It's wonderful to meet you!
A little about me:
Hello everyone! My name is Tracy. I was born and raised in the US in Missouri on a farm. Missouri is not a famous state; we don’t have many cities here. But it’s a very beautiful place with lots of rural places, and it’s almost always green. Some of my hobbies are reading, playing video games, writing, studying languages, gardening, and crocheting. I also bake and cook a lot.
Education, Qualifications and Experience:
I specialized in Linguistics in college, with a minor in Anthropology. I studied the way languages work, how the mind works when studying languages and the acquisition of language (how we learn languages.) I began my tutoring career during college, when I tutored underclassmen who were studying Japanese. After I graduated, I lived and worked in Japan for a year teaching English. I taught at an Eikaiwa school every day and twice a week at public schools, to middle school and high school students. I have taught students from young children (4-5) up to retired adults (in their 70's and 80's). I now teach in the US, online only. I have been teaching on Cafetalk since 2014.
My Teaching Style:
I am a very friendly and open teacher. I try my best to make my students feel comfortable and confident; if you are shy or nervous, I will help you get over that so you can enjoy studying English! I encourage students to ask questions (never apologize for asking a question!). I believe that we can’t learn completely without asking questions.
All of my lessons (excluding non-skype lessons) will include listening and speaking practice, since these are the most important skills for using any language. I know this is also the area that most Japanese students have the most trouble practicing. However, I also have lessons that will help students improve their vocabulary (from basic casual, to business and academic (school), to idioms and expressions), reading, writing, and grammar.
I also have a lesson about wild mustangs. (Or you can just ask to talk about horses in general!) You can also take my crochet lesson if you want to learn how to crochet, from beginner to advanced level.
If you have something else you want to study (such as dictation, job interview practice, giving a presentation in English, or even just that you have a bunch of specialized questions), I also have a Make Your Own Lesson that students can customize to fit their needs.
*Please note that if you are taking a lesson for the first time with me, no matter what lesson it is, I will always do a self-introduction to discuss your English level and goals so that I can understand and help you to the best of my ability.
*During lessons, I also encourage students to have a drink! We will talk a lot during every lessons, so it's good to have a drink to keep your voice from getting tired.
Please come and have fun learning new things with me!
Students Frequently Asked Question:
Q: What do you suggest I do to improve my English?
A: There are a couple of things to keep in mind as an adult studying a foreign language.
First of all, you have to remember that in order to improve, you have to practice! Many people are embarrassed to speak their foreign language to native speakers; they’re afraid they will make mistakes or be laughed at. But you’ll never improve if you don’t speak. For lessons, never feel afraid to speak. I’ll never judge you, laugh at you or think you’re stupid for making mistakes. I will correct you, encourage you and do anything I can to make you understand that everyone makes mistakes (even native speakers!) and that language is about communication. You don’t have to speak perfectly to express your ideas, and that’s the goal for our lessons; to get you to be able to fluently express your ideas, no matter if that’s at a business conference, a job interview or just chatting with a shopkeeper when you are buying souvenirs.
The second thing to keep in mind is that in order to improve, you must study. We all get busy, so sometimes it’s hard to study every day. But it’s very important for improvement. I often tell my students: if you want to maintain your English level at your current level, you don’t have to study every day. A couple of times a week is fine. However, if you want to improve, studying every day is required.
If you are a beginner or you have been studying English off and on throughout the years, keep these ideas in mind:
1) Study every day . 10-20 minutes a day is fine if that’s all you have time for. Try not to study for more than 1 hour at a time. Take breaks. Listen to a podcast if that’s all you have time for. (Hapa Eikaiwa is a good English language podcast to listen to for studying!) Study this way for at least 3 months and you will see improvements in your English (or any other language that you are studying.)
2) We like to take days off, but if you are struggling to learn a language, taking a break is only going to set you back. Study every day even if it's just for 10 minutes!
3) Don’t make studying a chore! Change the things you do every day so that you have variety in your studies. You should study grammar at least once per week. Because grammar study can be boring to many people, study grammar on the day when you have the most free time. But on the other days, do things that are interesting to you: listen to a podcast one day, talk to a tutor the next, read a children’s story or a book the next, write a letter to a pen pal the next (it can be an imaginary pen pal if you don’t have one!). Keep it interesting and you’ll be more likely to want to study.
4) If you can, have a goal for studying. For many students, motivation helps keep us on track. Having a goal can push you to study. If you need help, ask a teacher to set goals or give you homework to keep you on track. (If this motivates you, make sure to ask me! I am happy to set goals for you or give you homework.)
If you are an intermediate or advanced student wanting to improve your language, keep these ideas in mind:
1) Unlike a beginner, you need to study more each time. Aim for at least 30 minutes every day, but an hour is better. Try not to study for more than an hour at a time though. Taking breaks is important.
2) Taking a day off won’t be as harmful as it is to a beginner, but it can still set you back in learning. If you can, study every day. Even just reviewing what you learned the day before can count as studying if you don’t have time to dedicate to sitting down and studying new material.
3) The same as a beginner, find ways to make studying fun. But it’s more important for intermediate and advanced learners to have variety in their studies. Studying multiple areas will help improve your foreign language skills better and faster. Follow some of the suggestions above (For beginners, number 3) to add variety to your studies.
Q: What are some things I can do to study on my own?
A: There are plenty of things you can do to study on your own! You can even practice speaking on your own.
My favorite self-study exercises are:
- reading books or short articles
- studying grammar or vocabulary from a book
- listening to music
- watching tv shows
- talking to myself! (It sounds funny but this is great practice. Have a conversation with another imaginary person about anything you want. What questions might they ask you? How would you like to respond? This is a great way not only to practice exercising your mouth and hearing the language (from your own mouth) but it also can help you realize what vocabulary words you need to learn.)
*Just remember that when you are studying alone, you cannot correct yourself because you may not realize you've made a mistake. Make sure to have at least one teacher that you take lessons with regularly to help fix mistakes and to push you to learn more.
The most important thing to remember when studying anything: Have fun!
~Happy studying everyone!~