Partner Highlight: A-List Education
We spoke with Mary Bridges, A-List Education’s Director of Partnership Operations and Success. She gave us some amazing insight into A-List’s work with their partners; please note that A-List also offers tutoring in a one-on-one setting with tutors that get the same type of training with the same kind of flexibility in lessons.
1. Can you introduce A-List Education?
A-List is an education company focusing on test prep and college access. We work with students and families of all circumstances through online and in-person private tutoring as well as A-List instructor-led classrooms in schools, non-profits, and community-based organizations. I work with our Partners, Program Managers, and Educators making sure that our classes are efficient, entertaining, and successful.
2. What is your tutors’ selection and training process?
Our tutors are selected after a rigorous application process including phone interviews, a full-length SAT practice test, and a live demonstration where the Institutional staff members role-play by invoking the spirits of the students we serve. It’s a lot of fun, and it keeps the teachers on their toes from the start! Once an educator is hired, they undergo extensive training in content, strategies, and classroom management with some teaching philosophies peppered in along the way. They are asked to complete demos each week, and just like our students, they are assigned homework to complete after most lessons.
3. How are the classes structured? Do you use specific materials?
Our classes are structured for maximum student engagement and teacher freedom to tailor the lessons specifically for each class. We have lesson plans and a general guideline to follow for the entire course, but teachers are encouraged to linger or skip material depending on each class’s strengths and weaknesses. We have our own Book of Knowledge that each student receives, either in physical form or an ebook for our online classes. The Book of Knowledge comes complete with entertaining explanations, examples, and drills. Our teachers also have slides available to them so students have multiple visuals for each topic. We also provide three full length practice tests, with teacher review, to measure student improvement throughout the course.
4. How did you adapt to the pandemic-related challenges?
The pandemic caught our attention early on, and we rallied together as a team to create effective classes in the new normal. We provided our teachers with ongoing training on efficient management and engagement techniques for online sessions, implemented full courses through our Canvas LMS, and merged with Testive to provide our students with an online testing platform.
5. How did A-List evolve with the pandemic constraints? Are there any lessons learned?
I think we learned a lot - mostly how we can move mountains when we work as a team. A-List has a shared goal amongst its employees: serving our students with maximum effort to set them up for success. We listened to the NYC DOE about student safety, moved our materials online for easier access, and increased our communication with students, parents, and admins providing extra support and availability to answer questions by staying informed.
6. How do you engage your students and keep them motivated?
Part of what makes A-List classes special are the Program Managers - they are an
additional level of support for not only our teachers, but also the students and for our partners in schools, nonprofits, and community-based organizations. The Program Managers are part of a highly caring, hard working team who are protective over their students and strive to ensure all-around success. The Program Managers and the teachers work together to hold students accountable and provide a lively, encouraging environment.
7. How do you ensure that students are getting the same level of support and practice from the online classes compared to in-person classes?
We fused the efforts of our US and UK team to set up our Canvas courses and eBook online so that students have access to the same materials they would in an in-person classroom. We provided ongoing, collaborative training for our teachers to help them provide a light, easy to attend classroom. Our Program Managers also visit each class more frequently to provide support, levity, and accountability.
8. How do you help your students with pre-exam anxiety?
Communication! We let students know that standardized tests are a fact of college
admissions and they play an important role; however, they are not the only factor in the admissions process. We also remind students that they can always take the test multiple times to try and relieve some pressure from them. I like to remind students of the effort they’ve put in throughout the course and their high school careers.
9. Do you include parents in the learning process of the students? If so, in which way?
That is actually one of our new initiatives this year! Historically, parents were brought in only if our Partners requested it. But while we are in a season of change, we feel there are only benefits to providing information and support for the parents of our students as well through frequent communication and potential workshops and online seminars.
10. What are the 5 words that best describe A-List Education?
Student-centered, Dedicated, Compassionate, Thorough, High-achieving
11. What lies ahead for A-List Education?
We’re looking forward to warmer weather and reconnecting with our students in-person again soon!
Bonus question for an A-List educator: What are three words you would use to describe A-List, and why?
1. Human: I was trying to distill the ideas of Programs and the new philanthropic tutoring initiatives to one word. A-list’s biggest strength, to me, is that it never feels like a machine, like so many other tutoring companies. No one is a cog, and students get an experience that is unique based on who they have as a tutor.
2. Scrappy: ...which is again the human element. A-List works hard to drum up new work, build relationships, and keep relationships. There’s never an expectation that the work will just be there.
3. Goofy: So many A-list tutors I know aren’t afraid to look a little odd to either endear ourselves to our students or make a particular point more memorable. We bring the energy, whether the kids like it or not haha.
For more information about A-List Education and all of its services, spanning test prep, academic tutoring, professional development, and homeschooling, please visit alisteducation.com.
