“My daughter was a 1-year university student, who, for personal reasons, had not followed her course, and was worried she'd fail her end of year exam. Amanda came on the scene, and in 3 weeks my daughter had worked through the course material, learned to structure her work in a way that helped her remember, and was able to take her exam confidently. We were very impressed with Amanda's personal approach, her ability to understand her student's way of learning, and to adapt her tutoring to their individual ways. An excellent tutor who gives her students much more than just the knowledge of the subject.”
Goldsmiths University – BA Hons in Fine Art Practice – High 2:1 (2012 – 2015)
University of Oxford – BA Hons Anthropology and Archaeology – 2:1 (2003-2007)
University of Oxford – Post Grad English Literature and Language – 1st (2007 – 2010)
Foundation Course in Fine Art – Byam Shaw, London (2010 – 2011)
A Levels: History of Art – A, Geography – A, English Literature – B, Biology – A
GCSE’s: History – A, Geography – A, English Literature – A, English Language – A, French – A , Latin – A, Chemistry – A, Biology – A, Physics – B, Maths – B
Having completed seven years of academic study at Oxford University, and a further three at Goldsmiths University, I am in a strong position to offer an independent, infectiously enthusiastic and warmly encouraging approach to learning, and do so in a supportive manner. Whilst at both these establishments, and since, I have studied subjects out of interest and curiosity hence my subject knowledge is broad and my interest in ideas voracious. In addition to my academic life I have travelled extensively, including a years sabbatical in which I worked, studied and conducted research in the States, South America, Japan and Europe. Additionally, I have, and continue, to work across a range of sectors Educational, Environmental and the Arts. My tutoring and mentoring work is sustained and revitalised by the range of my interests and experiences, yet tutoring remains a vocation I am committed to and passionate about.
My tutoring practice is a fusion of mentoring, coaching, subject specific tutoring and study skills, with a specialist focus on Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. Having tutored for eight years I have developed a practice which integrates educational pedagogies, insights from developmental psychology and philosophical ideas about learning. My approach is person centred, caring yet intellectually rigorous. Each student is attended to as an individual, recognised as having their own way of learning, processing information and remembering – in relation to educational and life demands. This individual uniqueness is gently drawn out and personal, bespoke strategies devised and developed accordingly. Sessions are a collaboration between me and the student which brings about independence of mind, confidence and autonomy with a renewed sense of learning capabilities and strengthened capacities in the face of adversity. Each student leaves the tutoring relationship with a wealth of internalised resources that can be drawn on and employed, as well as a felt sense of educational and emotional resilience.
My decision to become a tutor/mentor was driven by a passion for learning and a desire to kindle curious minds, as well as support learners whose needs were not adequately met within the classroom and who struggle to fit within conventional learning environments. Curiosity can be lost throughout schooling education due to the emphasis on grades, assessment objectives and procedural learning. Through one to one tutoring/mentoring I have seen this rekindled, a love of learning for its own sake renewed and a confidence in thinking outside the box developed. In all my tutoring relationships I seek to foster an engaged and vibrant mind, an ability to formulate ideas into academic, clearly communicated writing, enliven speech with a rich vocabulary and enhance creative, independent thinking.
As a Dyslexic and Dyspraxic learner myself I have a specialist interest in and considerable experience working with these differing learning styles, to significant success. I am genuinely interested in getting to know the unique manner of their minds and it is rewarding to see students, undermined by the stigma of these labels, become self-directed and autonomous in their learning. Dyslexic and Dyspraxic learners are often delivered dyslexic support in a standardised package, all be it slightly different from the mainstream, it is none the less a system that is assumed every dyslexic will fit. This, in my experience, compounds the problem further. Instead I attend to each student with curiosity seeking to discover their particular way of doing things and am dedicated to assisting its development and facilitating its application. Together we work to devise processes particular to their way of thinking, learning and processing information, these enable them to take charge of their learning and build confidence. I help them realise the interconnected relationship between how they work, what they are working on in relation to where they work. Over the course of tutoring relationships, they become internally resourced, able to find creative ways to reap the benefits of both, no longer feeling the diagnosis as a burden but rather a rich asset. By the end of the relationship students are self-aware, equipped to look after themselves and attend to overwhelm in the face of academic, social and their own expectations.
In addition to my specialist interest and work with Dylsexic and Dyspraxic learners I am also passionate about mentoring. Mentoring, either couched within a tutoring relationship or independent of it, can bring a diverse range of topics to the sessions which straight academic tutoring often does not incorporate. It can both attend to subject specific academic difficulties and go beyond them addressing broader skills such as personal planning and working practices, as well as difficulties outside of school life yet which impact on academic endeavour. Being a mentor creates a particular space to listen and, be guided by what is said and unsaid, to attend to all levels of a student’s being and bring a diversity of perspectives to bear on them. Many of my tutoring/mentoring relationships have lasted between 2-5 years; the longevity of these relationships has allowed trust to develop and finely tuned listening to be experienced. Students leave the tutoring relationship with an engaged mind knowing that they can bring curiosity to enrich their entire academic trajectory and that learning is a lifelong process. Testimonials reflect how students have developed a learning practice that is fun and enabling, which goes beyond the demands of procedural schooling.
My own academic trajectory was fraught with difficulties, with support and determination I have developed systems and processes that aid me in both my studies and daily life. Having overcome some of these struggles and learnt how to manage them better I feel I can offer practical support and emotional understanding to learners in similar situations. On reflection I can see how a mentor would have been invaluable, someone who was not family, a peer or a teacher but none the less dedicated and present. It would have helped weather and navigate the emotional turbulence of adolescent life and newly found independence that was both thrilling and daunting. It’s a powerful thing, to be held in mind with empathy and interest. Over the years of tutoring/mentoring I have seen worries and insecurities alleviated thereby enabling students to exceed beyond what they imagined possible for themselves, both academically and in the broader context of their life-world.
