Ms. Betty Lynn Snyder, a sixth-grade teacher at Forrest Park Elementary, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas is my most memorable teacher. She was a great teacher because she made us think, write, and create. In Ms. Snyder's class I learned about Shakespeare's sonnets, The Belgian Congo, Nigeria and conserving natural resources. She was ahead of her time: she was a Project-Based Learning (PBL) Queen! The independent project learning broadened my knowledge of the world and of myself. It was through Ms. Snyder's class that I became enamored of the story of diplomat and Ambassador Ralph Bunche. This was particularly important, because I was the only person of color in my class--before our schools were officially integrated--and she found a way to create diversity in our learning. Thus, I always felt comfortable in her classroom and, in fact, I was elected secretary general of the mock United Nations. As I recall, Ms. Snyder had two sons--one of whom was named Edward,... read more
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The holidays are almost upon us - school will be out soon - and parents and students are looking at a 2-4 week hiatus from the regular routine of school work. What happens to all of the knowledge and skills learned from school and tutoring during those weeks? Well, having been a high school principal for years, as well as a classroom teacher, my experience is that students often will not read on their own, review math on their own, or if in an AP class "read ahead" on their own. If you have tutors in the educational profession, we also have that time off and our lesson times can be flexible - so instead of all of those late afternoon, early evening, or weekend appointments, most of us can now meet with our students in the morning or afternoon. So, what would your student gain from tutoring in the winter break? 1. Weekly reinforcement of knowledge and skills already learned in the first semester... read more
I remember the moment clearly even now: Mrs S., brandishing the loose-leaf pages in front of my fourth-grade classroom, her wild-eyed look at odds with her precise hair and immaculate apple-printed skirt. I remember how I had quietly slipped the papers into tray of finished homework, how I had felt somehow embarrassed by the inked words. I remember her words: "Julie is going to be a famous writer someday!" And I remember the feeling: elation, pride, and a stark wonder that someone believed in me this much. Now, years later--after a college degree in Creative Writing and a few published pieces in literary journals--I think back on the powerful impact that Mrs. S. had on my writing. I was an extraordinarily shy student. English had been my second language, and I had been shuffled through ESL classes all throughout my early elementary school years. But for me, English was not a hardship—it was a refuge. I lost myself in books, and found myself in paper and pen. I wrote... read more
Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language. Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?" Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience. Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning. DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not really of interest to you. DON'T... read more
Real funny!!! I was working, talking to a customer of the store. I asked a question using the Present Perfect Tense and soon a partner of mine tried to correct me, but he was wrong in the end. I, the Italian guy of the team, had to explain some English grammar to an American... Davvero divertente!!! Stavo lavorando, parlando ad un cliente del negozio. Gli feci una domanda usando il Present Perfect e subito un mio collega ha cercarto di correggermi, ma alla fine a sbagliare era lui. Io, l'italiano del gruppo, ho dovuto spiegare un minimo di grammatica inglese ad un americano... Divertido de verda!!! Estaba trabajando y hablando con un cliente del sitio. Le hize una pregunta usando el Present Perfect y mi colega se puso a corregirme, pero el se equivoco'. Yo, el italiano del grupo, tenia que explicar un poquito de gramatica inglesa a un chico americano...
