Hi, Im Owen, a career teacher (26 years in the classroom) and long-time (10 years) personal tutor.
Language learning and effective communication are my specialties.
From beginning language classes to AP English to IB Spanish to Advanced ESL to writing college application essays, I will be able to help you increase and deepen your understanding of language learning and effective communication.
During every session you should expect to:
smile (and maybe laugh). Dad jokes are my go-to humor.
see connections between what you already know and what were working on together.
understand the lessons concepts at a much deeper level of comprehension (you can relax--I know how to help you master every lesson).
be better prepared for upcoming homework and assignments.
be completely prepared for upcoming assessments.
see the time fly--my clients are consistently pleased by how much we can cover and by how fast the time goes by.
Learn, laugh, and grow as you improve your language. Ill be there to help as much as you need.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Kansas - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: University of Kansas - Masters, TESOL
Physical fitness; reading; traveling; leaving the world a better place.
College Application Essays
High School English
IB Language B
IB Language B SL
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first session will help us get to know and trust one another. We'll learn about backgrounds and goals. We'll share past successes and challenges. And we'll begin to build a confidence in each other that will encourage progress.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
"If you don't like to read, you haven't found the right book" J.K. Rowling My job as an instructor is help clients find the right book, the right focus. That might be tweaking an application question to make it completely resonate with the writer. It might be finding a song or singer that is literally music to your ears. It might be finding the genre keeps you awake reading late into the night. It might be finding the current event that inspires your passion. We all have an independent path that calls to us--and I'm eager to help you discover the way that beckons.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Yes, you can. Or better -- yes we can, working together. Learning is made up of baby steps; lots of baby steps. And practice. Lots of practice. Guided, hand-held practice. And tentative, balancing on your own two feet practice. And running. I've spent my professional life helping students and adults progress from tricycle and training-wheel beginners to independent riders (and readers, and writers, and thinkers). We'll start wherever you are, and we'll practice--with as much support as you need-- to move you toward where you need to be. And yes you can. You can learn what you need to learn.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Language learning is all about comprehensible input and focused practice. During sessions, I practice on specific skills (orally and in writing). Outside of sessions, I can recommend several sites for additional practice.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
"Everybody's a reader; some just haven't found the right book." The absolute best way to help students who struggle with reading comprehension is to help them find the right material--material that they want to read. Motivated readers are improving readers. So, I help students find what moves them--from recipes, to box scores, to poetry, to dinosaurs. Once we find your interest, we can work on the specific struggles you face as a reader.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Developing a sense of trust and calmness is my first step with a client. You need to trust that I can help you, that I understand your struggles, that I want to help you succeed. So, we will get to know each other. We will smile together. We will laugh. And we will work hard together, with a common goal of growth and success.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to show students the connections between the subject they're studying and the rest of the world. No subject exists in a vacuum, and I can help a student see the connections between what they're studying and their life/world.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I have years of experience helping students grow in their language learning. I will engage you in focused conversation to ensure that you understand the material. We will question and answer, we will practice, and we will engage in real-world conversation as you master the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence in language is built one step at a time. I have years of experience nudging students forward in their language learning, coaxing, cajoling, joking, smiling, and laughing. We practice enough to build confidence. Then we build on that confidence and move to real world usage.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
After spending years teaching and interacting with second-language learners, I can immediately assess a client's language level with a simple introductory conversation. Over time I can assess specific strengths and weaknesses through continued conversation, completed classwork, and student questions.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My tutoring is focused on student learning, not on the teacher. So, I have many tricks in my teaching bag. I can work on oral language skills. I can offer listening skills. I have resources (and can create) written and reading resources. My focus is on helping the student learn by whatever means work best for the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For students, I prefer to use their classroom assignments and materials. For adult learners, I have a plethora of online resources (including current events) that I utilize. The best answer, though, is: I will use whatever materials work best for the student.