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These days I'm having so much fun living the dream!  While doing phone interpretations today in Spanish/English and allowing my latest intern Alaina to shadow me (a whole new way to look at tutoring), she asked:  "When we're listening to the clients, I still don't always know what they're saying?  When did you finally start just getting it when you were interpreting?"   I shared with her, smiling, that my first in person interpretation was ROUGH.  But to answer her question more directly, from my 20 years experience vantage point, I couldn't remember exactly HOW I finally got over the hump.    As I thought back, I could remember that it has a lot to do with smiling, laughing, being personable, and LOVING THE PEOPLE AND CULTURE you are interpreting.  I also recommend finding a close friend (and perhaps even better boyfriend/girlfriend) to get to know up close in your target language.    The most important... read more

Look for the Latin roots in Spanish and French words that may also be found English. This helps one remember vocabulary and appreciate the connection between languages!     Here are some examples!   1. Aprender is 'to learn' in Spanish (apprendre in French), which corresponds to the English word 'apprentice.'   2. Escribir is to write in Spanish (écrire in French), which corresponds to the English word 'scribe' (escribe = he writes).   3. Dormir means 'to sleep' in Spanish (dormir in French as well), which corresponds to the English words 'dormitory' and 'dormant'.   4. Abrazar is 'to hug/embrace' in Spanish (embrasser in French), which corresponds to the English word 'embrace'. Keep in mind that in French it means a "kissing embrace" versus a "hugging embrace".   And there are many more! Please add to the list!   It is important to note that the Latin... read more

Many of my students dread conjugating verbs. They dread it even more when the verbs are irregular and have the same meaning!!  The verbs ser and estar both mean "to be", so what is the difference between the two?? Ser is used to describe things that are permanent or often unchangeable.  For example, Yo soy de Estados Unidos.(I am from the United States).  The form of ser used in the sentence is soy.  You can not change where you are from. Ser is also used to describe characteristics, professions, religions and nationalities.       Estar is used to describe things that are temporary. For example, Yo estoy en Florida para las vacaciones(I am in Florida for vacation). I am vacationing in Florida, but I am not from there.  There is a little rhyme that is printed in the textbook, Realidades, which helps you remember when to use the verb, estar.  The rhyme goes, For how you... read more

10 Tips to Advance Your Second-language Learning Process Speaking a second language is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Not only is it fun and cool, but it opens doors to experience another culture in new, exciting and personal ways. And if you're working on speaking a language that others speak in your community, it can also open doors for you professionally. So, if you're itching for some tips to help advance your language learning process, have no fear…I'm here to share with you 10 of my trusty tips for how I learned to speak my second language! (How well do I speak it, you ask? Well, native Spanish speakers often think I’m a native Spanish speaker, just to give you some context.) These are all things that I did myself, so I’m confident in recommending them all to you! :) Let’s get started with some specific tips, and then move on to my more “philosophical” and general advice: 1. Watch television shows, movies and videos in your target language For those working... read more

I have found it very useful to take walks when my Spanish tutoree gets worked up. When we walk we discuss things around in Spanish. For example, we learned colors the other week, so we walked around and she told me the colors of everything she saw around her in Spanish.

Hello everyone! Hola a todos!   Learning a second language like  Spanish or ESOL can be boring and frustrating sometimes. You just get sick of reading your textbook or completing worksheets that your teacher gives you. But believe it or not...there are several ways to make learning a second language fun no matter what age you are! You're probably thinking right now..."how?" I'll tell you how. First, think of something that you like to do in your free time like listening to music, watching a movie or reading. Say if you really enjoy listening to music...look up one of your favorite genres and see what pops up for Spanish or English music in that genre. For example, Spanish pop/rock - the Colombian artist Juanes will pop up. Check out some of his songs on youtube. Once you find a song that you like, look up the Spanish lyrics online, print them out and then try your best at translating them into English. See if you can figure out what the song means because... read more

In English we have 5 vowels orthographically(in spelling), but phonetically(in terms of speech sounds) there are 14 different vowel sounds! Spanish only has 5 vowel sounds! This can make it rather difficult for Spanish speakers to pronounce English words. For English speakers learning Spanish, this means that we have to narrow down our vowel pronunciations.  When it comes to pronunciation, I always tell my students to practice their vowel pronunciation in Spanish: a-e-i-o-u is pronounced, in Spanish, "ah"-"ay"-"ee"-"oh"-"oo" The good news is that these vowels never change in Spanish pronunciation. Once you get those down, you can pronounce any Spanish word with confidence. 

