Margaret’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Margaret’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I am an experienced ESL tutor and teacher specializing in the learning needs of adult second language learners. My background includes training and experience in teaching writing for school, the workplace, and social purposes. I use various techniques to help students with reading, grammar, pronunciation, and conversation.
For twenty years, I have tutored students of all ages in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. At the community college level, I tutored ESL students one-on-one and assisted in ESL classes. While attending university, I tutored ESL and ELL undergraduate and graduate students at the campus writing center. I also taught pre-GED classes in reading, writing, and grammar to ESL and ELL community college students. Currently I tutor ESL students privately and also teach a weekly ESL class in the workplace. For all my students, I create lessons that focus on their personal English learning needs. In 2010, I earned a TESL certificate from U.C. Irvine with a 4.0 GPA. In May 2013, I will complete a master's program in English - TESL. Beyond my regular studies, I attend workshops and take extra classes to continually improve my ESL knowledge and teaching skills.
I have taught GED reading, writing, and grammar skills at a community college. I have also privately tutored several students to use a simple three-step process to prepare for and pass the GED timed essay portion of the exam. In addition, I am well qualified to teach students the subject matter for the grammar portion for the exam.
My background in grammar includes both traditional grammar, pedagogical grammar, rhetorical grammar, and linguistics-based grammar.
For writing assignments, students often find it useful to focus on traditional grammar. Pedagogical grammar is particularly helpful to ESL learners in written and oral communication. For those students who wish to move beyond "correctness" to writing persuasively, I introduce them to rhetorical (or stylistic) grammar. For those students who find it helpful to know the "whys" of English grammar, I incorporate linguistics-based grammar to show them how the underlying structure of English works.
I have completed grammar coursework in the following subjects: Modern Language Teaching, Structure of Language, Language Assessment, Teaching Grammar, Grammar for Writers and Teachers, Teaching Methods (theory-based), Teaching Methods (practice-based), Teaching American Idioms, Second Language Acquisition, Structure of English, Advanced Structure of English, Phonology, History of English, History of American English, African-American Vernacular English, and Grammar for Writers and Teachers.
I have completed teaching of writing coursework in the following subjects: Teaching Writing Skills, History and Theories of Rhetoric, Grammar for Writers and Teachers, Teaching of Writing, Writing Center Internship, Advanced Composition - Critical Thinking, Advanced Composition - Persuasion, Research and Composition, Creative Writing I, Creative Writing II, Business and Technical Writing, Teaching Vocabulary Skills, and Advanced Editing Strategies.
Courses I am currently taking are Pedagogical Grammar for TESOL and Teaching of Composition.
In my coursework, I have interviewed and recorded an ESL learner, diagnosed his specific grammatical errors, and designed a lesson plan to help him with a troublesome issue.
In my tutoring and teaching, I have performed needs analyses, developed curriculum to meet specific student and whole classroom needs and goals, and designed assessments.
My goal is to help learners, whether native English speakers or second-language learners, to navigate the grammar of English for their own purposes. I engage student interest and help them succeed by using a variety of teaching tools, techniques, and activities.
I completed two courses in ESL pronunciation and one course in the structure of language, which covered the International Phonetic Alphabet; North American English vowels and consonants; stress, rhythm, and connected speech; prominence and intonation; and the English sound system as it relates to listening, morphology, and spelling.
In addition, I performed a contrastive analysis of English and Spanish; diagnosed a Spanish speaker's individual pronunciation issues by recording, transcribing, and analyzing his speech; and designed learning materials to help him with his specific pronunciation issues.
Further, I completed a course in phonology that taught me to assist ESL students by (1) describing the place, manner, and voicing of English sounds; (2) evaluating the differences between English and the learner's first language; (3) explaining syllables, stress rules, and syllable weight; and (4) highlighting tone and intonation differences.
My practical teaching experience includes (1) the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet to describe English sounds; (2) charts contrasting English and a variety of first languages; (3) pictorial charts to show the correct placement of vowels and consonants using mouth, lips, teeth, and tongue; (4) a hand-held mirror that helps students see if they are producing the correct sounds; and (5) a plastic "phone" that allows students to hear if they are producing the correct sounds.
Furthermore, I can teach ESL learners spoken English emphasis patterns (content versus function words) and sentence intonation patterns. Moreover, I can perform a diagnostic speech analysis and design specific lessons to pinpoint a student's pronunciation problem areas.
I have performed proofreading tasks for over forty years, including academic assignments, workplace documents, community writing, and public relations materials. My focus is on logical organization, appropriate vocabulary and grammar, and consistent mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and formatting). Moreover, I can help you write forceful sentences and cohesive paragraphs. To summarize, I'm a stickler for detail, and you can count on your document being accurate and looking attractive.
I am qualified to teach ESL speech in the areas of grammar and pronunciation.
Regarding my qualifications to teach pronunciation, I have taken a postgraduate class in teaching pronunciation (ESL Pronunciation Skills). Morever, I have also taken a university-level class in Phonology, the science of sound related to human speech, that covered the variations in speech sounds among different languages of the world.
My methods for teaching English pronunciation incorporate (1) mouth and tongue strengthening exercises, (2) the use of charts to let students see visual examples of the differences between the sounds of their first language and the sounds of English, (3) the use of a hand-held mirror to help students modify their mouth and tongue positions to more closely mimic those of English, and (4) the use of a "phone" that allows students to hear themselves and thereby know when they are more closely approaching a correct English sound.
Regarding grammar as relates to speech, my background includes coursework in English grammar (Teaching English Grammar, Structure of English, Advanced Structure of English, and Teaching ESL Grammar) and two classes in ESL Teaching Methods. I have also completed coursework in discourse that focuses on the different demands of different types of speech for different purposes and different speech acts.
My methods for teaching English grammar vary from classical pedagogical grammar to more complex linguistics-based grammar that looks at the underlying structure of English.
I have completed the following vocabulary-related coursework: Teaching Vocabulary Skills, Teaching Reading Skills, and Reading in the ESL Context. In addition, I have taken classes in teaching theory and methodology with information on how the human brain learns and remembers vocabulary. Furthermore, I have taken classes in Structure of English, Advanced Structure of English, and Structure of Language with sections on mophology (parts of words). Moreover, I have earned credits in American English, History of English that provided a background in word classes (parts of speech), where words come from, and how words change over time. Finally, I have completed writing and teaching of writing classes that included sections on word choice for appropriate register and precise meaning.
When meeting a new word, learners need to know its spelling, its part of speech, its pronunciation, its definition, its collocations (how it "goes together" with other words), its use in a sentence. I have many methods learners can try out and choose to expand their vocabulary knowledge and use.
I coach students to discover and develop their personal writing process. This process begins with understanding the assignment, brainstorming and organizing ideas, drafting, revising and editing, and final proofreading. In addition, I help each student develop a personalized editing and proofreading checklist to use for all future writing tasks.