Why should students learn to write well even if English isn't their focus, career, or major?
This is one of my favorite questions as a tutor, and I always have the same answer: writing matters because it is everywhere! More often than not, your writing precedes you; when you have to write an essay for an entrance exam, a college application, a scholarship, etc., your writing stands for you--and poor writing is a terrible first impression. I have helped my students with all steps in the writing process, from beginning to end, no draft required! And if none of these things concern you, don't forget about resumes, cover letters, emails between colleagues, and more. If a person writes well, they leave a good impression. However, it's not all about the grammar! This is a very common misconception. While correct grammar is important, the quality of the writing is much more so. Because I studied rhetoric and composition, I am highly aware of the influence of writing, and it is very, very powerful when done effectively. Let me help you read--and write--between the lines!
How do I help English as a Second Language student improve their studies of English?
While working at a community college, the English as a Second Language (ESL) students I worked with had the most varying backgrounds of all the students I tutored. They came from different countries with different stories to tell, and they were all in college for their own reasons. I have so much respect and admiration for ESL students because, believe me, I understand how difficult English is! When it comes to learning and practicing English, I try to find what works best for each person. Typically, I’ll start with the basic rules, the building blocks of English grammar, and then extend from there using more practical applications; I try to teach in a way that prevents students from sounding like a textbook, for not all English can be found between pages. In the past, I have used various forms of media to help ESL students practice along with reading and speaking, but I always try to tap into something they enjoy.
Why is it important to study English?
I have had a lot of students ask, “Why should I study English when I can’t use it anywhere else?” While I understand (and sometimes even agree) that English classes seem like they’re in a world of their own, the skills you learn in English are crucial to any other subject or career in which written communication is needed. Many people think of only literature when they think of English, but my focus is rhetoric and composition, so I see the English everywhere, not just in class.