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Birgitte J.
IB Teacher of ToK, EE Supervisor and Language and Literature HL/SL Teacher & Examiner. Holds Masters Degree in Educational Technology with 12+ Years of Teaching Experience
Educations
MA in Educational Technology, Michigan State University 2012 , Overseas Program (Dublin, Ireland and Rouen, France)
BFA in Screenwriting & Film Production, Tisch School of the Arts 1996, New York University - Winner: Wallace Goebetz Prize (highest GPA)

Bio

I have taught IB English Language and Literature SL and HL since its inception, and I am an IB Examiner. I have also taught ToK for a decade, and I am an EE Supervisor. I am also an expert on research writing (APA and MLA format) and the Common App college essay, for which I have great insider information from prominent admissions directors.

Teaching Experience

**IB English Language and Literature Tutor at self-employed ** 2020-2021

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School

IB English Language and Literature SL/HL 2017 – 2020

Teach an array of approaches to literary analysis based on the assumption that literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations, and experiences of the world.

IB Theory of Knowledge 2017 – 2020

Teach an Epistemology course at the core of the IB Curriculum

EF International Academy 2009 – 2016**

IB English Language and Literature SL/HL

Teach a variety of approaches to literary analysis

English College Writing Teacher and IB Norwegian Literature (HL)

Teach 12th-grade college-level writing course in various types of writing such as the argumentative paper, journals, portfolios, and the research paper.

IGCSE English First Language, ESL, and IB English B Higher Level and IB Theory of Knowledge

Teach English writing, literature, grammar, and essay structure from 9th to 11th grade.

IB Theory of Knowledge

An epistemology course
IB Theory of Knowledge
Teach an Epistemology course addressing the nature of knowledge at the core of the IB Diploma Programme

IB Extended Essay Coordinator

Supervise and guide 35 teachers and 400 students through the extended essay, achieving a 99% pass rate among graduating seniors
Implemented ManageBAC to track multiple courses; use of software vastly improved communication between teachers and students.
Lead teacher-training series on Extended Essay requirements and college-level research paper development; trained students to write a college-level research paper, including research question development, MLA and APA formats, citations, and bibliography footnotes, and table of contents.

Technology Committee Chair

Guided teachers in the use of software, selection of Learning Management System and tablet program
Implement teaching strategies using a mixture of technologies

What is your teaching philosophy?

In teaching, I use a lot of differentiated strategies. Still, in tutoring 1-1, I want to instill confidence in my students through teaching simple and easy-to-remember reading and writing strategies. My students’ goal is to acquire the skills needed to do this work on their own in preparation for the final IB assessments.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Reading: Most of my students share a text or assignment they need help with ahead of the lesson. I will show specific and easy to remember approaches to language and visual analysis depending on the assignment. I will ask guiding questions about identifying the text type characteristics, interpreting the language used in the text, the parts of a story, or the incorporation of images. I will share specific techniques that will help the student recognize specific word choices, common structures, and visual elements to become critical readers.

Writing: My students share with me their writing and presentation assignments, and I work with them on structuring responses to an argumentative essay, a comparative essay, a research essay, or a single paragraph response about a theme or topic. I can also review and model the formal aspects of their writing, such as MLA and APA citation.

Proofreading: Sometimes, all you need is a review before you submit your work. I can suggest edits for grammar, spelling, citation (APA, MLA, and Chicago), formatting, paragraph structure, organization, and ideas progression.

ToK: Most of my ToK students work with me on the ToK Assessments, the Presentation (last examination 2021 cohort), the Exhibit (2022 cohort), or the ToK Essay. We will discuss the assessment and key concepts to include.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I will be reading that can be applied to any text, and I will share these strategies and supporting documents when I meet a student. We will apply the techniques I will share with the texts my students are reading in class during a lesson.

I will teach writing strategies such as outlining, sentence construction, paragraph, and essay structure.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I have a positive attitude, and I meet my students where they are at. I make a point of pointing out what has been done well, in addition to suggestions for changes or improvements. In a 1-1 lesson, my students are focused because they are working on graded assignments for their classes. To keep a classroom motivated, however, I have a bag of tricks.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

It depends. I like repeating the same analysis techniques with different types of text to practice skills. I use acronyms to remember what to comment on in a text; I teach strategies for recognizing literary devices in a text, applying those strategies to different text types.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I like repeating the same analysis techniques with different types of text to practice skills. I use acronyms to remember what to comment on in a text. I teach strategies for recognizing literary devices in a text, applying those strategies to different text types for practice. If there is a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or ADHD, I try to supplement with audio, and we review the texts together. I ask lots of guiding questions to maintain engagement.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I like to be very prepared. Most of my students are looking for help with specific reading, writing, or ToK assignments in tutoring. I am very familiar with the IB Assessments, and the homework teachers give for these classes is building towards an IB assessment. Often I ask my students to share their assignments and texts with me ahead of the lesson to prepare to help, and we’ll make the most efficient use of our time together. If I have to read and comment on an essay or a text, I may charge a fee to prepare for the lesson, but I will always clear that with the student first. When I have a regular student, I ask them to share their syllabus and/or assessment calendar with me to keep abreast of what the student will need to know going forward.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling with?

I keep a light and friendly tone, and most of the students I encounter seek help because they are either lacking confidence in the subject or realize they need a little help to improve their scores. I have not had issues with disengaged students in tutoring because the 1-1 format is more of a conversation than a formal lesson. I also ask a lot of guiding questions to arrive at an answer, rather than me giving it to them.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I’ll ask guiding questions; I’ll repeat acronyms to remember the relevant parts of a text, I’ll provide templates for outlines, paragraphs, introductions, and conclusions. I’ll reference recently taught concepts so that we practice those concepts with different texts and assignments. Practice and repetition are key to internalizing concepts and skills.

How do you build a student’s confidence in a subject?

There is always something that the student has done well, and I make sure to let them know what they did well before I discuss suggestions for how to improve reading or writing skills. We practice the same reading and writing skills using different types of texts and assignments throughout, and the result is the student can apply those skills to any text or assignment.

How do you evaluate a student’s needs?

I ask what the student feels they need help with. I ask questions about the text to ascertain their critical reading skills, and when reading a student’s work, I look for patterns in their language so that we can focus on the things that need improvement.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student’s needs?

That is a difficult question because it really depends on the student. Most students respond well to praise and encouragement. Beyond that, it really depends on how the student responds to my instruction. Some students need more structure, and some need less. I make a point of getting to know my students, and I pay attention to reading and writing patterns to provide help where it is most needed.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

For 1-1 tutoring, I like working with Google Docs or software that gives us live editing capabilities. Screen-sharing is key because tutoring is really and continuous exchange between my students and myself. Usually, we are working on a text or essay assignment simultaneously. For groups, I like to use games such as Kahoot or Socrative for memorizing concepts, literary devices, remembering text types, etc.

Teaching Skills

Subject Skill Level
English
DP
Essay
DP
Extended Essay ​(EE)
DP
Film HL
DP
Film SL
DP
Language A: Literature And Language HL
DP
Language A: Literature And Language SL
DP
Language A: Literature HL
DP
Language A: Literature SL
DP
Language B HL
DP
Language B SL
DP
Literature And Performance SL
DP
Theory of Knowledge​ (TOK)
DP
Dedicated and compassionate tutor with 12 years of progressive experience in a multicultural all-inclusive education setting. The goal is for you to gain confidence in your reading and writing strategies so that you will be prepared for the IB Exams.
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