My specialist subjects are history, philosophy (both regular and art history) and sociology. I also regularly teach psychology, music (theory and practice), English (language and literature) and maths amongst other topics. I tutor to a wide range of students, from 5 to 89 years of age.
My main interest in tutoring comes from two areas, first, my interest in working with pupils on a one-to-one basis to solve their educational problems as well as my general love of disseminating information and knowledge to students and, second, I have found working with students regularly informs my other work activities in an invaluable way.
Working with students I learn more about my own creative practices and methods than I ever could without them.
I believe my strengths as a tutor lay in several areas, some of which are:
1) A wide knowledge and skill base to deal with various subjects and syllabi as well as specific tutor needs including GCSE, A-Level and Undergraduate as well as SEN experience.
2) Working on combining required course content with the practical skills which are necessary to show a student knows that content, e.g. learning not just the required information to pass a History GCSE exam but also the key essay and writing skills which a student is required to use to demonstrate that knowledge.
3) Creating a safe, receptive and creative environment with my pupils. A place where they are encouraged to think for themselves and grow as individuals as well as learning the content required to pass their examinations. I believe this is a key element, often overlooked, of helping people to learn.
I have been providing private tuition since 2008 and have worked with a wide range of students. These include those working in the higher-grade bracket as well as students aiming to push their mark up from lower grade levels.
I have also taught students aiming for entrance to independent schools as well as a large number of pupils with special educational needs. My students range from 4-89 and I regularly teach adult education classes at City Lit along with my private students. I teach a wide range of subjects mainly based in the Humanities, Music, Broadcasting and Drama.
After studying for my A Levels in one a one-year period and achieving A grades in every module I moved to Bristol to study Philosophy at the University of Bristol and then to London to complete my AHRC-supported MA in Analytic Philosophy. Since completing my MA I have worked as a private and public teacher, writer, broadcaster, director and musician in London. I regularly make radio programs for the Arts Council-supported radio station Resonance 104.4 FM and write for international publications including the New Statesman. I also work in the theatre and regularly engage in projects with the Olivier award-winning theatre company, Opera Up Close as well as having been supported by the Arts Council to work on several one-man shows.
I have completed over 2000 hours of one-to-one and general tuition with pupils of diverse needs and abilities. What follows is a selection of past clients, representative of my experience:
Toddler and Nanny Experience 1+: I have worked as a male Nanny for over 15 children over a five year period with children from the age of 1 upwards. This has involved me working on a daily basis with toddlers to encourage cognitive and physical growth via a multitude of exercises as well as more basic skills including toilet training, babysitting and general childcare.
Teaching English: I have taught English to non-native speakers at a variety of levels and ages, from the age of 1 upwards. My first student, Katherina in 2008, was a native Austrian aiming to learn better speaking and reading abilities with the aim of taking the TOEFL exam towards University entrance. She passed after getting her required grades.
SEN Dyscalculia and Dyslexia: Weekly tuition supporting an 8-year old student. After initial consultations and identifying the student as suffering from Dyscalculia I began a series of lessons based around teaching the pupil concepts of number using physical items. Within weeks she showed significant improvement and went on to vastly improve her Math scores.
Harmonica, Piano, Guitar and Music Theory: Tobias, aged 5, had an instinct for playing the harmonica. Together we would practice new music and I would show him harmonica technique, using his initial interest in playing to explore wider skills in music and creativity. Ella, finding difficulty with learning graded classical piano, wanted to learn to improvise and express herself through the music she played. Using improvisation techniques from pop, blues and jazz we worked on songwriting and improvised music skills to meet this challenge and change how Ella could express herself musically.
Homeschooling: Home schooling for one week in A Levels in English and Law with student struggling in the run-up to exam period. Lessons would take place everyday from 9am-1pm before an essay and question practice session in the afternoon. I have also done homeschool placements with a Russian family and American family, both in London.
11+ and 13+ Common Entrance English: Current tuition in English for twelve-year-old William over the course of the year. We work on comprehension and creative writing on a regular basis and have seen vast improvements in graded work.
11+ and 13+ Common Entrance Science: Jacob had particular trouble grasping the basic principles behind the sciences including biology, chemistry and physics and how in his mind they were so abstract. Together we worked on creating a basic understanding of how science works and applies to the world before going on to study past papers and course content. After much hard work over 6 months, Jacob was accepted into his school of choice.
