My name is Aline. I am an ESL teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio. I have been teaching ESL classes for 11 years. The first school where I taught English was located in Brazil (Escola Americana). In Cincinnati, I taught individual classes at Berlitz Language School. My most recent teaching job was at ELS at the University of Cincinnati.
The types of students that I have had are executives, students with plans to study in the U.S., family members who recently moved to the U.S. In Brazil, all the students were Brazilians and mostly beginners.
At Berlitz I taught different levels, and mostly executives and their families. At ELS, their were 12 levels of classes and it was an academic program. My schedule was from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Many of my students were Saudi Arabians and Chinese, who planned to study in the U.S.
At ELS, I taught classes which concentrated on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Reading classes concentrated on reading comprehension. In writing classes, students were expected to write up to 5 paragraph essays. Listening classes included various ways of practicing listening and understanding. Speaking classes involved students practicing speaking while using correct grammar; often the students had to make speaking presentations in classes. I have also taught classes of common idioms, music practice with English lyrics, intonation, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
I speak French, Spanish, and some Portuguese. My French was learned from my mother, who was French Canadian. I had to learn Spanish when I got married to a Colombian. When we lived in Brazil, I had to learn some Portuguese. It has always been enjoyable teaching ESL because as I teach students, I am always learning many details from my students about so many different cultures.
Traveling to other parts of the world has always motivated me to continue working with people from other parts of the world. Besides teaching ESL, other positions I have had involved working with Hispanic population here in Cincinnati in social service agencies.
I look forward to tutoring students who need help in perfecting the English language.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is to treat each student as a separate individual with special needs, depending on the subject being taught. Therefore, I usually develop a special relationship with a student, in order to get to know their requirements. When teaching ESL, it's important to know a little about their culture and include this information during the class. Each student is different so I tend to use unique approaches, depending on their personality.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Typically, I always get to know the background of the student. I normally ask about their culture and country. Depending on the level of the student, I verbally test the individual in order to find out how proficient he or she is in English. It's important to master the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. So, the first session will help me learn which of these areas needs more practice.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think it's important to encourage students to complete assignments independently; and during a session, we would review the work together. I would expect that the student may be able to correct mistakes and explain to me what the proper procedure should be. When a student achieves goals on his own, he will be more motivated to continue accomplishing more.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student stay motivated by giving him assignments outside of a session and have him report back to me how it went. An example would be, getting opinions from English speaking people with different accents. This will encourage practice in speaking and listening. Also during a session, it's important to compliment the student in order to motivate him and make him aware of the progress he is making.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having difficulty learning a language skill, I would go back to simple examples of what he has already mastered. Then I would show how they are related. It's important to break down all the elements involved, then explain the new concept and its relationship to what has already been learned.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Initially I usually have the students read the paragraph involved. Then I would go over each sentence and discuss what they understand. Often students get puzzled because of sentence structure and verb tenses. So, sometimes it's good to review the simple elements of a sentence which are: subject, verb, and object. Then we can review adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions. I would get the student to study vocabulary that is involved in the material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Depending on the student's needs, I would assess the shortcomings and discuss with the student how we will approach the learning process. With ESL, it's important to strike a balance and work on reading, writing, listening and speaking. I expect that the student will work independently, in order to learn to accomplish proficiency in the English speaking world.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Usually when a student is studying ESL, he is doing so in order to do further studies in preparing for his future. Some students have moved to an English speaking country and must learn the language in order to communicate on a daily basis. So, with a student who must learn the language for academic reasons, I would include topics related to his future studies. With a student who must learn English, I would include different everyday situations that he will be involved in.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In order to be sure the student understands the materials, I would test him on a regular basis. It's important to explain thoroughly reasons and rules to be followed in a particular concept. Understanding the material will make it easier to be able to accomplish mastery.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
For a student to feel confident, he has to be participating throughout the time of the session. I feel it's important to give compliments to a student so that he gets a feeling of accomplishment.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
It's important that the first contact with the student be spent in evaluating the student's needs. Then goals can be set for the student to accomplish. So, in ESL, normally I do reading, writing, speaking, and listening evaluation.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to the student's needs, by choosing methods of teaching that would keep the student motivated and concentrating on the area where he is neediest. So, maybe he needs to write a lot, or needs conversation practice. We would work on areas that need the most practice.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Since I have taught ESL for 11 years, I do have basic English materials that can be used. Usually, if it's a student learning English in a school, we would use the materials from their classes.