I'm a recent NYU grad with a major in Romance Languages (French and Spanish) and a minor in Chinese. I have also studied a bit of Italian, Japanese, German, and Swedish. I have always had a passion for foreign languages, fascinated by both the linguistic mechanics and the cultural practices that have prompted each language's unique style. I greatly enjoy sharing the knowledge I've learned from my studies with others, which is the primary reason why I became a Varsity tutor!
Undergraduate Degree: New York University - Bachelors, Romance Languages, Minor in Chinese
Foreign Languages, Travel, Reading, Writing, Improv performance
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think the key to language learning is not being able to learn one specific language, but to understand how language functions on an abstract level. To me, it is not just a matter of memorizing a bunch of sentences and repeating them when you think it's the right time, but I strive more to help each student understand the intention behind each thing being said, so that not only will the students say or write the sentence correctly, they will also understand why it is correct.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Before meeting with the student, I would create my own series of questions based on the level of the language they are at. I would bring these questions to the first meeting and have the student answer them to assess where they are in their learning or what aspects of the language they struggle with most. Following this analysis, I would then ask the student if there was anything specific they already know that they are having trouble with, and do my best to give a base level explanation of the language point to get them started in the right direction. Finally, I would ask to see what sort of assignment they have for their class at school, whether it be textbook exercises or a writing assignment, and I would help them to complete the assignment. This will give me insight into what sorts of tasks their teachers are assigning them, so that I will know how to better plan the following sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The key is finding the fastest method that helps you memorize vocabulary and grammar concepts on your own. This method will be different for everyone, and would be something I would work with students on through the sessions.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try multiple approaches. There are many different ways to learn any aspect of language, and maybe there is a process that clicks better with the student than the ones tried previously.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Keeping an open mind about the methods you will use help them. Everyone learns differently, so one teaching strategy that works really well for one student may not work the same for everyone. You have to tweak your style to fit your audience. I have had flashcards work perfectly for some students, and for others the things they see completely disappear from their mind minutes later.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A post lesson quiz every session. These are essential to double check that the concepts presented were absorbed. It's kind of like how homework is a way to test what you learned in class and to see what you still do not understand.