English

International Scholars English Tutors have a passion for English Literature. IST English Literature and Language Tutors have achieved excellent results in their GCSE, A-Levels, IB, SAT, ACT, AP, and university courses. Recently IST English Tutors have helped their IGCSE, IAL, IB, SAT, and AP students increase their understanding of the complex text of Shakespearean language and themes to attain outstanding exam scores on Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, Othello, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In addition, IST English Literature Tutors enjoy teaching the linguistic conventions and grammatical terminology when studying dramatic texts such as Hobson’s Choice by Harold Brighouse; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon; A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller; An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley; Blood Brothers by Willy Russell; Kindertransport by Diane Samuels; Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka; and Journey’s End by R C Sherriff.

Furthermore, an important skill taught by IST English Literature Tutors to their students is how to read critically and efficiently, to recognise literary devices and how best to connect them to their critical analytical commentaries and the original themes and character development intended by the authors. IST English Literature Tutors have vast experience discussing Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe; Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; My Antonia by Willa Cather; In Custody by Anita Desai; Great Expectations, Hard Times, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; Spies by Michael Frayn; Silas Marner by George Eliot; The Secret River by Kate Grenville; Lord of the Flies by William Golding; The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne; The Woman in Black by Susan Hill; The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera; A Separate Peace by John Knowles; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The English Teacher by R K Narayan; Animal Farm by George Orwell; Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton; The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R L Stevenson; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Anita and Me by Meera Syal; and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Also, IST English Literature Tutors have a great deal of experience teaching poetry students how to write excellent essays and examination answers by teaching the students how to develop deeper understandings of the literal and figurative meanings by explaining the poems in their relevant contexts. These detailed and complex ideas are best conveyed through quotations that explain the effectiveness of the literary devices deployed by the poets, especially as they apply to character and theme. Some of the most popular poems studied include: ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ by Wilfred Owen; ‘Tears, Idle Tears” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; ‘Because I Could Not Stop for Death’ by Emily Dickinson; ‘Cold in the Earth’ by Emily Bronte; ‘Elegy for my Father’s Father’ by James K Baxter; ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling; and ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost.

Most of IST’s English Literature students attend boarding schools in the UK or the US, international schools in Hong Kong, or IST, as self-study private candidates, who have chosen either CIE or Edexcel. Some of IST’s younger English language students, who would like to attend the top boarding schools in America, like Philips Exeter Academy or Milton Academy, need help preparing for the SSAT or ISEE, which is also the entrance exam for HKIS. While other young IST English students, who would like to attend top boarding schools in the Britain, like Eton College or Wycombe Abbey, may need to prepare for the Common Entrance Exam at 11+ / 13+ or the UKiset. In either case, young students must have extensive vocabularies and the ability to display a full comprehension of their readings on multiple choice questions, short written answers, longer essays, and spoken responses during an aural exam or interview. Lessons will focus on analysing the language of a broad range of multicultural poetry, prose, and plays. IST students will learn the grammatical and syntactical parts of speech and punctuation, especially speech or quotation marks when they are being used to summarise or provide evidence to support logically reasoned arguments. To teach, IST Tutors will encourage idea generation and provide model answers. To practice and drill, IST English Tutors shall give students many opportunities to write creative stories in the first person and the third person, descriptive essays based on picture stimuli or personal experiences, personal argumentative opinion essays, and book reviews; and provide meaningful feedback. These same skills are required by older IST students, who are targeting top sixth form colleges in the UK, like Cardiff (CSFC), Concord College, and Queen Ethelburga’s, or our IELTS or TOEFL students, who have received offers from the top universities in the UK, USA, Canada, or Australia.

English Tutor, 2021- present

Miss Valerie Kwok was awarded the  Harvard Book Prize Scholarship and the Youde Scholarship before being awarded the The D. H. Chen Foundation Scholarship to study Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford (First Class Honours) Valerie is an avid reader. She enjoys spending most of her free time reading English Literature. In addition to English Language and Literature, Miss Kwok is available to tutor IELTS, TOEFL, LNAT, and University Admissions.

