A photo of Robin, a tutor from Indiana University-Bloomington

Robin

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Language learning happens through repeating groups of words that you use in everyday life. It happens when your own brain makes connections. It doesn't happen when you cram for a test. For that reason, I try to use things like games that you can play with friends and family, books you might read to your children or real-life situations that you share with me. I try to make lessons fun.

Robin’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Indiana University-Bloomington - Bachelors, Fine Arts

Graduate Degree: SUNY at Albany - Masters, ESOL English as a Second or Other Language

Hobbies

Gardening, travel.

Tutoring Subjects

Adult ESL/ELL

English

English Grammar and Syntax

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Writing

Middle School Reading

Middle School Writing

Other

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

People don't learn language by memorizing lists of words; they learn by using groups of words in a practical way.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students become independent learners when they find something that they want to achieve in their target language: reading a book, preparing a new food, understanding a movie, or ordering in a restaurant when they travel.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Realize that learning has ups and downs. Don't punish yourself if you knew how to say something yesterday, but don't today. Compare your ability to 3 months ago. Ask yourself what you can now do, not what you can't.

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

Don't be afraid to start with children's books or photo captions, and don't worry if you don't know every single word. Just as when you learned to read, you have to work your way up.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Practicing questions and answers (all yes/know, all "Have you ever...") is very helpful for navigating daily life in a new place.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Use your new language to do something you like to do in your first language.

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

Short written tests or assignments, or even e-mails to me, are one way to confirm mastery. Also, I can see what a student knows by having them teach me!

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

When students tell me what they have learned at the end of a lesson, and perhaps the last lesson, it's confidence building. Telling me how they used it on their own is the best.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Short written assignments or sometimes just casual conversation tell me what students can and can't do with language.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Lessons are a series of experiments! Did playing this game grow ability? Maybe a student needs to be active or learn through song. We try until we have success and keep trying new things.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I use cards with words in various ways, either to put in sentence order, or play "Go Fish" to learn vocabulary categories.

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

First lessons are always about learning about each other through talk.

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

If a concept is difficult, I try to find many ways to teach or use it.