Marcia’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Marcia’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I studied Arabic at the University of South Florida as another language family was required for Linguistics. I learned how to read,s peak and write in this language - all in a beginner’s level. Little I knew, 8 years later I was living in the Middle East and stayed there for around 6 years (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain), where I had the opportunity to use some of the language I had learned.
My children were going to school there, so I had to help my son with his written Arabic and the my daughter with the basics of writing. I taught Spoken and Written Saudi Arabian Arabic for expatriates - all beginner’s level. Since then, I have used it occasionally, but I am not proficient in this language per se. I feel qualified to teach a basic beginners’ course, but not an intermediate/advanced level.
If your needs require Beginners' Arabic, you may count on me.
I studied Archaeology - mainly because I enjoyed it - since my Elementary School, with the help of my father and grandfather. Upon concentrating in History of the World, in HS, I further developed my readings and studies in the field, again, coached by my elders. The interest continued throughout college and culminated when studying Historical Linguistics, by analyzing and deciphering languages long extinct, coupled by the study of Ancient Religions and Cultures.
I have traveled, worked and lived in many places, so far, and my interest in Archaeology has not yet diminished. While living in the Caribbean, I visited archeological sites in both Guatemala and El Salvador, and prehistorical sites in Martinique. I also became somewhat familiar with the mounds in Ohio, while living there. In the Middle East, I was exposed to ancient sites in Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. I was also in the Palace of King Minos, in Crete, and at the Parthenon, in Athens. Greece is basically loaded with ancient monuments of the past and a discovered a few on my own. I tried to move to Egypt and Turkey, but it did not work out. I am, however, well-familiar with these old cultures. And in Asia, I also admired the art of the Ancients in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand through both sites and temples.
Archaeology is not just the work on a digging. It is also the reading and the knowledge one acquires through pure interest and enthusiasm and through the difficult reconstruction of some of the languages no longer spoken. It also means conversing with the natives and their elders, talking about their ancestry and their religious beliefs, as religion plays a larger than life role in any archeological site. It is also going to "souks," public markets and small villages and appreciate the art of the natives directly inherited from their ancestors.
I have done all that and still plan to do much more. In the meantime, I am still an avid reader of Archeological/Historical puzzles, historic novels and books and still subscribe to "Archaeology Today" and "Biblical Archaeology,” not to mention the contents of some of the documentaries in the History Channel, History International, Discover and the BBC, at times.
I feel prepared to pass this knowledge along - despite the fact that I do not possess a degree on paper in the field. Instead of that, I acquired the knowledge that derives from living and talking to the descendants of these cultures and understanding their ways of life and religious beliefs ... and by seeing - face to face - a few of those witnesses of lost cultures and achievements.
Having being born overseas, English was not my first language. However, I was taught a little bit at home, studied it in High School for about 4 years, then for another 2 years in College, and at the British Center for English Language Studies, where I received my Cambridge Language Institute certification, the equivalent of the TOEFL certification.
I moved to the US and did Post Graduate work in Teaching Methodologies – work that paved the way to a Master’s in Applied Linguistics. While doing my MA besides teaching ESL, at the University, I was also an Assistant for the English Department and taught English 101/102 and 201/202. My work in International Relations and International Marketing led me to travel extensively, while giving me the opportunity to also become a seasoned English to French to Spanish to Portuguese to Italian translator and interpreter. After coming back to the US - I received my English State of Georgia Certification and resumed teaching English in local colleges, and in middle/high schools in Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton Counties.
This background in foreign languages along with their Latin and Greek foundations permitted me to acquire an extensive English vocabulary in general and specific areas; the addition of the principles of Applied Linguistics allowed me to develop an English-based comparative view of grammatical rules and regulations and an overall understanding of listening and reading fluency, language usage, and the ability to grasp a theme and develop it step by step, in the genre it pertains. The combination of all that – in different degrees of concentration and dosage- is imbedded in the methodology designed specifically to the needs of each student/client I work with. This process requires time and determination from the part of the learner, and patience, persistence and the ability of interacting, from the part of the teacher. All my life I have been both leaner and teacher. I believe this unique perspective is the main decisive factor in my “interacting experience” that has brought progress and success for the students I have had so far: children and teenagers in elementary, middle or high school, young adults in college and working adults.
