Western Michigan University (Psychology)
Grand Valley State University (MEd)
I have recently graduated from Western Michigan University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Prior to WMU I graduated from Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City with a degree in Liberal Arts. Currently I will be starting my first year at Grand Valley State University in the MEd program, culminating in a degree in literacy studies and ESL. While attending WMU I gained experience as a TA (Intro to Clinical Psychology and Abnormal Psychology) for two different clinical psychologists, Dr. Spates and Dr. Alessi. For two semesters at WMU I had also been a Sexual Health Peer Educator, going from class to class instructing on proper safe sex practices, busting myths, and educating on sexually transmitted infections. My volunteer and job experience at WMU's international student program CELCIS (Center for English Language and Culture for International Students), as a private tutor for international students in psychology and English lessons, and observing and participating in TEFL classes for incoming international students directed me towards an ESL degree at GVSU.
WMU and CELCIS also helped me become fluent in Spanish and gain basic Portuguese through international students that I am still working on. I consider the cultural lessons I learned in my Spanish classes to be a great asset to being a Spanish tutor. I have been speaking Spanish for around 3 years now, completing all of the requirements for a Spanish minor, including Life and Culture Classes for Hispanoamérica, Hispanos en los EE.UU., and de España. I am continuing to participate in the Latino community and will be living with Brazilians I made friends with last year at CELCIS and WMU so I will be speaking a Romantic language and continuing my own personal studies. I believe that what I have learned and the support that I will make me a great asset to any high school student looking to learn Spanish or even beginning college level students.
I have also played guitar and studied music theory since I began middle school. My personal taste is Bossa Nova, Jazz, Delta Blues, and Folk, but I spend most of my time looking for new chords, scales, arpeggios, and improvising with friends. I believe that I have more than adequate experience to help beginners and intermediate students, however, I would rather teach technique and theory rather that songs.
I have been a volunteer at CELCIS at English Conversation Tables as well as later becoming an employee leading conversation groups and activities. As a leader I became friends with many international students, from Brazil, Kurdistan-Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, and Iran, and Saudi Arabia) and became not only their tutor but also friend. I was also fortunate enough to observe and participate in English TEFL classes, assisting in lesson plans, helping student groups, leading exercises, and participating in exercises.
My interest in helping others to learn English comes from my past interest in literature, the psychology of learning, and linguistics. For those that speak other languages, it is important to know their language's manner of articulation as it will be an important variable to learning a new language. For example, the Arabic language does not contain P, in English, we do not have the Spanish R: this means not only do we have to learn a new sound, but also to distinguish it in a conversation. To make learning languages more fun I think it is important to combine literature, the history of the cultures that use that language, and talking to others in a social setting, not simply reading, writing, and oral proficiency, but concentrating on ecologically sound and practical methods.
I believe that my educational experiences at WMU have helped prepare me to participate in the Spanish language community. In truth, I still study the language, read, write, and converse in Spanish everyday. I believe that the grammar courses I have taken have been of the best quality and my Spanish culture classes have helped me learn about the Spanish world in a very in depth and intimate manner that would not be possible in an English setting.
The study of Portuguese completes the major languages of South America and is another way to understand the grammar of Romantic languages. I have many Brazilian friends that assist me in my studies and we talk often so that I have practical use for the language as well. I believe that learning Portuguese helps my Spanish as well as they have many things in common, but more importantly, opens more doors throughout the world.
This year I will be staying in Byron Center, just south of Grand Rapids, with a Brazilian Family. I will also be attending graduate college at GVSU Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 6 until 9 roughly so I will not be available during those hours. I will be willing to travel to the Grand Rapids area, Allendale, and Kalamazoo to assist! I have recently graduated from Western Michigan University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Prior to WMU I graduated from Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City with a degree in Liberal Arts. Currently I will be starting my first year at Grand Valley State University in the MEd program, culminating in a degree in literacy
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