I am humbled to have the opportunity to relay my interest in writing to tutor with the Varsity Tutors organization. I have recently become fond of the field of Education due to my academic career and recent professional experiences. However, I have held a passion and curiosity for Foreign language learning since I began High School. Since, I have traveled to learn the French language and its culture, and now, I want to provide others with the confidence and opportunities to do the same.
I have been privileged to live in two different countries, visiting seven in total. Naturally, these experiences have greatly impacted my outlook and perspective. As such, during my junior year in undergrad in Tours, France (Université François Rabelais) and the following year, I spent time in Angers, France becoming familiar with the country’s culture and the norms associated, which have now become effective learning tools that I can apply in my classroom. Here I spent the full academic school year teaching English to French primary school students from the ages of 6-11 years old.
As a teacher of foreign languages, adaptation is key in order to witness true growth in each student’s language skills. An effective teacher is one who is open to change and I have always incorporated various techniques in my teaching methods in both roles as a private tutor and as a teacher in France. I effectively engage my students by implementing elements of music, poetry, film, politics and others, through a variety of media (blogs, videos, and podcasts), which helps to reinforce grammar and vocabulary taught. Typical methods include approaches that concentrate on the four major areas of language learning: Oral Comprehension, Oral Expression, Written Comprehension, and Written Expression. Sources: RFI (Radio France Internationale, France 24, TV5 Monde, Le Gros Journal, etc.)
I have 4-5 years experience in the Education Field and have been tutoring students in French and English for 2 years. Each of my former and current students would tell you that I am knowledgeable, thorough, and passionate and that I orient my lessons exactly the same way.
Lastly, I am certain that I will make an effective teacher for the program and have a lasting impact on the students for several reasons. Multilingualism is becoming second nature in today’s world, and I am certain that I can be a great influence in this area to inspire students to step out of their comfort zones in order to travel and learn about other cultures and their languages.
Encouragement and patience are synonymous with my work style and match perfectly to what every student would need in a language teacher. Hence, I am certain that each of my experiences at home and abroad have provided me with the keys to be a successful French tutor.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Foreign languages are the gateway to the world. In my personal experience, French has been my unique entry point. My experience with the language has been a long and steady one despite what one would think when hearing me speak. My mottoes for learning a language are simple: "You get out what you put in", "Dive out of your comfort zone", and "Rome was not built in a day". Exposure to the language every day is key, and this remains a huge part of my philosophy whether through music, media, or novels. Travel also is a major part of my philosophy as I believe that language learning in a classroom is only a platform for fluency and one must be in an environment conducive to daily exposure to truly become fluent at all levels. Environments where no one or very few speak your first language are the best environments for learning a new language. Therefore, my role as a French teacher and tutor is to provide the student with the tools and resources necessary to develop their language skills (i.e. Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading, Listening, Writing, and Conversation). As a result, they will be more at ease when hearing, understanding, and responding in French. Hence, I orient my classroom and lessons the same way. When a person travels to another country, they are confronted with everyday situations that require conversation and interaction. I put my students in similar real-life situations that requires them to speak in the target language. This forces them out of the comfort zones of a classroom setting with a more realist point of view in the country itself. Texts and other resources incorporated in my teaching: - Rond Point (Perspective Actionnelle - Version Nord Americaine) - Reprise (A grammar worktext) - Taches d'Encre (French composition)
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, introduce myself and my learning experiences with the language, encouraging dialogue and conversation, which helps to create a connection to the student's learning experience and to myself as their tutor .Next, have an idea of what the student's goals are. Then, I would evaluate the student's current levels through brief written and oral conversation placement exams. Finally, lay out the direction you intend on orienting your lessons with the student's level in mind. Allow the student to ask any questions about future lessons, and respond to his or her answers providing reasons behind every activity and exercise that you plan on conducting in the future.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Allow room for error. No one is perfect, and if the student knows this, it helps them to learn at their own pace. Correct errors at the end of the class period as opposed to disrupting the flow of the class with corrections every few minutes.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I encourage my students through positive feedback. It is important to vary activities for each lesson based on the student's learning style. Cater activities to the student's learning style and interests. Conversational evaluations in the language always seem to excite my students.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Take the time to write it out for them. My lessons are always structured in a way where students are free to interrupt the general flow of the class to ask questions about specific grammar concepts or other things they may be finding difficult. I relay my explanations on a mini-whiteboard to help students grasp difficult topics or concepts.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension becomes much easier the more one reads. As my student reads, I encourage them to underline or jot down words they may not be familiar with, and then to refer back to them once the reading has been completed. I incorporate reading analysis guides for certain texts that help students think more critically while reading assigned material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Outlining and communicating the lesson plan and learning objectives for each lesson. At the start of each class, review last week's material to make sure that the students are retaining what was learned.