In these posts, I want to share the stories of my past students and clients. I’m very proud of their accomplishments, and I think their successes reflect my skills as a teacher and coach. I hope these stories will paint a clearer picture of my goals for Artglish and how I can help others to succeed in reaching their dreams.
Who is this story about?
Today, I’d like to talk about a student named Tenya. Like many of my university graduate students, Tenya was a low-beginner-level English learner. (This means she was just learning to write good sentences when the semester began.) But unlike most of my students, Tenya was really driven to improve her writing skills.
I had weekly office hours for my students, but most of them only came if they had a question about the homework or had gotten something wrong on a test. Tenya was different. She was really focused on improving her writing and she would come every week to work on her proofreading skills.
What was the problem?
One could argue that the true problem is that English is a difficult language to learn because it is so complex and has so many crazy rules. 😄 But more specifically, the problem for Tenya was that she didn’t know what to look for when she checked her writing. After all, it’s difficult to see mistakes in your own writing objectively, even for a native speaker. She needed some guidance to help her learn the skill of proofreading more effectively.
How did I help?
Each week I gave Tenya feedback on her writing to help her learn the rules of English. I taught her to ask herself a series of questions to identify her mistakes. For example: “Do the subject and verb agree?” or “What tense is this story in?”
In the beginning, I used a highlighter to point out these mistakes for her. Once I called her attention to a problem, she could usually tell me what was wrong. In time, this became less necessary and I could just make general comments, like “You’re missing three articles.” At that point in the semester, she had learned enough to find most of her mistakes herself.
Even though proofreading is not a very glamorous skill to excel at, I was really proud of Tenya for her hard work. Being able to proofread effectively will greatly help anyone who wants to write more clearly. And if a low-beginner student can do it, anyone can. You just have to be as hard-working and motivated as Tenya.
I want to help you too!
If you are looking for this kind of help, I’m happy to work with you too! I’ve coached clients in many different areas of art and design who have trouble writing correctly in English. I can teach you strategies to help you succeed, and I’m happy to give you feedback on your writing to guide you along the way.
If you’d like to read my tips on how to become a better proofreader, you can download my free guide: How to proofread your English (A checklist for non-native speakers). It will help you to find your mistakes so your writing will look more professional!