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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

Speaking only from a Spanish stand point, there is a fast and easy way to help students prepare to go to school if they only have a few minutes to spare each day. Flash cards always helped me with all my subjects throughout my undergraduate years but especially with Spanish. Buy some note cards and write down the tenses you are struggling with and some examples. You could even write some vocab words or create a table with each conjugation and tense. Punch a hole in the corner of each note card and place them on a ring. This is the longest part. Once you have this done, flip through the ring a couple minutes a day. With any language, repetition is key! Rebecca 

I recently got a tip about this language-learning app from Duolingo and have been test-driving it on my iPhone for a few days in Spanish, a language I've never formally studied. And I like it, quite a bit in fact. As an ESL and German teacher of many years, and someone who has dabbled in a variety of other languages, I put a lot of thought and study into the process of learning language. Duolingo covers many of the important bases by incorporating key principles into its design: Activities for all four facets of language study: writing, reading, listening, and even speaking (you speak into your device's microphone and it judges your pronunciation).  Moving gradually from passive recognition (What does "Adios" mean? - choose from word bank) to active use (What is "Goodbye" in Spanish? - no word bank). Overlapping reviews, incorporating grammar and vocabulary from previous lessons into new lessons. An emphasis on... read more

I have been doing this stuff for as long as I can remember. Learning Spanish, speaking Spanish, teaching Spanish. Each stage has been interesting, a growing experience, full of its own frustrations, but not without the opportunity to have met so many wonderful people. Some great people have come along side me to teach me Spanish and that has allowed me to make friends who couldn't speak English, giving me one of my greatest lessons, real life experience! Now its my turn to pass this same gift on to others. I don't want to be like all the other teachers, albeit most of mine were great, but I don't want to get lost in a textbook or stacks of worksheets. I want to always remember and to remind my students that Spanish is a real life experience and not just some insurmountable task that they've been struggling with. Something I am always asked by students is, "How soon til I become fluent?" I wish that I could tell each of them, "Just finish all your homework and come to... read more

Although learning is awesome, it can be a difficult and frustrating journey for many students. This difficulty, however, is often times quite normal although most feel it means that a child may not be able to learn or that he/she is so frustrated that learning is no longer taking place. This is where the experienced tutor steps in; for frustration in learning is a part of the learning itself. I have taught and tutored many students and have seen first hand how this frustration can leave some students, and their parents, feeling helpless and hopeless. But there is ALWAYS Hope!!! What they have failed to realize is that as the brain learns difficult concepts, it can only take in parts at a time, little parts at a time. So although it may seem no learning is taking place, it actually is, just in smaller segments. In fact, the most frustration comes right before a new concept is achieved. This is when most children become the 'most' frustrated. The may not want to go to school, complain... read more

Hi all, Thanks to those of you who take the time to read this. I would love to start a dialogue with you so feel free to write to me with comments. This past school year has been a big one for me. I completed my graduate practicum in the fall, in a self-contained ESL and Sheltered ESL classroom in a high school. It was a challenge and required a lot of work but it was worth every minute. The things I learned are invaluable in terms of relating to students better on a personal and professional level, learning how to reach them and motivate them, figuring out other ways to teach the same lesson to someone who did not understand the first time, teaching students how to advocate for themselves and so much more! I had to prepare a huge binder of evidence for the Department of Education, just to prove myself again (and again and again). I did it! Then I had to begin studying for the Comprehensive Exam for my Master's Degree. I was going to originally try to take it in December... read more

Hello! Thank you for visiting my site! I have 8 years of language teaching experience. I taught for 7 years at Princeton University and 1 year at the University of Notre Dame. It is truly a joy for me to help people reach their academic and personal goals. Please contact me as soon as possible to inquire about scheduling a tutoring session with me. I specialize in language arts, particularly Spanish, French, and English. I also have experience tutoring people of all ages, and helping them prepare for standardized tests. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Best regards, Valerie

Have you taken a full year or two of a foreign language, and wish to have an enjoyable way to increase, improve, and expand your vocabulary and comprehension of the language in 'real' life? Here is an easy and rewarding way to do so. First, let's figure what you usually 'need' for foreign language study: material in the language you're studying; a way to look up or translate unfamiliar words and expressions; a program that provides 'thematic' content, like 'a trip to the mall,' 'a visit to the beach,' or 'preparing a party.' But wait a minute! Are those 'learning units' really interesting? They don't do much for me. But here's an idea worth trying. Look for a complete season of a TV show or mini-series that is available on DVD, AND comes with BOTH subtitles and dubbing in the language you're studying. You can easily get that information from the product page. Then rent the DVDs. You might even buy them and it would be less money that the software programs that cost in the hundreds... read more

Congratulations on making it this far! The first step to becoming a better student is realizing the need for help. Some students believe that because they ask for help that they are dumb or not as good as everyone else. In fact, the complete opposite is true! Admitting that you need help with a subject is the smartest thing you could do, and it will set you on a better academic path. I myself went to tutoring in high school, and I finished high school with a 4.0! Sometimes a little one on one time with somebody that can put the lesson into terms you can understand can really make a difference in your grades. Tutoring is meant to be helpful and challenging to the student, because a tutor's entire goal is to see you succeed academically. I tutor because I love seeing the look on a child's face after they have turned their grades around. I love building confidence in students and helping them reach their academic potential! With that being said, I am extremely excited for this opportunity... read more

I recently purchased an iPhone and came across a few vocabulary builder applications. However, what happened to using regular index cards to study new vocabulary? When I started to learn Spanish in high school, I was a huge fan of flash cards. Not only were they inexpensive to make, I could take them wherever I went. When learning a second language, it is important to acquire new words. Cannot have much of a conversation if you have a limited vocabulary! I am currently sitting in on a Catalan class at East Carolina University and flash cards have become my new best friend. Instead of creating flash cards that just have the Spanish word and the translation in English on the reverse side, why not draw an image instead that conveys the meaning? You could also include sample sentences using the word on the card to help you understand how it is used in actual conversation. Please let me know if this helps with the second-language learning process!

