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Tutor profile: Alicia L.

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Alicia L.
Spanish tutor and teacher with four years experience
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Questions

Subject: Spanish

TutorMe
Question:

What is the difference between preterite and imperfect tense?

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Alicia L.
Answer:

Preterite tense in Spanish is used for one-time, singular actions in the past. Preterite tends to be used for listing sequences of actions, or for describing what happened in a specific event. Por ejemplo: Yo fui al supermercado, compré una ensalada, y volví a casa. Imperfect tense is used for ongoing or habitual actions in the past, as well as for expressing age, and describing places or weather in the past tense. Por ejemplo: Cuando tenía 15 años, trabajaba en un supermercado, y todos los días compraba una ensalda antes de volver a casa.

Subject: Literature

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Question:

What is the purpose of the monster in Gothic literature and how does it compare to the purpose of the ghost or specter?

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Alicia L.
Answer:

In works such as "Frankenstein," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" among many other Gothic classics, the work centers around a monster, which created in the reader as sense of repulsion or fear while at the same time a sense of excitement that draws the reader into the story. This attraction-repulsion component does not just entertain the reader, it offers a commentary about society itself. Oftentimes the monster represents the "Other", meaning a figure that falls outside of society's norms and expectations. The monster's physique is exaggerated depending on what category of otherness they are representing. The monster may also offer a moral critique about the dangers of scientific experimentation and the human ego, as is the case both in Frankenstein and in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this case, the monster is a warning about society's moral decay. The ghost or the specter, however, serves a different purpose. The ghost emanates from the past, and although time itself has moved on, the ghost retains its ability to impact the present. Many times the ghost can also represent a marginalized or silent figure that has experienced either injustice or trauma that prevents them from being at peace. The ghost becomes a vehicle through which the marginalized person can express the injustice of their experience. Many times this can also be a social critique, such as the grandmother ghost in "Like Water for Chocolate" who represents the silencing of indigenous women.

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

What is the importance of content-based teaching for students learning English as a second language? What is a strategy for content-based lesson planning?

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Alicia L.
Answer:

Content-based learning is essential in any language classroom, but especially for ESL students. Content-based learning involves working with actual authentic content in the target language, rather than rote memorization of vocabulary and grammar. This doesn't mean there is no target vocabulary or grammar structures, rather they are presented and reinforced through the use of content. This helps students internalize the material and also provides an authentic cultural context that the words and grammar would be used, making it easier for them to reproduce the material in a more fluent way. One strategy for content-based lesson planning is ECRIF, which starts with the "Encounter" stage in which the target vocabulary or grammar is presented to the student using images or video, and clear, concise examples. Then there is a "Comprehension" stage to ensure students understand the material presented, followed by a "Remember" stage during which students start to reproduce the material, but still with structural support from the instructor. The following stage is "Internalize" which is when students not only remember, but understand and learn the target material, and lastly, "Fluent Use" is the final stage, during which students can use the material without relying on support from the instructor. The goal for any content-based lesson will always be the ability of students to fluently use the target grammar and vocabulary.

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