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Preparing for the TOEFL - Helpful Hints

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is a requirement for international students transferring to U.S. colleges or universities, and preparing for it can seem overwhelming. Here are some tips and tricks I developed while working with a young man of Chinese descent who wanted to pass the test. As a native Chinese speaker, this young man presented to me with the following issues: a need to acquire more vocabulary, a strategy for understanding and gleaning information from American professors' lectures, and a strategy for facilitating reading comprehension. I learned a lot from this process myself. One of the main sensitivities we American tutors must account for in helping international students with the TOEFL is that the American classroom experience itself is often completely foreign, as are the expectations for students in an American classroom. In working closely with my pupil, I learned that in China, it is common practice for the teacher to hand out copies of the... read more

Studying a Foreign Language - how fluent would you like to be?

When I am contacted by potential clients for my language tutoring services, I like to ask them what their current level is with the target language, and how fluent they would like to be. Everybody says, "As fluent as you can make me!" Well, the truth is, although I am pretty fabulous, :) our sessions together will be much enhanced if the student is willing to commit to doing some language review outside of our sessions, on his or her own time. I was gathering my WyzAnt information together for tax season this year, and I realized that one of my most successful students is approaching her three-year anniversary with me. She made a commitment to herself to learn to speak and read Spanish, and she has made incredible strides. The reason I mention her in particular is that she only sees me twice a month! Once every two weeks, for an hour each time. She has, however, bought CDs which she listens to on her daily walks with her dogs, she uses her grammar book as a bathroom... read more

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