Ever since I was in elementary school, my classmates would often turn to me for help with their homework regarding foreign languages. The act of helping people in areas of need is not foreign concept to me. I have been lucky with my upbringing to have been exposed to Japanese and Spanish language thru school and family. In later years, I started to train Capoeira, which is an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art. There, too, I have served as a musical and language tutor to other members of the group. I figured, why not use my abilities for a company that could actually benefit from someone like me with multiple language skills? I hope that my work for Varsity Tutors will be beneficial for all that may take advantage.
City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Current Undergrad, African and Latino Studies
What is your teaching philosophy?
Having being exposed to Japanese language at a very young age, I think what helped me to retain a lot of knowledge of it was the fact that the lessons engaged all of my 5 senses. Through having that tangible experience, it became easier for me to internalize any lesson that was taught. Also, it was fun!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session, I would get to know the student, and have the student get to know a little bit about me. I'd find out the students likes and hobbies so that I can design lesson plans that have some type of connection with that subject matter. Since pronunciation is going to be very instrumental to successfully speak a foreign language, I would start off by dominating the main vowel sounds to ensure proper pronunciation.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would encourage the student to try new things, listen to new genres of music that they never indulged in, taste new foods, watch TV shows or short films online with subtitles to train their ear for different accents. I would instruct them to jot down words that they didn't understand at the moment and then add them to their vocabulary list to review later. Also, I'd encourage to speak whatever language they are studying whenever they have the opportunity so that they become better.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would let them know that being wrong sometimes during the learning process is okay, and not to give up! Being lost is only another opportunity to be adventurous and find oneself.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Having dealt with autistic students before, with anyone experiencing difficulty, I would try to exhaust other methods that reiterate that same point in a different way.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
EBooks, video clips with subtitles, or I would read aloud and have the student follow along to the sound of my voice.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Tangible, fun experiences have proven to be the best!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I'm a history nerd, so telling some fun facts/bullet points on historical truths related to the language and the people that speak the language has always been a fun way to excite students.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Frequent mini-quizzes, flashcards, and verbal comprehension recaps will come in handy in assessing if the student truly grasped the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By reinforcing the idea that by at least attempting, they proved themselves to be very brave and can conquer anything that they put their mind to.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Before each session is over, I will always allow 10-15 minutes or so for specific questions. I will also encourage them to offer feedback on what seems to be working for them in order to learn. I will then try to do more of what does seem to work and is fun for them, and less than what does not seem to work so well for their retention.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I may have a textbook, YouTube videos, flashcards, a recipe book (if they are interested in cooking), a magazine article, a book on a subject that they are interested in, or good ol' pen/pencil and paper to draw out things step by step.