutrition; interpreting/translating, church bible studies/groups.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in teaching students the way they learn best. The first step to accomplishing this goal is by getting to know the student --asking appropriate questions allows me to decipher learning preferences and challenges. I can then adjust my style to meet the student's personal needs.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I would certainly ask specific questions regarding what challenges the student is facing with the subject matter. I would then glean from that information quickly, and begin to come up with strategies and rate their effectiveness in order to begin quickly, without wasting time, and to prepare appropriately for the next and subsequent sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help foster independent learning by promoting a love for the subject matter.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is key in learning a foreign language, since it does not come naturally to many people. The motivation in foreign language is in being able to understand another language through one’s own experience and ability vs. through an interpreter.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would give as many scenarios as possible until the student understands and masters the content or subject matter. I use many root words and tie vocabulary to what is already known to the particular student.