There is always room for one more.
My MA was in Applied Linguistics. This means that one visualizes a language, analyzes the data, establishes a basic set of rules relating to that language, and applies the acquired material to decipher, teach, and use a particular language. Within the Applied Linguistics field, I specialized in Teaching a Second Language to Speakers of Other Languages. While that refers to any language - and I teach several of them - I also have been using this ability for teaching ESL - English as a Second Language. I myself was a foreign student of English and learned the language by studying it and teaching it to myself, while using it if and when necessary, mistakes and all! I went through the TOEFL exam, took it, passed it, and continued on to Graduate School and further teaching.
I have been teaching ESL for a long time, both in the US and overseas, from K to College level and I am certified in this area by the State of Georgia. My most recent work with English consulting was in Brazil, just last year, with young professionals, as well as with a couple of advertising agencies in simultaneous interpretations and/or translations, while visiting there. I have been with WyzAnt working in this area and in other subjects for the last three years, and just recently retired from Gwinnett County Schools, as Lead ESL Teacher, having previously worked in a similar capacity for DeKalb and Fulton Counties.
My students come from different parts of the world and they have their individual difficulties pertaining to their native languages - difficulties that have to be adapted to English and/or corrected. The secret for my success in this area comes from the understanding of each of my foreign clients' culture and a feel of the difficulties he/she is dealing with -because I have been there. Coupled with that, and assisted by the previous knowledge of the interference of their native languages into the learning of English - I am able to get into the heart of the problem and work specifically towards the client's needs. And as one of my clients, I will work with you through a program tailored for you, while doing my best to promote your self-confidence in your English as a Second Language.
Because some of my ancestors were French, I began learning the language at age 8 and continued with doing so in High School, where I studied under French nuns, and, in College, under a visiting professor from the University of Lyons. I received my BA in French Language and Literature from the Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil, and, a year later was teaching Freshmen French at the same university, as well as in private and state schools, in Brazil.
While working with multinational corporations, including Nestlé, I became a translator/interpreter (simultaneous and consecutive) for French/Portuguese, French/English/French/Spanish.
When serving in the Caribbean for the OAS, I worked closely with the French Embassy in Kingston and with nationals from/at the surrounding France’s former colonies (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti) as part of my assignments. In the Middle East I also taught French for expatriates and local Emirati, Omani and Saudi nationals. Because my children went to British/Lebanese International schools, I participated in their French/Arabic activities on a regular basis.
In the US, I taught French for High School seniors, and took one of the classes to Quebec and Montreal,as a teacher, guide and occasional translator, as I was one of the founding members of the French Club.
When I moved to Georgia, I received my French certification from the Georgia Dept. of Education and taught French for state schools, which I still do, occasionally.
While still active with translations interpretations and French proofreading, I like teaching the language, for the opportunity to establish a one-on-one due to contact with clients and the progress I can witness from meeting to meeting. I use a direct/illustrated method in my teaching, as a fortunate residue of my MA in Applied Linguistics; in other words, I incorporate conversation with grammar, producing very positive results.
I like the French language and I am good at what I do. French literature, French history and French art are also part of the French package I present and execute to/with my clients. Voulez-vous apprendre cette langue?
Geography was one of my favorite subjects throughout my years of school. In elementary school I worked with maps and cities and capitals of countries I only dreamed about visiting someday. In middle and high school, I established the link between geography and history and how countries get shaped through their land, their culture and their natural resources. In college, I concentrated in foreign languages and how to use them, again, someday, in the countries I had already mapped in my mind to visit, worked or even live. Before graduate school I had achieved part of my goal. By the time I worked on my International Relations MA, I was advising a country in the fine and difficult art of foreign relations. A lot of the countries of my childhood dreams have been visited already (but I still have a long list to go through). I saw and bathed in rivers and seas I had read about. I flew over mountains, oceans and cities I had studied. And saw old civilizations come to my eyes in their majesty of ancient buildings.
