By Anna Ng ‘15
¡Atención! Attention! Tutoring will be available every Tuesday after 10th period to students who currently take Spanish or French and need the extra help to prepare for the LOTE exam.
“Both French and Spanish tutoring will be available to students every week afterschool,” said Ms. Teresa Fernandez, Assistant Principal of the Foreign Language Department.
The LOTE stands for Language Other Than English. The Board of Education eliminated the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Regents Exams for foreign language, replacing it with the LOTE exam. The LOTE exam is broken down into four different parts, which include the 24 speaking points, 30 listening points, 30 reading points, and 16 writing points from two essays. It is given to students in June after they meet the requirements to take it.
“The exam consists of the 4 main elements: reading, writing, listening, and speaking,” said Ms. Jessica Villafane. “The writing portion seems to be where students lose the most points.”
Tutoring for the exam afterschool began more than 10 years ago but was later cut down to only within school hours. After school tutoring was finally brought back for the first time on March 25, 2014, due to the concern of the Foreign Language Department on students’ writing skills.
“Ms. Fernandez took all our concerns to action and brought back the tutoring afterschool,” said Ms. Villafane.
Ms. Teresa Fernandez said, “Students are given a one-on-one preparation opportunity for the exam in June. They can receive the necessary support and little by little increase their writing abilities.”
Only Spanish 6 or French 6 students, who are taking the LOTE in June, are able to attend the tutoring sessions that are usually just an hour long. It is for students who want more preparation for the LOTE exam in June regardless of which section. Students are able to get more practice or ask any questions they have. Ms. Villafane will be the tutor for Spanish, while Ms. Jean Baptiste will be the tutor for French.
“It is a voluntary decision from students to come and it shows me their desire to do succeed,” said Ms. Villafane.
Ms. Jean Baptiste said, “I want to help students build up their skills but they must show personal effort.”
For Spanish, students are given handouts and practice grammar, vocabulary, different tenses, conjugations, essay writing, and much more. They are also asked about problems they may have concerning the Spanish topics learned in class. They get a chance to share ideas, discuss topics, and correct each other’s work.
“We wrote a dialogue between two people and we had to ask for each other’s likes and dislikes, helping us learn more about one another,” said Iman Saad’15.
Because the preparation just began, only two students showed up for the extra help for Spanish tutoring. They were able to work on essay writing skills and share different perspectives on topics for the essay. They also discussed the problems they each faced.
“With small groups, students are actually able to work efficiently because they are more comfortable with communicating with one another,” said Ms. Villafane. “Students are able to express and be themselves instead of limiting themselves.”
Saad’15 said, “I was able to understand the topics more because the teacher went in depth. I think tutoring will help refresh our minds and it is beneficial.”
Similarly, the French side also reviewed most of the material students had difficulty with. Students chose sections they want to go over. They received tips on how to study. They also created dialogues and conversations in French.
“Ms. Jean Baptiste actually takes time to explain certain words so it’s very beneficial,” said Lamont Paulin’15.
Ms. Jean Baptiste said, “Personally, I’m a hand on learner so I understand when students are having difficulty understanding materials by just hearing me talk.”
Teachers from the foreign language department are in the process of recommending students for the tutoring or informing students about it. Most students are still unaware of the tutoring going on.
“They should come to the prep for practice or for listening sections,” said Fernandez. “If not free after school, tutoring is also available every day in the peer tutoring room periods 2-10.”
Ms. Jean Baptiste said, “I really do enjoy working with the students. This is my life and it’s what I do.”