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The perfect language textbook: the quest is ongoing

In my growing experiences in tutoring and from my time teaching at UVA, I have a greater appreciation for the painstaking labor required to publish a language textbook. I am also fascinated by the paradox that regardless of the plethora of choices out there for each language, every book has its strengths that somehow make other areas of it weaker. For example, a book that is strong on grammar exercises would often spend its energy focusing on grammatical accuracy but would contain less communicative/conversational practice. There was one book that I have encountered that tried to do it all, even including pronunciation- yet somehow in trying to "do it all", nothing was truly given in too much depth. My solution as a tutor? Bring a stack of different textbooks with me and switch between them according to the needs of my client! ;) It's tough to make a resource, and in the end though none is perfect, they can all work together as a "team" to help strengthen... read more

Staying Sharp Over Winter Break

As a student myself, winter break is a time for relaxation, and unfortunately, to let many of the skills learned through a semester of college to slip away far more quickly than they were learned. I understand personally how easy it is to let one's brain grow dull over the winter break that we all look so forward to. So what are some ways to keep your brain sharp? And more importantly, what are some fun ways to do so that won't make you feel as though you're actually working scholastically the entire break?   Pick up a fun reading book: Reading is a great way to keep the mind sharp. It's engaging, it encourages critical thinking and imagination, and it challenges the mind to stay focused and recall facts about a story (especially if you don't read the book in one sitting!) To make this a more "social" activity, try to get a group together as a reading or book club. That way, you will all benefit from talking about the book and its contents, the storyline,... read more

Book Review: Learn More Now

When I was taking business courses online with American Military University, the first course requirement was to read Learn More Now: Ten Simple Steps to Learning Better, Smarter, and Faster by Marcia Conner. The book breaks down the process of learning in an easy to understand way. This is more than a reading assignment, it is a journey of discovery. Discover your personal motivation for learning, what type of learner you are, study strategies, and how to think like a teacher.   Conner includes tips for learning, details on how nutrition, exercise, senses, and scents affect focus. For example, the scent of peppermint could enhance focus during your next study session!    You can pick up a copy at Amazon or search your local library.              

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