This is geography, and history and social studies to me: not just what one sees in pictures or reads in books, or gets to know through the internet. Geography is not just physical geography, but human interaction with the land that shapes people and their heritages. I may not be able to transport a client to some of the places I have been, but I can assist him/her understand, first hand, what other countries and cities and cultures really are, based on face to face encounters, face to face experiences, coupled with the ability to transmit this information to the client by making it visual and easier to comprehend and absorb. I did exactly all of that when I started my teaching career overseas, later, as a three-time participant in the Model of the United Nations, which led to a position as an International Advisor in the Caribbean, and as a presenter of International seminars in Atlanta, and working on ESL Social Studies with students from Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties.
To the potential clients who are checking my expertise as a possible instructor/tutor, this is the contribution I bring in terms of geography, history and in a shell – social studies: a "lived by exposure" to other countries, cultures and languages that can give the client a clear understanding of the intricacies of geography and how far its influence extends into the world politics and foreign relations, world economics and natural resources and even, world peace. And, of course, that of assisting him or her -- by working together -- in the achievement of the best passing grade they can possibly get.
Good grammar helps one to speak well. Good grammar helps one to write well. Good grammar helps one to communicate a message clearly and effectively. Grammar skills are necessary in school exams and in college papers; in a resume for a job, and in a job interview; in a client presentation or in an impromptu speech.
Good grammatical skills separate the literate from the illiterate and assist in the small factoids of life.
I was taught grammar since my fist grade at school and the challenge became progressively heavy as the grades went by. Yet, my good foundation in grammar led me to understand that grammar is the same in every language and that similar rules do apply to apparently dissimilar language systems. That understanding led me to the learning of foreign languages and my original concept of rules and grammatical organization in a functional way became more obvious as I studied Applied Linguistics and received my MA in this area.
Linguistics and more specifically, transformational grammar, gave me a label for the principles I had learned throughout the years, and helped me to take my point across to students of same or of a different language. Every language has nouns, every language has verbs. The way these nouns and verbs combine in order to bring sense to a sentence is the realm of grammar and, depending on the language, there may be more or fewer variations to these principles. These nominal and verbal elements are joined together by certain non-variable words in segments or in sentences, and these are prepositions and conjunctions. A word can be more or less specific - the domain of adjectives - and good writing sometimes implies the avoidance of repetitive terms, hence the existence and use of pronouns.
This simplistic overview of grammar is extended or suppressed depending on the needs of a particular student or the particular aspect of the grammatical facts he/she needs to learn, re-learn, or overview. Yet, this approach produces results, and most students come to the understanding that the grammatical concepts are just that - concepts - that can be used, accordingly, to produce the writing pieces or answers the learner is after. I couple these explanations with realistic oral or written examples and/or comments of daily events, news articles, common expressions and everyday phrases, giving those their grammatical labels when necessary, justifying their usage, when necessary, but always leading to correct speech - be that spoken or written.
And this is my grammatical approach to daily or formal speech that I pass it on to my students on a regular basis and with good results.
The first time I was exposed to Italian, I was 10 years old and my father gave me a beautifully illustrated “Dante’s Inferno” in his original Italian format. We studied one page every night, together, until “Inferno” was done. My dad and I practice words and expressions and basic conversation, but I wanted more. I learned Italian at the Universidade Federal do Ceará, in Brazil, and, later on, re-shaped my skills at the University of South Carolina, in the U.S., in a course specifically about Dante’s “Divine Comedy!” (of course I knew the “Inferno” pretty well...).
While working at Nestlé, I used my skills as an translator Italian/English/Portuguese and taught it to the staff; after moving to the Middle East, I taught conversational and formal Italian to both locals and foreign expatriates. Back in Georgia, I taught it for several years in community schools in Gwinnett County and have been teaching it at/through WyzAnt. I do consult and translate in this language whenever the opportunity arises.
