FREE ENGLISH TUITION SESSIONS FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

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Three free sessions of English Language tuition sessions will be given to all secondary students who sign up for 2 Humanities subjects and English Language Tuition. Having all the subjects in one session saves time and money. The sessions are 1.5 hours each. Such a modus operandus also provide a flexibility that is highly valuable because it allows the tutor to give attention to certain specific needs that may vary from week to week. For example for a particular week, a student may have to prepare for an oncoming test in the week or need help for a project or is unclear about one aspect of a subject topic, the tutor can then allocate the appropriate time to address the need(s) of the student. Such sessions have benefited hundreds of students. to qualify for the offer, parents must sign up for the sessions by 20 December. Terms and conditions apply. Come for a trial lesson now! Call 9876177 to make arrangements. Trial sessions will only be offered in December.     Terms & conditions Offer applies only to express and academic students. The tuition sessions have to commence not later than 31 January 2019. Parents have to sign up by the 17 Dec as stated above but can commence the sessions anytime in January so long as it is before 31 of the same month. The three free English tuition  will be spread out over 7 weeks of the sessions.  

Empathy for writers facilitates appreciation of Literature!

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When we read different writer's works, it helps if we are able to empathise with them  - their life, the struggles they have. Writers possess character flaws, of which some can be considered alarming, hence making readers and students empathising with them a challenge. Take for example, Ibsen. Despite  his glittering career and the timeless appeal of his works, Ibsen abandoned his mother for all the great concern about women and their situation shown in most of his works. He only resumed contact with his younger sister when they were both in their twilight years. Tsk tsk tsk, how could he do that? Even more incriminating was the tragic fact that his mother was bullied and stomped upon by his father throughout their entire marriage until his father's death. Ibsen witnessed it when he was living in  his family house. But then Ibsen's literary genius remains spellbinding and to appreciate his works, it helps to understand that he is an aloof character.  And although he did not show any concern for his mother during his illustrious years, he was a man ahead of his time and his works are admired and studied by writers after him and of course by students from all over. Then of course how can i ignore Edgar Allan Poe who achieved posthumous fame but was variously regarded as a practical joker, fraud, a foolish drunkard and worst of all an unbalanced and sadistic criminal. He would have frightened the daylights out of many of us if we had him for our neighbour or relative! Sorry that I am taking great liberty here to drive home a point! But then if we know his tragic life - he lost his parents at a tender age of 4,  he struggled with poverty throughout his entire time - even at the height of his fame and his enormous reputation in France, he was still living on the cusp of impoverishment and his untimely demise at the age of forty make it less difficult to put aside our judgment and appreciate his works and even view him in a sympathetic light.      

Special classes for ACSI, MGS and ACS Barker students

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ONLY FOR FIRST-TIME CALLERS! SPECIAL COMPLIMENTARY SESSIONS FOR 2018!

Complimentary 3 hours of Literature/LA tuition for those who sign up for at least another Humanities subject whether it is History or Geography. Alternatively they can also sign up for English Language as some IP institutions have the language component separately. Terms and conditions apply. Combine 2 to 3 subjects in one session to save precious time and money. Effectiveness proven!                    

Latest round of feedback

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SS FEEDBACK Sec 4 student from Holy Innocents High
"She(my daughter) benefits from your sessions."
Mother of Sec 2 student from CHIJ Katong Convent
"You go through the contents(sic) during lesson and usually more than what the school taught so I could understand better and you mark my work on the spot and gave comments so I know my mistake and u(sic) gave  me a compilation of the techniques to answer different type of questions."
 Sec 3 student from St Margaret's Secondary (History and new SS syllabus)
"Thank you for your dedication and guidance."

Literature Booster Seminar in August/September for ‘O’ level students

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PYGMALIONFullSizeRender (6) With the exams around the corner, I am organising a two-day workshop sessions that impart key  answering techniques, literary writing and textual analysis. The following texts are covered: Julius Caesar Pygmalion Joy Luck Club Lord of the Flies The Road to Memphis       The sessions cover:  1) thematic concerns (3) 2) key passage analysis (1) 3) narrative techniques and literary/dramatic devices 4) question analysis and planning the answer 5)Writing the essay The dates are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Limited seats. Call 98761777 now. Complimentary model answers and phone consultation are provided to offer additional valuable learning opportunities.

Special rates for Sec 3 students doing the new Lit texts.

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Some of the new Lit texts for 2016 onwards

Some of the new Lit texts being used from the 2017 O-level exams onwards


Opening new slots on Mondays,Thursdays, Fridays and weekend evenings. Pure or Elective Literature students will be entitled to a 15 percent off selected fees.Call 9876177 to find out more now.   Terms and conditions apply:
  • only for first-time callers.
  • Session is to commence only after SA1 2016. The commencement date must be before the 10 June, 2016.
    • A second subject is allowed.
 

