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tutor spanish for heritage speakers: cristina camacho

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tutor spanish for heritage speakers: cristina camacho

Dear tutor,

Congratulations on obtaining your position as a Spanish for Heritage Speakers Tutor! Out of all the students, the professors chose you because you demonstrated impressive work, and leadership skills. Have confidence in yourself and be patient, even when students give you a difficult time.

In your education course, you will be introduced to a variety of strategies and methods that will help you facilitate your tutoring sessions. Although many of the strategies could potentially be efficient, be prepared to modify most of them. Some of them may be difficult to apply to the way we run our sessions, therefore more than often you will have to change them a bit.

A strategy that I found very useful was the quick write. I began my sessions with this approach to help my students collect their thoughts before having to discuss the weekly readings. The quick write not only allows the students to organize their ideas, but it also provides some time for the students to practice their writing in Spanish. I collected their work at the end of the session, corrected it, and proceeded to discuss with them the mistakes that I found in their writing on the following week. If you use this method, slowly your students will begin to feel more comfortable with their writing and after helping them fix their errors, their work will improve. It would be great to start this strategy since the beginning of the year in order give your students as much practice as possible.

Always have you students think more critically about the readings. Do not let them give simple yes or no answers, have them expand and elaborate their opinions. Constantly ask them “why” or “why not.” This will help them to better analyze the readings and provide them with the opportunity to form concrete arguments. You want to them to speak as much as they possibly can. The point of tutoring is for students to practice their Spanish in an academic environment and slowly they will begin to improve and feel more confident. Keep asking questions and compliment them often.

It would also be a great idea to have your students go up to the board. Have them be active during the session. Whether it is conjugations, accentuation, or sentence structuring, have them take turns going up to the board to write their answers. You will learn that students could be auditory, visual, or kinetic learners. Sometimes there is not enough time in the sessions to identify how it is that your students learn best, so just provide different activities that could benefit all of your students.

I wish you the best of luck this year! Remember that you will make a few mistakes, but overall you will do great. Guide your students to think more critically, avoid giving them the answers. And always remember that all the readings are about interpretation. Everyone will have different views about the readings; remember to continuously reassure them that their opinions are valid as long as they could support their arguments. Good luck and have fun!


Cristina Camacho

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