Assignment 4

Please answer these questions AFTER the final training session.

CSLC TUTORS: 1) Give advice to a new tutor on dealing with with learners with different motivation levels 2) Give overall advice to new tutors based on your experience and training sessions

ISSLP STUDENTS: List three takeaways from the CSLC tutor training program and explain how you’re going to apply them in your classroom.

28 thoughts on “Assignment 4

  1. I found that one of the best techniques for making sure a student understands the material is to have him/her repeat it back to me, sometimes more than once. This lets me know that he/she actually knows the material because often a student will say they understand it when they actually don’t. Also, explaining something to someone else is a great way to learn something and solidify it in your mind.

  2. I’ve found that most of the beginning students I have met with have trouble recognizing English grammatical terms, which makes it difficult for them to learn the Latin grammar. While they are able to understand the functions of words (subject, verb, etc.), they are unable to produce the proper terms (predicate, direct object, etc.). I find it is helpful then to review English grammar in order to help learn the new language (in my case Latin and Greek). I like to then have them write English sentences and explain what each word would be in Latin grammatical terms, which seems to help them recognize the same concepts once they start looking at Latin sentences.

  3. After going over the area that tutee has a problem with, I ask her/him another question related to that area. His or her response to my question helps me to know whether the tutee actually understood my explanation. The tutee will feel more confident. Also, when the tutee has a difficulty in understanding a certain concept, I provide my personal tip that I used to understand that concept when I was learning the language. I think it is more helpful than just repeatedly reading over the textbook.

  4. During my first few sessions, I have always struggled with giving the answer to a student too quickly. In order to avoid this, I now try to wait at least 3-4 seconds after every question, regardless of how simple it may be. That way, the student has enough time to formulate a thought and respond without having too much of an awkward gap in between. After the time is up, I know the student may not know the answer, but I also know he/she has also probably at least thought about the question at hand. This offers a great transition into helping the student learn what he of she may have forgotten/never learned.

  5. One thing I learned about peer tutoring is to get to know the student and how they learn and study. One of the most common things I have noticed is that many of them do not have one study technique for certain aspects of language, such as vocab. I have started liking to go through ways to study, ways to learn the language, and ways to keep us in class before we even start the tutoring session. This way I can help them stay on track and they learn to trust me as an advisor and tutor.

  6. Most of my tutoring experiences have been with correcting spanish compositions. In correcting these, I’ve found two things that have been really helpful: one is to ask the tutee to ask me question on specific parts of the their writing that they think they need to work on the most. The second is the 1/3 rule that my german professor explained last year. Following this rule, you attempt to correct one third of the total length of a composition, because it is more than likely that the mistakes made in this first third will be repeated all throughout the paper. I’ve also enjoyed sharing idiomatic expressions to tutees, and showing them how flexible languages can be.

  7. As an Arabic peer tutor, I try to extend the “peer” part rather than the “tutor” part when I am tutoring the students. So I communicate with them that learning and studying Arabic language is about exploring and learning different ways to study the language. Reminding them that they need to be patient with themselves when learning the language is another thing that I have been doing. As a student, I overlooked the value of experience, but I now know that there are some things that come in language learning as you continue studying and building up the experience with the language. I share my experiences of studying the language and the ways of studying the language as well. I also try to share my personal tips in specific areas of the language, like grammar and making sense of the particular area in relation to the way we think in English.

  8. One of my tutees came in with a very specific question regarding her essay. Once we covered the question she had, she wanted help on her homework. One of the problems that I had was deciding what was appropriate to teach and go over to help her with it. My tutee was not sure of what she had learned in class and what verb tenses she recognized. At the beginning I went over some verb tenses that were too advanced for her level but realizing this I stopped and started from the basic. My advise to other tutors is therefore to teach from the basic to the more advanced when in doubt on how much a student knows.

  9. We discussed this in the training session, but a “bad” experience that I had was having student I was tutoring ask me personal questions and what I thought about certain controversial topics. In this case I avoided answering the question and did not let her know my views on the subject. However, if she had continued to ask, I would have told her that I did not feel comfortable answering those questions. A good tip for all tutors would be to look the answer up if they do not know something off the top of their heads. Some times I’ve forgotten how to say certain words or the conjugation of a certain verb. When this happens I use the resources and books on the shelves in the CSLC office. These always have the answer and like that both the tutee and myself will have the answer.

