My first experience tutoring French was at the Oakland University Academic Skills Center (ASC). I was nervous - I had never tutored a foreign language before! In a way, I had to fly by the seat of my pants. I had all the knowledge in my head - the grammar, the tenses, the vocabulary, and how to use it all. The challenge was being prepared to respond to whatever question the student threw at me, and being able to explain things using language the student would understand. If I started whipping out words and phrases like "dangling modifier," "relative pronoun," and gerund," without at least explaining what they were, how would the student be able to learn? My goal was to foster a love for French, not frustration for a subject with which the student was having difficulty!
I ended up learning alongside my students. I would try different methods to help them learn, understand, and retain information. Some methods worked better than others, and I would make mental checks of this to make my tutoring more efficient for the next time around. Using songs to help students remember the conjugations of verb groups was one of my preferred tricks. Diagrams on paper and even using materials from my courses in France were other options which helped the student simplify and visualize the language they were trying to learn. In the end, tutoring for me was rewarding when I could see the light bulb go off in the student's head as he or she finally grasped a concept - not just memorizing it, but understanding and applying it.
French can be complicated language to learn; this complication stems from an intricate working machine of many smaller rules and exceptions. Breaking the language down into its basic parts and working from there to make sure that the student understands the smaller picture before adding it to the bigger one is the method upon which my tutoring is founded. My experiences tutoring French in the Academic Skills Center are the reason that I am now a tutor with WyzAnt. I love imparting my knowledge and love of French onto others, and am ready and excited to impart it onto you!