CTLR offers peer tutoring to support students currently enrolled in foreign language courses.

Foreign language tutors may be available either in-person or remotely. We will do our best to meet tutor requests.

Chat with a CTLR Foreign Language Tutor and Tutee

CTLR language tutors Max Shulman-Litwin ‘22 (Russian) and Francesca Whitecross ‘23.5 (French) share about their tutoring sessions.

Hi, everyone. My name is Max Shulman-Litwin, and I am a Russian tutor here at the CTLR.

Hi, my name’s Francesca Whitecross, and I am a French tutor at the CTLR, but also a Russian tutee specifically Max’s tutee.

Yeah. Francesca and I have been working on Russian together for most of this semester, most of last semester also,

and through it we’ve really been able to form a friendship which is pretty beautiful.

I really love tutoring her. Hopefully she benefits from it.

Yeah, absolutely. So I am a person that gets kind of stressed out about being cold called. For some more background information

I’m a new Russian student. I just started this fall.

So for me, this is like a whole new experience about learning intensively a new language. Russian isn’t quite the easiest piece of cake here of

languages. And so I would always get very stressed out in class about being cold called.

And sometimes I felt like I wasn’t quite as on top of my Russian as my classmates were.

So I requested a tutor and I was very lucky to land with Max and he was super nice

since the very start, super patient and I have felt like super comfortable asking any questions I had.

Like he would be happy to re-explain the same concept like 16 times in a row if need be.

He was always very patient and I’m sure I butchered a bunch of things that were probably horrifying for him to hear.

But he was happy to, you know, gently correct me and make sure that I was doing the very best I could, which was really nice.

And that’s just one of the many benefits, I think, about being tutored.

Not only do you have this really great relationship with someone where you can really, like,

feel comfortable with them and feel like not afraid to make as many mistakes as you need to be making so that when you actually get to class,

you feel a lot more confident. Also, from my experience with Max, he’s provided some different resources.

So I get access to things that are not quite in my textbook. Also because Max is also a Russian

student himself at 700 level, you know, no flex. So he’s really good at Russian.

And since he has the experience of learning the Russian language,

he’s been really helpful in understanding when I’m struggling with and providing really helpful tips to overcome any difficulty.

I was really struggling at the beginning of the last semester with cases and remembering like which cases were for which use.

And we made a lot of charts together. And frankly, that was super helpful.

I obviously could have done that in class.

But having that repetition with him and having as much time as I need to do it and not feeling stressed or rushed was very helpful.

So yeah. Yeah, definitely.

And a lot of the time we work on, you know, maybe correcting a test that she got back.

Francesca, ever has any question specifically about what she’s been going over in class.

Then we often spend a lot of time on that. But I think it’s also really important to recognize that with tutoring, it doesn’t always have to be that.

You know, at the beginning of each session, we usually just chat a little bit in Russian about how our lives are.

And it’s really, really nice to have that kind of classmate relationship with someone, you know,

because maybe with a professor, if you go to see them in the office hours or after class,

there’s a big intimidation factor. You don’t want to be afraid of messing up.

But with peer tutoring such as at the CTLR

you really know that you’re both coming from the same perspective

And, you know, the last thing that I want to say is

a foreign language because you have a shared understanding of the challenges.

So I know exactly how

best to explain Russian grammatical concepts to someone whose native language is English, because that’s exactly the process that I had to go through.

And there’s a lot of native speakers that are tutors at the CTLR also.

So lots of different options.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Starting the second week of the semester, students who are interested in working with a language tutor can request a tutor using this form. We will put you in touch with a tutor via email, you can then arrange one or more tutoring sessions. If a student wishes to work with a particular tutor, that request may be accommodated, depending on the number of referrals that tutor has already received.

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Foreign language tutors can help students with a variety of assignments and learning goals related to a language course that they are currently taking.

Language tutors do the following:

  • Explain concepts that students have difficulty understanding.
  • Use alternate methods and examples to explain content and help students understand
  • Help students identify patterns in their speaking and writing
  • Share successful study strategies based on experience and training.
  • Believe a student’s work should reflect his or her own ability-not that of the tutor.
  • Give positive reinforcement and help students become more confident in their own abilities.
  • Keep careful records of each student-tutor contact.
  • Respect privacy of the client as related to the tutoring session(s).
  • Help students become more independent as they go along

Language tutors do not do the following:

  • Do assignments for students
  • Simply “edit” a student’s work (vs. helping them to see areas of improvement)
  • Assist in take-home exams.
  • Grade assignments or discuss assigned grades.
  • Attempt to judge the acceptability of work from the instructor’s point of view.
  • Comment on an instructor’s grading policy, teaching style, or personality.
  • Discuss a client’s achievements or abilities with other students.