Through the depths of high school classes, comes the decision to take an elective. Besides more job opportunities or a chance to travel outside the country, you will be embarking on the long journey that involves learning a language. My days at my high school French class required both stamina and the discipline of my other classes. However, I loved every moment from listening to the music of Edith Piaf to stumbling on my less than perfect French pronunciation. My experience has also equipped me with techniques on how to not only make learning a language easier, but also enjoyable. If you’re looking for some guidance, here are my tips on learning a second language.
Choose A Language Of Your Interest
Is there a language you are drawn to? Maybe you always had a love of Spanish music. Or perhaps you always liked reading manga. If you’re studying a language, you want to have an inkling on interest. You are investing a lot of your time as it is, so why not immerse yourself into the language of your choosing. It is beyond learning how to communicate; you are also diving into the culture.
Study Outside the Classroom
Although your teachers will instruct you to practice through homework, there is much more to it. If you would like to truly master the language, make it a priority to set aside practice. This can involve making flashcards to review on your commute, listening to audio recording of said language, etc. You want to make sure that you are incorporating exposure to either listening, speaking, or writing the language throughout the day.
Set Goals You Want Achieve
What do would you like to take away from the class/lesson? If you are a beginner, this may become clearer once you become familiar with language. Furthermore, as you advance there will specific goals you would like to achieve. Some of these could include better communication with family and/or friends, traveling to another country, or better opportunities in your desired job field. Once you become more fluent, the more motivation you’ll gain to achieve these goals.
Buy A Pocket Dictionary
I strongly recommend this step. Why? Lessons and/or classes will expose as much vocabulary as they can to you. But they can’t cover every word. There will be a time where you wish you knew a specific term for a topic or conversation in mind. Yes, we live in a time where Google exists. Nevertheless, the pocket dictionary will be 100% accurate without the worry of misinformation. (Plus, you can use it class).
Pick Up Conversation With Others
At first, this can intimidating. In my experience, I was shy about practicing my Italian in front of family members. Regardless, it is important to practice your conversational skills. It was not until I decided to assist Italian customers at my retail jobs and enforce me to use the language outside the classroom. This truly tested whether I can communicate in a foreign language. You might not be perfect, but the more you use it the better you will become!
Take Advantage of Language Learning Apps
Although our lessons can be a great source of learning, there are great online tools designed for language assessment. Using apps such as Duolingo and Memrise are not only convenient, but makes learning a lot more engaging. This can be an added supplement to your studies and aid in enhancing your vocabulary skills. In my personal use, it made speaking exercises enjoyable and less intimidating.
Watch Foreign Films & TV
We generally absorb information quicker through visual and auditory practice. Watching foreign films, TV shows, or listening to music in another language can assist you in learning language exceptionally well. Not only are you paying closer attention to dialogue, but you are simultaneously translating by reading English subtitles. The same applies to reading translated lyrics to a song. Time to use your scheduled K-dramas or Spanish soap operas to good use!
The most important tip of all; stay motivated! Most students will say that taking a second language is both difficult and rewarding. Of course this is true. The transition to our regular English language to learning a whole new system of grammar and pronunciation can be alarming. Remember that is meant to challenge you, and the ability to speak whatever language you choose will outweigh all your fears. Use your online tools, practice outside class, and encourage yourself to speak. You may fumble on your words at first, but you can only get better!
If you are looking to pick up a foreign language, you will not regret it. Taking French in high school has allowed me to experience a culture other than my own. It helped me break out of my shell and try something new. Whether you decide to take a Spanish class or a lesson in Chinese, you will feel accomplished knowing you expanded your communication skills. Hopefully, these tips will aid in your journey ahead. Best of Luck!
The Benefits of Learning Latin
In a world of modern languages, why choose Latin? Maybe you’re looking for a couple of reasons why it’s actually worth learning. Or perhaps you are wanting to reassure yourself of the advantages it could have for your son/daughter. Truth be told, studying Latin is beyond an intellectual boost. It can introduce different job opportunities, expand your English skills, and even your perspective on life. How can a language offer all of this? Well that’s the beauty of learning Latin. If you need further convincing, here are other reasons why your teen should pick up Latin ASAP.
It Aids In Learning Other Languages
One major component to learning Latin is familiarity to a “root language.” In other words, it is the foundation for many of the modern languages we speak today. More specifically, the romance languages: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. All of these languages include more than 80% of words taken from Latin! Aside from vocabulary, it will be much easier for your child to understand grammar structure and noun agreements.
A Better Understanding of the English Language
Aside from Romance languages, Latin can strengthen skills in English. It will help your son/daughter develop a sense of vocabulary, and what these words are composed of. How can this help your him/her understand English exactly? By understanding word structure, he/she will have better grammar skills compared to those who may have not picked up Latin. According to research, learning one Latin root is contained in over 100 English words. Your child will master vocabulary not only efficiently but effectively.
An Upper Hand in the Medical Field
If your son/daughter has aspirations to become a doctor, learning Latin will be a huge bonus. How so? Much of the terminology that is used amongst medical professionals is derived almost entirely from Latin. It was actually required at one time for medical students in the UK to learn Latin because how beneficial it could be. Not only will they become familiar with the terms, but also with the origins of medicine and physiology. A 2007 study found that medical students who learned Latin were able have a better experience in the field. Why dismiss a language that can help your teenager immerse him/herself in into field?
