University of Arizona (Creative Writing)
Passion and enthusiasm are essential to learning. No matter how smart you are--and especially if you're smarter than most--unless a teacher can explain a subject in a way that you can fully understand and assimilate, you may learn that subject but you will never master it. The teachers from whom I learned the most had the ability to explain a complicated subject in terms I could understand; in other words, they tailored their teaching to individual needs. Unfortunately, our educational system does not always promote that kind of specialized teaching, and the consequence is that many students have only a passable grasp of the English language which is never corrected in adulthood (if you don’t believe me, look at the number of intelligent blogs published by intelligent people with more than a few editorial errors). Those who say grammar, spelling, punctuation, and spelling don’t matter are always the people who have mastered none.
I'm a writer and actor who moved here two years ago from New York. Until returning to my creative life, I spent years in the corporate world where I polished speeches, reports, and corrected the correspondence of many a CEO who, it turned out, could run a company but could not spell or construct a sturdy sentence. At first I felt like the court jester correcting the king, but eventually I came to understand that my talents were invaluable—no king can rule his kingdom without a persuasive means of communication.
Since I left corporate life I've done many things besides act and write: I've coached actors for auditions and taught business executives how to be more effective communicators. I've coached students who needed help with college admission essays. I became a vocal advocate for literacy, not only for students but for adults who never mastered the rudiments of English. I've been teased for spending a lazy winter Sunday reading the dictionary--but I have a massive vocabulary, and my continual pursuit of higher education has given me a masterful command of the English language. I know what makes—or breaks—a powerful essay, speech, story, screenplay, poem, play, or novel. I have written in all forms and can help you, too, whether you’re a student struggling with dangling modifiers, a professional who needs a good editor, or a corporate executive who wants to write and speak more effectively. Passion and enthusiasm are essential to learning. No matter how smart you are--and especially if you're smarter than most--unless a teacher can explain a subject in a way that you can fully understand and assimilate, you may learn that subject but you will never master it. The teachers from whom I learned the most had the ability to explain a
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In college I was a creative writing major. I've written and studied language my entire life. I'm a voracious reader who has learned from the great writers: Hemingway, Orwell, Marquez, Cheever, and Duras, to name a few. Those who think English is not as important as, say, math, are highly mistaken. The most sophisticated ideas can only be communicated by mastery of the complexities of language.
The teachers who made a lasting impression on me were those who not only knew the subject well, but imparted it with a joy that was immediately contagious: they infected me with a desire to learn, and taught in a way that I could understand.
I'm a passionate disciple of the English language and will help any student demystify whatever stands in the way of your mastery of it.
Do you know the difference between their, there, and they’re? (They went there with their books because they’re planning to study.) Do you know in what circumstance when to use fewer or less? (There are fewer flowers in the front yard than in the back. The world needs less war.) Are you clear about the proper use of apostrophes? (It’s a fine day. Bob’s mother is coming for Christmas. The teacher gave A’s to everyone in class because their papers were outstanding.)
If you're held hostage by the dangling participle or the misplaced modifier, you can master these and other common grammatical mistakes by learning the simple rules of English. I'll help you with tools and games so that you can master language instead of the other way around. When someone says “if I was running the show,” you'll know that it should be “if I were running the show,” because you've learned the correct usage of the subjunctive mood.
As a trained actor I've worked on the stage, but I've also coached business professionals on how to be more effective speakers when making presentations or giving a speech. I work with actors on monologues for auditions. I speak extemporaneously in front of groups as a volunteer for non-profit organizations and do informal how-to's to educate people. There's nothing more inspiring than a great speaker and I love to teach people how to capture and hold an audience's attention.
Learning to read is what unlocks the world to a child--or to an adult who has never learned! (Hard as it is to believe, there are many people in America who do not know how.)
I learned how to read at a young age because my mother read to me constantly and helped me sound out and recognize letters and words. My teachers taught me words in "families"--words that rhyme--which allowed me to pick out similar words: it's a short hop to "land" once you know sand, hand, and band. With words that were exceptions to the rule, we played word games that helped us commit them to memory in a way that was fun instead of a boring chore.
A student has to master only a few rudimentary rules to begin to feel some power over language; once you have that confidence, you can go anywhere.
I rank in the top 1% of spellers! Spelling is a passion and I love to teach people how to use the English language more precisely.
My approach to learning is by picking out patterns in words and their relationship to others rather than by simply applying hard and fast rules (to which there are always exceptions anyway.) If you learn, for example "i before e, except after c," then you're able group words according to this pattern; if you learn a word in the context of a pattern it makes more sense than if you learn words by memorization. It's a proven fact that things that are learned in association with others are more easily recalled than things that are not.
When I think of words as part of a family or community, they're easier to remember and use correctly than words that I see as lone rangers. Without context they are not as accessible as those words
In college one of my friends nicknamed me Miss Webster, because I loved to read the dictionary. While it may not be as entertaining as reading Harry Potter, it's a well-documented fact that people with extensive vocabularies fare better academically, not because they can toss around fancy words, but because they have a greater understanding of complex ideas. Nothing is as frustrating or embarrassing as having a conversation with someone who uses language you don't understand.
I was a creative writing major in college, but my skill as a writer was first honed in the corporate world where I learned what makes or breaks effective communication.
I saw that while many people I worked for smart and successful in the business world, they were not necessarily skilled as writers. I proofread and edited letters, refined reports, revised speeches and inadvertently became a tutor because I was asked to explain why I had made certain changes. My boss may have had an MBA from Harvard, but he trusted me with all of his personal and corporate communication because he knew I would help him put his best foot forward.
I discovered my talent as a tutor when my niece came to me for help with her college entrance essay. While she understood the structure, she had difficulty establishing the tone, and understanding why one argument was more compelling than another. For me, that was easy; but I had to find a way to communicate that in a way she could understand and use to write a better essay.
From there I found myself helping others not only understand the rudiments of grammar and composition, but to develop the necessary skills to tap into and refine their personal voice. While not everyone has the talent or the desire be a great writer, anyone can learn how to be a highly competent one.