I've been speaking German for 8 years now. Originally I took German over Spanish because my brother did and he spoke German to me to irritate me. I took German to understand him and be able to speak back. Now it's 8 years later and I'm working on a degree in Linguistics and speak German, Spanish and French.
I originally was approached by my German professor in our first semester to tutor at my university, but was unable to at the time. I consistently try to explain German/French/Spanish concepts to my friends and they have gotten tired of it. In my German class, I help people with concepts they don't understand when they don't want to go to the tutor.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
There is no wrong way to get to a right answer. Patience is key. I try to remember how long it took me to understand concepts that were new and do not make the assumption that, just because it is easy for me, it will be easy for you.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introductions, ask what they want to improve upon, where they think they struggle, what/if any concepts they just don't understand and then a small conversation in the language to see where they're at with proficiency.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I feel it's not about getting them to want to do well on a test. Getting someone to be an independent learner involves getting them to love the material that is presented.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind them that it takes time. It can be discouraging to not see the improvements you think you should see in a language.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to see what they are having problems with and then try to break down the concept into as small of pieces as I can. If that does not work, I'd prepare examples for the next tutoring session to try to explain the concept better.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would have them break the words down into smaller blocks that they could pronounce, and then when they have done that, I'd have them say the word altogether.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Repetition and constant use of the language. Even if you have to add English to fill the gap where you do not know the word in the other language. Using the language is vital to learning the language.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to break it down into smaller sections. I feel a lot of people get bogged down in the grand scheme of things, and if you break a problem down into its components, then it is not as hard and you will not struggle as much.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Communication. It is important to make sure they understand it. If you learned something day one and do not remember it on day one hundred, that is perfectly fine. It does not matter how many times you need to ask.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Baby steps with success. Small things that they can do. At the end of the small things, you can show them how it all tied together into a bigger picture.