Keeping a positive mindset in a stressful vocation

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Giving tuition is a calling. Sorry for sounding a tad self-important here but a tutor can and does make a big difference. Although not many will openly acknowledge it, having someone experienced and diligent to help with the one important presentation, the term essay, the class project or an assignment makes life less stressful for students. When the sessions are managed carefully, tuition can build up a child's confidence and improve his or her abilities and skills, not to mention proficiency in the subject matter.Last but not least, tutors make a difference in exams, streaming and promotions to the next level. As much as tutors are often the unsung heroes and heroines, their contributions are significant. Here are some of the feedback received from my students (I will add on as the feedback comes in):
 
  • Mother of Peirce Secondary School Sec 4 student tutored in Lit this year: "Very beneficial. Can see she is improving."
  • Mother of Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary High School Sec 1 student tutored in History, Geography and Lit: "He finds the sessions very helpful. As for Literature, he likes that you explain a lot more than his subject teacher."
  • SJI Sec 4 student in Lit and English this year: "The sessions were good."
  • Sec 2 ACSI student in Literature this year: "My boy said the lessons were beneficial. He understood what you've taught him."
  • Mother of Dunman High year 2 IP student tutored in Lit, History and Geography this year: "Thanks for helping us? Glad that you took him in. He's really looking forward to next year."
  • Sec 4 ACSI student tutored in Lit, History and Social Studies. Was with me since Sec 2. "Her sessions are very good. She is very concise and thorough."
  • Sec 3 CHIJ (St Nic) student tutored in Literature, English and Social Studies this year: "Very beneficial and helpful, especially in Literature which I improved quickly compared to my previous grades. My English comprehension's score was 40 out of 50 and I am now passing my Social Studies."
  • JC 1 student from Meridian Junior College being tutored in H2 Literature this year: "I have really enjoy the sessions so far because I've been enlightened to a lot of stuff in Hamlet that I have not been taught or personally thought of before,"

Some new Lit titles taught in 2015

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NEW LIT TITLES FOR 2015 NEW LIT TITLES FOR 2015 2 It has been one hectic year. As 2015 draws to a close, a new year beckons, and I have been privileged to teach new titles. Not all the new texts are featured here. Some of them are completely new to me, i.e. I have not read them before and some I taught about 5 years or more ago. The trouble or rather the challenge (if I look at it positively) is that for lower sec and IP Lit, the texts change - new ones replaced erstwhile titles. Indeed even for "A" level Lit, the same reality applies and so poor the Lit tutor is always kept busy. So tutoring Lit has to involve more than just pecuniary motives; there must be an abiding passion for the subject, a dedication to helping students appreciate the subject and a strong desire for them to do their best for it. So call me and tell me what texts your child or you the student are doing for next year.

Accolades from students in 2014

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Sec 4 express student from Geylang Methodist Girls (Elect Literature & Social Studies): “She has learnt a lot from you. She said you are a nice teacher too.” Sec 4 express student from Edgefield Secondary (Pure Literature, Social Studies & English) (his younger brother who is in Sec 3 in 2015 will be attending sessions with me for English and Social Studies) “Madam Yu is strict but I have learnt a lot from her.” Sec 3 academic student from St Patrick’s Secondary (Pure Literature & Elect Geography): “He finds it useful and wants to work to get better. He topped the class for Literature and his Geography has improved tremendously too” Mother of Sec 4 express student from ACSI (Literature & Social Studies): “He is enjoying lessons with you. We are very glad to have found you to help him with his Literature and Social Studies.” Father of Sec 2 student from ACS International (IGCSE English and Literature) “J has got a good result for English [including Literature]. Thank you for your guidance and patience to him. Very much appreciated.” Mother of Sec 1 student from ACSI (History and Literature): “He has definitely improve from 60% to 75%. He found it useful especially teaching him how to answer the History and Literature questions.” NORMAN ASLEEP

New announcements for 2014 and 2015 fee structure

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I have not updated some important points about my fee structure because I have been very busy. Pardon for the inconvenience. These announcements are as follows:
  1. I continue not to take upfront fees for the sessions. You pay for every session your child attends. If your child does not turn up for a session, you do not pay.
  2. For new students signing up for 2014 and 15 sessions, you need a deposit of 2 sessions. This is to ensure that you do not cancel the sessions suddenly. You need to give me at least one weeks' notice to stop sessions. There is a small forfeiture of one session if you cancel sessions before the conclusion of the last session for each term.
  3. You can cease the sessions anytime. Just give one week's notice and the above condition applies. As you do not have to pay a month or even a term in advance, you can cease sessions so long as you give a week's notice.This is one big advantage because it offers maximum flexibility to the student. 
  4. You can skip sessions anytime. There is no penalty to pay. You will never be charged for the session you skipped. It is not mandatory to have make-up sessions. 
  5. But since last year I am charging a small fee per subject for each semester ($35 to $75) and for IP/JC and IB Literature, I charge a one-time fee per title (range from $50 to $100).
 