Learn About Modern Sciences
Is your teenager not interested in medicine? Learning Latin can aid in studying modern sciences such as sociology, chemistry, psychology, biology, and economics. In fact, all modern science use vocabulary composed of Latin roots. It isn’t exclusive to the medical field! For example, biology terms such as “fungus” and “bacterium” are singular words that often mistaken for being plural. A student who studies Latin can easily understand that the plural form is actually “fungi” and bacteria” by learning about root endings. By understanding the material, it will help make the studying process for your teenager a lot more easier!
An Insight To A Career In Computer Science
Did you know that the word “computer” comes from Latin? It is taken from “computo” which means to add or sum up. Learning Latin is similar to the assessment process in computer science. Latin is a language that has a similar process to learning codes on a computer. Both require to identify patterns and create a system of “codes.” Teens will have no problem breaking down a number system, if they already applied that same knowledge into Latin.
Get To Learn About Law and Government
What if your teen isn’t interested in the sciences? Latin is still present in many other careers such as government, law, and theology. The foundation of modern day politics and law come from both Greek and Latin history. So if your teenager exhibits any ambition into enrolling in a political science major, this can be a vital skill. Latin is actually known as the “language of law.” In fact, have you ever noticed legal terms that are used today came from this language? Some of these terms include habeas corpus, veto, subpoena, capitol, etc.
Gaining Insight in Ancient History
As your teenager goes to college, they are bound to take classes of ancient history. Learning Latin can actually help initiate the subject at a more easier and enjoyable level. Students can understand where Latin stems from, while also studying terminology that has to do with science, medicine, philosophy, and theology. Not only will it help with their classes in school, but also expose them to a variety of different subjects. It could spark an interest for their future career!
Preforming Better Academically
Are you looking to improve your teen’s SAT scores? Learning Latin can actually help improve both their literacy and math scores. It begins with his/her understanding of vocabulary, as we discussed previously. This helps a student grasp reading passages successfully, while expanding their skills to figure out words they might have known. Thus, helping them develop their logic skills. Math subjects such as Algebra, requires the same logical thinking one uses with Latin assessment.
Expanding the Mind Beyond Academics
Although Latin can bring education and job benefits, it extends beyond that. It can help develop one’s mind logically. Latin is said to be a mental workout, or training to think differently. The language itself is a system that follows strict rules of grammar, word structure, attention to this detail. A word in Latin can have multiple meanings. It is more than learning vocabulary, but applying a whole new way of using, speaking, and assessing the language. This can establish your teen to a sense of discipline.
If you’re considering to introduce language to your child, why not recommend Latin? At first, it may seem like an intimidating decision, but it reigns plenty of benefits. Your teenager will appreciate taking a language that can guide them through their vocational field. There are countless reasons why this can be favorable. Or, you can enroll your younger children in a class that can grow their love for this language. Why not consider a language that is an open doorway to both success and opportunity?
During these unprecedented times, we are all looking for different ways to educate ourselves. If you are a parent, you know the struggle of keeping your children entertained. Or let alone try to convince them that online school can be fun. However, you will be surprised to know the benefits that online learning classes can offer to your little one. It could be fun, especially if it involves learning a language. If you’re looking to expand your child’s language learning via online, here are ten advantages of taking online learning classes.
1) A More Focused Environment
Kids tend to be unfocused in an outside environment, such as their typical classroom. At home, there is less room for distraction and instead are required to focus on their screen. If a child is more introverted, they will be comforted by the idea of their parent or guardian right beside in another room. This allows them to be in a homely environment, which in turn will help your son/daughter be at ease while they learn.
2) There Are Shorter Lessons
Does your child require more effort to be able to concentrate? An advantage to online lessons is that they are much shorter than the traditional setting. It can be as little as 15 minutes a session. Online learning is lenient on time; as long as the teacher feels that the bases are covered for the day in which it can end shortly.
3) Interaction Beyond Viewing A Screen
Worried that the screen won’t be appealing to your little one? This is a common misconception. Teachers are actually finding unique ways to teach kids online! When it comes to language assessment, your child will be exposed to interactive worksheets, games, and even puppetry. There is effort to make online learning participle between the teacher and student. Instead of watching a teacher write on a board, your son/daughter will be able to use the screen and be hands on with each lesson.
4) Learning in the Comfort of Their Home
Another key benefit to online learning, is the ability to do it right at home! There isn’t the worry to rush in the morning to get your kid to a lesson. Instead he/she can wake up, have their breakfast, and go straight to their Zoom class without hassle. Is your little one having a hard time getting ready one particular day? No problem, the class can per-take in the comfort of their own bed.
5) Your Child Will Gain More Confidence
Shyer children tend to stray away from participating in class and/or groups. Online learning can actually encourage children to be more active in class. If your kid is already placed in an environment where they feel comfortable, it helps ease a lot of their own pressure. There isn’t focus on the themselves from their peers or teacher, which can usually happen in a class setting. Instead, your child can participate whenever they feel without the anxiety of being concentrated on.