  10. When a student comes to a tutoring session with a piece of writing but no specific questions, I have found that having him or her read a sentence or paragraph out loud to be a good starting point. Often the student will notice a mistake or identify a problematic section on their own that I can then help to correct. At this point, it is often good to have the tutee look up the correction using a dictionary, verb book,, etc. so that I can help address potential misuse of a dictionary that might lead to inappropriate word choice, e.g. When there is a grammatically convoluted sentence, I have the student explain (in English or French) the point they are trying to get across, and this often helps them state their idea more coherently.

  11. I had a tutee come in once from the First-Year Japanese class to practice conversation skills since they had an oral test coming up. She was incredibly shy, and even though I tried as gently as possible to bring attention to her mistakes, she looked like she was going to cry. I had to stop the exercise and ask her what was causing her so much anxiety because I was actually afraid she was going to cry. She told me about how slow she feels compared to her classmates, especially her Chinese peers. I told her I understood and had felt the same way my freshman year, but that once you stop comparing yourself to others, language learning comes much easier. I tried really hard to make her realize learning a foreign language is not a race-it’s about personal development. I think that helped her, since she tried to stop being so self-conscious her grammar actually improved. So my advice is the same as the readings, to try get to know the tutee before working on the language!

  12. I have a student who has never learned a language before, not even in high school. I found that very interesting and challenging because I would usually rely on other types of romance languages that they might have taken before (i.e. Spanish) and show examples of similar grammatical concepts with Italian. I found that my student was a visual learner so I would make her write a conjugation or a vocabulary 3x. Afterwards I would give her a sentence and she had to create 3 more with the new vocabulary and conjugations that she learned. If she was stuck we would go over it again, but I would always make sure to show her that by knowing the basic form of Italian she can form more complex sentences down the road. I also found it helpful to use videos on youtube that have songs in Italian to educate her hearing. I plan to continue using this and create an exercise where she will listen to the words and pick out the words she understands. The words she did not understand I would make her look it up and then have her create a sentence with it, thus expanding her vocabulary.
    This is a good note for other tutors, don’t always assume that your student has taken a language before. Always ask them so you can understand at what level they are beginning. On these occasions one needs to be creative and concise on how to explain the rules and create a fun environment where they will feel motivated to work on the language even if they are just taking it for their requirement. Learning a language is a personal development and self-growth and as tutors we need to be there as patient mentors and motivators every step of the way.

  13. So far I have not seen too many students. However, when I have I have really enjoyed it. Perhaps my favorite this year was when a girl came in for pronunciation help. On a personal level, helping her with an assignment I had had a year or two ago kind of made me appreciate how far I had come with the language. I recommended that the student try certain online resources to keep working on her listening and pronunciation. The student said I really helped her and we ended up talking for a while after. She was a bit on the fence about applying for a Gaeltacht grant, so I tried to talk her into it and now I think she is definitely going to apply.

  14. So far my most memorable tutoring experiences have been with those tutees who are clearly not interested in the session– especially those who are only there because “it’s required.” Sometimes working with these students can be like pulling teeth; since they don’t come in with anything specific to work on, you have to just start asking them about tests, quizzes, papers, and eventually I sometimes have to resort to throwing out random grammatical concepts and asking if they understand them. If they say yes, I’ll say something to test this understanding; if they say no (or if they answer my question incorrectly) then that’s what we’ll work on for the remainder of the session.

  15. Most of the students that have come to me have been great. The one poor experience I had was only when a student came in because he had to. I worked with him to find some exercises to review and that seemed to work well. I have found that I have students who are very interested in my language learning process and that sharing my experiences with them helps them see an end goal to their language learning. I also really like pulling up Russian cartoons on youtube, which tends to liven up the tutoring session.

  16. I find that my experience with each tutee has been very unique. But I can think of one girl in particular that was so shy that she paused after every three words to see if I would correct her. Not to mention she was sort of flustered and seemed at the verge of tears. I don’t know why or how I can make anyone that nervous but I felt terrible. With students that are shy I usually ease into the full spanish conversation using simple sentences. When they speak I try to have positive body language by nodding and smiling when they are correct. This is one of the cases that I do not recommend explicit correction or even stopping to correct most errors. If I notice that they are struggling with gender of nouns I will stop and review the topic rather than stop them every time. Getting them comfortable with their peer is more important to me than correcting every single error.