English Tutor, 2021- present

Mr Kieran Bailey attended Christ Church at Oxford University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in History with First Class Honours. Mr Bailey also worked as an English Tutor at Aitchison College. In addition to English Language and Literature, Kieran taught History and Debating to junior and senior secondary students. While studying for his A-Levels at Taunton School, Kieran came top in his year in History, English Literature, Fine Art, Critical Thinking and Classics.

Mr Bailey is well acquainted with English Language and English Literature public examinations. His strongest areas of study include Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and Ian McEwan’s Atonement as well as the plays of Shakespeare (King Lear especially) and Tennessee Williams. He has closely analysed the poetry of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath to A Level standard. At Oxford, Kieran received a distinction in his dissertation on Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: in this project, Kieran spent time closely analysing a literary text, situating it within its intellectual and cultural context and engaging with modern criticisms, including psychoanalysis and postcolonialism. These are necessary skills in undergraduate, A Level, IB and GCSE courses. At school level, close engagement with the text, contextual awareness, the ability to engage with a range of interpretations and clear, concise writing, are essential to gaining the highest marks. Kieran has experience performing these tasks with such texts as Hobbes’ Leviathan, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Vico’s New Science, Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, Galland’s translation of the Arabian Nights, Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Mandrake among others. This experience provides Kieran with the ability to communicate to students how to situate their studies within the artistic, cultural, social and political frameworks of a period in time and to approach examinations and coursework with imagination and a close eye on the rubrics used by examiners.

English Tutor, 2021- present

Miss Nikita Hayward first started tutoring while at secondary school and has spent several years working in the education sector after graduating from Oxford University with a BA History. Nikita has worked as a Teaching Assistant, Private Tutor, Exams Assistant and as a Tutor for several local charities. In addition, Nikita has also worked as a Learning Support Assistant for students with Special Educational Needs (SEN). 

Miss Hayward is passionate about making learning accessible to all students, particularly students who have English as a second or additional language (ESL).  Furthermore, Nikita has tutoring and teaching experience in India and Bangladesh as well as in the UK and is passionate about sharing a love of reading and the ways in which literature is crafted through language techniques and rooted in its historical context.

As a committed and organized tutor, Nikita tries to engage students from all backgrounds and at every level. Nikita’s work with SEN students has led to an understanding that the needs of each student are unique. As a history graduate, Nikita is particularly interested in pre-1914 literature.  

Miss Hayward has experience tutoring the poetry of Philip Larkin, Christina Rosetti, Robert Browning, John Milton, Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, Sujata Bhatt, and John Agard, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, and Siegfried Sassoon. Nikita has also taught Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Anthony & Cleopatra, and Romeo & Juliet. Furthermore, Miss Hayward is able to help write more developed literary commentaries on Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Lord of the Flies, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorain Gray, Mrs Dalloway, Dracula, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Frankenstein, Never Let Me Go, Atonement, The Handmaid’s Tale, A View from the Bridge, A Streetcar Named Desire, Doctor Faustus, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, Pride and Prejudice, Animal Farm, 1984, Rebecca, Life of Pi, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and The Bloody Chamber.

Nikita is also available to tutor History.

Senior English Tutor, 2021- present

Ms Martha Swift joins IST as Senior English Tutor, who is a  Commonwealth Scholar and DPhil in English at the University of Oxford. She completed her BA (Hons) in History and English Literature at the University of Melbourne and her MSt in World Literatures at the University of Oxford. She has tutored extension courses in English Literature and Creative Writing for students in Hong Kong for the past 18 months, and she has further experience designing and delivering literacy workshops for schools in the United Kingdom and Australia. Through the University of Melbourne, Martha also acts as a mentor and advisor for final year high school students applying to college and university and for undergraduate students considering further study and scholarship applications. Her own writing has appeared in It’s Freezing in LA!, ArtBlog, and Spike: the Meanjin Blog, and she has served on the editorial boards of fiction and nonfiction publications at Oxford, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Martha is also a Senior Tutor in History.