Grammar is a particularly challenging aspect of language study, for several reasons. First, English grammar is typically taught though direct instruction, where student must memorize parts of speech, and systematically follow and apply the rules pertaining to usage of these parts of speech. This is contrary to how humans naturally learn language. Young children learn how to speak through generative grammar - they learn to mimic the language use of those around them; rather quickly and without direct instruction, children internalize and solidify the "rules" of how to use spoken language, long before they learn how to read or write. Second, English grammar consists of rules and exceptions. As with English spelling, there are nearly as many exceptions as there are rules, and many students "give up" on learning grammatically correct writing skills, because the sheer amount of memorization is daunting and intimidating. Third, when English teachers... read more
Hey everyone! This is Regan ready to provide a basic review of Plural Nouns. I know, it seems like it's the most basic thing in the world; but sometimes the most basic is the hardest thing to remember right off the top of your head. These are just some quick little 'rules' I use the term rules loosely. 1. Most plural nouns you can add an 's' to. Bike---Bikes cup---cups Lake---Lakes so on and so forth. 2. There are also nouns that end in ch, x, or s sounds; for these you add 'es' Box---Boxes Latch---Latches Bus---Buses 3. For words that end with the 'f' sound or 'fe,' you change the 'f' to a 'v' and add 'es' Wolf---Wolves Life---Lives Wife---Wives Knife---Knives 4. Some nouns have different Plural words Man---Men Child---Children Mouse---Mice Goose---Geese 5. Then you have the words that end in 'y' and 'o,' these words don't have a specific set of rules to follow Baby---Babies... read more
Good morning, lovely learners! Time to rise and shine and, well, learn. Today's post is the last in three I've done on Aristotle's Rhetoric Trifecta. We've done pathos--persuasion by emotion--and logos--argument by logic--but now it's time to end this with a final powerhouse punch: ethos. Ethos is persuasion by authority. A little strange, sure, but if you tilt your head and squint your eyes a little, you'll see why I think this is the most important strategy of the three. See, you can have the cutest, big-eyed puppies campaigning for you, and dozens of scientists out spouting statistics and studies, but unless you yourself come across as someone who knows what they're talking about--as a reliable, trustworthy source of information--no one will listen to you. So appearing to your audience, whether in writing or in person, as someone worth paying attention to must be a top priority. Let's take this blog and my profile on Wyzant as an example... read more
Good morning, writing minions! It’s time for more lessons from a dead white dude. In my last post, I discussed the power of pathos as one of three primary rhetorical techniques Aristotle developed to persuade an audience—techniques that still work today, whether for campaign speeches, college essays, or talking Mom and Dad into a later curfew. Today, it’s time to talk about logos, or the logical argument. And to explain it well, allow one of my favorite television characters of all time take the stage: Abed Nadir, of Dan Harmon’s Community. Abed, a socially awkward young man in community college, offers a piece of chocolate to the female members of his study group whenever they become agitated. This goes unnoticed until his agenda book is opened and the study group sees the calendar marked on certain dates with the female members’ names. It’s alarmingly obvious that he’s been charting the women’s menstrual cycles. Horrified, they ask Abedwhy... read more
I have a thing for old, dead guys. Sure, they're a little dusty, but you just wipe off their tomb--er, tome--and you'll see they can breathe fresh life into your writing. There's this particular old dude Aristotle whose advice I've taken to heart for myself. He used to be a tutor himself to Alexander the Great in ancient Egypt. He taught biology, physics, geography, oration, and--most importantly for us!--rhetoric. There's a fancy definition for rhetoric, but the basic idea is this: There're a series of ways to sway an audience to your own opinion and view, be they in person or on paper. The art--and yes, it's an art--of doing this well is called rhetoric. According to Aristotle, there were three ways to go about convincing people that your way is the right way. He called them "logos," "pathos," and "ethos." You can use one, two, or even all three in combination. In order to use them, however, you have to know what they are. (It's all very well... read more
Writing and Reading Arts are recursive processes. That is they constantly impact and influence one another. The process of writing has not changed. It consists of seven basic steps: Pre-write, Rough Draft, Revise, Response Group, Edit, Teacher Conference, and Publish, grade, celebrate! The difference then is how the teacher uses strategies to impart this knowledge to the student. Practice does not make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect! It is up to the teacher to find out what modalities, the student best learns in, and present material in that way. At the same time teachers must have students work on areas of learning they are weak in, because higher education requires you be a thinker that learns from stimuli that is physical or even total physical response, for special needs, (kinesthetic), visual, auditory, graphophonic. The teacher models for the student to self monitor. Many do this by talking to themselves and asking themselves questions and responding... read more
When working with children (especially 7 and below) it can be vital to their memory retention to take a break every thirty minutes. I have had great success with my younger students who become stir crazy after half an hour of reading by leaving the study are and going outside or in a space where we wont bother others and doing some physical activities. Since time is a concern it is important to only do this for ten minutes or so. Sometimes we run and play tag, or we will do some jumping jacks, or just do some silly dancing. When the student returns they are feeling a little more refreshed, lighthearted, and ready to continue. That being said, it is very important to make it clear that the activity is is only supposed to be for a few minutes then it's right back to studying. I hope this helps! Miss Jessica