1. Whatever the target language is, write it out and leave a space underneath to help with translation.  2. Flashcards for target language.  Make 2 set and you can play a matching game with both your native language and language being learned.   3. While using flashcards, you give yourself 3 seconds to translate.  You will have 2 piles: 1 for correct answers and the 2nd for the ones that you are having trouble with.  Then mix again and try them all. 4. Listen to the target language.  Watch TV, listen to the radio or find meet-ups. 5. Use tips that work for you.  Tweak them til it fits you!!!

Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language.  Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?"  Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience.  Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning.   DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not... read more

Currently, my best subject -though I can tutor in other subjects- is Spanish (bonus: I have Latin Heritage). Please check out my profile for schedule and contact info.  Any questions let me know. I am comfortable using online sessions and I can work using the online without problem. Online sessions are not limited to proximity. 

While tutoring is about making sure you learn the material we are discussing, it should always have a balanced amount of learning and fun!  Here are some ways I keep my tutoring sessions a fun place to be: 1. Games - Learning is most successful when it's fun! When applicable, it can be a great change of pace to incorporate a game into the tutoring session.  2. You get to be the teacher - Nothing shows me that you know your information best than when you can teach it to me! On this day we might switch jobs, and you will pretend to be the tutor helping me, your student.  3. Songs - Sometimes the best way to memorize information is to put it in a song. Acronyms, lists of names, dates or even important people can make their way into your favorite song and then you'll never forget that information.  4. Performances - for my music students, we will spend a lot of time working on technical skills to apply to your music making. But some of the... read more

If you have reached the present perfect and past perfect tense, you are a good way into your Spanish studies and it's time for a serious talk about grammar. I don't know of any shortcut around regular practice. However, you can do yourself an enormous favor by taking the time to discover what you mean to say in English before you attempt to construct the grammar in Spanish. It is possible to learn how to conjugate verbs in the present and past perfect tenses without truly understanding their meaning or where and when to use them in writing or conversation. If you are reading this, you've likely set higher goals for yourself. Let me begin by introducing the present and past perfect tenses in English. After we've grasped the purpose of these verb forms, we can move quickly and easily through the "rules." Recall that in the simple present or simple past tense we say "I live" or "I lived." "I love"... read more

I'm new to tutoring and to WyzAnt, but I know I can make tutoring and lessons fun just by using the knowledge I have and what I have learned from my classes in Education.  Spanish is about communicating and the best way to learn Spanish is to use it in real-world applications. So, here are my top 5 suggestions on how to make lessons fun in Spanish:   1.  Put down the text book! Talk to the student as if you are having a real conversation   2.  When learning about everyday objects around the house have the student create labels in Spanish and post them on things such as:  Door, bed, slippers, toothbrush, ect.  So, that they will see them everyday and learn the words as they use them.   3. Find a book, comic book, or any other type of reading that interests them instead of just have them reading straight out of the textbook.  If it's a topic they are interested in they will want to read it!  They can read it to... read more

There are a few teaching strategies I've come up with - not invented, but rather discovered - in my time as a tutor that seem to keep the student both interested and focused. Of course, these may not work for other subjects. I teach language, a beautiful art in and of itself! One strategy is to start with the building blocks of language- the atom, or proton, or electron, or quark (I suppose this is now the smallest accepted particle of matter): vocabulary, both nouns and verbs, with pictures. Then sentence structure, and finally grammar. With the student, I build the language with them as one would build a model airplane. The key is to keep them involved. Language instruction in any kind of lecture format simply does not work.   The other strategy is something I use with more advanced students, or even ones with some basic foundation of a language. Starting with a text in Spanish - be it Unamuno or Cervantes, we start reading together. Throughout, we stop at vocab... read more

Are you interested in learning Spanish but need a more structured course to help you get started? I have a great beginning Spanish curriculum that is ideal for the school-age or adult learner. The focus of the curriculum is to learn the basics to actually communicate in the language. Lessons are fun and are infused with language and culture. Contact me for more information on the classes I offer and how I can cater to your individual learning needs.

You don't need to spend hours memorizing new words or making simple concepts more complicated than they need to be to learn Spanish. The best way to learn Spanish is to focus on the similarities between English and Spanish. The fact is that whether or not you realize it, you already know some Spanish.   One book that I highly recommend is Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish. This book takes you step by step to make you highly proficient in the language. I am not saying that this is a substitute for any class, but it is an excellent complement for nearly any Spanish class. I used this book after not taking Spanish for a while to make me proficient again. I also continue to use it when I don't like the class textbook and need to show a more clear picture of the concept.   Here are some examples of how to make Spanish easy in which Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish illustrates:   Do you recognize what any of this means?   Oceano Atlántico Oceano... read more

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