Some Latest Feedback from my students (February 2014)

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From RJC: "He is comfortable with your sessions. He is learning." Feedback from father of Year 1 student doing H2 Literature. From Dunman High: "He finds your explanations very clear." Feedback from mother of Year 2 student doing LA, History and Geography with me. From St Patrick Secondary: "He enjoys your sessions very much." Feedback from mother of Sec 3 student doing Literature with me. From Kent Ridge Secondary: "He is learning from you. He finds  them useful." Feedback from mother of Sec 3 student doing Geography, History, Social Studies and English with me. From National Junior College: "Mdm Yu, you are many times better than my Lit teacher. My essays have improved tremendously. Thanks to you my grades are now up!" Feedback from student doing H2 Literature in her second year. From ACSI (IB): "He says you are the best Literature teacher he ever has!" Feedback from mother of Year 6 student doing Literature with me From ACSI (IB): "They(the sessions) are good and I regret not coming to you sooner." Feedback from Year 6 student doing Literature with me.  

History topics covered

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Ancient Civilisations Industrial Revolution Scientific Revolution Spanish Revolution French Revolution Chinese Revolution Russian Revolution Meiji Restoration Modern World History History of America Ancient SIngapore Modern Singapore Southeast Asia Middle East Modern Japan Modern China World War I World War II Northern Ireland Modern Britain Cold War Detente

Current Literature Texts covered

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The texts I am tutoring now (in addition to unseen prose and poetry and selected poems) are: Lord of the Flies Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry Telltale:11 Stories Where Angels Fear to Tread Death of A Salesman Romeo & Juliet The Piano Lesson Haroun & the Sea of Stories Malgudi Days Little Ironies Roald Dahl's Selected Short Stories The Outsider The Kiterunner The Pearl Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man A Streetcar Named Desire All My Sons The Age of Innocence The Scarlet Letter Jane Eyre The Woman Warrior Waterland Remains of the Day Duchess of Malfi Macbeth Twelfth Night Othello King Lear Julius Caesar Lady Windermere's Fan Mrs Warren's Profession The Importance of Being Ernest Great Gatsby Brodeck's Report Gathering Blue To Kill A Mockingbird The Merchant of Venice The Giver Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Chinese Cinderella Please have the list of titles ready when you call me with your queries. 

New year new titles and what is so special about the Lit tuition here?

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20140201_204733[1]A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Adding a new title is a lot of work but it demonstrates my commitment to help as many students as possible. There are many special features of the Literature sessions. Some of them are as follows:
  • no downloading of online materials from Wikipedia, Sparknotes or Bookrags.
  • no simple relating of events in the book
Instead there will be:
  • understanding the contexts. - relating the texts to certain periods such as modernism, postmodernism, naturalist theatre, etc and to the events and cultural phenomena of the period in which the texts are set.
  • detailed analysis and interpretation of events, actions and dialogue
  • mapping of literary and cultural theories onto the reading of the texts
  • analysing questions and practising answering them.
 

Happy news to announce! Starting 2014 on a happy, positive note!

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80 percent of my students either maintain their distinctions or  move up at least 2 grades.  100 percent of my students scored distinctions for their Combined Humanities - SS with History, Geog or Lit. 90 percent scored distinctions for their EL. 2013 has been a great but challenging year and has proven to be wonderfully rewarding. I am ecstatic my students are doing well!  

Time to add in some new feedback

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"She is comfortable with you and she is learning." Mother of Year 3 student from Nanyang Girls" School (LA, History and Integrated Humanities) "The lessons are very good." Mother of Year 2 student from Dunman High (LA and Humanities) "He enjoys the lessons and has learnt a lot from you. He said you really teach." Mother of Year 2 student from Dunman High (LA and Humanities) "My son says you teach much better than his teacher". Mother of Sec 1 student (English, Literature and Humanities) She finds the sessions with you to be useful. Mother of Year 1 student from RGS (History and Geography) "She finds the sessions very good as she is learning a lot from you. She said you really do know a lot!" Sister of Sec 4 student from Dunman Sec (History, SS and Pure Literature)    

Thoughts on teaching A-level and IB Literature (SOTA/ACS/SJI)

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For A-level Literature, I have just completed teaching 'The Woman Warrior' and 'Waterland'.  What an exhilarating journey for all. Kingston is a genius - so is Graham Swift - both works depict extravagance and necessity. I love abstract stuff - the more abstract the concepts, the more I find it easier to understand and the more I love imparting them to my students. I have decided for all practical purposes and intents to focus on my students' writing this time round, working out with them closely the answers and helping them to perfect their writing, or at least, come close to it. Discussing the book is always fun, full of drama - you can say it is almost a performance but the writing part is tedious but the key to doing well. I have devised a way to help them. It entails a lot of work on my part but it is worth it because it produces results! When I was doing "Chinaman" in NUS, I was pretty affected by the text. I find it a lot more impactful. I shed tears reading of the men strapped precariously on the treacherous slope of the mountains. I learn so much about the past from Literature, in fact as much as from history texts. Maybe that is also another reason for my love for Literature because I am a History buff! In addition to all my JC Lit students,  I am now teaching 'Brodeck's Report to a SOTA student. 'Brodeck's Report' is a gem of a book but without any scholarships on it, at least not in English. So I have to find theories with which I could map the book on, to provide a framework for me to analyse the book. I learnt this during my time doing my Masters in Literary Studies in NUS. Now I am imparting this skill to my students. Sometimes I wonder if I am responsible for all my students going on to do H2 Lit and then majoring in Lit in the university! 🙂 I have a boy from ACSI who has set his sight on Medicine when he first started attending sessions with me and then two months ago, he told me he love the English Language and Literature so much, he is thinking of switching to Law. I told him to stick to medicine and be a playwright on the side. My daughter is in Medicine and writes plays. See one can have the best of both worlds! I like it when I find my students becoming expressive and articulate with me. I just love listening to their stories. I learn as much from them as they from me. A symbiotic interaction is what my sessions are. Every session a fun-learning one in which my students move ever closer to their goals