Senior English Tutor, 2020 – present

Mr Callum Meaney, an Oxford graduate, BA Hons in English Language and Literature 1st Class, is on a mission to make English make sense for everyone.  Mr Meaney has been tutoring students in Language and Literature between the ages of 10 and 16 since 2016, and spent 10 days in Zambia a few years ago teaching English as a Foreign Language. Callum takes advantage the Oxford tutorial approach to help his students stand out by giving them a crash course in close reading to show them that they can master any text put in front of them with these tools, and prioritising a rigorous familiarity with course mark schemes so that students can be confident that their answers are structured in the right way. His last student that he tutored over the last two-years was science-oriented and was struggling to express his often thoughtful insights in a manner that examiners could reward. Under Callum’s tuition, the student went from a B prediction to an A* in his final exams because Callum demystified the marking process, and showed him that English, although appearing inscrutable, is actually grounded fundamentally in logical analysis. 

Callum tutors 11+, 13+, UKiset, IGCSE, GCE A-Level, IB Diploma, SAT English, AP English Language and Composition, TOEFL, and IELTS.

English Tutor, 2020 – present

Ms Linda Wickersham, who is an examiner for the International Baccalaureate English A Paper 1 and the Extended Essay, joins IST  as an English Language and Literature Tutor. Ms Wickersham has also worked as an  IB Written Assignment Examiner, an English Department Chair, an Extended Essay Coordinator, and an English HL Classroom Teacher; her students’ passing rate was 99%. In addition to teaching IB English, Linda has twenty-nine years of experience teaching AP English and counselling college admissions process, and coaching application essays. Linda has also been tutoring SAT and ACT to online students in the USA. Teaching English language and literature to teenagers has been her life’s work, and she loves nothing more than nurturing students and watching them bloom into the people they are meant to become.

English Tutor, 2018 – present

Ian Thomas is a solicitor of the Supreme Court in England and Wales. He sat as a Permanent Magistrate in Hong Kong for over twenty years. As a lawyer, Ian believes that the law is based on the meaning of language and that the language of the law should be simple and easy to understand. He therefore belongs to a global group that is dedicated to making and keeping the language of the law simple to understand, clear and elegant. Lawyers are wordsmiths and should always bear in mind that the law is about communication and clarity. Over the years, Ian has listened to much bad English in court and is determined that students of the language should understand how much pleasure a mastery of English literature can bring.

Ian is firmly of the view that lawyers and non-lawyers alike should should read and understand a wide variety of English books and texts. In this way, readers of English literature will gain a fuller understanding of life, culture and people than is possible from their immediate surroundings and environment.

Ian studied English language and English literature at school, gaining ‘O’ and ‘A’ level GCE passes. He also passed the examination in ‘The Use of English’. Ian earned a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Queen Mary and a Master of Law (LLM) from HKU.

Ian has read widely, not only in terms of chronology but in terms of the scope of the English-speaking world. He has read the classics such as Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’, Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, including ‘Sonnet 116’ ‘The Merchant of Venice’ ‘Othello’, ‘King Lear’ and the history plays such as ‘Henry IV Parts I and II’ and ‘Richard III’. He has delved into the world of Victorian England through Charles Dickens (‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Bleak House’) as well as coming up to date with such masterpieces as Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ and ‘The Four Quartets’ and Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast’ trilogy.

Ian acknowledges his Welsh roots by having read the ancient tales in ‘The Mabinogion’ as well as the more recent exploration of Welsh culture in Dylan Thomas’ ‘play for voices’, ‘Under Milk Wood’, and the poem raging against the travails of old age, ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’.

Ian’s interest in international texts have led him to such diverse works as Mark Twain’s ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’, Alan Paton’s ‘Cry The Beloved Country’ and Harper Lee’s classic story of prejudice and the power of law and reason ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. He finds that works such as those of John Steinbeck’s ‘Cannery Row’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ are eerily relevant to modern circumstances.

In student sessions Ian has mentored extensively on ‘A View From The Bridge’ by Arthur Miller, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Julius Caesar’ by William Shakespeare, ‘Saint Joan’ by George Bernard Shaw, ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Arthur Conan Doyle and ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. He has conducted extensive practice sessions using IB, IGCSE and GCSE past examination papers.

Above all, Ian hopes to transfer his love of the rich meaning, rhythms and significance of the entire range of English Literature to students and to show them that they can enjoy English texts in their own right as well as preparing themselves to do well in examinations on such texts.

English Tutor, 2020 – present

Mr Henry Raikes is currently in his final year of study at the University of Oxford. Whilst studying at Taunton School, he attained two A*s in English and History, and an A in Classics. In his final year at school, he mentored and tutored younger pupils as part of the school’s scholarship program.

