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My specialty is language. This is what I most enjoy teaching and learning about on my own. I study language in particular, like German and Chinese, and language in general, using methods from linguistics and computer science. I like to pass on to my students any insights or suggestions based on current research from these disciplines, as well as some of my own ideas I have come to depend on. I graduated from ASU with a bachelor's in Chinese, completing two foreign exchange programs in Chengdu, China, and one in Tuebingen, Germany. If I feel that certain approaches to learning languages work, it's because I've tried them myself!

I am currently preparing an application for a graduate program in semiotics. This field is inherently interdisciplinary and it is therefore necessary for me to be able to explain complex ideas in very basic terms for people of many backgrounds. My proposed research project makes use of background knowledge in the following areas (which also constitutes a list of subjects I can tutor in):
* computer programming (Python, Javscript)
* logic
* basic math
* linguistics
* essay and report writing

Besides these, I can also help students study for the SAT (math, verbal, or writing) and learn foreign languages. Here are some specific ways I can help students learning foreign languages:

* Phonetics: I can diagnose pronunciation problems and offer helpful, precise feedback.
* Mnemonics: I can teach some very powerful mnemonic techniques to help students memorize vocabulary, besides many other things, more effectively. Especially for Chinese!
* Grammar: I can explain the finer points of grammar so that they can be understood by those who have a hard time with the terminology. Not just for foreign languages!
* Chinese: I've lived in China and can help students learning Chinese as a second language (or native speakers of Chinese struggling with English).
* German: I've also lived in Germany and I'm happy to help anyone wanting to learn the language.

I despise rote memorization and unnecessary jargon; I like to think of the disciplines I study as tools for discovery, not as bulky collections of facts to regurgitate. If you want to do well in a subject, you just need to be interested in it. As a tutor, I believe my job is to help you find this interest for yourself.

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David’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Arizona State University - Bachelors, Chinese

Test Scores


SAT Math: 680

SAT Verbal: 670


philosophy, games, logic, tai chi, food, cooking, nature, hiking/backpacking

Tutoring Subjects

College World History

Computer Programming

Conversational German

Conversational Mandarin

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

Essay Editing


German 1

German 2

German 3

German 4

High School World History

Intermediate Algebra




Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese 1

Mandarin Chinese 2

Mandarin Chinese 3

Mandarin Chinese 4

Middle School Math


Quantitative Reasoning

SAT Reading

Study Skills and Organization

Technology and Computer Science

Test Prep

Web Development

World History


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe the best learning is learning to ask the right questions. It doesn't benefit someone to be able to repeat answers to questions that they themselves weren't actively curious about. If I am successful as a teacher it is only because I help engender curiosity so that he or she wants to know the answer; then it sticks, and there is deeper understanding.

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

First, I would want to get an idea from the student of exactly what they would like to learn, so they aren't burdened with anything off topic. Then I'd try to get a sense of what they already understand by asking them some conceptual questions. Since this is only the first session, I'd tell them where I might be able to lead them in future sessions with these questions. Lastly, if time allows, I would try to figure out, along with the student, which (if any) of these questions he or she is already equipped to answer.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Since my whole philosophy of learning is centered around this, there will probably be significant overlap in my answers. Students must learn to ask the right questions, and these questions engender further and better questions. Helping a student is guiding a student through this process and dispelling (gently) any misconceptions they might have about not being able to learn independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

For one, by being motivated myself. Teachers purportedly understand a subject better than others; this should translate into natural enthusiasm for the subject, and it should be their priority to communicate this.

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

Make him or her aware of what this skill/concept is founded upon, so that the individual steps of the 'journey of a thousand miles' become clear.

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