Students usually meet with tutors for a maximum of 1.5 hours each session.  Some students meet regularly with a tutor—once a week or every other week.

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  • Set specific goals ahead of time: The more explicit you are about what you’d like to  work on with a tutor, the more that tutor can help you toward meeting those goals.  A goal could be to work on a particular assignment or project, to review and clarify grammar or other language points from class, to prepare for a test or presentation, etc.
  • Inform your tutor about your needs and experiences: If possible, communicate ahead of time with the tutor, so s/he can prepare for the session. You may even wish to send ahead a description of the assignment, and even a draft, if appropriate.
  • Be aware of what tutors can and can’t do: The goal of tutoring is to facilitate long-term learning and independence. This means, for example, that a tutor will not ‘line edit’ your work—i.e. correct all errors. Rather, the tutor will help you identify most important errors, and to learn the rules and patterns that will allow you to correct and prevent those errors on your own. 
  • Share with us about your experience: Near the end of the semester, you will be sent a link to an anonymous survey, where you can provide feedback about your tutoring experience.  At any point, though, you can share your thoughts with Diane DeBella, the language tutoring coordinator, at ddebella@middlebury.edu.
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Students become language tutors via faculty referral, usually near the beginning of the semester. Students who wish to become tutors should fill out this form. You may contact the CTLR to find out whether there is any need for new tutors and to learn the name of the faculty liaison(s) for that particular department. Once students are selected as tutors, they are required to attend a paid paperwork/training meeting before they can begin working.

NOTE: We are currently recruiting new tutors for the 2021-2022 academic year. Contact Diane DeBella at ddebella@middlebury.edu for more information.

Benefits of Being a CTLR Foreign Language Tutor

Max and Francesca talk about their experience being tutors.

Hi everyone, it’s Max again. And I just wanted to talk a little bit about why it’s a great thing to be a tutor at the CTLR.

You know, I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time being a tutor at the CTLR.

It is so great for meeting new people.

And it’s truly gratifying to help someone out and to hear that they got a better grade or something because of your help.

And I’m sure Francesca can attest to how amazing it can be to meet new people at the CTLR.

There’s a lot of benefits of being a tutor, you know. Of course, it’s well-known that teaching something really,

really helps you bring your knowledge to another level and solidify the information that’s in your head.

So, you know, maybe the first couple of years you’re learning a new foreign language.

You really, really struggle to to make forms fluently.

But at a certain point, you really normalize it in your head.

And you don’t even have to think of things analytically anymore.

It kind of just flows. And that’s a really, really good point to get at with your language learning.

But then teaching and tutoring that knowledge to another person is a whole other step because, you know, after it’s normalized,

you kind of forget the exact rules, you know, but then trying to explain to someone who doesn’t

know those exact rules and really getting that knowledge in your head, can really, really be helpful and just solidify the knowledge.

In addition to the fact that it reinforces past knowledge, it really helps you become more confident. The process of thinking

of how to explain something in clear terms to someone who, you know, maybe is at a lower level than you is just a really, really,

really good thought exercise that helps you to become a better language learner overall.

So many reasons to become a tutor. Yeah, absolutely,

I am also a French tutor, so I have the double experience of being a tutee and a tutor and I am native French so a bit of a different spiel than Max,

but I really love teaching French and I love being able to talk about my culture and talk about just how much fun it can be to learn French

even with all the difficult grammar and conjugations,

and I find it super satisfying to see people improve over time and see them become more and more confident as they speak the language.

And you feel like you personally accomplished something, even if it’s something really minor, like,

wow, like I really I helped that person become better and they may not notice it, but I notice it.

And that’s that’s a really great feeling. So, yeah.

Share your experience with us!

Near the end of the semester you will be sent a link to an anonymous survey, where you can provide feedback about your tutoring experience.

At any point, though, you can share your thoughts with Diane DeBella at ddebella@middlebury.edu.

 

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ctlr@middlebury.edu
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