If you had asked my middle school students to describe our class routines, you might have thought I was their English teacher, not Social Studies. As a teacher and tutor, I’ve tried to pass on a legacy for the love of reading to my students. I often tell them, “If you can read, you can teach yourself anything.” In this article, I will give you some tips on how to get your children to read more, and more often. It’s Not Magic! Occasionally, parents visited my classroom to ask, “How do you do it?” They were usually referring to the success of my Friday Silent Reading routine. Each fall, I explained the importance of literacy to my students and said that practice is best way to improve reading skills. I told them that I expected them to bring a book of their choice to class every day, to read it if they finished all the day’s scheduled activities I’d given them, and that the first 20 minutes of class every Friday was reserved for sustained silent reading. Parents... read more
Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a parent/business owner who hires/places tutors for high end families in my area. It was a wonderful opportunity as once again I heard the mantra, "Parents just want the grades to go up." I asked what this meant, how I could measure it (quantitatively and anecdotally) and if this was indeed proof of my skills as a tutor or a momentary 'save' on a reversal of fortune. This parent does not use Wyzant. I was hard pressed to accept from this parent the reason I wasn't being contacted by high end parents for tutoring was my lack of guaranteeing grades would go up, a promise I can not make in good faith as there are too many factors involved. Honesty and integrity should be important, not my sales ability. In my years as a teacher and tutor, I have found once I have parents on board, the rest is EASY. Parents are the elephant in the room and I can run myself ragged (knowing full well very little if anything changes without parental buy... read more
Proofreading and editing one's own paper for a high school or college English course can be challenging. Sometimes one just needs a second pair of eyes. A tutor will often see the weaknesses in a writing assignment and point them out to a student. Like any teacher, making red marks on a student's paper doesn't necessarily help a student improve his or her writing skills. Working side by side, one-on-one with an English tutor will encourage you to take what you already know and apply it to your assignments. Writing is a skill that is necessary in all disciplines, not just the humanities. Science majors must write well to explain laboratory experiments and correctly compose reports. Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, and Chemistry courses in college will require one to write either lab reports or essays, and possibly both. Pre-med students need writing skills just as much as pre-law students. Whatever the discipline, being able to properly convey your ideas, thoughts,... read more
When interviewing a prospective tutor, parents should ask about the tutor's skills and experience, and find out if the tutor truly enjoys teaching. When the tutor feels enthusiastic about the subject, and communicates well, the student has an opportunity to learn to enjoy the subject too. I recommend for parents to observe the first lesson to see the tutor's skills in action, and watch/listen carefully to future lessons when possible, to make sure the tutor has an encouraging, supportive attitude at all times. (Tutors should welcome and respond positively to the child's questions, and NEVER make the child feel "stupid," no matter what.) It is most important to have a safe and quiet place for studying, without distractions. I like to find a quiet table at a library, and work with students there. I welcome suggestions from parents, and I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.
“If you want to become a better reader, you need to become a better writer. If you want to become a better writer, you need to become a better reader.” Reading and writing are integral parts of one another. Ask any published author what he or she wrote about and he or she will be quick to tell you most of their ideas came from what they’ve read. Literature, in whatever form, is about life. What do writers write about? Life. They write about what they know, what they’ve experienced or what someone they know has experienced, or how they imagine something happening. Whether its fiction or non-fiction, writing is about the experiences, people, places, and events we encounter in every day life or about what we imagine the characters we create or encounter experience and their perspective of those experiences. “Life” itself is a very broad topic – overwhelming is more like it. Think about it. Over the course of 23 hours and 59 minutes and 59 seconds, what do you experience?... read more
I'm a professional writer, since 1996, and college-writing instructor, since 2007. Topic development, support, flow, style, grammar, and editing - I can help you with all aspects of the writing process. Effective college writing is your gateway to academic and professional success.
For the past five years, I have worked in multiple online areas: social media, graphic design, web development, etc. I discovered that online collaboration tools are a very unique and diverse way to keep up with and practice different activities. I would like to motivate students to participate in online tutoring sessions. I am not saying this should be a substitute to face to face sessions, but it a nice little way for students to get their online "fix" during the week and be reminded about what they are learning. If you are interested in adding an online session to your student's weekly tutoring, let me know. There are many ways to have video chats and also interactive tools for completing different tasks.
Philosophy of Education for M.J. T. To me the purpose of education is threefold: (1) provide students with a basis of knowledge, (2) teach students how to reason so that they can continue their education throughout their lives, and (3) instill in them a life-long excitement about and love of learning. Students must acquire a basis of knowledge, a framework on which to sort out and understand how various aspects of information in any subject area fit together to make the whole picture of where we have been and where we are going as a civilization. Science affects philosophy which affects the arts … ad infinitum. Nothing exists in a vacuum-sealed box. All knowledge is recursive and intertwined - reaches out and affects many areas outside the discipline in which it begins. I liken this basis of knowledge to a needlepoint tapestry mesh framework. The threads of different strands of information are worked in at various points. In some way every thread touches every... read more