Often, children and teenagers think that being good at English is using a lot of fancy thesaurus words. However, at all levels, successful English work is concise, clear and focused.
Over my five years with Keystone, I have honed my teaching technique. I usually start by taking the student ‘back to basics’. We look at how to structure a sentence, then a paragraph, then the whole story or essay. Next, we think about accuracy, getting rid of unnecessary words and ideas. Once my student is confident with all this, we think about interesting vocabulary and language techniques as well as analytical 'close reading' skills. I try to show tutees that writing is like a fruit salad: you don't want too much of any particular feeling, idea or language technique. Variety is key.
I like to use lots of short, timed exercises, particularly with younger children, moving quickly from one activity to the next. I always build a rapport with my tutees, shaping activities around their interests and learning style as much as possible. When the student enjoys sessions, we achieve so much more.
I think reading is absolutely vital to improving spelling, vocabulary and grammar. I am always delighted to recommend titles to my students, at every level.
I love working with young people as they haven’t yet learned the clichés and often come up with ideas that are imperfect but delightfully ambitious and unexpected.