My “Italian methodology” is direct, conversational, practical, illustrated with examples and graphs - intended to establish a link between the client’s native language and the target language he/she is trying to learn or improve. My level of success is quite high. In cases when the client already knows some of language and needs to improve his/her grammatical or conversational skills, I adapt the method to fit my client’s needs, using his/her own materials at hand, or creating my own, or working with whatever we have. Because cultural similarities and differences are of extreme importance – particularly when traveling or doing business in Italy - I touch upon the cultural aspects of the language and country and ways to “fit in.”
Above all, in Italian, as in all my classes, I explore the positive aspects of learning, not the negative, always encouraging the client, couching him/her in his/her needs and providing an overall view of his/her learning process. However, because mutual cooperation is required to achieve success, I like to point to my clients the importance of studying and reviewing what has been explored during our meetings, so they can reach their goals in the shortest possible time span.
I studied basic finance and economics, while doing my studies in International Relations and working as a translator/interpreter in the field, at the Business Department, USC.
A few years later, I was transferred to Brazil and started working for a multinational corporation as a translator/interpreter for their newly developed products and the products they planned on developing. Soon after that, I became deeply involved with market research, customer preferences and habits and statistics on the products and their acceptation. And started working with the principles of consumer advertising and client presentation.
I moved on and worked for a marketing magazine in the same country. By then, I became a Marketing Executive. Aside from writing and editing articles on the subject, I created advertisements for both the makers of products and the consumers these products were geared to, trained the sales forces in presentations to clients, made a few sales calls, myself, and participated, either as an active participant or as a presenter in several market and advertising conferences.
The fluency I acquired in foreign languages landed me consulting assignments with Arab companies who wanted to invest overseas, Brazilian companies who wanted to do the same and led to several conferences on "How to do Business in...." - something that I still do occasionally...
Marketing is a wide field, but not one where everyone can penetrate. It is not just sales, or numbers. It is also an active knowledge of the product one is pursuing or developing, or selling, based on real figures and profits. It is a basic knowledge of the human nature and what might or might not benefit a specific company or client, through a veiled observation of their mannerisms and body language. And, when dealing with specific clients, add to those, a deep knowledge of their background, their likes and dislikes, beliefs and cultures.
I lived and I still live "marketing." When passing this knowledge along, I do use books and articles and writings as guidelines. However, I add some of the personal touch only an innate marketer has. I believe I have that and I can assist others in developing these talents that they may not even know they have.
I studied phonics in college, for my BA and did well in the subject.
I began using its principles more often when learning and teaching foreign languages as a tool to achieve the desired correct pronunciation of isolated and combined sounds in words, and intonation in sentences then comparing those to their writing format and teaching my students how to understand those equivalencies. My knowledge of phonics proved very useful when I taught hearing impairing subjects basic words and expressions, when – besides repetition and lip synch - I used specific techniques of sound producing with the lips for bilabial sounds, teeth and tongue for dental sounds and palate-producing sounds for certain consonants and vowels. We worked from individual sounds to words to short sentences and the results were good.
I dug a little deeper in my phonics studies when doing my masters in Applied Linguistics, as phonics is essential for learning and teaching a language, especially when used in connection to the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Phonics has helped me to learn a few foreign languages and gave my English a near-native accent.
Throughout my years of teaching I have used phonics constantly either orally and/or in connection with graphics: to illustrate a special kind of sound or groups of sounds, not present in a student's first language; to give shape and individual personalities to sounds or groups of sounds a student has/had trouble with, whereas in his first or second language; to facilitate the enunciation and/or correction of sounds or groups of sounds to students of public speaking. As a singer, I used phonics to make words clear and have the perfect equivalency with notes. By separating individual sounds and groups of sounds along with their equivalent letters or words, while adding the phonetic alphabet and phonological markings for intonation – I successfully delivered songs in foreign languages I was not totally familiar with.