Making Social Studies interesting, fun and easy to master!

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Social Studies integrates History and Geography and political socialisation. It is an important part of being a responsible citizen. A tutor with a grounding in History and Geography and an awareness of current events helps to make the chapters come alive. Teaching students to identify what the questions - both SBQ and SEQ want is the first step to master the skills of answering questions and getting the distinctions.  Now we are offering heavy discounts for Social Studies for those who take two or more subjects with us. What is more we give free email/phone consultations in between the weekly sessions. We know students do not have time to attend more than one session a week and sometimes they may have questions between sessions and so rather than making them wait till the next session to ask the tutor for help, now they can call me on the phone or email me.  It is part of my commitment and dedication to provide the support for our students to do well!

Super good news to share!

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Most of my Lit students whether they are doing Elective Lit or Pure Lit have been doing well. Just found out another of my former student scored distinctions for English and Literature respectively at the 'O' levels last year. He is from Chung Cheng High (Main). I am happy because when he commenced sessions with me last year, it was already in the second semester and he was rather weak in both subjects. I just love "boasting" about my students' good performance, just like some unabashed proud parent! Anyway he is doing H2 Lit now and has come to me for help. I am really happy because I get to do "The Warrior Woman" by Maxine Hong Kingston again as it is one of his texts for H2 paper! Incidentally he is one of the 4 students who have come back to me for help in H2 Lit! At the same time most of my Sec 4 Lit students are already scoring A2s now for all the tests. So I am keeping my fingers crossed and working doubly hard to ensure that they will do well at the 'O' levels. Admittedly tutoring Literature and English is not easy - some parents are not aware of the tears and anxieties that tutors have to contend with, Tutors have to work with the high expectations of parents which explain why i am weary about taking in students when the exams are only two to three weeks away.  

Enjoying Shakespeare’s plays and doing well in them

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SHAKESPEARE

Shakespeare remains widely read and rightly so - Nanyang Girls, Dunman High, ACS I and Temasek Junior College are among some of the IP institutions doing his plays. Note reinforcements, passage-based question practices and essay-writing are part of  the sessions. We help you with your IOC, your group presentation and the extended essays on his plays. Call 98761777. We have proven results and references.

We also provide tuition for JC students doing Twelfth Night and Othello. Call us now and start having fun with Shakespeare and most importantly doing well for his plays!

All in all, close to 30 plays are covered - probably the most extensive help given for students studying his plays in schools.

Advantages of very small group/paired combined subjects tuition

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Combined Subjects Tuition                                      Single Subject Tuition at a Centre
Class Size Very small group/paired session  Large group of 15 or more
Attention Individual personalised attention  
Subjects covered Two or more subjects at each session Only one at each session
Session per week Only one session per week is all it takes. Two or more per week as each subject requires a separate session.
Price Save at least 15 percent when you take more than 1 subject and yet the student receives individual attention and the session focuses on the school syllabus. End up paying more as the student needs to pay separately for each session.
Fee collection Students pay only for those sessions that they attend. If  you choose to skip a session, which is not encouraged, there is no need to produce MC or a written explanation. No stress over whether refunds can be made. Upfront payment.
 

Customised tuition for IP students in LA & Integrated Humanities – genuinely beneficial for students who truly want to flourish in their IP

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graduation hatThe advantages of IP Lang Arts & Humanities sessions with me are as follows:
  • individual attention: as the groups are small - not more than 4, I am able to give personal attention to each student.
  • texts used in schools are covered. This is probably the only place where whatever texts the student used in schools will be covered in the session. If I am unable to help you with the text because I have not read it or taught it before, I will not take you in.
  • customised sessions that are targeted at the school syllabus. No extra charge if parents want to include a more general component related to Lang Arts.
  • numerous case studies, examples and relevant up-to-date cases are provided. Techniques to answer essays and source-based questions are imparted and I will role-model to show them how it is done. 
  • help for school homework and projects - these are important components of the IP which engages in continual assessment.
  • no upfront payment of fees
  • no charge if you do not turn up; you pay only for the sessions you attend.
The sessions are fun and productive - they benefit the students and help them do well. Our sessions are result-oriented and we assure parents that their children will enjoy the lessons! So sign up for the sessions now and say good bye to spending hours and tearing your hair out trying to figure out how to answer that question or start the project. Stop being frustrated with skimpy Powerpoint slides that do not have sufficient details to help you construct a proper essay. Stop being in a daze because your Humanities teacher zooms from one topic to another! I am here to help you!

