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I specialize in teaching essay structure and style. When I began tutoring, I had a vague idea that I'd work with college students like the friends for whom I'd proofread during university: young Americans who've grown up in a public school system which emphasized group work over individual learning, and who therefore never got a chance to develop their writing skills. I've certainly worked with students from a background very much like this. However, I've also had the pleasure of building a strong ESL clientele. At this point, I've spent enough time with ESL students to have made some observations about the nature of ESL learning and the way it is discussed. I'm certainly no expert, but by now I am a reliable dilettante. I speak with the authority of firsthand experience. From that vantage, I'd like to address one mistake which is frequently made in conversations about ESL learning. It is a very serious mistake and I have to believe that it muddles teachers' thinking considerably... read more

I know that when it comes to boosting one's vocabulary when preparing for one of the standardized tests, some students memorize long lists of words.  Some use flashcards, and others might use mnemonic devices--like associating a word with an image.     That's fine if memorization doesn't bore you, but let's face it. Learning those words by "rote" might help you identify a few on the language section of the SAT, ACT, or GRE, but you'll most likely forget them a week after the test. You also might be someone that hates the practice of memorization.   If you want to improve your vocabulary and really learn new words in context, the best thing is to be a reader, and if you've been reading challenging books throughout high school, that is definitely helpful.  But in the short term, try studying from the book 1100 Words You Need to Know.  This book teaches you vocabulary inductively.  In other words, you're first presented... read more

I’m not prone to exaggeration, but when it comes to the words moreover and furthermore, I can safely say that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick if it meant that never again would I have to hear them misused in everyday English conversations with Russian speakers. I see why they come up so often. They both appear, on the surface, to be sweetly analogous to the often-used term ????? ???? and, to Russian speakers of English, it probably feels like it is a suitable upgrade from plain old ‘and’. The problem is that using them in everyday conversations can make you sound, at best, overblown or pretentious and, at worst, vaguely threatening. That said, as with everything, there is a time and a place for introducing these words. They carry with them, a level of accuracy in meaning which other ‘plainer terms, may not have. We just need to make sure that we understand exactly when and where to use the word; and that the right time and place is... read more

From my experience, designing a lesson for one student could be challenging due to not being able to include group or pair-work, which is not only a great way for the students to apply what they have just learned with a fellow classmate allowing them to feel more comfortable to make mistakes but also gives the teacher the opportunity to walk around and listen in and find common errors that can be brought up to the class as a whole instead of singling out a single student's mistake possibly discouraging them, but also because after some time the student can easily get bored deterring them from fully learning the material the tutor is teaching. Here are five things I include in each lesson to ensure that the student is actively learning and having a fun time doing so as well.   1) Make your first lesson informal so they feel comfortable with you from the get-go. They will be hesitant until they feel it is okay to mistakes and the sooner you can get them to let their guard... read more

We all have one: that one subject that our brains just refuse to understand, and no matter how much we study or how hard we work, we never feel like we really truly GET what is going on.   For me, that subject was always Physics. No junior high or high school teacher could ever answer the unending string of "...but WHY?" questions that I needed answered before I could understand even the most basic concepts of our Introductory course. It wasn't that I couldn't understand, but rather that I wasn't being taught these ideas in a way that made sense to me.    As an adult, Physics is now actually one of my favorite subjects to read about because I have found some books written for people just like me, people who need explanations fulls of examples and explanations and lots of pictures! I may never discover black holes or split an atom, but I now know enough that I can understand the people who do those things. :-)     So,... read more

I was asked once by a Japanese ELL (English Language Learner) how she could improve her speaking.  I told her that if you want to improve then you need to speak!  Talk to everyone.  Don't worry if you screw up or if your pronunciation isn't perfect.  The only way to become better at speaking a language, and to gain confidence, is to practice.   How does an ELL improve their speaking when they are living in a peripherary country?  A country where the language is not spoken as an official language?   That can be a bit more tricky, but immersion is not a guarantee that an ELL will gain proficiency in a language either.  I recommend finding an app or make an online friend that will give you opportunities to practice speaking.   I myself am a language learner.  I would like to go back to Japan and teach, but I would like to improve my speaking skills before I go.  I like using an app called Mango Languages. ... read more

It does happen sometimes- you've met a new student once, or twice, and they don't return. There are many possible reasons for this; it could be the tutor's approach, the student's expectations, or other external factors. This happened to me recently, despite all my tutoring experience, and I'll explain why. This college student came to me two days before an essay was due, with a poor first draft full of grammatical issues along with a poor grasp of the topic and supporting readings for it. She was desperate, and I believe expected me to just fix her paper for her. When I asked her how she deals with her second-language grammar problems, she explained that she uses an online program that supposedly corrects her grammar on her submitted draft. That is, she isn't really learning the grammar herself, but depending on a software program. In addition, she didn't grasp the admittedly-hard readings assigned in her text, and was very vague on her thesis. I reviewed the essay and suggested that... read more

This coming school year, commit to finding resources on campus or in your school to help you succeed. As and English as a second language student, it is vital that you find people who can support your learning.   If you are in college, your internationals student center, local religious organizations, or student volunteer groups may offer English conversation practice or writing help. College writing centers specifically for international students are a great place to get help writing and revising your essays and reports.   Younger students can find students, teacher aides, or teachers who speak their native language to help in some cases. The ESL teacher at your school is your go-to person for all things related to English. If you are struggling with vocabulary in your biology class, for example, let your ESL and your biology teacher know so that they can help you organize and find a learning strategy to help you earn an A. Your school counselor is also a... read more