Hello! This whole site is pretty new to me, but I wanted to briefly show my interests and experiences, as they are fairly diversified: Sciences: As noted above, most of my experience is with chemistry. Organic Chemistry is my specialty, but I am also familiar with Inorganic Chemistry. I've been a Teaching Assistant for college freshman level courses through upper level chemistry courses. I started off as a Biology/Pre-med major, so courses like Physics and Biology are high on my understanding. Tutoring in most of the sciences will be my highest level of knowledge/experience. Math: I was a mathematics minor as an Undergraduate, so I am very familiar with a fair amount of mathematics divisions. Calculus is fairly fresh, but I am most proficient with Algebra. I have a secret love of the mathematics, so tutoring math in some way would definitely be great. Dance: I just noticed that dance was an option for the "subjects", so I listed it. I am a Lindy Hop dancer and... read more

Greetings! Today's post is about learning styles. One of the most important things that helps teachers provide better instruction is the knowledge of a student’s learning style. My belief is based upon the teachings of noted educational theorist, Dr. Howard Gardner. Dr. Gardner posits that there are “multiple intelligences,” that define our individual learning styles and complement each other (by working together) through our learning processes. His 1983 book, Frames of Mind, detailed his initial findings in this area. In my educational practice, I attempt to identify my students' learning styles by doing extensive diagnostic testing in the very beginning. In my tutoring classes this may consist of having students to write a paragraph or two in the target language we are studying or work some basic math problems. Diagnostics also include inquiring about student preferences, because students generally do better in the areas that they like. After diagnostics, I set a plan that... read more

Greetings! Today's post is about romance languages. I love languages; more specifically, I love the languages in which there is a SVO (subject-verb-object configuration) and I love languages that have a lot of Latin (much of which is derived from Greek) cognates.*In short, I love the languages that were promulgated and dispersed by the many Roman conquests. In many of these languages, the word “bella,” means beautiful and “a, e, i, o and u” are vowels. As a college student, I learned that Latin and/or its derivatives permeate the English language via legal terms, literary references, mottoes and quotes, as well as in taxonomy classifications in the sciences and that having a strong knowledge of Latin root words can elevate one's study skills for the GRE, SAT and ACT exams. The phrase, “romance language,” refers to the following languages which we most frequently think of as Roman Empire-Latin language derivatives: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. The term... read more

Q. Where will we meet for tutoring? A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you. Q. How will we decide on a time to meet? A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us. Q. When are you available to tutor? A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability. Q. How long will each session be? A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each. Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session? A. Through... read more

Some teachers don't like beginning language students to buy Spanish-English/English-Spanish (or whatever) dictionaries, but I think they're very valuable tools. But what they say about books in general holds true for good foreign language dictionaries: you can't tell them by their covers. Some dictionaries are great, while others are terrible. But there are a couple of things to look for to see if the dictionary is worth buying. First of all, check the publication date. All languages change, and so do the words that they contain. Not only do new words show up in new dictionaries every year, but old words may go through important changes over the years, as well. For example, today words like "web," "pad," and "tablet" have definitions that they simply didn't have a decade or so ago. In general, you will want to buy a more recently published dictionary if you're a beginner. Second, in the English section go to the word "date." This is a... read more

I have three tips for studying a world language that I'd like to pass on to WyzAnt folk. They may seem pretty elementary to some people, but might be new to others. Even though it's somewhere near the middle of the semester, it's not too late to put them into place to improve your language skills. 1. Set aside time for language study daily. Even if you don't have written homework due or a quiz or test scheduled, review what you've learned and try to build on it every day, even if it's just for fifteen minutes or half an hour. When we are learning our first language - our mother tongue - we're immersed in it: people are talking to us all day in that language, we hear it on the TV and overhear it in adult conversations taking place literally over our heads. Most of us are not able to spend any appreciable time in a total immersion program, so we have to make a constant effort to see that our new language doesn't relegate itself in the back of our minds and get lost in the crowd. 2... read more

The best advice I can give you- and this goes for every lesson in my class “Is to listen to as many native speakers as you can”. The more you listen to native speakers, the more comfortable you will become with what people say when they want to express a certain meaning. As a logical as the rules in Spanish seem to be (and they may not seem very logical to you) learning a language is NOT like learning mathematics or the sciences. A language is an organic, breathing thing, is a God creation for human beings, so we need another human beings to associate... with lots of room for impreciseness, ambiguity, and imperfect grammar. Once you become familiar with the building blocks in Spanish, you shouldn't have to think hard when you’re speaking. Rather, you should be able to listen to what others say and imitate their expressions – even without knowing precisely what it all means in English! I’m native Spanish speaker and I want to help you! God Bless You!

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