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I have been an educator since 1987. A friend asked me to help a young girl who was struggling with feeling intimidated by her male tutor in ESL. I discovered then a passion for teaching and have been doing so in a variety of positions both formal and informal since then. I push my students to learn the specific information they ask of me. Perhaps more importantly though, it is my hope that they will find a passion for learning and gain skill sets that they can use in all their endeavors.
I have several areas that I specialize in: English as a Second Language (ESL); test preparation - specifically ACT, SAT, and TOEFL; reading; and writing. While social sciences are my focus, I also teach elementary and high school math and sciences. Organization, time management, and study skills form the foundation of any learning. I have always stressed this with my students and incorporate this into my lessons. Each individual has their own way of processing information and retaining knowledge. I strongly believe that each individual's lesson plan must be tailored to them which is what makes tutoring such a rewarding experience.
I've included general descriptions of my specialties and teaching approaches below. I am happy to answer any questions you might have and discuss your particular needs in more detail.
ESL: I worked with individuals from 9-45 years of age in ESL and test preparation from 1987-1996 as a private tutor. Families were often reassigned for several years from Japan to the U.S. and struggled with both the language and cultural differences. Lessons covered school assignments in social sciences, math, English, government, biology, chemistry, and history as well as targeted ESL assignments. I strongly emphasize spoken as well as written skills so that students can do more than just fill in blanks on a page.
The mechanics of a language are important. Students will be asked to learn grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, and how to clearly organize written content. They will get to practice through verbal drills and discussion in a safe, non-critical space. Just as important is the culture that a language works in. I strongly believe in helping students understand cultural usages and differences so that they can better understand the rules and meanings of words within the English language and thus communicate complex ideas and thoughts.
While I have not worked primarily as an ESL tutor for several years, I have continued to work with non-native English speakers in several contexts. I worked as an administrative assistant at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas until recently while working on my MA in Anthropology which I received in 2009. While there, I often worked with international students helping them with their spoken and written English. I have edited large texts by non-native English speaking authors. I worked as a part-time Anthropology instructor at the College of Southern Nevada from 2010-2012. I often had students who did not speak English as a first language, and so continued to teach English to non-native speakers.
Reading/Writing: We read and write daily, from simple advertisements to long articles in newspapers and magazines, emails and letters from friends, on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, class assignments, manuals, memos at work, for fun and possibly to escape for a short while the demands of daily life. The ability to communicate clearly and quickly is crucial in today's quickly moving world. For those looking for help with reading, we will work with the building blocks of vocabulary and grammar as it helps in grasping meaning. We will also work on increasing your reading speed, retention of information and skills for skimming for information quickly and accurately.
For those looking for help improving their writing - again the mechanics are important and will be covered. Most importantly, I will work with you to help you find 'your voice' in writing and teach you how to clearly organize your thoughts to better express them.
Test Preparation: A student's course of study will be tailored to find and focus on areas of weakness. It will also cover test taking strategies. The GED, ACT, SAT and TOEFL all have different formats and specific measures of knowledge and communication skills.
I received my M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2009. I taught ANT 101, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, as an adjunct for the College of Southern Nevada from Spring 2010 - Spring of 2012. While the course focus was cultural anthropology, material covered an introduction to all four subfields and discussed how archaeology, linguistics, physical and cultural approaches were interwoven and necessary for a fuller understanding of human behavior.
My Master's degree in Anthropology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas included several archaeology courses: Intro to World Archaeology (A); a Core semester class of Archaeology and Physical Anthropology - an oral exam in addition to several written essays was required in the first year for continued enrollment in the program (A); a semester of Current Problems in Archaeology (A-). These courses give me a solid foundation in theoretical and applied archaeology.
I mastered in Anthropology specializing in Online Communities and Religion. My course of study covered classes in religion, folklore (often directly related to religious beliefs), and ritual. My M.A. thesis focused on the Zoroastrian global community's use of the Internet to preserve religious values, discuss change and adaptation to globalization, and the challenges of being a community of approximately 250,000 spread across the globe.
I've looked at the unique difficulties the second generation of immigrants face in preserving their religious beliefs and how religion can often play a central role in influencing adaptation strategies. I am particularly interested in the value of ritual and symbolism in various belief systems in order to understand both universal approaches and the unique strategies of individual groups such as the White Power movement, Zoroastrianism, the Hopi, and Evangelical groups. Religious communities continue to utilize modern technology establishing online churches, temples, meditation spaces and preservation of sacred scripture. These are fascinating adaptations, and in striving to succeed in a changing world, they may seek to spread their worldview and shape the communities around them. This makes understanding the value and influence of religion in daily life an important and critical area of study.
Very patient! — Helen is a very caring person. She's always on time and is very patient with my daughter who gets distracted very easily and can be slow at understanding things. I have tried other tutors and finally someone is helping her. My daughter seems comfortable with Helen and likes the way she teaches. Helen has helped us achieve a visible improvement in a very short time! I'm so grateful I found her! ...
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