I passed the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers Multiple Subjects Test (CSET).
The CBEST is designed to test basic reading, mathematics, and writing skills found to be important for the job of an educator; the test is not designed to measure the ability to teach those skills. The CSET Multiple Subject test covers three subtest areas: #1 Reading, Language and Literature, History and Social Science; #2 Science and Mathematics; #3 Physical Education, Human Development, Visual and Performing Arts.
In addition, I have a TESOL certification from the School for International Training Graduate Institute, and a PhD from The School of Professional Psychology.
I taught English as a second language and I currently am an English teacher with the International Rescue Committee in Oakland, California.
Currently, I am teaching English to immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, and I have taught students from the Americas as well. My TESOL certification is from the SIT Graduate Institute. SIT Graduate Institute equips students with theoretical knowledge, field experience, and professional skills. Programs are based on an experiential learning model and a commitment to social justice and intercultural communication.
I am certified as a TESOL teacher from the School for International Training Graduate Institute and World Learning (SIT). This certificate is recognized internationally for developing teachers with professional knowledge and skills for growth as world-class English language teachers.
The curriculum I successfully completed demonstrates my abilities to develop lesson plans, teach speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar and cultural aspects of the English language.
In combination with my doctorate in psychology, I bring a background of humanistic psychology that adds a depth of understanding for how the students learn, which learning schemas are natural for the student, and what challenges to overcome for language fluency.
My philosophy in teaching is one that applies to my clients as it does with my English language students, and that is, to establish a trusting bond between the student and the teacher, that is non-judgmental, understanding, and engenders a compassionate setting for learning and teaching.
In addition to my professional background as a psychologist and TESOL teacher, I teach a mind-body relaxation program. This relaxation program, when needed, may assist the student to reduce learning anxieties or other anxiety related handicaps.
I have taught internal martial arts in municipal community centers since 1998. Since then, I have taught students privately for better health as well as to clients recovering from alcohol and drug addictions.
Grandmaster Henry Look, who operates the Tri Internal Martial Arts school in El Dorado, California certified me to teach his system of the three internal martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing-I, and Pagua Chang.
Many of the students I have taught have gone on to win medals in their respective competitive areas, notably in the UC Berkeley, Ca tournament held annually.
The primary focus for teaching the internal martial arts is for better health, preventing illness, and to increase stamina, improve balance, and to still the mind.
I have been a student of the martial arts for half my life, and I foresee it will remain a distinct aspect of my continuing daily practice.
My Ph.D. is from The Professional School of Psychology, Sacramento, California. The focus of my doctorate is on counseling psychology with a sub field in organizational psychology.
My earliest psychological training included working with anxiety, depression, and panic attack disorders. In subsequent clinical settings I was a primary therapist counseling chemical substance abusers, alcoholics, and other addicts in residential treatment. I assisted in the formation of an outpatient program and later developed a unique relapse prevention program that I expanded in my private practice.
In addition to the counseling positions I held, I coordinated the collaborative mission of the Asian & Pacific Islander Bay Area Health Council (APIBAHC). The APIBAHC in aggregate served over one million Asian and Pacific Islanders in the San Francisco Bay Area to improve the health needs and service disparities, promoting research and shaping health care policies in the public and private sectors.
Recently, I felt my needs and skills could be utilized in other areas, particularly in teaching other subjects. Many of the clinical clients I worked with were in fact students learning how to cope more effectively with stress and to improve their life force energy. Ultimately, the students learned how to manage their life in transformative ways changing how they interacted with the world and gaining new perspectives on their life.
As a TESOL teacher I teach reading receptive skills. In developing a lesson plan for reading, pre-reading schemas that lead to discrete reading activities shape the organization of the plan and finally the lesson plan guides the student through the comprehension reading stage.
The reading lesson plan has core elements that are essential. The length of the reading activity should be in proportion to how much time is given for the overall lesson. The level of vocabulary needs to be appropriate for the student’s level of language proficiency. The various activities in the lesson plan need to be assessed as to whether or not the student can actually achieve satisfactory completion of the planned activities. And the teacher needs to be clear about the aim for each reading activity.
Included in the reading lesson plan are tasks such as reading for details. Here the student may fill in charts, list key events and put them in order, sort the information into categories, answer true/false questions, and learn how to mark the text.
Reading sub-skills may include learning how to skim, make inferences, guessing the meaning of a word in context, summarizing the readings, predicting, and recognizing patterns of organization.
A key to motivating students to want to read is what is called developing the pre-reading stage. In the pre-reading stage the student is not actually reading the text, indeed, the teacher is promoting the desire to want to read by stimulating ideas, pictures, memories, and other associations to the reading topic.
In order for a teacher to teach study skills, he or she is required to understand the obstacles that confront the student. For example, some students may have problems with focus and motivation. In my teaching experience as a special needs teacher, I had the students do warm up guessing games in the beginning of class to get them to focus. In the ESL classes I taught, one population of students were immigrants from Mexico and South America. While these students were usually quite motivated to learn English, they were shy when it came to speaking. A motivating activity that encouraged them to speak included pairing the shy student with students who were more at ease with speaking English, which minimized any feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment.
Many students learning English are using digital dictionaries or Internet applications to assist in translation from one language to another. Hopefully, the student has a teacher who can teach the new vocabulary words in context of some aspect of the language the student is already familiar with. To that end, the idea of teaching English phrases and words in context, or in lexis is the more current thinking among language teachers.
Effectively using the new vocabulary is a matter of time and practice. Since the new word in and of itself has a discrete definition, the more complete understanding of the word is its use and meaning. Then there are various idioms that may use the word that in turn create other layers of the meaning depending on its context.
Teaching vocabulary beyond the one dimensional word definition can include the concepts of the lexical family, lexical sets, synonyms and personal feelings about the word, such as the connotation and associations that the word brings up.
At the end of the day, teachers may want to orient their lessons so that students are able to practice, clarify, retain, recall, and know how to use the new words or phrases in their proper context.
How is writing and speaking the same or different as a productive language skill? Writing has the one added dimension that speaking usually does not, and that is the ability to go back and change what was expressed. Comparatively, in the free flowing nature of speech, once the comment and the corresponding thought has been made, rarely is there an opportunity to go back and edit what was stated. Yes, one can retract or contradict what was said. However, it will take quite an explanation to reframe what was spoken. Yet, in speaking, the voice itself creates sounds adding a wide range of tones that can only be described in the written form.
Writing typically can be informal as in emails, texting, and writing post cards. The chosen reader(s), the grammar, mechanics, word choice, and organization among other writing elements affect formal writing.
It is the very nature of being human we find we want to share and to communicate with each other. Writing has been a unique part of sharing experiences, knowledge and stories. I teach writing to help students express themselves in a clear and fluent way so that the student can get their ideas understood. I like this idea that writing is painting with words. And we know the other half of that thought, which is a painting, is worth a thousand words.