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B.A., M.A. 1983 (Graduate Coursework)
2003 M.A. Creative Writing and Literature (Master's)
I am a well-respected educator, with over 15 years experience in both K-12 and university education. I have a master's degree and an ABD in comparative world religions and culture, with a special focus in Renaissance studies. I have a second master's degree in creative writing and literature. I taught for many years as a residency arts-educator in both PA and NJ schools; I've taught a variety of courses as part-time faculty in a number of Philadelphia-area universities. I have taught intellectual history courses, which are interdisciplinary courses that include the study of writings in science, philosophy, psychology, religion, literature, history and the classics. Additionally, I've taught courses in English literature and American literature, poetry, film and theatre. I've taught a variety of courses in world religions, including Native American spirituality, Western religions, Eastern religions and African diaspora religions. I've taught creative writing classes in fiction, poetry and drama. I've taught writing courses that include business writing, technical writing, remedial writing and ESL writing. I've tutored in many humanities courses, as well as SAT and ACT preparation.
I have worked with ESL populations, special needs students, home-school students, adult learners, at-risk learners and gifted or accelerated learners. For many years, I was a member of the Committee for Special Education in the Lower Merion School District, and was active regarding issues of alternative learning models, differentiated instruction and special needs populations.
As someone passionate about high-quality teaching and learning, I am offering my experience and skills to students needing tutoring, or any kind of special support in order to allow them their best chance at success.
I'm always happy to speak with the parents and prospective student in order to individualize a program that will ideally suit their needs. I am a well-respected educator, with over 15 years experience in both K-12 and university education. I have a master's degree and an ABD in comparative world religions and culture, with a special focus in Renaissance studies. I have a second master's degree in creative writing and Read more
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I have been an active member of the Committee for Special Education in Lower Merion School District, and am the parent of a special needs child. I have worked with students, both in K-12 and at the university level who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. I've worked with students who are both medicated and non-medicated. I welcome the opportunity to work with students who have attention issues, and strive to individualize my tutoring to their individual needs.
In my own graduate work, I have studied Art History in the area of Renaissance art primarily. I also worked, as a homeschool parent myself, with my own son's program of Art History, which included not only Renaissance Art History, but the history of art in America and in specific time periods and geographical regions in Europe and Asia.
During our homeschooling program, my son had a specific interest in Japanese culture, religion and art. We designed an entire program that included the history of the visual arts in Japan, history of Japanese music, a study of Japanese culture and religions. We made special trips to art museums in order to view specific works.
The study of art history is a thoroughly enjoyable pursuit. It can supplement the study of other courses - like history, or literature. It can be taught as a survey course - History of Western Art, or of Eastern Art, for instance. It can also be taught with more narrow focus, i.e. the history of the art of the Khmer, or history of the art of the American West.
I managed an art gallery for two years, and am currently the owner of my own gallery. The visual arts are an important part of my own life, and the passion I have for this discipline can serve my students in many ways.
I have been an active member of the Committee for Special Education in Lower Merion, and am the parent of a special needs child. I have worked with students, both in K-12th and at the university level who have been diagnosed with Aspergers. I welcome the opportunity to work with students who have this diagnosis, and strive to individualize my tutoring to their individual needs.
I have a son whose special needs are on the Autistic spectrum -- Sensory Integrative Dysfunction. I have deep familiarity with working with students who are struggling with disorders and learning disabilities on the Autistic spectrum. I have familiarity with auditory processing issues, visual processing issues, olefactory dysfunction, vestibular issues, tactile dysfunction and oversensitivity. Each student with an autistic diagnosis has his/her own set of needs, and I'm open to working with the parents and student in order to individualize a program that will address their specific needs.
As part of both my undergraduate and my graduate work in Comparative World Religions, I studied with a remarkable Classics/Patristics professor, Sam Laeuchli, who was himself a colleague of the great Joseph Campbell. With him, I studied Greek and Roman mythology, the Greek and Roman dramatists, the Mystery Religions, Patristics and a variety of interdisciplinary courses - i.e. Myth and History, Myth and Art.
I continue to teach courses at the university level which include a study of mythology. For instance, in teaching Intellectual Heritage at Temple University, I am often called upon to teach The Iliad, or to offer readings in other classic literature (i.e. classic Greek drama).