  17. As an ISSLP student, I learned a lot of various different techniques and ways of approaching tutoring. The first aspect that I will takeaway is the different ways of giving corrective feedback. These include: explicit correction, recast, clarification request, metalingustic clues, elicitation, and repetition. These different ways give me the opportunity to have different approaches when evaluating/editing the work of a tutee. Each style can be used in different ways in situations so that the tutee can understand his or her mistake. The second thing I will take away is the various ways to incorporate basic language skills and vocabulary. These include journals, shopping lists, postcards and gap-filled postcards. These exercises give the tutee the ability to learn and reinforce the basic aspects of his/her language. This uses more creativity and is not as dry as just telling them corrections. The last thing I will take away from the program is just fostering a comfortable and stress free environment with the tutees. As we learned in our third session, students come to peer tutors because they did not want to approach their professor. As a result, our job is to foster a comfortable and learning environment. As a result, the tutee gets more out of the session and is more productive. I will try to be encouraging and foster a professional relationship.

  18. One main take away I got from the CSLC tutoring program is that language learning is most effective in a stress free environment, and I will work hard to make sure that everyone is comfortable and doesn’t feel pressured in the classroom. I will also try and make the learning as fun as possible to help everyone get comfortable. Since the World Cup will be going on this summer and the Bangladesh children love soccer, I will try to get some soccer related readings for them so that they could actually be interested in what they are learning. Second, I learned to try and get the students to do the work and try to not just give them all the answers when correcting their work. Third, I learned to focus on things that are slightly above the proficiency level of the students in the given language. Instead of trying to give the students an explanation to all the intricacies of the English language all at once, I will make sure that they have the basics well established and build up from there. For example, I will try and get readings from a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine in reference to soccer and the world cup to make sure the reading level is accessible to the students

  19. I have learned many techniques from the training program in providing an effective strategy for teaching English in Bangladesh. The three most useful techniques I will take away from the CSLC training are focus on primary goals before more in- depth secondary goals, have students keep journals about topics they find interesting, and provide the students with interesting materials to learn from. To begin, I will focus on the students’ communication skills (first order goals) before their grammar and style (second order goals). I plan to implement this in the classroom by only correcting sentences to simply convey a meaning before moving to correct grammar. However, when the students have mastered the communication aspect, then I will push to correct style and grammar in speech. In order to implement the next takeaway, journal writing, I will assign the students an assignment every week to write about anything they want in their journals. The freedom to let them choose the topic of their journal keeps them interested, while engaging many language skills. The final takeaway, provide the students with interesting materials to interact with, I hope to use local newspapers, sports (soccer and cricket), songs, and movies to engage the students in a relaxed environment. These mediums will allow me to keep them interested in learning English while improving their language skills.

  20. 1.) When dealing with unmotivated students try as hard as you can to get them to participate. Don’t just feed them the answers they are looking for, make sure that they are the ones creating the edits ad changes. When dealing with Highly motivated, intense students you should try to slow down them down. If they are as intense and motivated as they portray to be then they should know the rules of the language that they are learning. Therefore one of the biggest issues they face is that they will gloss over them because they are going so fast.
    2.)Some Arabic specific advice: Use the throat chart to teach pronunciation. It is a lot more helpful than you think. For first year students it is helpful to draw comparisons to English so that they don’t feel completely lost, however it is important going into second year and especially third year that the crutch of english is broken. Definitions should be from Arabic words they already know. Practice reading with the appropriate case endings as early as possible.

  21. As an ISSLP student, I am very excited to bring what I’ve learned in this peer tutoring program to the classroom in Ecuador. I have learned to focus much more on big concepts and sentence structures than on individual errors in grammar. I have also learned how best to reinforce what we’ve learned in a classroom. Rather than pressuring a student by pointing out their errors, I have learned how to subtly make a student aware of their error, or how to correct it so that it breaks the pattern of incorrect speak without discouraging the student from continuing to practice the language. I have also learned that students should constantly be pushed just slightly further than their current language level is. In this way they will always be learning. However, after learning a new sentence structure or verb tense, they should be given time to think about this sentence structure and reflect before being asked to employ it themselves.

  22. As an ISSLP student, here are three takeaways I’ve had from the program: One, communication ability is more important than grammatical accuracy, and it’s important to foster an environment where the student feels comfortable taking risks in speaking a foreign language in the classroom. Two, exposing the students to English as much as possible will be important – whether that means speaking in some English to them whenever I see them outside of class, or even showing English movies or songs. Just having them hear the language will be important to their learning. And three, I learned that there are ways to make students aware of an error besides saying, “no, that’s wrong.” I can help break patterns of mistakes by asking them questions or reshaping their response so that they can continue to practice the language with less of a break to their confidence.