Phonics has been a tool that I have been fond of using for a long time: as a student of foreign languages and ESL, phonics helped me to learn these languages and English. As a teacher of ESL and foreign languages, phonics has successfully helped my students to understand the equivalency of sound/letter, syllable/word, sentence/intonation and intonation/meaning and gave them a more confident attitude when speaking, talking, conversing or giving a speech. And self-confidence when presenting oneself, orally, seems, to me, to be ultimately, the goal of phonics.
Portuguese – more specifically – Brazilian Portuguese – is my first language, as I was born and raised in Brazil. My school program in Elementary school was arduous, as we were required to read, by age 5 ½ and know grammar, spelling and writing/reading perfectly well as to be able to perform successfully in competitions, at the end of elementary school. High School brought more challenges in Portuguese, this time with the introduction of Continental Portuguese language and literature, in addition to Latin, English and French. Because we were required to also learn these languages well, translations to and from these languages and Portuguese were also part of the curriculum. That was my first glimpse of what Portuguese must be like for a foreigner!
The training in these languages and Portuguese continued through College and I received a double BA in Portuguese and French Languages and Literature and the Methodologies that went with teaching both languages. I taught Portuguese in High School and College, while in Brazil, trained teachers to teach Portuguese to the locals in the Amazon area and was a successful candidate for becoming a permanent certified teacher for the Brazilian National department of Education. Once I left the country, I taught Portuguese in the US, for Americans, in the Caribbean for French and English speakers, in the Middle East, for Arabic speakers…not to mention other foreign speakers who wanted to learn the language.
Teaching a native language for speakers of the same language and teaching it to speakers of other languages is not exactly the same thing. In fact, the differences are crucial. A native speaker, SPEAKS, READS, WRITES and UNDERSTANDS the language. He/she may need “toning” in in the language and improvements in certain areas. A foreign speaker needs to LEARN the BASICS of the language first before he/she can speak it, read, write it or understand it.
Translating from different languages into Portuguese, gave me a glimpse of the difficulties one faces – particularly if dealing with Brazilian Portuguese, a mixture of the last language derived from Latin with Brazilian indigenous languages, African languages brought by the slaves and the constant presence of Spanish, French and Dutch from our ancestral pole. Thus I studied Linguistics and wrote my thesis on the “Interference of the Native Language in the Learning of a Target Language “concentrating in the English/Portuguese case, analyzing the roots of both and the multicultural influences in both languages…
The research in the field and through books gave me a rare exposure of the principles of learning/teaching a second language as a second language, flexibility in terms of navigating from one language to another and a deeper knowledge and understanding of my own native language.
I use a direct method when I teach Portuguese for beginners– from sentence to word, where speaking/reading/writing and understanding are applied, and grammar is learned in the process. Intermediate and advanced students continue the same process but the field is widened to incorporate multicultural elements of the language, including geography, history, daily events, and politics using music lyrics as a medium, newspaper articles, and excerpts from books…
I like teaching and I like teaching about my language and my culture. I do however, make a point to understand my subjects’ language and cultural background and use positive comparisons to achieve the goals set previously. Many of my former students still keep in touch. And they do so in Portuguese!!! What more can I ask for?
Proofreading for me is the art to improve the content, vocabulary and fluency of a text, a contract, a dissertation, a translation and whatever other piece of writing one intends to present. Those were the concepts I had in mind when I first learn how to read and write in my native language, Portuguese, then, in French, English, Spanish, Italian...and that I eventually I had to present to my teachers.
I became very good at this art, and became even better when I myself was teaching these languages, translating from and into them and when I worked as an assistant editor to a Brazilian chain of international magazines.
Proofreading is not just checking on grammatical mistakes and the structure of sentences. It also is the conveyance of a line of thoughts in a sequential and logical way to a specific audience, taking into consideration time, place and the purpose of the writing.
I consider all of these points when working with someone on a specific piece of writing. We check the purpose of the writing. We check to whom this writing is intended to. We check the level of the audience to whom this writing is directed. And we checked the tone of the writing. This is when words and sentences can be changed, as far as their usage and meaning. The last step would be that of verifying the mechanics of the writing: sentence structure and spelling.