6) Being Able To Learn Whenever, Wherever
We have already discussed the convenience of a flexible environment. The added bonus to this, is that your child can learn anywhere! They can learn from their room, bed, or their grandparent’s house. You decided to take them on vacation? They can even learn a language with the hotel’s internet access. There is room to accommodate to the parent’s and child’s schedule, thus also allowing to choose the right time frame. It is a great feature for children who are constantly on the go.
7) There is More Student Engagement
With the use of interactive learning features, there is more student engagement. The use of hands on technology can make learning look more appealing. For example, there is the use of video, presentations with fun graphics, and gameplay. Naturally, we want our children to be more engaged and realize that learning can be enjoyable. This will definitely keep your little ones entertained!
8) Interactive Learning With Props at Home
Have you ever realized that your own home can be a source of learning? With kids particularly, they are more open to the use of their imagination. Teachers are free to use ordinary props in their homes to make language more interactive. It is a creative way to learn vocabulary in a visual way, without the dullness of writing words on a whiteboard. Props can be used to describe colors, or to aid with puppets. Your child can even present props in their home, and inspire them to want to do the same as their teacher.
9) There is Flexibility To Learn More Topics
Usually in group/classroom settings, teachers tend to discourage side topics. However, this is welcomed in online learning. There is more room for storytelling, and incorporating conversations into lessons because of the flexible time schedule. If your child has a story to share, the teacher can use it as an opportunity to expand the lesson. If there are questions about other topics, it is not seen as a distraction. In fact, it can allow spontaneity for the teacher to add a twist to their lesson plan.
10) Using Your Kid’s Screen To Learn
If you’re looking for a way to prioritize your child’s screen time, online classes can help. We know that kids are using their screens more than ever before. So why not find a way to use their time on the iPad for education? Your little one will see that taking a language class will be similar to playing an app. There are games, interactions with other peers, and plenty of screen time used in learning session. You can satisfy your child’s need for using the tablet or computer while sneaking in time to learn a language. A double win!
It is valuable to consider how favorable technology can be in our children’s education. In more ways than one, online learning can be beneficial to learning a language. Your son/daughter will appreciate the comfort of their environment, gain confidence, and experience language in a whole new way. There are numerous classes your little one can sign up for right at home! With over seventeen languages to choose from, we can guarantee your child will be eager to start their new journey online.
The Benefits of Learning Greek
Out of all the languages to learn, why choose Greek? Besides its rich culture and popularized cuisine, there is more to the language than meets the eye. Have you ever wanted to introduce your child to a language beyond the reason of practicality? In other words, do you want a language that can transcend your child’s view on history, literature, philosophy, and much more? Studying Greek has all these advantages! If you would like more detail, here are the benefits your child will gain from learning Greek.
A Greater Understanding of Ancient History
One of the most interesting pieces of history begins in Ancient Greece. While learning Greek, your teen could be introduced to time periods beyond American history. Much of this isn’t actually taught in detail because of a lot of these texts are written in Greek. An example of a text could be Thucydides’ “History of the Peloponnesian War.” It is a significant time in history that is usually brushed upon in today’s history classes. This
could be a great opportunity to show how history and language come hand in hand. Your child could also develop a love for the subject and thus turn to a career in the field of archeology or history.
Learn About Key Philosophers and Literature
Much of the world’s most renown literature comes from Ancient Greece. If you’re hoping to initiate an interest in reading, learning Greek could help. Most teens enjoy the world of mythology and one of the most popular book franchises stem from that topic; Percy Jackson & The Olympians. Aside from modern fiction, your teenager could learn the classics such as the Odyssey and Illiad. But how can learning about the great philosophers such as Socrates and Plato have any benefits? As your son/daughter goes to college, the goal is expand their thinking. Learning Greek could be a great way to start that expansion early.
Appreciating More Cultural Aspects
Besides literature and history, Greek culture extends to much more. One of this includes ancient Greek art. Their art or “arete” extends from learning about mythology to the fundamentals of sculpture. Your kid’s interest in Greek can expand to going to museums that showcase Greek art and architecture. A few of them include the MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Onassis Cultural Center here in NYC. Another big cultural aspect is Greek food. There is a ton of cuisine that can explored. The best part? Your teen could learn the best authentic restaurant’s in town, while having extensive knowledge about the menu.
Improves English Grammar and Literacy
Did you know that Greek is also a foundation for modern languages? Yes, that also includes English! According to research, more than 50% of English words come from Greek. Students who study Greek, also have a better understanding of English though identifying “root words.” This means they understand the origin of the word by breaking it down in smaller meanings. For example, the word “anthropomorphism” is broken
down into “anthropos” and “morphe” which means “man” and “form.” It can help understand vocabulary that your child may initially not know the meaning of.