Saving time by having more than one subject in one session

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Imagine doing English, Literature and History or English, Social Studies and Literature or Literature, Geography, English and Social Studies in one session! Is it ever possible? Too good to be true or it means nothing to you because your child has a lot of time to have tuition for each subject on different days in a week? Well if  you are interested in saving time and money, then this is for your child. Having multiple subjects save the trouble of having to search for three different tutors to handle three different subjects and setting aside different timings. In today's society, where time is money and parents and students are pulled in different directions by different demands and chores, such an arrangement is heaven-sent because it saves time.  

A-level Literature Tuition matters

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A-level Literature is not for the faint-hearted. This paper is ten times more difficult than the IB Lit paper or for that matter the IB English HL paper. In the same vein, tutoring this subject is not for the weak-hearted either. This is not an easy or fast way to earn money. Is that why I do not have much competition in this area? Too much work for the tutor? Definitely! All it takes is for the tutor to teach 4 students and the poor dear will be inundated with at least 15 different texts all at the same time! Scary thought, right? Yes definitely. Unlike History at H2 in which the same set of  materials can be used for all H2 History students from all the JCs on the island, for Literature this is definitely not the case! Unless there some students from the same JC, it is a set of different texts for each student. Most tutors who do H1 and H2 Literature are obviously tutoring other levels and so parents need to know that the tutors do not multiple time slots for JC students. In other words, the students do not have different time slots to choose from. Not for these few months anyway because I am busy,  Are parents cognizant of the amount of effort that a tutor has to put into helping their college children? Have they seen the number of text options for each paper? Do they know that even when two schools are doing the same paper, they can be using different texts? And usually they do use different texts! I have placed a link to SEAB here to show them the number of texts available for schools to choose for each paper. And this is why I do not like taking students in on the eve of CAs or SAs. There is a lot of back end work to do and  besides a student needs to give the tutor time before he or she can see results. Having said that, I want my students to enjoy the subject and in teaching this demanding syllabus, I prefer to teach my student to engage in interpretation rather than analysis. I  find it more applicable to learning Literature and mastering the subject. Interpretation according to Nietzsch is everything, and I secretly believe that those who can interpret are much smarter. When you interpret, you enter a higher plane. Interpretation happens when you take into account the context, the cultural and political history of that period and the text to form insights and construct meanings.  I have written many times before that applying literary theories is essential to doing well for this paper. And of course, close reading of the text is a must too. Close reading is a skill. Some do close reading and see nothing while others do it and are able to decipher and extract meanings and make interpretations.  Call me if you like to find out more but I only have a few time slots for JC students and I do not travel to the student's place and I am unable to teach all the texts. My students know it and they accept it. This is because they know it is next to impossible to find a tutor who can teach all 7 texts. I have told a few parents who want that that I can never be able to help their college children. So far most students engage my services even when I am unable to teach two to three texts. Be ready to tell me the texts you are doing when you contact me so that I can let you know whether I can help you. Chances are that there are one to two texts that I am unable to handle because I do not have the time to reread them. I am honest about whether I can help a student based on the demands of the parents and if the answer is no today, it will be no even in six months' time or the following year. For these parents, I encourage them to contact the tuition agencies for help. In the meantime if you are willing to accept that there may be some texts that I cannot teach because I do not have the time to read them, you can call me. 🙂

Extensive help for IP & IB students in LA, English and Humanities

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Lang Arts and English Tuition for IP and IB students The advantages of tuition with me are numerous and the areas are listed below: Text studies - I will provide help and guidance in your comprehension of the text whether it is a play, a novel or novella or so that you can write essays or deliver an IOC on it. Critical Literacy - I will help you anticipate the type of questions and teach you the skills to answer them, giving you lots of practices so that you will ace it! Comprehension and summary - I will teach you all you need to know to do well for this section. Coursework - I will help and guide you in your coursework such as extension writing namely journal entries, speeches, reports, brochures, articles, etc Project - IP and IB students have a lot of projects to undertake. I will help you in this area whether it is an extended essay, a script for a radio, TV broadcast or video, an advertisement copy or poster, a research paper, online content or storyboard. Humanities and Integrated Humanities Programme History and Geography will be covered. Skills on working with sources, graphs, tables and visual texts will be taught and ample role-modelling and practices are conducted. Persuasive and argumentative writing strategies are imparted during the sessions to help students craft answers in a clear and logical manner. Once again guidance and help will be given for projects and all manner of coursework. In conclusion, it is timely for me to stress that this is not a centre and so there will be no disruptive change of tutors or upfront payment of fees or deposit.  You do not pay for the sessions you are unable to attend! Only a one-time registration fee of  between $35 and $60 will be charged.

A key to doing well in Literature – there is really no secret to it.

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Really you should be writing now

Now stop giving me feeble excuses about having no time.