  23. Give advice to a new tutor on dealing with with learners with different motivation levels 2) Give overall advice to new tutors based on your experience and training sessions

    1.) Peer tutoring role play sessions have reminded me that learners have very diverse learning styles and motivation levels. As a new tutor, it is important to note these differences and tailor the tutoring session accordingly. If the student lacks motivation, it is helpful to engage them in the tutoring session as much as possible. If a student is highly motivated, but just wants to to fix all of their errors, it is better to slow them down and draw their attention to systematic errors, but ultimately let them fix them. Some students have a high affective filter and if correctly constantly, will cease to speak. Students with low affective filters can be slowed down by asking them to repeat what they said or explain it to you. In all cases, it is crucial to establish a positive, encouraging environment that allows students to correct themselves rather than be given answers directly.
    2.) Based on my experiences, students have different language acquisition goals. I try to ask the student what his or her goals are at the beginning of each session and tailor the lesson to achieve their goals. Some want to work on fluency reading the lesson aloud, others writing, and some want practical conversational skills. I usually prepare various activities for my sessions that incorporate all of these elements. Finally, I advise future tutors not to be afraid to admit when they don’t know something. I enjoy directing my students to Chinese language websites to learn new words together and show that learning is an ongoing process.

  24. I have learned multiple helpful skills through the language program but there are three that stand out. Primarily I learned that it is best to aim the language development at a +1 level. Through doing this, you will encourage rather than frustrate the students because they see evidence of success, but at the same time give them motivation to continue their learning. The second thing I will take away from the program are the various methods of correcting a tutee and the different responses they usually elicit. I will work to try and use a variety of the responses until I can determine what styles work best to motivate different students. Thirdly, I learned that the most important thing a tutor can do is create a stress free environment where students feel comfortable, rather than judged, in making mistakes. I hope to carry this lesson to my summer experience and create a duel education system with the children so they know that I am learning as much as they are and our classroom is a safe space. Hopefully this will allow us to make more progress.

  25. Three takeaways I will use from the CSLC Tutor Training Program: 1) Assess the skill level of students and try to use language that is slightly above their level and pointing out words they may not know to add to their vocabulary 2) Help students to feel comfortable within the classroom. Give them opportunities to practice speaking even with each other so that they can use the grammar. 3) When it comes to essays try not to appropriate. Focus on the grammatical errors. When it comes to structure try not to diminish the originality of the essay.

  26. In traveling to Tanzania this summer, I plan to take several techniques and concepts into the classroom. Teaching entirely in English, the strategy of teaching at the level of the students “plus 1” becomes key. As I understand the situation, the first year students are all handled in one class while the rest of the students are swept together in their own class. This leaves an incredibly wide range of skill level and comprehension that must be taken into account; identifying the specific levels and challenging the students to stretch themselves a little will be essential. Additionally, the type of feedback given after mistakes is a crucial opportunity for growth in ability. Utilizing other forms of correction outside of explicit correction allows the students to make the connection and gain the most understanding. Lastly, the focus of making systematic corrections in grading writing as opposed to marking every mistake is not only efficient for both the student and teacher, it allows for the gradual building of language acquisition as the student builds structural foundations.

  27. After participating this training session, I have learned a lot of skills of being a perfect tutor. As a Chinese tutor, I will encourage my tutees to find problems by themselves instead of helping them to figure out everything. Some tutees may ask me to help them proofread their essay. I will not just do it by myself. I will let them hold a pencil to write down their problems and teach them how to correct these errors. Furthermore, using my language advantages, I will improve my tutees’ speaking skills by keep talking with them in Chinese. In general, I intend to give my tutees the best approach to learn a language, especially in learning Chinese.

  28. As an ISSLP student, I will be able to use the lessons from the CSLC peer tutor training program in my classroom in Honduras. One important lesson emphasized by the course was that communication is more important than grammatical perfection. It is better to focus on specific grammar points, and help students express their overall meaning, than to overwhelm students by correcting all of their errors at once. I also learned about diverse methods of tactfully correcting a student. Rather than simply telling a student they are wrong and providing them with the correct answer, it is more productive to lead them to the correct answer, which they will often be able to produce on their own. Thirdly, it is important to create an environment in which students feel comfortable and are not afraid to make mistakes. This can be facilitated by focusing on exercises which students enjoy, and allowing them to use the target language to express ideas which interest them.