My methodology absolutely begins with the individual student--his/her specific history, concerns, hopes, and goals. First, I talk with the student (via Skype or in person) to discuss these issues. Then, if the student wants, I give them a brief test to assess their level. Finally, I create--and the student approves--a plan that includes: goals, activities, schedule, and evaluations (to show that the tutoring is working). All of the teaching is collaborative, and, though I'm the English-language expert, the student is always the "boss"/client.
I'm a super-experienced ESL instructor, who has worked with students and professionals from many countries and helped them learn specific communication skills to meet their individual goals. I speak Spanish (very well), French (well), and have worked with students from all over the world.
I have a Master's Degree in Linguistics, TESOL Certification, another Master's in Professional Writing, and Bachelor's Degrees in English and French, and an undergraduate minor in Education.
In addition to teaching ESL, I have also worked as a technical writer, medical writer, and editor for many years.
Basically, I love learning about other cultures and languages and helping internationals use English more skillfully and confidently. Feel free to contact me if you think I might be able to help you; I'd love to talk with you!
An exceptional communicator who helps others connect and succeed. Strong researcher. Lifelong interest in other languages and cultures.
Language: Instructor, Curriculum Designer, & Program Evaluator (1978-present)
• high school French and English - Canastota High School (1978-79)
• university-level academic ESL - taught all areas of ESL--grammar, reading, writing, listening & speaking, TOEFL preparation; also did program development & evaluation - University of Maryland (1983-84), Georgetown University (1983), Carnegie Mellon University - various departments (1988-92), UCLA (1995-98); Point Park University (1998-99); Duquesne University (2014-15)
• "survival" English for refugees - created and managed programs focusing on daily needs of local refugee communities--a bilingual newsletter, a volunteer-staffed tutoring program, an employment or driving-related English classes, etc. - Catholic Charities , Inc. (1985-87)
• National Institutes of Health - researched and wrote patient information on various medical conditions (1988-89)
• Mitsubishi - revised & tested product manual (1988-89)
• Blue Cross - interviewed staff and wrote training manual (1989)
• People's Natural Gas - revised set of customer-service letters (1988)
• Gateway Educational Products - created user manual for reading program Hooked on Phonics - (1997)
• John Hancock Insurance Co. - helped create a policy-and-procedures manual (1997)
Communications Director: Sizzler International, Inc. (1996-97)
• wrote or edited documents being sent from senior management to 300 restaurants and 120 corporate employees at the corporate office in order to improve consistency, clarity, and understanding of company policies
• supervised staff members responsible for customer-service assistance;
• planned and organized visits by guest speakers
Owner - Edits International, Inc. (1998-present) - "helping people find the words to succeed"
Provide customized language services, in person or online, to international clients working in business, industry, or academia; sometimes alone and sometimes with staff/freelancers.
• Editing of documents for business, industry, or academia (1998-present)
Working closely with professionals and graduate students from all over the world, Edits international helps clients finalize documents that are important to their careers: dissertations, letters of application, research articles, technical reports, proposals, etc. Since its inception, Edits International has helped hundreds of clients "find the words to succeed."
• Conversation Coach (2010-present)
Through face-to-face or online meetings, Edits International helps clients learn language and sociolinguistic skills required to communicate clearly, to collaborate well with co-workers, to argue persuasively, and to meet their professional goals.
• Communication Consultant (2015-present)
Addressing the specific communication needs of clients in business, industry, and education Edits International creates customized ESL programs. For example, in 2015, Edits International created, for Pittsburgh's Shadyside Academy a 3-week program that introduced a visiting group of Chinese middle-school students to communication/cultural skills important for success at an American university. Edits International:
- developed program goals and curriculum; created instructional materials and assignments;
- planned visits to local universities, programs, and labs;
- selected and advised instructors; and
- based on teacher and student input, completed a program evaluation and report.
Students spent mornings learning specific communication skills--e.g., participating in group discussions, describing one's interests to a professor, asking for clarification, agreeing/disagreeing politely, etc.--and then, in the afternoon, visited academic institutions, reflected on their experiences. or prepared presentations.
Director- Homeschoolers Society, LLC (2011-2013) - "connecting homeschoolers with each other. . .and the world"
Online service that expanded the educational and social horizons of 35 homeschooling families.
Services offered included:
- online classes (e.g., anime drawing);
- guest speakers (e.g., Apollo astronaut);
- interviews conducted, filmed, and shared by students (e.g., interview with a horse therapist);
- show-and-tell discussion groups (e.g., LEGOS); and
- guest speaker-discussion groups for parents.
BA in English and French and minor in Education
Member of Alpha Sigma Nu, international Jesuit Honor Society
LeMoyne College; Syracuse, NY; 1974-78
MA in Linguistics and TESOL Certification
University of Pittsburgh, 1979-81
MA in Professional Writing
Carnegie Mellon University, 1979-81
Highly proficient in Spanish, proficient in French
Perfect! Nancy is more than superb! She is responsible, caring, and knowledgable. I highly recommend her for different aspects.
Responsible: she sends out the notes before and after the class. Because of the nice planning, the class is always extremely effective. Homework helps the learning process as well.
Caring: she asked me what exactly I wanted and found out that I need guidance to transit from a student to a young professional. She made a list of things we could work on, which are extremely relevant.
Knowledgable: as linguist herself, she knows the theory, how to best learn, and what to watch out for as a Chinese native speaker.
I loved working with Zoe. When we started our lessons, she already spoke well but wanted to improve her pronunciation and the speaking skills that she will need when she starts a new job in a couple of months. Things went very well, and it was a joy to work with Zoe!
Perfect! Nancy is a fantastic tutor! She's really knowledgeable, dedicated, and passionate about the English language. My lesson with her was very enjoyable and full of useful content. Definitely recommended!
Enrico was an absolute delight to work with: super-bright, communicative, insightful, patient, and responsible.
It's an honor to write this recommendation for Nancy Downes. I've known Nancy since 2008: first, as her student at an ESL program in Pittsburgh, PA; then as a private student, receiving face-to-face instruction; and currently as a private student working on conversation skills online. I have been able to succeed beyond my expectations in all of these periods, thanks to Nancy's patience, creativity, and teaching competence. Nancy Downes has a solid and remarkable understanding of how to teach ESL to adult students.
Dr. Samyr Carneiro, MD
This summer I traveled to Pittsburgh to visit my sister and learn English, I met Nancy and she became my English teacher. She is an excellent teacher and a trustworthy person, I learned a lot and it was an unforgettable experience.
Nancy is really passionate about editing. She loves what she is doing! She is thorough, punctual; and most importantly understands your style and contributes your writing while leaving room for your own style to stand out in the text. I love her work!
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|5 hours||Not available||Not available||$175|
|10 hours||Not available||Not available||$350|