As a Literature teacher, I make my students write a fair bit. I also role-model for them to see how an essay should be written. It is one thing to keep on going about themes, character portrayals, mood, atmosphere and narrative structure and techniques, it is equally important to make them write. On this I am pretty insistent. I have students who are lazy (yes I would have to use that word. One parent took offence when I told her that her son was lazy) and it is to their own peril. Unless my students write, I would not be able to correct their mistakes and help them improve. At the end of the day, it is the essays that are marked and graded. Essays are the one final form of assessment that will determine their grades. Of course for the IP/IB students, there is always the IOC but alas for the majority who are sitting for the 'O' and 'N' level exams, there is nothing else that is being assessed, save for the essays.

The importance of consistency and continuity in tuition

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Having the same teacher is important. Regular changes of teachers and tutors are disconcerting because of the disruptive effects on the sessions and hence on the students. It takes time to build up rapport and for the tutor or teacher to earn the trust and confidence of  students, so having a succession of different tutors is a no-no for students. It also takes time for the teacher to help the students and to see results of that help.  

Saying goodbye to the obvious, the superficial and the banal

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A text can be approached in many ways. Take for example, the ever-popular, "Romeo and Juliet".. On a superficial level, the play is about a young couple from feuding families who are not allowed to be together and their attempts to be together results in their tragic deaths. Romeo has a good friend, Mercutio who is killed by Juliet's cousin, Tybalt and Romeo avenges Mercutio's death by killing Tybalt. Now such an interpretation is not wrong, nor inaccurate but there are a lot more to Romeo and Juliet than meet the untrained eye. Many of us tend to take a reductionist view of Romeo and Juliet. Reduce it to the simplest level. As for my sessions, I try to steer my students away from the obvious, avoiding superficial reading of the play and coming up with banal answers to the more insightful, original interpretations of the play, and in the process have fun and most importantly do well! For my sessions, these are the feedback I have received from my students:
  • Mrs Moen is able to flesh out the characters in such a way that I now have a lot more to write about them. In the past I could only manage two paragraphs (Sec 4 student last year who scored an A2 for Pure Literature).
  • My son enjoys your lessons very much. He said he is learning a lot from you ( Mother of Sec 4 student tutored in Lit, History and Social Studies).
  • She loves your Literature sessions. She enjoys your lesson a lot (Mother of Sec 3 student doing Lit and English).
As for 'Things Fall Apart", I do  not even know how to start about how sadly mistaken are some of the ideas that students have been taught about the narrative and the protagonist. Give me a call today and find out more about my sessions.  

IP Literature tuition for Lang Arts

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Lang Arts cover critical literacy and Literature. Many centres claim to teach the Literature component when at best they cover the critical commentary of the unseen poems and prose.  I cover not only the unseen section but also book studies. Book studies are essential to understanding the texts on a deeper level – the hidden messages, the cultural ideologies and aspects of narratology that will help the students provide insightful, original answers. We also introduce literary theories into the sessions where applicable to help our students craft answers that will really “wow” teachers and markers. With regards to the unseen section, how is our approach different from others? While we teach the common devices, we also make our students aware of more advanced devices that are often present in the text but are either ignored or unnoticed by teachers and hence by their students. Questions pertaining to the mood and atmosphere of a scene or an extract, the attitude of the narrator or a character, the use of certain devices like ironies, symbols and motifs, the use of diction are examined to see their impact and the impressions they make on the reader and their contributions to the development of the theme, plot and character development.

Get Literature, English and Humanities tuition now and save time and money!

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Save time and money by taking up combined subjects tuition: History, English, Literature, Geography and Social Studies - pick your combination of two or three subjects and save money from having to pay a few different tutors for the different subjects and save time from having to set aside at least 1.5 hours for each subject. Those who want Literature tuition in addition to two other subjects will be entitled to a complimentary session. For more information, please click here to find out.    

Help for “Crucible”, “Chrysalids”, “Things Fall Apart”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Telltale: 11 stories”, etc

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I cover all the outgoing texts (those which will be tested for the last time in 2013) and the new titles for 2014 and 2015. I have already helped countless students in the above titles. Currently I have many who are sitting for these texts in 2013. Book studies, examination of themes, issues, characterisations, language and narrative techniques will be carried out. In addition there will be plenty of guided practices. Skills for unseen poetry and prose will be imparted and accompanied by guided practices and role-modelling.

Effective & comprehensive Language Arts tuition that is fun and inspiring

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The tuition given is comprehensive because not only is the English component covered, the Literature portion is covered as well. Not many centres provide help for the Literature component. Here I ensure that both sections - the language paper, the texts and the unseen portion are thoroughly covered. Tutoring Language Arts or Lang Arts for short has always been fun. The Language component consists basically of comprehension/critical literacy and essay-writing but depending on the school, can also include film studies, critical commentaries of articles and news and feature writing. The Literature component consists of key passage analysis, essays based on set texts and analysis of unseen prose and poems. Lang Arts can be challenging for students because of the emphasis on expository writing as most of them are used to narrative writing. This is where imparting of skills, followed by guided practice and role-modelling are all crucial in helping students master the skills. Grammar is also included for those who are weak in it. The Literature component can be quite arduous for those who do not like reading. This is where the tutor can make the difference by showing to students the ways to approach the text - the contexts, subtexts, cultural ideologies and for the upper levels, a little knowledge of literary theories always helps. Helping the student in coursework is essential in pushing up the grade - I promise to help the student in the assignments whether they be scripts for radios, TVs, preparations for debates, individual oral commentaries and group presentations, individual reflections, or extended essays. For more information click here.  

