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University of Wisconsin, Madison (Russian)
Above all, I teach my students *how to learn languages*. Many people have a history of limited success with foreign languages, leading them to believe that they lack "talent" in that area. However, more often than not, the problem is simply that the language classes they previously took were not a good match for their learning style. My goal as a tutor is to help my students find the approach which works best for them as individuals.
My teaching of foreign languages is *always* with a view toward developing a general appreciation of and dexterity with language. For example, I want my students to learn to think in new ways; every language maps to certain patterns of thought, and it is more enriching to adapt oneself to those patterns than to think of a foreign language as something like an encoded form of English. I also work with my students on understanding the movements of the tongue and other speech organs--you might be surprised how noticeably you can improve your accent if you understand a few fundamental concepts!
My life of language learning began in 2005, when I undertook the independent study of Russian during my last year of high school. The next year, I entered university and tested into Third Year Russian, where I had the highest level of fluency in the class. After graduating in 2009, I resumed my exploration of independent language learning and have since attained skill ranging from "usable" to "fluent" in five more languages. (I've also studied a bit of 15+ others along the way, just for fun.) By this point, I know what it takes to teach yourself a language.
I tutored Russian in college, and from 2009-2012 I taught Latin, Old English, Spanish, and Russian at the K-8 level. In 2010, I wrote a piece for "The Polyglot Project: How to Learn Multiple Languages," and in 2013 I began providing private tuition in language learning. In 2014, I taught English at the Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled in Pattaya, Thailand, and gave a seminar titled "How to Learn Any Language (especially Thai)" for the non-Thai-speaking staff and volunteers at the foundation. In 2015, I traveled to the international Polyglot Conference in New York City and expanded my circle of contacts in the field.
I have a full-time job with the Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program, but if you truly want to learn a language and are willing to put in the work, I will make the time to help you. It's what I love.
Excellent: Russian, Spanish
Very good: German, French
Okay: Thai, Farsi
2008: J. Thomas Shaw Award for Excellence in Russian
2008: ACTR National Russian Essay Contest, Level 4 of 4: 3rd place
2012: UW-Madison German for Reading Knowledge Exam: High Pass
2012: UW-Madison French for Reading Knowledge Exam: Advanced
2014: ACTFL German Oral Proficiency Interview: Intermediate High Above all, I teach my students *how to learn languages*. Many people have a history of limited success with foreign languages, leading them to believe that they lack "talent" in that area. However, more often than not, the problem is simply that the … Read more
With a family member now living in South America I wanted to become proficient in Spanish so bought a textbook and started learning on my own. I put quite a bit of time in but hit a wall and that’s when I went looking for a tutor. In 10 sessions I’ve quadrupled what I had learned in months and months on my own. Edward understands ‘learning’ very well, in addition to being patient and good at explaining things. He expanded my methods of learning and introduced me to a lot of wonderful tools. At times I didn’t see how some instructions would be useful, but I followed them and sure enough – each tool or suggestion pushed me further ahead in my learning. What I also really enjoyed is that Edward has a great grasp of languages and linguistics and could give great descriptions about how languages developed and origins of words – this helped me understand better how to use some detective work on my own to figure out words I don’t know that I come across in my readings. Between lessons if I’ve had questions, Edward responds very quickly with email. I’m now being ‘kicked out of the nest’ to work on my own. It’s nice to have the security of a tutor but once again I believe Edward is correct in that I have the fundamentals and the tools and now it’s time to just apply them – knowing that he is still out there for questions, etc if I get stuck. I’m very pleased that I was able to have Edward as a tutor.
Vance and Edward work well together. Vance appreciates Edward's patient, gentle approach. Edward has been very easy to work with and punctual.
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I hold a BA in Russian (with comprehensive honors) from UW-Madison. In addition, I am a recipient of the J. Thomas Shaw Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Russian and in 2008 placed 3rd in the ACTR National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest, level 4 of 4.