Absorbing A Second Language Much Easier
You might be aware that Latin is known as the “mother” of Romance Languages; but Greek is as well! In fact, Greek was involved in many of the modern languages such as Italian, French, and Spanish. These languages also have similar “root words” and follow the principles of grammar. If your child enters college with a foundation of Greek, their language requirement will be a breeze!
Training the Brain to Think More Logically
Studies have shown that learning Greek is a way to sharpen your mind. The language is similar to figuring out a new system. It is built on associating words with memorizing patterns and forming words with a “formula.” This helps develop critical thinking skills, through training the brain to think more systematically. Thus, Greek encourages you to think more logically. It is truly a language that develops both the creative and cognitive part of your brain.
Initiating Careers in STEM, Law, and Government
The origin of careers in science, law, and government actually begin in Ancient Greece. If your son/daughter has an interest in any of these fields, having Greek on their resume will benefit greatly. Much of the terminology used today is from the Greek language. Your teenager could learn how these careers even began thanks to the contribution of Ancient Greece. They were the first civilization to actually study medicine, establish a sense of government, and write laws. Why not study a language that is the principle to what all of us study presently?
Traveling to Greece With Ease
An added bonus to all this, comes down to the benefit of traveling to Greece. In a country where the language is known to locals only, imagine being able to get around easily? Your child’s dream to travel to Greece will be much more enjoyable! He/she can get the insight of the country’s hidden delicacies and lifestyle. It will transform their trip from a tourist to a Greek civilian.
As you can see, Greek is beyond just an ancient language. It expands from learning about culture to career development. In addition to, becoming a more worldly individual. What other language has a rich sense if history and culture all in one? You can open your teen’s eyes to a whole different world, while also changing their perspective in a positive way. Who knows if they might become the next great philosopher, poet, or even doctor.
So you decided that your little one should learn a language. A great choice nonetheless, but now you’re debating how exactly you will start your assessment. This leads to the bigger question at hand; should I sign up for classes or private lessons? There are countless reasons why you should opt for one or the other, which make the decision process a little tricky. Although, you will recognize that ultimately one option is the perfect fit. How about we look at the benefits of both classroom and private lessons.
One major component to private lessons is having a personalized curriculum. Some students will already have little knowledge of the language they are interested in. Therefore, they do not need to follow a traditional framework that will be used in a classroom setting. A private lesson can provide the individual learner to choose which skills they would like to focus on. For example, you may express to your child’s teacher that he/she is proficient in speaking Italian but not writing in Italian. Private lessons can be customized to focus solely on grammar and practicing reading Italian texts. There is room for accommodation, without the pressure of following a curriculum.
Accommodations For Those With Special Needs
The upside to private lessons is the accommodations for special need children. Private tutors can offer a range of tools and strategies to make the learning process a whole lot easier. One of them includes one on one assessment, without the distraction of other students. It can also include playing games or engaging in hands on activated that are not always welcome in a classroom setting. As well as encouraging breaks or allowing
distractions without the fear of falling behind.
A Flexible Schedule
Another advantage to private lessons is the ability to create your own schedule. Unlike the classroom setting, there isn’t a specific date or time you need to attend. Lessons are catered closely to whatever obligations you may have. If you are a parent, you can adhere to a time frame where your kids are at school or around their bedtime. Your responsibilities will no longer get in the way of mastering a new language.
Effective Traditional Learning Methods
If you’re leaning towards a traditional method, language classes will be the way to go. One of the reasons that may convince someone to make this choice involves following a curriculum. This will involve learning a variety of vocabulary words, grammar, and conversational cues. It is best suited for beginners, because there is multiple lessons being taught from start to finish. There will always be a guarantee that a new lesson will be taught to you and the rest of the class. Whereas a private lesson focuses on perfecting certain skills.
You Will Be Instructed to Practice
Learning a language requires a sense of discipline. In other words, the more time set aside to practice the better you will become. Signing up for classes will encourage children to follow a schedule of practice and repetition, as they are already used to. Similarly, language classes utilize practice through homework and repeat the lessons they are taught in class. Language assessment is harder for kids without a traditional regiment. Unless you are usually a stickler for making your own schedules, private lessons won’t be enough to perfect a language.
A Chance To Engage With Other Learners
Do you consider your little girl or boy to be an extrovert? If so, opting for classes is definitely the way to go. One on one sessions can be a little exclusive. In other words, there won’t be a chance to meet other kids who are learning a language too! The benefits of interacting with fellow classmates is the sense that are others are sharing a common goal. You’ll see that they are plenty of beginners who don’t know much about Spanish or French. Therefore, the process won’t be as scary and your child won’t feel discouraged as he/she would doing it alone. In addition to, it will be a chance to meet new friends or a classmate.
Choosing how your son/daughter should perfect their language skills can be intimidating. As you can see, there are plenty of suggestions as to decide whether you sign up for a class or private lesson. Whichever you choose, remember that learning a language should be fun! So stick to what you think your little one will like best, whether it means interacting with others in a classroom or studying your skills at your own pace.
