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I have been teaching English as a Second Language for many years to children and adults. I have lived in four states, and I have had many unique opportunities working in business places and in public school settings helping my ESL students. My students have been from Central and South America, Europe and Asia. My goal is to help my students reach their goals of speaking, reading, and writing English for them to function in our society at a comfortable level in the workplace and in the community. My classes are interactive and with many hands-on activities. I use as many strategies as necessary to help my students find success. We work together as a team with open communication, passion and a lot of fun!! I create atmosphere of learning with individual, small group and large group activities. It is very important to have a large variety of activities to keep the students interested and learning!

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Dinah’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California,San Diego - Bachelors, Spanish Literature/English Literature

Graduate Degree: University of Northern Colorado - Masters, Bilingual Elementary Education


Reading, Exercising, Dancing, Travel, Volunteering

Tutoring Subjects


ACCUPLACER ESL - Listening Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Sentence Meaning Prep


College English

Elementary School Reading



GED Prep

High School English




Test Prep

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is to create an interactive environment for my ESL students to learn and find success. My goal is to treat each student individually, finding their strengths and weaknesses. I will incorporate a variety of strategies and techniques from my years of teaching.

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

During our first session, I would ask the student to share with me about themselves. I want to know where the student is coming from and what are the student's goals. I will do an assessment of the student’s speaking, reading and writing levels to better understand the student. We would do a variety of activities to better judge the student's abilities and to plan for our next session. The student would be able to ask me any questions to build a better understanding of our relationship.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

It is essential that the student feels knowledgeable in the English language. I would provide activities that would help develop the necessary skills to become an independent learner. At every activity, I would ask the student to ask and answer questions about the information. In checking the student's comprehension, we both will be able to see if the activity was a success or how I could offer a more appropriate lesson for the student's success. Teachers constantly give tons of vocabulary lessons with ESL, and it is necessary to hear back what the student is receiving and comprehending to be able to move forward with each lesson. The teacher and student must work together as a team!

How would you help a student stay motivated?

In order for a student to stay motivated, I would offer a large variety of activities. Each would not be too long but substantial. The student would be engaged in the activity. If we read a story, the student would read to the story to me. If there are words the student did not understand, we would stop and find their definitions. It's a constant question and answer process to move the student along to find success. As a teacher, I would be quite aware if the student would be a visual or auditory learner, and proceed with lessons that fit that particular kind of learner.

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

It is important that a teacher offers a variety of techniques if a student is having trouble learning a skill. There is a well of resource activity books, cut and paste activities, listening and speaking drills and a tremendous amount of online activities. A teacher has to break down the skill and evaluate what is the issue, and proceed with the student to find success.

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

If the student is having trouble with comprehension, I would go back to the individual words to make sure what words the student does not understand. We could create their own dictionary of new words to study. The student could write sentences with each word to better understand its meaning. I would provide appropriate level stories for the student to find success.

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

I find most success when we have interactive lessons. If we're working on beginning sounds, we could first develop of words that the student already knows. Then we could add on new words. We could create a dictionary with drawings of the words or magazine pictures. We could look online for activities to provide the skills. Students like to make games for the learning skill, and then they can practice with their family. The first session needs to be focused, and the student needs to have fun!

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

I would inquire about the interests of the student and develop lessons around those areas. As a teacher, you have to understand what kind of learner you have, and take those cues to work most successfully with your student. There is a wealth of material and methods to excite and engage any student in a particular subject area!

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

I would continuously check for comprehension of an area by asking questions, playing games to elicit answers, listening to their reading and questioning their understanding of particular words, sentences or concepts. I would give short quizzes to check a student's progress. I would chart a graph so the student could feel progress with stars or stickers.

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

Throughout a lesson, I am telling the student if his/her answer is correct. If it is not correct, I am providing the necessary information so the student gains further knowledge. With success, the student will feel more confidence. I create a very relaxed but focused lesson. I have a large variety of activities so the student is never bored with the lesson moving along at a comfortable pace for the student's ability. I engage the student so that we communicate about the lesson and his/her questions.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I give the student an assessment of his/her needs. We will together set goals for the time we are together. As I teach, I can evaluate the student's progress with each lesson and re-define the student's needs. The student can continuously give me feedback about the lesson. I continually adjust my lessons to fit the needs of the student.

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

At first, I identify the skill level of the student. I clarify if the student is a visual or auditory learner through a variety of activities and games. If my methods are not working for the student, then I need to re-adjust in order for the student to feel successful. I am constantly questioning the student for comprehension and if he/she is comfortable with my style of tutoring and the lessons.

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

I typically use games, workbooks, reading books, individual wipe boards, activity sheets, and listening activities. I like to have the student listen, speak, read and write in every ESL lesson. The lessons are interactive and hands-on. My lessons are fun! I really am a frustrated actor!!

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