I have a son whose special needs include dyslexia and dysgraphic. We homeschooled him, and I'm familiar with working to adapt materials and programs to allow a dyslexic or dysgraphic student to receive the appropriate supports. I have a deep familiarity with these disabilities, and an open to working with parents and students to individualize any program.
I have worked, both K-12th and university level students for whom English is a second language. While they require additional time and specific tutoring focused on the shift from one language system to another, it is not at all a difficult thing to handle with some patience and some individualized attention. Every student with ESL needs is different, and I'm happy to individualize the lessons, and to take additional time in order to ascertain the student's progress and understanding.
My son had a whole spectrum of special needs, including auditory processing issues. Since we homeschooled, I had to become familiar with ways in which to adapt programs to support additional ways in which we could address the auditory issues. I am familiar, not only with hearing impaired students, but with students who have issues of auditory overload, auditory dysfunction, and phoneme misidentification. All special needs students are individual, and require very specific and individualized understanding. I am happy to work with families in order to specialize and individualize our programs in order to address those specific needs.
As a theatre professional, I have worked for years in the area of speech, delivery, dramatic impact. I've worked with students K-12 in theatre residencies, acting both as a writer and as a director, helping the students deliver their best performances.
For many years now, I've taken this skill outside of the traditional area of theatre, to coach others on the art of public speaking, including attorneys who often require coaching for their best delivery of an opening or closing argument. I've worked with ESL clients and coached them on their best delivery for presentations in various areas of business, including architecture, information science and technology and medicine. I've coached fellow writers in preparation for their book tours and reading events.
I can work with any age, any skill level to improve a person's ability to speak well and powerfully.
The study of World Religions was part of both my undergraduate and graduate work. I have a double major Bachelor's Degree, in both English and World Religions.
I have a Master's Degree which included the study of world religions through a variety of methodologies, including Sociology, Psychology, Literature, History and Art. My ABD included a focus on Islamic Studies, specifically regarding how it pertained to the Spanish Catholic Reformation. It also included much research in the area of Renaissance and Reformation Studies, primarily in England. I studied both Eastern and Western religions. Beyond my graduate work, I undertook a course of personal study in African Diaspora Religions which included a study of Vodou and Santeria. I also did a post-graduate study on Native American Spirituality, as well as a study of Ancient Goddess Religions, Alternative Religions, Celtic Religions. In short, I am still studying various topics related to religion, spirituality and wisdom traditions.
I have taught Eastern Religion, Western Religion, Native American Spirituality and Chinese Religions courses at several universities in the Philadelphia area. I've taught courses in Death and Dying for Temple University. I have worked with students, during my years as a homeschool parent, who wanted to study world religions, and designed courses that were individualized to their own interests and pursuits.
For many years, I was a member of the Committee for Special Education in Lower Merion. I have a special needs son who had a spectrum of learning disabilities. Since we homeschooled, I became very familiar with all the needed supports and alternative learning approaches that work for students with individualized education programs. I have worked with other parents, to offer advice on a variety of topics, including IEP construction, professional supports, therapies and differentiated instruction, and alternative assessment models. I have studied the Sally Smith Arts-based curriculum models. I can tailor-make a program for any student's needs, and am happy to confer with parents and students about the needs required.
I'm a theatre professional. My own plays have received readings and productions in the Philadelphia region. I have worked as a dramaturg in the Philadelphia theatre community. I also have experience as a director of children's theatre.
I have studied and taught theatre both in K-12th and at the university level including courses in playwrighting, theatre history, and theatre survey courses. I've run two-year residencies with the NJ Council of the Arts in Theatre Education, where students wrote and performed their own plays. I've coached students in theatrical presentation and acting. I can easily provide tutoring, coaching, and creative writing training in theatre.
Debra is an award-winning professional published writer, playwright and university professor with over 20 years of teaching experience. She has worked successfully with ESL students, special needs students and remedial students. Creatively, Debra's plays have been performed at the Philadelphia Fringe, the Green Light Festival and the AprilFest. Her stories have been published in a variety of magazines, both nationally and internationally. Her collection of short stories was published by Sowilo press. Her latest project is a film/book project; she is writing the book as well as the treatment for the documentary. Debra has also taught creative writing courses for over a decade through her own arts organization.
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