Check out the variety of lessons we provide in the language of your choosing. We hope to see you there!
There is a craft behind learning Mandarin. Filled with a rich history, built on art and symbolism, has carried on to a multitude of generations. In fact, it has become the most spoken in the world! Imagine China’s mother tongue ultimately reaching a grand total 1.4 billion speakers? Beyond communication skills, it can enrich your child’s life in both a mental and social capacity. If you would like to introduce son/daughter to a transformative language, here are other benefits of learning Mandarin.
A Language Meant for Kids
Did you know that Mandarin is considered an easy language for kids? The vocabulary itself is made up of patterns and symbols. Younger children are able to grasp this particular system because they tend to be visual learners. Therefore, they are susceptible to interpret these complex characters relatively quicker compared to teens and adults. This phonetic alphabet is also meant to be logical, and less compose of grammar rules that Romance languages have such as Spanish or French. For example, there are no plurals in Chinese! A literal translation for “two pencils” is “lots of paper.”
Learning A Coveted Art Form
The most interesting aspect of learning Mandarin may be its unique chirography. It breaks the conventional way of how most of us were taught; which involves a standard alphabet. Instead, the foundation lies behind mastering an art form of different symbols and symmetry. It goes beyond your child learning just how to speak a second language, but also getting to grasp a form of ancient art. There is storytelling and meaning behind how these patterns were created. An example would be the symbol for human (人) and big (大) combined makes the word adult (大人)
Greater Appreciation for Chinese Culture
As a parent, you would like your child to become well rounded and a cultured individual. Why not introduce a language that is shared by millions of people around the world? Mandarin, as we previously discussed, has one of the most unique and richest background of history. It can as far as the B.C. era, where Chinese dynasties were formed and still hold a relevance today. Aside from an extensive and delicious cuisine, your child could experience their distinctive views of modern life. Your son/daughter can be exposed to the benefits of mindfulness, or the sacred forms of martial arts.
Improved Math Skills
Are you hoping to improve your little one’s skills in math? Practicing Mandarin can simultaneously help with basic fundamentals and counting. According to Tessa International School, it incorporates mathematical concepts when learning how to speak and/or write. A lot of the vocabulary involves putting two characters together in order to create one a whole new word; similarly to how a formula is structured as. Therefore, your child will already be accustomed to being predisposed to algebra concepts!
Increasing Motor Skills
Did you know that your little one can also increase their motor and cognitive skills? Mandarin involves a diligent practice such learning a new method of writing. According to AsiaSociety.org , the handwriting technique used cam actually assist your child’s motor development. The act of drawing different shapes and recognizing hieroglyphics, will train your child to activate use both their left and right side of the brain.
Becoming Musically Inclined
One of the most surprising facts about assessing this language, is the multiple pronunciations involved. An article from The Atlantic, explains how the different tones used throughout speaking Mandarin can actually aid in vocal ability. Different pronunciations of the same word can have a completely different meaning! It is almost impossible to be “monotone.” Studies have shown that Mandarin speakers were able to identify musical pitches better than English speakers.
Future Career Opportunities
A second language can guarantee success in the job market. However, once your child masters Mandarin that will have an even bigger advantage. Career fields such as business, politics, and communications all see this as a high commodity. China also is considered to have the biggest economy in the world. The ability to have a chance to be in this economic market can have plenty of opportunities.
There is a world of benefits behind learning Mandarin. It can be a way to be improve all areas in your child’s life. Whether it be the educational and/or cultural realm. This is a language like no order, and can be offer your son/daughter to discover what makes Mandarin fun to lear! Check out both our private and group lessons we have to offer here at Tribeca Language.
That time of year has finally come: the season of AP exams. If you decided to take a foreign language this year, chances are you’re hoping to gain college credit. Time to make that effort spent participating in your Spanish class worth it! Before you begin to study, you may be looking for some guidance on how to prepare for this particular exam. Luckily, my own experience in taking two foreign languages can help you. To help you lessen the stress, here are a few ways to prepare for the AP Language & Culture Exam.
1) Use Your Index Cards
Believe or not, this is actually a game changer. It could seem like an outdated concept, but a few tips can aid in your study prep more than you think. Index cards can help organize your vocabulary while simultaneously help with memorization. The act of handwriting notes and other class related material improves your memory. According to the Journal of Educational Study, those who took handwritten notes scored significantly
better on tests than those who took notes on their laptop. Incorporate your index cards to include key grammar rules, verb conjugations, and/or commonly used vocabulary.
2) Schedule A Reasonable Time To Study
Organization is an important factor when it comes to high test scores. Besides keeping your notes and study material in order, managing your time is crucial. As someone who was taking multiple exams, I always made sure to dedicate specific time frames for my subjects. This means, when I wanted to study for AP Italian, I designated an hour each day leading to the exam. No more, no less, but kept it consistent. Set a time that you feel suites your needs. Assign more time if you need it, and less if you don’t.