Tutoring Literature – some new thoughts

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Teaching Literature and Language Arts is challenging and rewarding. It seems to get harder, not easier because MOE is now regularly reviewing the titles. In the past a tutor only needs to know two texts - a play and prose and he or she can teach any Literature student! Now I need to know close to 15 texts just to teach the 'O" and "N" level students! So if one is only in it for the money, then tutoring Lit is surely not the path to take! Too much effort and responsibilities! Hahaha! Tutoring Literature requires a lot of passion. When a tutor has the passion, she or he will put in the effort required which means reading and more reading, analysing the texts and researching on them. In addition, a committed tutor will make the session interesting and seek ways to engage students. As and when possible, the tutor will also impart approaches to reading texts - a skill that is worth a million dollars! I will be putting up feedback from my new students on Literature and Humanities.

Tis the season of Miller and Wilde! Ho! Ho! Ho!

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Miller and Wilde for all levels
O-level Literature tuition for 2013 syllabus

Miller and Wilde for all levels

It is truly the season of Arthur Miller and Wilde. Schools - both IP, express streams and JCs are now selected the works of these two great playwrights. I am just glad that I get to teach Miller's and Wilde's works at long last. I would not pretend to be able to teach the texts unless I have a strong grasp of them. it is not only about knowing the respective texts but also understanding the authors' lives and experiences. Crucible Many of my students who are doing "Crucible" confessed to me that they did not understand the play. When I asked if they had found the play troubling, the same students replied no. Well at the end of just two sessions, their views took a 180 degree turn. Then there is the "Death of a Salesman" which is the new text for 2014 and 2015 exams.Like all Miller's plays, they grab  you and do not let go. His plays deal with serious moral issues and are extremely relevant in today's world. MOE's new Lit syllabus is really refreshing - it is good of them to keep changing the texts regularly. I am happy to announce that I can teach close to 75 titles in both the lower and upper secondary levels, IP, IB and JC. 

A sampling of 2 new A-Level Texts – a synopsis of my pedagogy

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Lady Windermere's Fan is another of Wilde's dramatic masterpieces circumscribed by conventions – the presence of formidable dowagers, English tea rituals and endless rounds of small and early dances and luncheons, suggesting both the comfort and the emptiness of such routines. This glittering comedy of masks and manners displays many of Wilde's successful dramatic techniques and dilemmas. For my A-level students, I like to examine with them the dramatic devices, techniques and the aesthetic considerations not to mention framing the play with critical theories and Oscar's views about life .  In addition the  implication of Wilde as a late Victorian and his modernist impulse in his works will be imparted to my students which will be put to good use in appreciating and analyzing Lady Windermere's Fan.   The Duchess of Malfi is a challenging text to read, made richer by the many possible ways to look at the text. While on the one hand, it engages in the discursive construction of women and the notion of women as a female ruler, on the other, it undertakes the examination of morality and corruption and the sense that value and meaning depend on the individual's ability to rise above a corrupt and corrupting society by living according to his own principles, regardless of consequence. Is it a political play? A revenge play? Or can it be read allegorically? Whichever way we choose to look at it, Historicism is needed to help us understand the play and the many issues it raises.

Call me now 98761777 to book a slot for next  year or to have sessions during the vacation.

“Waterland” by Graham Swift

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IMG_0871[1] "Waterland" is a postmodern novel that investigates historiography, narration, identity and epistemology. It is admittedly a challenging text to read given its postmodernist  features. As with all my sessions which are geared towards helping students enjoy the novel and craft insightful, thought-provoking essays for class tests and the exams, I will cover:
  • a brief introduction to postmodern fiction
  • Graham Swift and his works
  • postmodern features in "Waterland"
  • issues and Themes in the text
  • ways  to approach it
I will in the process help students
  • acquire a literary vocabulary related to the narrative
  • answer questions on the novel
 