My courses in this subject are not long, but these aspects are viewed and commented in depth. We view and/or review style, genres of writing, tones of writing, general grammar and spelling, along with morphology, syntax and semantics of the language in/from the paper, article dissertation or translation is written. Once these points are covered, the course is over, but not finished. That is when the client picks up where I left: by making a habit of reviewing what he/she writes, checking the principles of grammar when in doubt, and reading continuously all possible genres, to acquire new ideas and writing techniques.
I enjoy working with proofreading because each piece of writing becomes a challenge - one I always like to face and improve. This personal challenge is usually something I leave with my clients, and the desire to get into the habit of always doing the best he/she possibly can....
I sang songs and recited poetry since I was 6, on stage, and represented my school in school contests and presentations. From stage presentation to teaching it was just a step away to acquire experience in public speaking. A teacher is a public speaker and a public speaker is a teacher.
They both have something to say, pass along, and teach and they both have to say that message well to entice his/her audience. They both have to search for the correct words, use them with the right intonation and body language, making them interesting, happy, sad or serious - whenever and wherever the occasion requires.
A public speaker knows how to enunciate words and make them clear to the listener. He puts feelings and sentiments and force in his words. He is prepared to face emergencies and has to learn how to improvise. He knows his speech by heart. Ultimately, he is also an actor, by giving life to the speech he or others wrote, but that he already knows so well.. He knows how to keep eye contact with members of the audience and knows how to use them to his advantage.
By helping people with Public Speaking, I review the phonetics of the language to be used. In the speech. Check for fluency and intonation, all intended to make the sentence sound the way it should. The written speech or script should be checked for errors and edited if necessary. It must be recited, not memorized., so a lot of practice and repetition are required. I also make pointers about the basics of body language, starting with a one on one analysis and then moving on to groups either though photographs or pre-recorded TV shows. TV Commercials are also important in the analysis, as they are intended to sell a product or idea. Public speakers and salespeople also have a lot in common.
When tutoring in Public Speech I follow the method used by the school or course my student is taking , There is no need to re-invent the wheel, We, however, try to bring life to the instructions, act them aloud thus taking the fist real steps in public speaking.
Reading is the art of taking a passage, literally read it, while absorbing its content and its structural design. Elements such as punctuation, word choice, even pronunciation play an important role in this piece of information. You dissect it for figures of speech that may alter the meaning of a simple word or even the entire text. You observe the style used in the sentences and paragraphs, so to locate it in time and space and identify it as unique to the writer who wrote the piece. And you absorb its structure - introduction, development and conclusion - to map the creative process which later may be added to any additional comments you may have about the person who wrote it and how the writer came to write such a piece.
These are some of the aspects of reading I explore, while assisting my clients with Reading. Because I am multilingual, I am also able to go through the same process in a different language, while taking into consideration the cultural influence received by the writer, which many times can be hidden or slightly mingled with the text. My Linguistics background allows me to use logic in the establishing how the creative process was "created" and how it took place. And the fact that I am also a translator/interpreter in several languages has required that I note the key idea of the text and the elements that lead to the development of this key, while translating the text/commenting on the text/or re-writing the text, without getting away from the original thought of the author...
Naturally the ability to READ the text and READ BETWEEN THE LINES, to create understanding, are absolutely necessary elements in Reading. I do work with my clients to develop this understanding and often they finish the course with a better perspective of a text - an understanding which can be applied not only in literary text, but in scientific and philosophical passages as well. And a good reader leads to a good writer...and helps one do well in High School, College, and even in the chosen profession...
I was raised with an admiration for all sorts of religions: from Roman Catholicism, to Buddhism to Islam to Judaism, to Hinduism, to an understanding of the Brazilian Indians’ concept of God. I was encouraged to read and discuss these subjects with my father and grandfather, who, in turn, provided me with a larger scope of each of these different religious sects/groups.