3) Brush Up On Cultural References
Remember; this is called the AP Language and Culture Exam. During class, you learned cultural components such as food, lifestyle, music, art, etc. The exam will test you on these topics in a multiple choice section, auditory exercise, or through essay format. You can easily brush up on cultural references through watching videos in said language, listen to music, etc. Review your notes that also indicate historical figures; the exam loves to reference famous musicians and artists!
4) Use Netflix To Practice Auditory Comprehension
Need a break from writing and referencing your study guide? Watching Netflix can be a form of studying (in moderation). There are tons of shows and movies that are spoken entirely in Spanish, French, Mandarin, and other languages you are currently studying. As you are watching Netflix, the act of listening to the language and reading English subtitles is a form of studying! You are practicing auditory comprehension. If you wanted to watch your favorite American tv series, you can set the subtitles in another language to aid in reading comprehension. Other mediums such as music or tuning into foreign radio stations, can also assist in your studying too.
5) Familiarize Yourself More With Grammar
When you take the test, expect to see many questions related to grammar. Whether that is in the form of multiple choice or applying it in essay form. Your test prep should include the following key categories of grammar ; memorizing the gender of nouns, verb tenses (present, past, and future), pluralization, verb conjugation, contractions, and questions. If you master all of these concepts, you will be answer to almost every question correctly. You don’t have to be an expert; but be familiar with these significant grammar points.
6) Memorize Categories of Vocabulary
You probably studied vocabulary in sections or been tested by categories. The AP exam will pick vocabulary in any topic range. This could be food, family, education, politics, and other areas you have covered. However, do not stress over memorizing every single word. Do your best in acquiring a healthy amount of words in each topic. Utilize those flashcards and split them into categories you learned in school. Or look at images that have the word included; this will help you associate the two together.
7) Take Advantage of Online Tools
Apps that promote language learning are your best friends. The most popular that will ring a bell to you is Duolingo. This can be a fun studying aid, and can provide a more fun relief to your usual routine. The app has exercises that include listening, speaking, and reading comprehension. Quizlet, is another app that acts, in the best way I can describe, virtual “index cards.” It features hundreds of vocabulary terms, also split into specific categories commonly taught in your language curriculum. Pretty neat!
8) Review Your Past Exams
Put those tests you took during the year into use. Your teacher most definitely included questions and exercises that will be in your exam. He/she might have even took a few questions from past AP tests… and I am speaking from personal experience. This will also be a good way to see where you tested well and poorly in. Perhaps there was a section in grammar you need to go over more. It is a good assessment to see how well you did in various topics throughout the year.
9) Make A List of Your Strengths & Weaknesses
The upside to all of your college test prep is figuring our where your strengths and weaknesses lye. Especially in language, there are areas where we feel more comfortable than the other. Create a list or schedule that caters to what you should focus on. If you need help with vocabulary, set aside time to make index cards and review your reading comprehension. If it’s grammar, review exercises you have done in class or find worksheets online. Still not sure how to go about it? Tribeca Language offers both class and private lessons that will help aide in your study process!
The preparation for the AP Language & Culture Exam can seem overwhelming. Nevertheless, there are always tips and tricks to make the process a lot easier. We hope that this advice can help you navigate in your study prep journey. Although, if you seek additional guidance, we offer both private lessons and class instruction in 14 different languages! Best of luck!
Are you looking for a way to improve your child’s life in a fun and creative way? If so, have you thought about teaching your child a second language? It may have crossed your mind, and you are wondering what the benefits could be. There are multiple studies that show how this can improve children’s social, academic, and development skills in ways you have probably never thought of. Here are the top 10 reasons why your child should start learning a second language today.
1) Innate Acquisition of the Language
Till 8 years old, a child is at his/her prime time to learn a whole range of skills. One of those skills includes learning a language. According to the University of Washington Institute, a child’s brain development from as early as a few months to three-years-old is optimal for learning language. Your child’s brain at that age frame is described as a “sponge”, meaning he/she can easily absorb information at a higher rate compared to an older age. Also, you can fill in your child’s time by incorporating games and activities that have to do with studying a new language. The reason being, there won’t be any distractions of playing with toys or video games. It’s much easier to introduce workbooks, tapes, and index cards because your child will find it fun!
2) Improving Their Development
There are multiple studies and research done that show how becoming bilingual can improve your child’s development, more specifically, their cognitive learning skills. Bilingual children have shown higher levels of problem-solving skills and creativity. You may believe that the skillset stops there. However, research has also shown that it can improve a child’s verbal skills as well. If you are already incorporating a second language at home, your child is well on his/her way to guaranteed success.
3) Gaining More Self-Confidence
Can your child really become more confident through language? Definitely so. Children love the feeling they get when they learn something new. More importantly, they enjoy the recognition or proud look you give them when they have made an achievement. Learning a new language can lead them to be enthusiastic about learning other areas as well! To help build up that confidence, you could encourage your child and let him/her feel that the process of being immersed in a language can be fun. Reward them for learning new vocabulary words or when they successfully understood a sentence in Spanish. It will allow them to want to discover the language even more.