Radio shows are a great way to practice listening to spoken English. Many radio shows post their episodes online and also include the text of the show. This way you can both listen to the show and also read the show. Reading the text allows you to check your understanding of what you heard. In addition to practicing listening skills, this is also a great way to learn new vocabulary. Below are links to some of my favorite radio shows available online.     Voice of America News stories.  Easy to intermediate vocabulary. http://www.voanews.com/ For Voice of America, look for news stories with videos.  Below the video, you'll find the text of all the spoken parts.  For example, see the video of this story about the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in the United States.       NPR TED Talks  Talks by experts in technology, education, and design fields.  Advanced vocabulary... read more

1. Make sure your students know the differences between a summary and a paraphrase. Students can fill in the blanks without really comprehending or being able to paraphrase. If your book is mainly focused on writing and listening exercises, it’s up to you to bring it to life and relatable. Tie in all aspects of reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Don’t isolate each component too much. Peer work is great, unless one students takes the burden of all the work. 2. Walk into class knowing your agenda. Write it on the board, so students have a roadmap of what the day holds for them. 3. Get everyone to participate; even the shy ones. If the desks don’t fit the needs of the collaborative environment, rearrange them. 4. The lower level classes need to be corrected for pronunciation if it is really off. Don’t let it get fossilized. 5. If students are inattentive, pretend to fall asleep, or go outside and say you are going to get the director. 6... read more

Welcome,   This digital space will serve as a journal, an archive, and a vat of advice or conclusions from my tutoring experiences. I'm setting out today to begin actively pursuing tutoring opportunities through Wyzant's program, hoping to connect with students in the Decatur, GA area who are searching for some language help.   What to expect in the posts to come: -Successes in lesson planning and activities -Failures (shameful though they may be) -- this may actually end up being the most beneficial of them all. -Tips I've gleaned from my own teaching in the past -Narrative journeys through the lessons and their intricacies   I look forward to collaborating and swapping stories with readers. So by all means, shoot me a message at any time and I'll be happy to talk!   Peace, Eric N.

I am a NYS Certified and accomplished teacher with unique skills in enabling students of all ages to feel free to express themselves in the foreign language, building fluency and confidence with each lesson. Students feel comfortable working with me one on one. I have taught grammar, phonics and vocabulary, reading and writing with much fun and success through the use of sitcom television shows, songs, cartoons, fun stories, activities and games.

Here are more websites that I have sent to students after lessons for extra practice:   Here are some vocabulary activities you can do for homework. Just study the words where they give you the answers. You can't do the whole activity because you don't have classmates.  You could do them with a friend though: Study these animal idioms (expressions, sayings). Think about if there are any animal idioms in your language: http://eslsite.com/rd/Vocabulary/animal_idioms.html Study these collocations/ expressions: http://eslsite.com/rd/Vocabulary/%91A%85%85%85.of%92%20language.html http://eslsite.com/rd/Vocabulary/make_or_do.html http://eslsite.com/rd/Vocabulary/collocations%28lose_take%29.html Try to do this activity, if you remember your Shakespeare: http://eslsite.com/rd/Vocabulary/shakespeare.html This might be fun to read, also. It's about the origin of the words: http://www.eslsite.com/rd/Vocabulary/word_origins... read more

I am a tutor for students requesting help with English as a Second Language.  As part of the homework, I have sent out emails with the following websites for the students to practice on:   Here is a website you can test your English with. It scores it and gives links to other websites that will teach you lessons on the topics. It looks really great but some of the links don't work - but don't be discouraged. Let me know what you find out, ok?  When you've studied the topics, it tells you which "particular" test you should take under "choose lesson test". Those particular tests are much shorter, like 5 questions only. http://www.easyenglish.com/index.asp Here is a test for your reading comprehension - but I think some of the questions are English English. It's still a good way to give yourself some idea of your abilities and needs. http://www.englishclub.com/esl-exams/levels-test-wc.htm There are a ton of other... read more

One of my favorite tools to use when starting lessons with students is Facebook. It's great because most students have smart phones and can open the app right there. And, you get your students to talk about people they know, or people they would like to know more about (celebrities and such). For my Spanish students, we open up a friend's page and just like that we create sentences and ask questions about: -names -age -where people are from -where they live -what they like to do, read, listen to, watch etc. -what they did in the past -relationships (family, marriages, friends etc.) -how they are characteristic wise or condition wise For Spanish specifically, it is a great opportunity to use the verbs: -ser -tener -vivir -estar -hacer -gustar -llamarse -ir   Since English speaking students sometimes struggle with the different uses between ser and estar, and the use of tener with regard to age, it's a great... read more

PORTUGUESE: the language of BIG BRAZIL!   BRAZIL: the land of SOCCER!   SOCCER: love it or hate it, it is a worldwide passion!   Brazilian Portuguese is FUN: and Brazilians are all about fun, soccer, beautiful places to visit, friends to make!   Even if you are all about business, BRAZIL is the land of opportunity! (Check it out, Google it!)   Whatever your purpose or ambition, Brazilian PORTUGUESE is going to take you on a journey of success, new projects, travels, dreams...   Vamos aprender juntos! Let's learn together!   Leticia S.     :)    

If you are struggling to encourage a reluctant reader to read for at least 30 minutes per day, this website may help.  I began using this with Beginning English as a Second Language (ESL) students but have found that it also works well for K-6 readers as well.  Here are the instructions for accessing this FREE site:     Go to http://larryferlazzo.com/englishbeg.html#stories a. Under the heading marked Stories, click on Tumblebooks b. Click on Tumblebook Library c. Click on Story Books or Non-fiction Books d. Choose a book and then click Read Online

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