‘By good fortune I have lighted well
On this young man, for learning and behaviour
Fit for her turn, well read in poetry
And other books—good ones, I warrant you.’
The Taming of the Shrew – 1.2.113-117
William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is not a glowing endorsement of the tutoring industry. While the tutor in question — one Lucentio — may be ‘well read in poetry and other books’, he is also heavily disguised and intent on marrying his new student Bianca.
But don’t let this put you off! Back in the real world, Lucentio is an example of why you should hire a tutor ‘well read in poetry’. With their literary knowledge, English tutors can introduce students to fantastic creations such as the rogue Shakespearean tutor, and open their eyes to the joys of fiction.
If you are still not convinced, however, here are ten other positive outcomes from hiring an English tutor for your child.
Confidence and academic growth
If you think that your child is falling behind in class or is struggling with reading and writing, an English tutor could be enormously beneficial. In a one-to-one situation, children often feel more relaxed. They can go at their own pace, ask questions and identify what they are finding difficult. At Hampstead and Frognal Tutors, 100% of parents agreed that the tutors helped improve GCSE and A-level academic performance.
First choice schools
An 11+ tutor can boost the chances of your child getting into the most competitive London schools. By focusing on verbal reasoning, comprehension tests and essay writing skills, an English tutor can powerfully enhance a child’s exam performance. At Hampstead and Frognal Tutors, 100% of students who received continuous weekly tuition over two terms or more gained a place at their first or second choice school.
Great exam results
Whether your child is writing his GCSE English Literature coursework or sitting her A Level English Language paper, an English tutor could help them to unlock their potential. Students often struggle with essay planning and time management, and one-to-one tutoring sessions equip them with the exam technique that they need to succeed. Tutors also familiarise pupils with what to expect in upcoming exams by going through past papers and mark schemes.
Close reading is an important part of Oxford and Cambridge interviews and students are often unsure how to approach it. Being presented with an unseen poem or passage is always daunting. However, an English tutor can alert students to the fine-grained nuances of language, form and structure, helping them to shine in Oxbridge interviews. They can also carry out mock interviews and help with personal statements.
If English is not your child’s first language, school can be tough. Not only English, but history, geography and science depend upon a confident grasp of the language. An English tutor could help your child get up to speed and to flourish in the classroom.
Some children are not naturally enthusiastic readers. For one reason or another, reading is a chore as opposed to a pleasure. However, this is often because they are yet to find stories that capture their imagination. Unlike school teachers, private tutors are able to dedicate their full attention to individual students. They can find out what they like — as well as what they don’t — and direct their reading accordingly.
Getting to grips with certain texts
As students reach their GCSEs and A Levels, they often come across particularly knotty texts and authors. For some it’s Shakespeare plays. For others — many others — it’s Chaucer. I know from bitter experience that it takes a while to love the Wife of Bath as she swaggers across the pages of The Canterbury Tales. What is more, it is easy to drain the joy out of literary creations. Once you have listened to twenty five schoolgirls stutter their way through Act V of King Lear, it is hard to feel too affectionate towards the mighty Bard. A good English tutor can revive these texts, however. They can show students that beneath the strange language and the confusing word order there is humour, emotion and vitality.
English tutors can be very helpful if your child has dyslexia or another condition that causes problems with reading, writing and spelling. With private mentoring you can be sure that your child is receiving the attention and the help they need to overcome any difficulties that they face. In a one-to-one situation, tutors are also more likely to spot and flag up signs on an underlying problem.
It is sometimes the case that students do not feel challenged at school. Large class sizes or a lack of resources can result in talented pupils slipping under the radar. Private tuition can rectify this, allowing children to fulfil their academic potential. Reading lists and new essay titles, along with lively conversation and debate can stretch a student’s minds and propel them towards further study.
A long term love of literature
Whether your child is sitting the 11+ or an A Level English exam, a good English tutor can transform their attitude to the subject. At its best, a tutor’s knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm can spark a life long love of literature.