4) Becoming More Worldly
Introducing your child to a language can lead them to learning about more culture. It is important to have children learn from a young age that there are other people of different cultures, backgrounds and languages (and their culture) who should be celebrated. It will help them see that the world is not so small; there are plenty of people you can meet that do not necessarily look or act like the grown-ups they are familiar with. You can have them experience new food, music, and neighborhoods just by having them immerse themselves in learning a new language. Perhaps it will inspire them to take a trip to France or Japan one day.
5) Making More Friends
Once your little one learns how to carry a conversation in another language, he/she can talk to people beyond their social circle. Maybe they will talk to a classmate who they could not talk to before. Or perhaps, as they get older, it will allow them to converse with many more people through work, college, and/or any social setting. It will help your growing child expand his/her way of making new friends. Who knows, it could also lead them to making friends in other countries as well. There will not be a language barrier that will stop them from experiencing other people from other cultures.
6) Closer Family Bonds
Perhaps you may believe that most of the time spent with your child will be focused on language practice. However, did you consider that this could be a bonding experience? Whether you are teaching them their heritage language or a career-making language, this is a perfect opportunity to spend one-on-one time with your child. With classes, such as baby and me classes or family language classes, you will be incorporating both play and learning at the same time. You may even be learning along with them. Moreover, this can (also) be a chance for the whole family to learn together. Did you want to include their other siblings? Perhaps they can help along the teaching process and guide their younger sibling.
7) Improving Their Native Language
Mastering a second language can help improve their English skills as well. According to the University of Washington Institute, bilingual children showed higher levels of English comprehension compared to children who were monolingual. When learning a romance language such as Italian or Spanish, you will discover that your child will be exposed to more grammar practice. When compared to English, grammar rules are not heavily focused and therefore much easier to forget as we get older. By grasping a second language, a better understanding for English grammar will improve significantly.
8) Performing Better In School
Generally, studies have shown that children who knew a second language performed better in school than students who did not. Those who were bilingual have strong skills in English, particularly in reading and writing skills. How so? By speaking and reading a second language, it helps children pay closer attention to word structure. They also need to have a strong sense of memorizing vocabulary, which in turn develops stronger spelling skills. Research has also shown that the discipline of learning a second language helps with a child’s behavioral skills. In other words, they are less likely to have behavioral problems in a classroom setting.
9) Higher Test Scores
While your child continues to excel in his/her school studies, the benefits of learning a second language also helps in standardized testing. The College Entrance Examination Board released studies that show those who were bilingual significantly higher on the verbal section than those who were monolingual. Besides specific sections, those who studied a foreign language scored an overall high SAT score than students who did not. Not thinking that far ahead? 3rd to 5th graders who are bilingual and took standardized state testing had high scores in all language arts sections.
10) More Job Opportunities
Just like many parents, you are hoping to help your child develop skills that will help his/her future. If your child lists a second language as a skill on their resume, he/she will be well prepared for the workforce. Many jobs are interested in hiring candidates who are bilingual. Or that they have an intermediate skillset in a language. This will especially help your children who want to enter the business, medical, law, education, or administration field in future. It is a skill that will bring your child to places you would not normally think of.
There are numerous reasons how a second language can enrich your child’s life. Not only academically, but even socially as he/she continues to grow older. Perhaps you will help them discover a whole new world of opportunity. Or lead them to going to new places, meet new people, and a greater chance of success. You will never know what this could lead to in the future. Tribeca Language offers a variety of classes, of over 13 languages to choose from! Whether you decide to pick up a private lesson or class environment, this is a fun and strategic choice to make for your child’s development and success.
Check out our online children’s group classes here and private classes here.
Students still have time to register for AP Language Tests and put their knowledge of a foreign language to good use. AP Language Tests are available in 7 different language and will start taking place in May. As of now, all exams will take place in schools.
See AP exam schedule below:
AP Chinese Language and Culture -
May 14th, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (In school) - Computer- based
May 21st, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (In school) - Computer- based
June 4th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (In school) - Computer- based
AP French Language and Culture
May 10th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
May 21st, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
June 4th, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
AP German Language and Culture
May 4th, 2021 - 12pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
May 21st, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
June 4th, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
AP Italian Language and Culture
May 14th, 2021 - 8am Local Time (Paper, In school)
May 21st, 2021 - 8am Local Time (Paper, In school)
June 4th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
AP Japanese Language and Culture
May 5th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (In school) - Computer- based
May 21st, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (In school) - Computer- based
June 4th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (In school) - Computer- based
May 21st, 2021 - 8am Local Time (Paper, In school)
June 4th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
AP Spanish Language and Culture
May 11th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
May 21st, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
June 4th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
AP Spanish Literature and Culture
May 7th, 2021 - 8 am Local Time (Paper, In school)
May 21th, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
June 4th, 2021 - 12 pm Local Time (Paper, In school)
For more info and details, visit The College Board website.
Alessandra Lanno considers herself both an avid reader and writer. Born and raised in