I began my journey with Spanish in college. I chose to study Spanish because it is a beautiful and widely used language. I have a background in music and this has facilitated my acquisition of the language and helped me tune in to the cultural differences in the use of the Spanish language around the world, especially pronunciation. I have a wide variety of immersion experiences both in the US and abroad. In addition, I have an undergraduate degree in Spanish, ensuring that my language skills are also academically sound.
I have grown intellectually and emotionally from the journey of learning and using the Spanish language in my personal and professional life and I look to share this with anybody who is also trying to learn the Spanish language.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Luther College - Bachelors, Spanish
In addition to my interest in Spanish language, food, and culture, I am a musician. I enjoy playing my viola in symphonies and in small ensembles.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I personalize my teaching to the student's learning style, interests and goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session we will talk about what you already know and what you want to learn. From here we can figure out how we will reach your goals together.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I will encourage independent learning by teaching learning techniques with repetition until they become more familiar.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Using different types of materials - such as literature and poetry, music, and other cultural tools will help keep the subject matter lively.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
We can overcome challenges by focusing on strengths. Our strengths in one area can be transferred into other areas, building confidence and facilitating the learning experience.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
One method I use to enhance reading comprehension is through a critical thinking approach. For example, I would teach the student to break down the reading into smaller parts. I then have the student identify the parts they do understand and don't understand. Next, context clues are used to comprehend the overall message. A hypothetical approach is then used to fill in the areas that are not understood.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe strategies that are most successful when working with students truly depends on their learning styles, interest, and goals. For that reason, flexibility and adaptability in teaching approaches are essential to success.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I have found that using a strength-based approach helps students engage with a subject that they are struggling in. Helping the student tap into their own strengths builds the confidence to overcome the struggle.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use a combination of techniques to ensure that a student understands the material. Some techniques that I use include casual conversation, homework assignments, written essays, and practice tests.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
To build a student's confidence in a subject, I believe it is important to dedicate some of the lesson time to an area that the student enjoys. This approach helps balance the emotional demands of working with the more difficult aspects of the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate the student's needs initially I ask questions about their goals, their strengths and their weaknesses. I might then follow up with a conversation in Spanish to assess their verbal skills. I would also use quizzes and assignments to evaluate their written skills.