Something to share – it is about A-level Literature…

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I know teaching Literature is tough and there is a lot of backend work. I have made an effort to read a new text just to teach one or two students. Take for example the play by John Webster, "The Duchess of Malfi" which is what I am going to plow through to help my two students. I am grateful that I am able to choose only those students who appreciate the hard work put in by Literature tutors like myself. Instead of engaging in aggressive bargaining and expecting to pay 'O' level rates for A-level literature tuition, they are even willing to accept my help when I tell them I am unable to tutor all the texts, They are thankful and appreciative and as they gain confidence and their writing improves, I am similarly inspired and touched by their trust in me and commitment to improving their grades. This way we form a team, one that is motivated and dynamic, committed to helping the student do his or her best. Teaching Literature entails multiple components:
  • Understanding the text on a literal level
  • Appreciating the contexts and texts (approaching the text with Historicism)
  • Analysing the themes, issues, characters, structures, styles, etc
  • Using relevant literary theories to approach the text
  • Appropriating the literary vocabulary and
  • Answering essay questions on the text
Answering questions is a whole new area. I believe that students should make it a practice to answer questions.
Next year, I will be expanding the list of titles I do to include "Waterland" by Graham Swift, and rereading "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen, Edith Wharton's "The Age of Innocence" etc.
I want to let my students know this - "thank you for being reasonable and trusting me to help you. I give you my assurance that despite my busy teaching schedule, I will do my best to help you. I need some time and for my JC 1 students, if I cannot find the time to help you with one of the texts this year, I will definitely get to it by early next year." So far teaching Literature is like climbing Mount Everest but the view gets more marvellous as I scale the heights. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.
 

Common themes in Literature texts

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  There are recurring themes in all our Literature texts and they are namely, prejudice (whether in the form of racial discrimination, class snobbery, or religious persecution), courage, love, family and kinship, patriarchy, friendships, survival and community. Other less common themes are colonialism, war and survival. These themes are essential in inculcating certain desirable values in students. Many of us can still recall the stigmatisation of Afro-Amercians (negroes) in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the result of the prejudice - persecution and perversion of justice. The books we read make their imprints on our minds. Those with strong messages and codas will be forever etched in our minds.

‘O’ level Literature tuition – the only tutor in Singapore who teaches all the titles

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All the 'O' level titles are covered. I mean it - every single one of them. Imagine the work! In my lessons, I cover settings, characterisations, the roles of characters, themes, plot, and narratology. I also discuss texts and contexts to broaden and deepen my students' understanding and appreciation of the text(s).. So far even my sec 1 and 2 students are already topping their classes in their assignments, projects and exams! As for my Sec 3 students, many of them are already scoring A1s in their mid-year exams. I love to see them brimming with confidence and satisfaction when they begin to show improvement and go on to score distinctions! As for my previous batches of 'O' level Pure and Elect Lit students, half of them scored A2 and above and the remainder attained B3 for their Combined Humanities and Pure Lit. At my commencement on 9 July 2012.

Ways of reading a Text

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There are so many ways of approaching a text; the possibilities are almost endless - which can be daunting and exciting. Whatever way we approach a text together with our students, we need to know the following: the exam requirements and expectations the student's abilities Armed with these parameters, I will then proceed to give my students that edge - so that their answers are impressive, their presentations profound and their long essays  clever. My students are excited about the texts - they always are before the session is over even when they have hated the text before.  The challenge for me is to help them appreciate the text even if the story is sad and the characters have tragic experiences.

ACSI Year 4 Language Arts: Chinua Achebe and other texts

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Help is available for ACS I year 4 as well as other levels. Help include all forms of extended writing, IOCs and preparation for the final year exams. "No Longer At Ease" is one of my favourite text and it takes off where "Things Fall Apart" by continuing the story of Okonkwo's grandson, Obi. A satirical narrative that is both disturbing and comical, the story exposes the tensions and the contradictions of Nigeria before independence. I have come to appreciate Achebe's works and just so glad that I have completed a module in postcolonial theory and another in literary theories in NUS for my MA in English Language and Literature. Using ideology is another approach to read the novel.

Teaching the New English Syllabus

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The new syllabus is cool. Wish we had it during our time!

Being foremost a Literature person, I am qualified to teach the new English syllabus. The use of literary devices, words and sentences and their impact  are right up my alley, not to mention four semesters of doing my MA(English Language and Literature) at NUS means I am adept at close reading. Reading and analysing close to a 100 titles ranging from primary texts to critical readings at NUS has made me sensitive to tone, atmosphere, mood, mode of characterisation and the subtle nuances of words and phrases.

Moreover my grounding in grammar and sentence skills and years of tutoring the erstwhile syllabus means that I am equipped to teach the new syllabus as the new assessment retains some of the former features such as writing summary and essays. I like the variety and the skills required to do well in this paper are more diverse and challenging. 

This is why I find the new English syllabus so fun!

In a nutshell, I cover all aspects of the new English syllabus and they are listed below:

Reading and Comprehension Skills Critical literacy of both narrative and expository texts Answering comprehension questions Deciphering and evaluating visual texts Writing Skills Expository, descriptive, recount and narrative writing Situational Writing Grammar and Sentence Skills. Oral Communication Reading Aloud Verbal Interaction Listening

English Literature, English and Humanities Help Available here

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I provide tuition in the following:
English Language (GCE 'A'/'O'/'N' levels, IGCSE, IP, IB Paper A and B), English Literature (Lower Sec, Upper Sec, IP and IB),Social Studies (GCE "O"/"N" levels and IP), Geography (Lower and Upper Sec, Elective Geog and IP), History (Lower and Upper Sec, IP and IB), Theory of Knowledge (IP and IB) and Project Work, Presentations, IOCs and Extended Essays.