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.

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. 🙂

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.