Private English tutoring in London and online
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Toby — our featured English tutor in London
Toby graduated from Oxford in 2012 with a degree in English Language and Literature. He then completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at New York University.
Toby has over 1000 hours' tutoring experience in English Language and English Literature, including a lot of teaching for 11+ and 13+ exams.
He has also taught English Language and English Literature in schools.
A Fun and Easy Way to Become a Better Writer
A question often posed to me by the parents of my students: “What can my son/daughter do to improve their writing?”. I get this from the mothers and fathers of GCSE students, of A Level students, of younger children, and of more mature learners. “Well,” I usually respond, raising a scholarly eyebrow, “does she read for pleasure?” More often than not this is met with an unimpressed look, bordering on disdain. “Of course she does. She burnt her way through all the Harry Potters.” “Ah,” I say, “and does she write letters?”
I want you to take up a new pastime: the art of letter writing. How old do you think Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, was when he wrote the following New Year’s greeting to his friend?
Any guesses? He was nine years old. Articulate little fellow, wasn't he! This is everything a good letter ought to be: amusing, opinionated, and affectionate. How did he get to be so good at expressing himself through the written word at such a young age? Great writers of the past, from Cicero to John Keats, have always honed their writing skills by composing short notes to entertain their friends, and to spread news and gossip. In our time, social media sites, instant messaging, and the ubiquity of mobile phones, threaten to displace this historic form of communication.
Of course, it is a huge drag to gather together paper, pen, and stamps, to then look up an address, and walk down to a postbox. Not to mention the unpleasantness of licking the adhesive strip at the top of an envelope. I'd be the last person to blame you for thinking it's not worth the effort. But thankfully our age has also made letter-writing easier and quicker than it has ever been before — we have emails.
So, my advice to anyone who wants to improve their writing, whether they have an English Language GCSE looming over the horizon or not, is this: sit down at your laptop two or three evenings a week and write a thoughtful, lengthy email to a friend you haven’t seen in some time. Or a distant member of your family. The aim is to be as interesting as possible. Try to imagine the person you address is sitting in the room with you eagerly listening. Make it personal. Tell an anecdote that has recently taken place in your life. Talk about something you feel strongly about. Ask for your correspondent’s opinions on a problem you have. Think about what advantages the long-form email has over the comparatively short text messages, and make use of them. Of if you prefer, just give up TV and video games, and spend more time reading.
We offer English tutoring at a wide variety of levels, from young learners (7+, 11+, 13+, etc.) to older learners (GCSE, IGCSE, A Level, IB, Pre-U, etc.) and even to adult learners (those doing undergraduates or Masters courses, or learning just for fun).
Our qualified English tutors have been hand-picked by teaching experts (our longest-standing, most successful tutors, some of whom are PGCE qualified teachers) in our thorough selection process.
We offer five varied English tuition rates to suit all budgets, with prices depending on the tutors' qualifications and their total number of hours of private tuition or classroom teaching experience.