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Sharing my love of language drives my teaching and motivates me to keep up to date with new trends through workshops and training programs. The Color Vowel Chart, as used by the US State Department, provides a way for students to use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) without needing to memorize a new set of characters. Understanding the evolution of English as the product of Norman French and the Germanic languages helps students with spelling and word choice. (Let's also thank the Vikings and the Celts!)

When students have learning differences, I work with them to identify strengths that we can build on. There are three approaches to presenting new material: visual, aural, and kinesthetic. Experiential learning promotes retention.

It is important to check for understanding, especially when a student processes pragmatics (intonation, facial expression, turn-taking, and loudness) in a different way from a neuro-typical student. It is also important to check for understanding when a student is an English language learner whose written and spoken English are at different levels. The current trend in academic work is group projects. Without extra preparation, these two types of students can easily fall behind.

I have been been teaching college reading/writing for non-native speakers since 2010. I earned both an MA in linguistics and a BA in computer science from UC San Diego. I formerly worked in language analysis and database design as a GS-12 Computer Scientist in the civil service, while also volunteering as a NASA Hands-on Science teacher.

I have additional graduate coursework in neurology, anatomy, first and second language acquisition, literacy skills, articulation, stuttering, lifespan communication disorders, and sociolinguistics. I am currently completing graduate studies in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). My family has completed UCLA's PEERS (r) training to facilitate social communication. At one time or another, I have studied these languages:
Spanish, French, Hebrew, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Persian, German, Yiddish, ASL (American Sign Language), and Japanese. If I have the stamina, Hungarian will be next on my list!

I welcome students taking introductory linguistics and any level of phonetics and phonology, including the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (the DLAB). I also work with ESL students who want to improve their workplace writing, pronunciation/accent, and public speaking.

I am passionate about preparing teachers to pass the language portions of the CBEST and CSET teaching exams. The CBEST pass rate for first-time test-takers hovers at 70%, so it is important to have a tutor who provides encouragement along with practice essays and grammar exercises. Please email me a writing sample prior to our first meeting.

Hebrew students--
Adults: We begin by using familiar words and icons that we customize to leverage your own experience.
Teens and younger:
I expect parents to print out review exercises and participate for a few minutes to provide feedback and to assure that your student has a working sound and video system. Relying on a smartphone will impede progress and attention.

Please come ready to use or select a Hebrew version of your name and to select either the Ashkenazi or Sephardic pronunciation. We will be using block letters, with and without vowels. Initially, you will use music and song to become acquainted with the names of the letters.

Under 10 years: letter recognition and intro kri'a reading, which may depend on ease of reading English
Ages 10 to 15:
bar/bat mitzva preparation
using letter systems from Sarah and David and the Language Bazaar.
As appropriate, graded children's readers from Behrman and KTAV
Reading for fun from Dr. Seuss and others in translation.

The lesson includes 4 parts:
letters or reading;
translation and grammar;
hobbies and conversation in Hebrew or gematriya and commentary;
choice of holidays, prayers, Judaism and culture. Sometimes we may develop or play computer games in Hebrew using quizlet and other sites.

Adults and teens: If you do not yet have a favorite Torah or Prophets portion, my goal for you is to be able to read aloud in Hebrew and translate The Book of Ruth or The Book of Esther.

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Michelle’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-San Diego - Bachelor in Arts, Computer Science

Graduate Degree: University of California-San Diego - Master of Arts, Linguistics

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1450

SAT Math: 700

SAT Verbal: 750


Yoga, Korean literature in translation, vegan cuisine, comedy, klezmer jazz, Mizrahi music, YMCA classes

Tutoring Subjects




ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills

ACCUPLACER ESL - Sentence Meaning




Basic Computer Literacy


Business Writing

CBEST - The California Basic Educational Skills Test



CLEP French

CLEP Humanities

College English

CSET - California Subject Examinations for Teachers


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing



IELTS - International English Language Testing System Prep



Microsoft Office

Professional Certifications

Public Speaking

SAT Reading

SAT Subject Test in Modern Hebrew

SAT Subject Tests Prep

SAT Writing and Language

Social Studies

Technical Writing

Technology and Coding

Test Prep



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