Roberta’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Roberta’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
The English language is rhythmic and flexible, rewarding its speakers with a varied wardrobe of possibilities. Nouns can serve as adjectives, verbs turn into nouns, and adjectives parade as adverbs--all the better to express ourselves according to the mood and occasion. With English spoken all over the world, the language has become essential for those aspiring to succcess.
I received my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)Certificate from Columbia University and did my student teaching at Columbia's Community English Program, where the students came from many different backgrounds. Besides tutoring privately, I also tutor writing at Baruch College in Manhattan, helping students who never enjoyed writing to express themselves in English. It is wonderful to watch them blossom as they feel more secure in their adopted language. If you need help with Business English or Test Preparation, I have received training in those areas too. English is not only essential in today's world--it is also beautiful, flexible and fun, once you get the hang of it.
Grammar is the ugly duckling of language. It appears tedious to learn and a bore to think about until one day it becomes the beautiful swan of self-expression. English grammar gives you the tools to express your best ideas in the best way. When you understand grammar, your speech and writing reflect your intelligence and professionalism. Grammar is a secret that reveals itself like the opening of a flower.
Proofreaders train their eyes and minds the way athletes build their muscles--through long hours of practice. I learned my proofreading skills through 25 years of writing for The New York Times, among other publications. Part of the job was to read and reread my work many times, looking for errors and better ways to say things. What is a writer but a rewriter? I now enjoy helping others tweak their own writing into works they can be proud of.
I am qualified to teach reading for several reasons. First, as a college English Education major, I studied the teaching of reading. I have also been a serious reader all my life, and while I can now read challenging texts with ease, this was not always so. Confusing referents, baroque sentence structures, imprecisely written texts and other obstacles often made me close my books in frustration. In studying for my certificate in TESOL I was exposed to several methods of teaching reading. I have developed my own approach as a result of all these influences.
The TOEFL is a challenging test that even native English speakers find difficult. I approach the TOEFL with authentic materials that simulate the test conditions. We use an audio-visual computer program that provides practice in every tested skill: reading, listening, speaking and writing. I have received special training in TOEFL Prep at Teachers College, Columbia University. While I aim at helping students achieve their desired TOEFL score, I emphasize overall learning skills that will benefit students for the rest of their lives.
Vocabulary grows as one reads, converses, watches TV and movies, travels and otherwise ventures into the new and unknown. My vocabulary multiplied during my years as a journalist, when I was constantly delving into new subject areas, interviewing people of different backgrounds and researching unfamiliar fields and terminology. Vocabulary cannot be taught in one or two sessions: its development takes a lifetime. During my tutoring sessions with ESL students, I define words when I am asked, but I don't expect the student to remember and use a new word right away. Research shows that we must encounter a new word 16 times before we can assimilate it into our own vocabulary.
As a published writer with a long and active career, I especially enjoy teaching both native speakers and ESL students the beauties of the English language. I show them that grammar is not an enemy but rather a friend in achieving graceful and well-expressed prose. I ask them to write about subjects that especially interest and intrigue them, focusing on their ideas rather than their "errors." Slowly but surely their confidence develops as they discover ways to manipulate the English language and make it work for them.