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Ramapo College of New Jersey
Princeton University PhD Program (Graduate Coursework)
Newark School of Theology (Other)
Learning is a thought process, and the more a teacher supports thinking, the more successful that process is likely to be. That's how I raised my two sons with vocabularies that repeatedly surprised their teachers. Learning also depends on a relationship of mutual respect. I love what I've learned and share it by helping others learn to love learning. My experience as a tutor ranges from toddlers (with computers) to adults learning practical English as a Second Language, learning to use Bible Study tools, and learning to speak and write in professional settings. For students who need help with formal school programs, I first learn what methods they are being taught to use and then help them see how to use those methods better.
Learning is a thought process, and the more a teacher supports thinking, the more successful that process is likely to be. That's how I raised my two sons with vocabularies that repeatedly surprised their teachers. Learning also depends on a relationship of mutual respect. I love what I've learned and share it by helping others learn to love
I had a very productive session with Barbara. She was very informative, and took the time to explain things to me. She's very knowlegable and knows "the tricks of the trade"
In the, unfortunately brief, period my nieces worked with Barbara, she seemed to connect with them and make the assignments as fun as possible.
In speaking with Barbara on the phone, I found she grasped the twins issues early on and it would have been a successful relationship, had it the chance to develop.
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I've published exegesis in both short and longer forms — ranging from analysis of single words (in a blog on my congregation's and regional body's Web site and in children's sermons) to commentary on pericopes (magcloud.com booklets on "Fruits of the Spirit" and the Decalogue), extended narratives (Kindle books on Sarah and Hagar, and Rizpah), and the full book of Ruth (forthcoming) — including pulpit supply. I particularly enjoy delving into the Hebrew Testament, using my training in the summer version of Princeton Theological Seminary's two-semester course in biblical Hebrew, but also rely on and teach use of commonly available print and software concordances, lexicons, and commentaries. My own approach and leaning is to attempt to identify with the original writers of the Bible, with the help of historical information. I do not look for a singular, authoritative interpretation, but for better understanding of what my denomination calls "the unique and authoritative witness." My work is supervised as a validated ministry of the Presbytery of the Palisades, under a commission as "Writer in Residence."
Over the first seven years of their schooling, children lay down the basic tools of learning and begin to put them to use. I love to watch this process, and my basic approach as an educator is to facilitate it by engaging children's own delight in it. While raising my own two boys, I was trained to formally facilitate the Junior Great Books program and led groups of 3rd- and 4th-graders in developing their skills in critical thinking. I tutored at the same levels and all subject areas under the "No Child Left Behind" program.
I worked with younger children in assessing their development for a federally funded study, and as the "computer teacher" in a private preschool. I've also worked extensively, as a writer and editor, with K-6 educational materials, including the "Working Words in Spelling" program of Curriculum Associates, Inc., and my own picture books and children's religious materials. I don't talk down to students, but I try to meet them at their individual intellectual levels and draw them onward into greater love of learning. At the same time, as a tutor I work to understand the techniques and approaches a student is being taught in school and support the student's success there.
I'm a professional and award-winning writer of English, and a native speaker with interests in varied other languages: Latin and German stand particularly behind my knowledge of English; Russian sent me to graduate school; biblical Hebrew is another academic interest and backgrounder to my English writing; I have dabbled in Korean and Spanish because of friends, ESL tutees, travel, and the general desire to communicate with my neighbors.
I take a pragmatic and responsive approach to ESL. I helped a Russian woman edit the translation of her published dissertation in fashion design and history. I helped Korean housewives in New Jersey comprehend as well as read the notes they received from their children's schools and their banks, as well as advertisements that puzzled them. I also helped a Korean woman completing her Master's Degree in TOEFL to refine her skills before returning to Korea to teach.
My professional experience has reinforced my own learning through phonics and observations as a mother. I've used educational software with children as young as toddlers to begin to develop the connection between letters and their sounds. I've also observed — in assessing the language development of pre-K and Kindergarten students as part of a federally funded study of early childhood education — how important it is to help children blend phonemes into words. Memorizing individual letter sounds can make reading more difficult, though I learned to read by sitting at my Mother's pantry cupboard and asking her the sounds made by the letters on the cans and boxes I found there. I encourage students to start with phonics and move on to recognizing whole words, as well as roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
I do not teach English spelling phonetically. My two sons were avid and able readers and writers from early ages, but they were confused by the many ways to spell single phonemes, presented to them in spelling lists such as "laugh, calf, staff."