I studied Religion in the Catholic School I attended for 13 years, where religion was an obligatory subject, and on a daily basis. I was also a member from Middle School to High School of a youth religious group, where not only the Catholic religion, but others, as well, were discussed so, I was given the opportunity to have unique points of view concerning these religions and based on their role in History and in the social evolution of mankind. Then, I understood why the Christian church became divided into Calvinism, Anglicanism and Lutheranism and so many other smaller sects; why the Orthodox Churches remained different from the main stream; the origins of the Mormons, the development of philosophical/religious groups, such as the Rosicrucian, the Baha’i, and the Afro traditions brought to the New World.
While in College, I studied the relationships between Philosophy and Religion, Language and Religion, Sociology and Religion, Mythology and Religion. Those expanded my 13 years of religious education in Catholic school. While working with the Amazonian Indians in Brazil, I was introduced to their religious practices, and in Bahia, Brazil, to the rituals of the Candomble, an Afro-Brazilian religion. And, while living in the Middle East, I studied the Koran to help my children in school, where the study of Islam was obligatory.
I do not have a degree in religion, per se, but I had many teachers who helped me in my studies: the nuns, at school, the priests and Youth directors of the groups I attended, friend professors of religion in College, shamans in the Amazon, “pais-de santo ,” in Bahia, devout Muslins in the Middle East. My subjects were intrinsically related to religion, thus I continued studying those parallels and the influence of religion in those areas of study, reason why, in my travels, I made a point of visiting religious sites and befriend religious people.
The point is that, I have experienced religion in practice, not from just books and research, but also from personal contact, discussions and conversations with the practitioners of some of those religions. And it is the summation of these two points – research and practice – that may provide me with a profound knowledge of religion - despite the fact that I do not hold a formal degree – that would allow me to really help my students.
My B.A in Romance languages (Latin, French, Italian and Portuguese) followed by a M.A. in Applied Linguistics were fundamental in/during my learning and subsequent teaching of the Spanish language.
I studied Spanish in Brazil, and began teaching it while living there, as well as private schools. In the U.S., I taught it in the New York Public System, and in Georgia, in both DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties, and in local colleges. While living in the Middle East, I also taught it for both Saudi and Emirati officials, and in the Caribbean, for members of the Jamaican Diplomatic Force. The same background helped me to also concentrate in the techniques of translating and/or interpreting English/Spanish/English, French/Spanish/French, Portuguese/Spanish/Portuguese, Italian/Spanish/Italian, which I have done - and still do - when consulting with multinationals, private organizations and individual clients.
Teaching Spanish has helped me to learn it even more, while opening my horizons to the subtleties of the language, which has led to a better understanding of its literature and culture. Because I work in most cases with non-native Spanish speakers, I take into consideration their original language background and adapt my methodology to possible native interferences in terms of pronunciation and grammar thus minimizing the difficulties the clients may encounter, through clear and concise presentations and explanations.
I have, so far, being very successful in what I do, and my clients have shown substantial results and improvement in the learning of the 4 areas of the language (reading, writing speaking and understanding) and have succeeded in their goals. While the largest portion of such progress depends on the client and how much time he/she would invest in his/her studies, I would to see my small participation as a very rewarding tool to continue assisting the ones who need my help with Spanish.
Spelling is a definite plus in the learning of a language, be that English, Spanish, Latin, Arabic or Portuguese. It proves that one's writing is understood, that the message one is trying to convey is clear.
I learned spelling since kindergarten, as my school system was very strict about it. My Middle and High School teachers and later, my College professors, were even more demanding about correct spelling. One's entire grade could be determined by the way one presented a due paper or a piece of research. And when I went to school we did not have spell check! And we had spelling bees every month for a grade!
Spelling is closely connected with the way one pronounces sounds that make syllables that make words that lead to sentences. Spelling is also a definite in the lyrics of a song, as words need to rhyme to produce an effective piece enjoyable to the ears and easy on the eyes…
In some languages, one spells what he hears; in others, the sound equivalency to its actual spelling can be quite different, as in the case of English. Spelling is not just writing words correctly. It also involves phonetics, syllabification, prefixes and suffixes, roots and radicals of words that can be added or modified from one language to another.