Having studied English Literature to A-Level, Henry has experience of the IGCSE, A-Level and IB curricula, including many of their canonical texts like Jane Eyre, All My Sons, A Streetcar Named Desire, Mansfield Park, the poetry of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, and of course a handful of the plays of William Shakespeare. His personal favourites encompass some of these classics – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, as well as works from outside of the English-speaking world: the ‘magic journalism’ of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski and the decadent richness of the works of Yukio Mishima for example.

Henry lessons will focus on the development of skills of literary criticism and textual analysis, as well as of the student’s general contextual understanding of the social, cultural environments within which each text was produced. Technical writing and critical thinking skills that are essential for top grades in English Literature examinations will also be taught.

Principal English Tutor, 2005 – present

Mr Don Ho is the Founder of International Scholars Tuition. He has been tutoring English in Hong Kong since 2000. Don has tutored many Hong Kong students who were preparing for English Winchester Entrance Exams, King’s Scholarship Papers at Eton College, IB Diploma Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL), AS and A2 Level GCE, IAL, IGCSE, Common Entrance Exam (CEE) at 13+ and 11+, Common Academic Scholarship at 13+, UKiset, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, and SAT.

As an English Language and Literature Tutor, Don has successfully tutored an IB Diploma student from Sevenoaks School (UK), formerly of Wai Yan College (HK), who now attends LSE (London School of Economics) in how to write literary criticism essays that best demonstrate the student’s abilities to understand the explicit and implicit meanings in the poems The Road Not Taken by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Robert Frost, Death of Naturalist by Seamus Heaney, who won Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, and the Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe. To IB Diploma English Literature students from South Island School and West Island School who were preparing for the internally assessed Individual Oral Commentary (IOC) and the Individual Oral Presentation (IOP), Don has tutored the beautifully chilling novel, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by German writer Patrick Suskind; the viciously innocent novel, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima; the courageously feminist novel, Woman at Point Zero by Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi; the tragically spirited novel, Of Mice and Men by Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck; the passionately violent drama, A Streetcar Named Desire written by Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright Tennessee Williams; and the passionately unrestrained play, The House of Bernarda Alba by the Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca. To an A-Level student from Kellet School, Don tutored William Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Don tutored his students on how to critically analyse the texts and logically structure arguments, in addition to working on improving confidence and presentation skills in order to engage an audience.

To IGCSE English Language and Literature students from KGV (King George V) and Harrow International School (HK), Don tutored on how to recognize and appreciate the different ways writers use language, literary devices, structure, and form for effect to create and shape meanings. Texts covered included Shakespearean romantic comedy, The Tempest; the romantically simplistic novel, The Sound of Waves, which was awarded the Shincho Prize, by Japanese author Yukio Mishima; and the turbulently inspiring play, An Enemy of the People by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen; The Stories of Ourselves: The University of Cambridge International Examinations Anthology of Stories in English and Songs of Ourselves: The University of Cambridge International Examinations Anthology of Poetry in English.

For IB Diploma English Literature students from Shatin College and Island School, Don has tutored Antigone, the Greek Tragedy by Sophocles and The Catcher in the Rye, the novel filled with adolescent angst, by J.D. Salinger. These lessons focused on how to best write commentaries using quotations and detailed references in order to display a thorough knowledge of the content of texts.

IB MYP English and literature students from Victoria Shanghai Academy were tutored using the dystopian novel The Giver by Lois Lowry and the romantic Shakespearian romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Theme, motifs, and symbols, were emphasized during these tutorial lessons, as well as plot and character development. The graphic novels Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang were tutored to students studying literature at CDNIS.

The politically tragic drama Julius Ceasar by William Shakespeare; the intensely jealous classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte; the poetically autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou; and the compassionately humane The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, which is set in Hong Kong, have been tutored by Don to IGCSE English Literature students from French International School (FIS).

During holiday breaks and study leaves, British boarding school GCSE students studying at Taunton School and Badminton School were tutored in English Literature by Don on texts including the humorously somber Death of a Salesman and the delusionally devastating drama, A View from the Bridge, which were both written by American playwright Arthur Miller; The Great Gatsby, written by fellow-American author F.Scott Fitzgerald; and the comically romantic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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