A photo of Hallie, a tutor from Barnard College Columbia University

Hallie

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I am a PhD candidate in Anthropology, and I love the exhilarating work of helping my students grasp difficult concepts. Whether it's planning how best to engage them, or working one-on-one with a student until they have that breakthrough and connect the dots between theory and real life, I thrive on the dynamic process of making knowledge not only accessible but also thrilling and possibly life-changing.

I have over ten years of experience as an instructor, tutor, writer, and editor, in many different subjects, contexts, and even countries. I have taught ESL to elementary school students in Korea and sociolinguistics (in French) to Master's students in Madagascar. I was awarded two of the most prestigious graduate research fellowships in Anthropology for my dissertation research, and have received numerous awards for my academic work as well as my fiction writing and poetry.

Standardized tests are sources of anxiety for many students, but I welcome the challenge of turning something so daunting into something manageable that my students can tackle with relative ease and absolute confidence.

Hallie’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Barnard College Columbia University - Bachelors, Anthropology & Comparative Literature (French/English)

Graduate Degree: University of California-Berkeley - PHD, Anthropology

Test Scores

SAT Writing: 800

GRE Quantitative: 148

GRE Verbal: 170

Hobbies

cooking, reading, movies, travel, hiking, music, martial arts

Tutoring Subjects

AP French Language and Culture

College English

College Essays

Conversational French

English

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

French

French 1

French 2

French 3

French 4

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Verbal

High School English

Homework Support

Languages

Other

Reading

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

TOEFL Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Anyone can learn anything, as long as they can connect it to something they love. My strategy as a tutor is to help you figure out what you are passionate about (you probably already know that part) and, most importantly, how to connect that with what you need to learn. Hip hop can help you write better, football stats can help you memorize grammar rules, and fashion blogs can help you with French vocabulary. Whatever it is you need to master, there is a way to make it fun and engaging!

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

Since my teaching philosophy is all about connecting what you need to learn with what you already know and love, I spend the first session getting to know you and what you're interested in. That way, we can create a plan together that will connect your interests with the information you need to learn, as well as a timeline and daily/weekly goals that will help you stay motivated without overwhelming you.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Everyone is talented at learning something, the subject just might not be what you'd generally find on a standardized test. In order to be motivated to study, the actual experience of studying has to be fun, and that's why I will help you figure out how to tap into your personal interests and passions to learn the things you need to learn. Studying on your own doesn't have to mean sitting alone with a book and cramming boring information into your brain; there's a better way!

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Daily and weekly goals are great ways to stay on track and motivate yourself, but if your goal is "memorize fifty vocabulary words" you may not be particularly motivated to tackle the task. We will work together to tailor your goals to your particular interests, so that instead of reminding yourself to spend an hour memorizing flashcards, you're reminding yourself to watch TV (and write a summary of your favorite episode in French) or listen to music (and write down the lyrics in grammatically correct sentences) or play basketball (every time you miss a shot you have to use a new vocabulary word correctly in a sentence).

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

First of all, we would work together to figure out why. Is it a problem with how the material was first presented? Is there another way to rephrase it or place it in a different context? Is it an issue of not knowing the necessary background/preliminary information? Being able to pinpoint what you don't understand and why is itself a valuable skill that we will work on together. Once we know why, we can pinpoint how to fix it. Maybe you just need to come back to it another day, or maybe we need to work on the preliminary steps that lead up to it that will help you understand it better.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

The best way to work on reading comprehension is to...read. But that doesn't mean forcing yourself to read things that don't interest you--chances are there's a topic you're passionate enough about that you'd be willing to sit through a few paragraphs on it. Then, you can work on summarizing what you've read (first verbally, then in writing). This is a critical skill on tests where you're presented with multiple paragraphs that you have to read and distill in a very short time. The key is to work your way up to more difficult material, starting with simple texts that you find interesting before diving into the kind of complex passages you might find on a test (and which are more likely to be about topics you aren't as familiar with or interested in).

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I always leave time at the end of a tutoring session for students to ask any questions they have--maybe it's something we covered at the beginning and you've forgotten, or a difficult concept you've been grappling with and that is still a bit fuzzy. But it's not always easy to identify what you don't know, which is where quizzes and practice tests come in handy. Quizzes are crucial to identifying what material you've mastered and what you still need to work on. In that sense, they're not just assessing your work as a student, but also my work as a tutor, helping us both get a picture of what ground we've covered and where we need to go from here. Practice tests are also important, especially if your ultimate goal is to ace a standardized test such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE. There is no better way to get a sense of where you're at than to take a practice test in conditions as similar as possible to the actual test.