I studied Linguistics and within that, specialized in the nature of sounds vs. written word, and I have been applying these principles quite successfully in my teaching of English or other foreign languages. In the languages I learned and teach, spelling is crucial, because it helps one reading and pronouncing words correctly. Spelling is also closely related to reading and writing, as one can see the magic of words - correctly written and clearly understood - as they connect together in sentences and paragraphs.
When I teach spelling, as I usually cover all these areas, as they are interrelated and cannot be pulled apart. I also show similarities in spellings based on the origin if the words. And sometimes we even sing or put a bit of rhythm in a words to feel it and spell it correctly. Spelling can be fun. And it opens an entire new world for the ones brave enough to want to visit. I am one of those guides who can take the adventurous one through this wonderful world. JOIN ME!
TOEFL means “Teaching English as a Second Language” and that is what I have been doing for almost 15 years. My students came from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe with language backgrounds as diverse as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Russian, Arabic, Afrikaans, Swahili, Bantu, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog, Indonesian, Thai, Amharic, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Creole and a few more. I speak 5/6 of these languages, but not all of them. Yet, my MA in Applied Linguistics, which emphasis on language comparisons (identifying the similarities and differences between the native and the target languages) helped me with my teaching.
The TOEFL exam reviews the ability of the student to understand English, to survive on everyday situations and to guaranty that he/she will get through high school and college with a good understanding of the contents of the classes he/she is taking, the ability to write about this content and the flexibility to speak/talk about this content. Being myself a product of the TOEL exam led me to learn Linguistics, so I could assist others who are going through the same process.
My sessions reflect each of the steps of the exam and they are done in different phases, when required, or the sessions are specifically targeted to the specific needs of the client. Language comparison/identification is one of the techniques I use when going through the different questions that are asked in the TOEFL exam. That leads to being able to correctly identifying a word and correctly answers the question. Grammar is often part of the questions asked, so grammar is also explored in my classes in depth, from Phonology to Morphology, to Syntax, to Semantics. Reading/Writing has become an important section of the exam and I explore that, as well, concentrating particularly in meaning and how to get to the central idea of a given section. Speaking is mingled with all the elements of the test review and conversation is also explored during my sessions...
My classes do prepare the foreign student to the everyday life and are conducive in helping them passing the required exams to graduate from HS and College. They are conducted in a productive, yet “un-boring” way and produce good results.
Vocabulary is almost synonym of good writing. In essence, it complements the thought process and adds dimension to what one is saying, writing and thinking.
When teaching vocabulary, I explore the different instances where it can be acquired: first and foremost, through reading, be that a book, a short story, an article or a piece of research in the internet. Second, I add on to reading, the factor - listening - and how to process words from a teacher, a parent, a movie, a TV show or even a song.
Acquiring vocabulary is only part of the equation. The next step is showing the learner how to use it: in the right time, the right place, the right circumstances - factors that play an important role not be ignored. Words can elevate, but they also destroy. Inadequate use of words might lead to misunderstandings and/or misinterpretations and should be used with care and tact. And we cannot forget the tone into which these words are used; therefore, what to say, how to say and when to say something and to whom – are other aspects of my teaching that I explore with my students.
Origin of words, homonyms, synonyms, antonyms and derivation of words- important elements in the process of playing with words proper - are presented and tailored to the student's needs, whether those be a requirement from school or from work .
As a linguist with an MA in Applied Linguistics, words have always fascinated me... and still do. Being an avid reader and a learner, as well as a teacher of other languages - words and their corresponding relationships were and still are an essential part of my academic formation. When teaching writing and more specifically, vocabulary, I enjoy sharing with my students my love and interest for words. And the many years of teaching English and other languages to students of different ages and specialties have definitely made them not only discover but also improve their innate capacity to acquire and use words as effective tools of communication and succeed in whatever studies they were/are pursuing or career plans they have or might have.
Welcome to the world of words! Let me be your guide!