11+ and 13+ Common Entrance Mathematics: I have taught Mathematics to a wide range of students of varying abilities. On occasions my work has revolved around helping someone get a better understanding of the basic nature of mathematics and ways of thinking about the subject that are less abstract and fun as well as helping students advance to the very top end of the grade spectrum my focusing on intense exam revision and course content.
iGCSE History: Hannah was a student I worked with from iGCSE to Pre-U level. Her grades moving from the D level when we first began working together to As by the time of her completion of the course. I structure my tuition mainly around essay writing and the ability to write arguments using historical evidence as these are the most fundamental skills required of students. Further work involves being able to analyse sources and going over content, i.e. historical periods including The First World War and the USA in the 20th century.
GCSE Classical Civilisation: Joseph was struggling with the work of Ovid and Homer in particular and sought tuition for the study of these classical authors. Using both past papers to go over questions and study model answers as well as essay structure and looking in depth at the course content, we worked for four months on this subject leading up to the summer exams.
GCSE Science: Covering both double and single award GCSE Science I have worked with numerous students on Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Blanca, a GCSE Double Award student, struggled with Physics and Chemistry in particular achieving low grades in her exams. With extensive weekly practice covering course content and past papers we managed to push her grade up to a B.
GCSE and A Level English Literature: Covering Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR on multiple occasions, I have a vast range of experience in teaching English Literature at both GCSE and A Level with over 50 students to date. Throughout I work on close reading of texts and essay practice. Books have included Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, Tennyson, 1984, Oliver Twist and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
GCSE and A Level English Language: Covering Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR on multiple occasions, I have a vast range of experience in teaching English Language at both GCSE and A Level including subjects such as comprehension, grammar and creative writing with over 50 students to date.
GCSE and A Level History: Covering Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR on multiple occasions, I have a vast range of experience in teaching History at both GCSE and A Level including subjects such as America in the twentieth century, Nazi Germany and source based specialisation as well as coursework consultation.
I have had several Pre-U students, three of whom gained distinctions in their History papers. Due to the advanced nature of the Pre-U, time was mostly spent on essay writing and source analysis and showing my students how to apply historical skills to the material they were expected to know. Further development came with identifying historians with which to back up their views and arguments as well as advanced argument work.
A Level Sociology: Sociology work has included helping students with on the Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR exam board AS and A2 examinations as well as course work. Topics covered have included Durkheim, Marx, Functionalism and aspects of society including crime, media and welfare and applying them to past paper revision as well as general content guidance.
A Level Art History: Felicity bordered an A grade and wanted to refine her skills to push her into constant A results as she wanted to study History of Art at University. Working together for one month before the exam period we refined her knowledge of essay structure and course content. She eventually gained an A and was accepted onto her chosen University course.
A Level Politics: Teaching AS and A-Level Politics I have covered AQA, Edexcel and WJEC exam boards. One student, Imman was based around a D/C grade level when I first began working with him in 2011 but after two months his written classwork began achieving Bs and As. In his AS resit he also achieved an A grade in the Governing Modern Britain unit. As well as helping students with their course syllabus I also aim to put politics into modern contexts as this helps students not only relate to the subject in a greater way but also gain them better marks.
A Level Politics: Lessons over Skype with Celia – a student not based in London. To accommodate the Skype calls I would make written notes and course material to email to the student so they got the best experience possible in an online learning environment. Celia eventually got an A grade having initially been averaging Cs and Bs.
A Level Psychology: Cara averaged a D grade when I first began teaching her. Over the course of 12 weeks we refined and honed the course material alongside regular essay practice. She eventually gained A grades in both of her resits.
A Level Law: John suffers from ADHD and required special attention to help improve his essay writing. Focusing on essay practice and confidence building exercises we worked on this throughout his AS Level to accommodate the initial tough step up from GCSE and saw his grades improve from an E to a C.
A Level Music and Songwriting: Acting as a compliment to her regular schoolwork, I specialise in teaching Juliet pop, blues and jazz song writing techniques through multiple instruments such as the guitar and piano. Since working together she has written and performed her first compositions at school competitions.
