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My educational background is in English literature and creative writing and environmental education.
I have extensive teaching experience in a variety of classroom and non-traditional settings and with a broad spectrum of subject matter. My students range in age from children to adults, with an emphasis on undergraduate level and adult learners. I have worked one-on-one and in small groups with writers, providing assistance with basic composition, grammar, and organization skills, as well as giving creative writing workshops, assignments, and inspiration. I lead book discussions and teach literary analysis. I also have a great deal of experience as an editor at all levels, from project development to copy editing to proofreading, and assist writers at all stages of the writing process.
In addition to literature and writing, I teach natural history and ecology, backcountry skills and wilderness first aid, and regional history. I am also a contra dance caller.
The educational philosophy that I find most compelling is called "midwife teaching." A key principle of this philosophy is that everyone has something to teach. Open discussion in which everyone contributes what they have to share allows everyone to receive the many perspectives and perceptions of a group, and to feel that their own ideas and questions are valued. I have been trained as a facilitator or guide of others' learning processes, creating a space in which learning can develop.
Ecology is by its nature a subject best served by an interdisciplinary approach. The subject requires systems thinking, and attention to the relationships among the many parts of an ecosystem or locale. As well as thorough knowledge of the individual parts -- flora, fauna, soils, geology, climate -- understanding the natural world demands recognition of the flows of time, the limitations of space, and the synergistic effects of chemical and biological processes. In addition, ecology has economic, aesthetic, ethical, and spiritual components.
With a master's degree in Environmental Education and a lifelong passion for the natural world, I am well prepared to tutor a student at any level in ecology.
I received my graduate degree in Environmental Education from the Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI), an unusual program accredited by Lesley University that involved traveling through different parts of the country in a school bus to study natural history, ecology, folklore, economics, community-building and decision-making, education, and myriad related subjects by direct experience rather than by reading or hearing lectures as in more conventional graduate study.
I have been fortunate to find several opportunities that allow me to teach in the kind of environment for which my graduate work prepared me. The University of Michigan’s New England Literature Program (NELP) is one. I first taught for NELP to fulfill the final internship requirement of my graduate degree in 1995, and I have been returning almost every spring since then; I just completed my fifteenth year on staff. At NELP, I teach classes on classic and contemporary New England authors, creative writing, and regional history, culture, and natural history. I also lead backpacking excursions. In all of these contexts, I rely on the educational philosophies I developed during graduate school. My lens is one of environmental education, which sees things relationally, systemically, ecologically.
I have a bachelor's degree in English from Cornell University. I have been teaching literature and creative writing to college and adult students for seventeen years. I am a freelance editor, which means that I am an excellent reader and serve as a liaison between writers and readers, giving me insight into how language and texts really work.
I have a bachelor's degree in English from Cornell University. I teach beginning composition at a College and have tutored home-schooled students, college students, and adults in writing and grammar. As a freelance editor, I have explored the intricacies of the English language and helped writers communicate effectively with readers for over twenty-five years.
I have a bachelor's degree in English from Cornell University. I've been an avid reader since the age of four. I have been teaching literature and creative writing to college students and adults for seventeen years. I lead library book discussions for the Vermont Humanities Council, and participants consistently rate me as "wonderful," "enthusiastic," and "extremely well-prepared."
Skill in public speaking can be developed only through practice and active listening. As a teacher in a variety of learning environments, I'm well aware of the necessity for excellent spoken expression. I am able to think on my feet, formulate responses to unanticipated questions quickly, and explain ideas effectively, thoroughly, and efficiently.
I have experience in one unusual area of public speaking: I am a contra dance caller. Contra dancing, an American folk dance tradition, is a community activity in which folks of all ages and abilities participate. When calling a contra dance, I find I must be prepared with clear instructions for walking through the dance as well as concise language for calling out the figures while the music is playing.
Another situation in which excellent public speaking skills were a necessity was while I served as a tour guide at a historical site. Again, I had to be well prepared with knowledge about the site so I could answer any questions the visitors asked. I also needed to vary my tours depending on the participants, focusing on the subjects they were interested in and gearing my explanations to their ages and backgrounds.
I earned a B.A. in English (literature) from Cornell University in 1986. I have been teaching critical reading skills for seventeen years at the college level. I have also taught literature community college and Elderhostel courses in literature. I'm a Vermont Humanities Council Scholar for their Reading and Discussion Program, which involves leading book discussions at public libraries across the state.
Becoming proficient as a speaker requires practice and active listening, to oneself and others. While I have not taught speech per se, I have lots of experience as a speaker and lecturer.
As an instructor at the New England Literature Program, for example, I often am called upon to deliver lectures on natural history and regional culture. I prefer to speak with notes rather than reading a prepared speech. I also frequently speak extemporaneously. Both these techniques require thorough preparation and complete knowledge of the subject matter. In addition, I must consider carefully the background of my audience, so I can define any unfamiliar terms and provide a basic foundation as well as presenting new material and original ideas.
When facilitating book discussion groups at public libraries for the Vermont Humanities Council, I begin each session with a presentation of biographical and contextual information about the author and book under discussion. While brief, these introductions must be accurate and thorough. They also serve to kick off the group discussion, so they should be thought-provoking. I like to infuse a bit of both humor and controversy into my introductions.
Another work experience required more attention to the form of presentation: I was asked by the University of Washington Hospital to serve as a Right-to-Know Law trainer for my division. Because I worked in a research division, we had frequent staffing changes. Rather than deliver the same information to each new hire, I prepared a video recording of my presentation, which included visual aids, documents, and precise legal language. My video performance was considered so successful that the hospital used it for other divisions.
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