FACTS: I am a recent graduate with four years experience in language and writing tutoring. My only goal is to make the often confusing and tiresome work of language learning newly enjoyable.
I'm friendly, excited about the work I do, and solely concerned with getting you to your goals. Whether those are accent therapy, conversational practice, reading comprehension, writing fluency, or simple homework help, I want to make sure you find a way to get to your goals that makes sense to you and fills you with confidence. If you don't—I won't charge you!
MY BACKGROUND: I've previously taught high school Spanish at the ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade levels. I've also been a lecturer of undergraduate philosophy at Tufts University through their ExCollege program. I was one of the first students in years to receive a Highest Thesis Honors in International Literary and Visual Studies. I later graduated Magna Cum Laude in both ILVS and Child Development. All of my work in the Child Development department focused on multilingual acquisition, the history and success rates of bilingual education, linguistic theory, and misconceptions about language acquisition. I worked for three years as Writing Tutor for Tufts University, tutoring in all fields and styles of academic writing, and have spent the last year as an independent tutor servicing the greater Cambridge area. Presently, I'm working on acquiring my license for ESL/ESOL.
MY METHODS: Against the popular (but unfounded!) claims of thousands of blogs, second-hand accounts, and the casual ease of language savants, I am dedicated to using techniques that have been peer-reviewed to ensure results. As someone who has no exceptional ability for language other than a lifelong passion and five tongues in his repertoire, I know that my methods can work for anyone, however challenging language learning has been for them in the past.
My focus is always on what you want. I aim for a lot of back and forth conversation in my sessions; I want to find what gets you excited, however small, and run with it. Outside of memorization, rote learning, or worst of all, simply “knowing” something is true, my goal is to help you be able to explain and understand what you are learning and why it works—the best method for gaining confidence in your abilities! As they say, if you can't explain it, you don't understand it. After working with me, you will be able to approach the language of your choice creatively, articulately, and passionately.
With this in mind, I borrow my techniques from field linguists, bilingual education researchers, sociolinguists, and even operatic voice trainers!
For any language, including ESL/ESOL, I avoid the direct method or any program that promises, like a get-thin-quick dieting commercial, unreliable progress in too short a time frame. Studies suggest, and my teaching method acknowledges, that language learning is a marathon—not a sprint. Contrary to those who believe that living abroad is the only “real” way to learn a language, decades of research and scientific consensus have shown this is a sure fire way to NEVER acquire real fluency! Everyone except the unnaturally gifted hit a plateau; I'm hear to give you the tools to get you up the mountain when a casual walk in sneakers stop cutting it. Again, contrary to popular opinion, adult learners tend to OUTperform children in EVERY domain—except acquiring a native accent! For that reason, I utilize videos, soundboards, and the listen-repeat exercises derived of operatic voice trainers. Again, against the glowing reviews of those with an unusual talent for language learning, I, like field linguists around the world, am a staunch believer in the importance of understanding what grammar means. More importantly, I believe in knowing the grammar of your NATIVE language so the grammar of your target language is less daunting, strange, and incomprehensible. Against the boring and archaic methods of the 1950s and '60s, I follow the method which mimics the acquisition of ANYONE'S learning a second language, whether 5 or 50 years old. This means, first, making conscious one's control of one's native language; secondly, it means gaining conscious understanding of the target language; and lastly, it means working to make unconscious and fluent the skills that have been acquired deliberately and slowly. As such, it is VERY important to me to incorporate as many examples of the student's native language as possible. I will turn down students whose native language I do not feel comfortable pulling examples from; I'll only take on students that I feel confident I can help, and make recommendations for those I can't.
When it comes to writing, in English or in Spanish, I am well-equipped with all the requirements of APA and MLA style, academic register, and teacher expectations. I focus on global edits and internal logic; proofreading and mechanics is alway the very last - and generally the least important - part of writing a paper. My goal is to help you think about writing abstractly, clearly, and with your audience's needs in mind; writing is much more than comma placement or the right use of a semi-colon.
SUMMARY: I am here to teach you how to teach yourself. There is nothing I can do for you that doesn't come from your own understanding and abilities. I will show you that this will get you anywhere you want to go!
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