Drama and Improvisation: I have taught a range of improvisation workshops to children (ages 4-11) and adults using the techniques of Viola Spolin. These workshops focus on establishing a sense of play and problem solving using improvisational techniques such as “Yes-and”and “Who, What, Where?” and are usually done in groups of 8-12.
Mentoring Scheme, Bristol University: Working with a fellow student I sat up a Philosophy mentoring program whilst in my second and third year at Bristol University. The scheme was a big success that allowed more experienced students to support and help newer students as well as those struggling to acclimatize to student life.
Radio Production Workshops: Working with the radio station Resonance 104.4 FM I coordinate a series of workshops bringing radio and audio skills to schools in several South London areas. Skills included creating radio programs and group work.
IB Theory of Knowledge: Working on argument, analysis and writing skills over the course of six months, I helped a level 5 IB student approach and improve their TOK presentation and essay skills eventually achieving an A overall.
IB Philosophy: I have worked with a variety of students at higher and standard level. Topics covered include Ethics, Epistemology, Political philosophy, Philosophy of Religion and Critical Theory. My main concern with Philosophy tuition is to teach students not only how to think in a way that differs from other subjects but how to write that information down in essays and exams. Particularly I focus on the analysis and study of argument through examples and how to respond analytically to such arguments.
IB Psychology: I have worked with many students of various abilities for IB Psychology. This has included work on the cognitive, biological and socio-cultural approaches to Psychology – the theories and evaluation of them. Working with one student over three months, Tara’s grade improved from a level 4 to a level 6 before eventually rising to a level 7. This was achieved mainly through repeated essay writing skill building sessions and awareness of how the IB exam board want students to evaluate psychological studies.
IB History: Regular tuition for Helen over the course of a year in History for International Baccalaureate, leading to an improvement from a level 3 to a level 6 and successful entry to Warwick University.
IB English Language and Literature (Higher and Lower): Teaching both Higher and Lower English for the IB, I have taught both English Langauge and Literature to 12 students over the past 18 months. One of these, Vlad, was at a Level 3/4 in English but required a Level 6 for his University Entrance Requirements. Studying texts such as Camus’ the Outsider and Sophocles Antigone as well as English Language I developed a learning program for Vlad that focused on essay structure, using linguistic terms and analysing texts. He eventually gained the required Level for entrance to University.
BA Visual Art: Jason averaged 42 in his written University work when we initially began working together. Over a three-month period we worked on his writing and analysis skills and he achieved 65 and 68 in his final essays.
BA Philosophy: David was averaging a low 2.2 in his BA Philosophy. Together we worked on analysing material in different ways, essay structure and creating opinions that could be backed with source material to improve his grade. He eventually attained a high 2.1.
City Lit Art History Program: I regularly write and teach courses in Art History at City Lit both in on-site and off-site classes. Recent examples of course include tours of the Tate Modern and Britain, Art and Finance, British Art Schools and Remembering the War: War Memorials.
Hobbies and Interests
Besides teaching I work in improvisation and comedy as well as directing theatre at off-West End theatres in London and playing music at live venues throughout the country. I also regularly produce radio shows on modern culture for Resonance 104.4 FM and write for international publications such as the New Statesman and Philosophy Now.
“A great radio show host – really listenable chap with inquisitive questions and interesting guests.” Dan Hind – Verso published author and Al-Jazeera correspondent.
“The kind of program there should be more of – people talking for an hour about difficult and complex issues in a friendly, accessible and conversational manner.” Paul Mason – BBC’s Social Affairs and Economics Correspondent on Newsnight.
“Sean really helped Sally learn to use math in a way that I never thought was possible. She was really struggling in school and Sean was able to find new and different ways to help her.” Mother of Sally, a student who suffered from Dyscalculia and Dyslexia.
“We needed someone who could help Will in a short of period of time and would really focus on essay structure. With his [Sean’s] focus on essay practice Will pushed his grade up from a C to an A – we are so grateful for all of Sean’s hard work!” Brian, parent of Will, a former AQA A Level History student.
“Thank you so much, Sean, Cara got an A!” Helen, parent of Cara who went from a D grade to an A grade in her Psychology A-Level resit.
“Sean’s improvisation classes have changed my son’s behavior. Jack was so shy but has found new ways of expressiveness over the weeks he has been in Sean’s workshops. I can’t thank him enough!” Jane, mother of 5-year old Jack who attended the improvisation workshops.