Regarding my personal life, I'm a wife and mother of two children - now adult. My husband and I live in rural Wales, and love the peace and greenery of the area. I was born in north London, and retain my English accent. I like all the arts, but the English language appeals most - its rich variety of words and expressions, its fascinating history and the fun it offers.
I have an honours degree (2:1) in English, from Exeter University, UK, and a certificate in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language, from St Giles College, London).
My love of the English language has shaped my working life, through writing and teaching. I'm a published writer of articles, mostly for teaching magazines. I'm also a published children's poet, with about 200 poems in various anthologies. With this background, I've also been running creative writing workshops for schools for the past twenty years. This involves helping children of all abilities to speak and write expressively, fluently and with confidence in English. Through this rewarding occupation, I have developed a range of communication and teaching skills, also relevant to teaching English as a foreign language to adults, such as bringing the language alive with the help of artefacts, pictures and even drama. The experience has also given me insights into some of the challenges English poses to learners, both native and new to the language - challenges posed by its rich and nuanced range of vocabulary, its subtly different tenses, its complex grammatical structures and its inconsistent spellings, as well as its wealth of idioms. My teaching role in schools has also taught me to listen carefully to individual learners, and adapt to their differing needs, bringing meaning and inspiring confidence for joined-up learning.
Before working in schools, I taught English as a foreign language to adult learners, having gained the TEFL certificate mentioned above. I did this privately and in classes for organisations such as the local council. I worked with people from around the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Somalia and China. Each experience brought me in touch with different cultures and teaching needs. My TEFL training equipped me with the essential teaching skills, but I learnt a whole lot more from the real-life experience of working with students who urgently needed to understand and be understood through the medium of English. Breaking down the language barriers to enable us to communicate our complex thoughts was an exciting challenge, both for me and my students, often carrying us way beyond the lesson plan as the possibilities for communication opened up. Their variety of needs taught me to adapt my methods accordingly, often on the spot. In fact, I'd say successful teaching is a matter of cutting a fine balance between a well-suited lesson plan and the ability to put it all on hold and adapt as need be, from moment to moment.
I offer English conversation skills development and practice, incorporating grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and intonation. My lessons are relaxed and informal, while providing all-round support and guidance, with focused drilling where needed or requested. While nurturing all-round speaking and listening proficiency and overall fluency, I do not prepare students for exams. I start each lesson with informal chat, moving on to discussion of an agreed topic, keeping the conversation lively, stimulating and fluid, introducing common expressions and other enrichments as we go. If exercises are needed or requested, these are done in the middle, before our closing chat. I offer a free trial lesson (unless you've had your free trial with a different tutor), to assess your needs and wants, and for us to get to know each other a little. I can then prepare future lessons, checking with you at the end of each one to ensure you're happy with all aspects. Pease note that I don't provide reading or writing tuition or practice.
Any questions, please send me a message any time. All communication must be through Verbal Planet.