My specialist subjects are English Language and English Literature and I also teach Essay Skills and Study Skills, including for dyslexics. I am, myself, dyslexic!
I consider my role as tutor to be that of a mentor who guides a student along their learning journey through equipping them with what they most need. This may include specific and measurable support, such as meeting assessment objectives or developing a lagging area of competence, as well as working with more personal needs, such as self-confidence or intellectual development. I am an attentive and sensitive listener, adaptable and creative, well-organised and knowledgable, but always willing to tear up the lesson plan and work intuitively should a session demand it. I dont believe that my role stops with the subject, either: each student is an individual and an understanding of their passions, concerns and ambitions is crucial to establishing a strong and lasting rapport.
2008-2013 University of Exeter - English MPhil
2002-2003 Goldsmiths College - Creative Writing MA (Merit)
2001 Hammersmith West London College -
1992-1996 University of Warwick - Comparative American Studies (2/1)
1984-1991 The Skinners Company School, Tunbridge Wells. English (A), French (B), Music (D)
GCSE English Literature, Maths, French, Geography (all A) Music, History, Chemistry, English Language (all B)
I have taught a great deal of students over the past thirteen years, but here is a selection from more recent years.
KS1 English - L was really struggling with his reading when he first started lessons and has made steady and now accelerated progress. We spend time reading books from his school and from my own library - including poems - and I developed my own flash cards for words with which he struggled. We always finish with a little Maths, as he loves it so much!
KS2 English - S was lacking confidence in his reading. He didnt need much in the way of skills teaching, but a friendly, supportive environment in which to develop his self-belief. S is now a self-directed and keen reader.
KS2 English - T had recently been diagnosed as severely dyslexic and had become disaffected at school. We have developed and researched a creative project to rebuild enthusiasm for his education and develop his learning skills and the project - an action adventure story - continues to this day.
KS2 English - A is a highly intelligent girl who struggles with her reading and concentration. Through poetry and creative writing, we are successfully addressing these issues.
CE English - L is a creative, ambitious student who needs a gentle push to pass his CE next year. While the focus of the lessons is English, the primary goal is to develop his critical thinking through the use of creative and analytical exercises and to give L the space to do so that only one-to-one tuition can provide.
GCSE English - A aims to improve his GCSE English score from A to A*. Through working on several drafts, we increased his vocabulary, literary style and ability to use better structure in both creative and informative pieces.
GCSE English - O is performing at B in his first year of GCSE but wants to achieve an A* and had asked for regular tuition after a difficult year at school. We are finding ways to engage with a novel with which he has yet to connect, look at poetry in fresh, critical ways and sharpen up his prose style, both creative and critical.
GCSE English - A is currently performing at D in his first year of GCSE and wishes to significantly improve his score before next year. We are working to increase his range of vocabulary, ability to develop personal and critical responses to texts as well as improve his self-confidence.
AS English - B wished to improve her score from a predicted A to A*. To help her do so, we discussed different interpretations of the poetry element to her exam and developed early ideas for coursework. B achieved an A*.
A English - B wished to improve her score from a predicted A to A*. To help her do so, we worked extensively on a coursework draft, during which I helped her develop her critical vocabulary, ability to structure an argument, build her confidence in expressing original opinions and conduct deep-level research. B achieved a perfect 80/80 for this piece.
GAMSAT - L speaks English as an additional language and, though highly proficient, needed to take a rigorous literary comprehension test to follow a course of study in Australia. As well as working through past papers, we read and discussed both a classic novel and a poetry anthology, which also re-engaged L with enjoying literature. L passed GAMSAT and is due to begin study in the Autumn.
University Entrance - B had applied for a Teaching degree and was struggling with her grammar and punctuation, both of which she needed for an entrance test. Over the course of a fortnight, we worked on both of these until B was confident enough to pass the test and is now in her first year.
BA English - I have taught and lectured on undergraduate English courses at the University of Exeter in Critical Theory (Year 1) and Creative Writing (Y2). My use of a highly student-centred approach to back up personal research and writing made for a fun, energetic and engaged learning environment which gained me extremely favourable feedback to the Department of English. I also took great enjoyment from regular tutorial sessions with several of the more committed students.
BA English and Art History - T is in her first year and needed advice on structure, language and critical analysis. While her ideas are consistently strong, they are often under-developed and muddled. Although I continue to offer advice, I have noticed a great improvement in her essays over the course of a year and these have been borne out in an increase in her marks.
Teacher Training - Ive taught English Literature teachers from other EU countries for the past 6 years, many of who have referred colleagues to study with me. My students, many with twenty or more years experience, regularly report an increase in enthusiasm for their subject and that my techniques are workable and effective when used in their own classrooms.
Hobbies and Interests
Needless to say, Im a voracious reader, not only of poetry and novels for adults, but also for children, as well as non-fiction books about my many interests - modern art, geography, language, mythology, philosophy, neuroscience and more besides. I love spending time with my wife and 9-year old daughter, especially exploring the Devon countryside and watching films from around the world - Japanese cartoons are a firm favourite! Im a keen runner and also keep my mind in good condition through daily meditation. I enjoy cooking spicy food and trying out new dishes on my family, as well as making the finest mashed potatoes in the county.