On Bellcore's (now Telcordia) award-winning science magazine, EXCHANGE, my boss referred to me as the "nitpicker in chief." I was actually one of several writers, but peer review was essential to getting the magazine done to our high established standards. I had developed those skills as the production editor of a Boston publisher of research-level math and physics, where every sigma and epsilon had to be right, and the math-heavy journal "Medical Decision Making," then out of the Harvard School of Public Health. Before and after this job, I worked freelance for the likes of Harvard University Press, Little, Brown Medical Division, and Houghton Mifflin.
I've professionally supported others' public speaking and am a practiced public speaker myself. For two years, I provided speechwriting and other ghostwriting support for the CEO of a $2-billion high-tech company; one of the speeches I wrote for him, drawing on his own background as a technologist and presented to a technology conference, won a writing award for its publication in the employee newspaper. I also coached the CEO on delivery of speeches and worked on in-house presentations to large and small groups and on the company's video network.
As a speaker myself, I volunteer for the NJ Sharing Network, speaking mostly off the cuff from my experience as a member of an organ donor's family to audiences from high-school students to doctors and nurses. I've also done slide shows over some 35 years and, though a layperson, am listed by my presbytery (regional church body) as certified to provide pulpit supply. As part of that work, in 2010 I became particularly interested in children's sermons and published a number of them (of course not just as I would share them with a live audience) as podcasts.
What I've learned most clearly from this experience has been
- how to craft a speech to suit its intended audience and communicate its intended message
- how to prepare to deliver a speech by employing script mechanics that support the speaker and rehearsing not only the words, but also timing and gestures
- and how to use a speaker's voice to its best advantage.
My love of languages led me to Russian as an undergraduate, and my study of Russian and an extended, immersive student trip to Russia and Ukraine (1974) led me to focus my interdisciplinary major on Russian culture. By the time I received my B.A. in Intercultural Studies, I had accepted a full fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology, specializing in Soviet Society, at Princeton University. In the summer between undergraduate and graduate school, I completed the Institut Slavyanskikh Yazikov at Indiana University. In my first year of study at Princeton, I met the foreign-language requirement of the Sociology program by completing a Russian translation intensive with the esteemed chair of the university's Slavics Department, Charles Townsend. My course work and a funded independent study relied on reading Sociology documents in Russian.
My practice in Russian continues to focus on reading and on working with native speakers of Russian to improve their English. I worked for several years with one such student, preparing her to gain U.S. citizenship and work in the U.S. fashion industry and helping her to edit the translation to English of her published dissertation in that field.
I've been a home sewer for almost 50 years, and would have been for longer except that my Mother didn't want to teach me her methods and have them contradicted by home-economics teachers in that day when sewing and cooking classes were mandatory for girls. Once I started, I couldn't stop.
Mother and I made my wedding dress, a simple empire-waisted gown of ivory velvet. More recently, I made the skirt to an 1878 costume (I was working in a historic village) and adapted the waistband for easier on and off, to add pockets, and to assure modesty under the peplum bodice being made by the village seamstress (who cut the lower sleeves upside down).
I mostly follow commercial patterns, but enjoy adapting them to put entry in front, add pockets, and incorporate handcrafted or special materials. I use my Mother's 1949 Necchi machine, which zigzags and makes buttonholes without an attachment. But because I know the basics and am computer literate, I can figure out how to use the extra capacities of advanced machines, at least on a home-sewer level.
My BA in Intercultural Studies led to 2-1/2 years of coursework on full fellowship in Sociology at Princeton University. That was a straight Ph.D. program, and my next step would have been sitting for General Exams, then a dissertation. I've particularly applied my training in methods as a data collector on federally funded (and other) studies administered by the University of Michigan Survey Research Center and the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina. I know how to ask the right questions, how to interpret and evaluate the answers I find, and how to synthesize research findings and draw conclusions.