Please find below some case studies representative of the breadth of my tuition experience.
Dom – Mentoring and study skills (A levels)
Dom is studying independently, so motivation, time management and study skills have been the main stay of our work together. He has shown a marked improvement in terms of organising his time, making sure he gives himself sufficient time to get stuck into the subject he is tackling and to do so in an efficient way – i.e. to structure his writing according to the marking criteria and to fulfil the assessment objectives A01, A02 etc. We have worked on a timetable as well as how to structure his writing in relation to the different subjects he is studying and to recognise that each subject demands a different structure. We have also worked hard on his expression, making sure his language is academic and the arguments he is developing in his writing are done in an academic manner, both in form and expression.
Nathan – Mentoring, study skills (A level)
Nathan is dyslexic and has started sociology as a new subject this year. We have been looking carefully at the structure required sociology essays as well breaking down the information he has to learn in an understandable and useful way. Having studied Anthropology I am well versed in the theory that needs to be used and incorporated into sociological essays as well as the way this theory needs to be applied both analytically and intellectually. Due to Nathan’s dyslexia I am devising creative and bespoke approaches that allow him to understand the above and make use of the discussions we have and the work we do on his writing together. We are currently creating a chart which captures all the essential criteria for writing a clear, well organised and argued sociology essay – which he has found very helpful to his writing and thinking.
Freya – Mentoring and study skills (GCSE)
I am currently helping this young girl who lacks confidence in her abilities to both stay motivated and learn approaches which suit her style of learning, therefore building confidence as it is attuned to her and her specific needs and style. Her motivation has increased, in regard to self-study, and her marks have also due her discovering an approach to study and subjects which is her own.
Media studies – Mentoring and study skills (A level)
This student is also studying independently, out of school and has needed careful and considered help both in terms of practical organisation, study skills and breaking down the information for his exam which he often feels overwhelmed by. Over the years of tutoring I have developed several strategies and approaches for helping student with overwhelm and this student is now able to settle to his work better and know how to go about it drawing on the lessons, resources and approaches we have devised and I have introduced to him. His capacity to work independently is increasing and his ability to employ complex theory into his writing and make it work in relation to his argument is greatly improving.
Lyla – A level Psychology
Intensive tutoring with this student to help her bring case studies, of which there are a great deal, to bear in her essays in a way that is required for the exam . This is the key skill the examiner is looking for in Psychology exams – that you can both evaluation the case study and integrate them into an argument as well as remember the information and details of the case study. She is now getting A in her essays as she both understands what she has to do, how she has to do it and we have developed ways to make the case studies more memorable and available for recall in exam conditions.
Other related tuition – more information on request
Lucas- Age 4 Handwriting and Concentration skills
Lucas struggled with his co-ordination and his concentration skills. He was diagnosed as having spacial awareness issues and we worked hard on using different games, and methods of play to develop his handwriting and concentration. We used circuits which I devised, and each of these would include a range of different sensory modalities and other modes which worked well for Lucas such as physical exertion. We also would start each session with Yoga related exercises, geared towards children to give him, focusing on a kinaesthetic approach to encourage his development.
Joe GCSE- Second year of tutoring English and History predominately, but also study skills He has risen from a D in both subjects to an A and is now in the top set for both. His confidence – in himself and his writing, thinking and analysis is greatly improved and he is now enjoying learning and thinking for himself
Eliot GCSE – Mentoring and across the board of humanities subjects.
Eliot’s capacity to and desire to study independently when we first started working together was minimal, he now has the motivation and desire to do so, his grades are reflecting this – from D’ to A and B’s. Study skills are key to our work together as he has several mild learning difficulties.
Henry – Literacy Age 9
A level English Literature and Language – on going
GSCE History and English – on going with two different boys – on going
Key stage 2 and 3 Literacy and Language – on going
Personal statement UCAS
These three students were all struggling with their section 10 – we spent focused sessions on both the content and making sure the content was not just in place to sound good but actually linked to the university subject course and content. This essential skill of being able to link what you have done to how it is useful the application in question is an essential life skill, each student developed mental agility in their of their life experience and gained a keen sense of how to work information you have to hand in the manner it needs to be presented thereby building a strong case for yourself as a candidate , whether it be for a job or in this case university
Anthropology Sussex University – on going, essays we have worked on have achieved 1sts and high 2.1’s
At the end of her first year of studying Anthropology faced with exams this student didn’t feel skilled in how to read Ethnographies or her ability to discern and extract relevant information for the purposes of essay questions and exam revision. Anthropological terminology confused her as did the premise of anthropological investigation, its methodology made little sense. After three intensive weeks work, I had made clear the purposes of ethnography, how to unpack its concepts and content as well as how to extract necessary information to answer exam questions. We devised together a form of note taking that worked in keeping with her personal/particular way of thinking – working horizontally on the paper, in colour allowing space around notes for further thoughts that arouse threw discussions. Discussion was an essential way in which she processed and understood information; we discussed reading at length and essay questions, we devised/created detailed essay plans that enabled a memorable flow of thought and analytical questioning to occur. At the end of our work together she had grasp of her subject as a whole, it’s analytical orientation, the process of its questioning and a new found enjoyment for reading ethnography and the subject as a whole. She also had a good sense of how she thought and methods to employ to assist her thinking. Her concentration improved dramatically as did her mood towards studying.
Foundation in Fine Art – distinction and entry into Ruskin School of Art
Maya had decided not to take A level art focusing on Science A levels and maths. Dissatisfied with these subjects and stifled by academia at the end her A levels she decided to explore her artistic inclinations. Maya embarked on a Foundation course which proved to be unhelpful in her desire to apply for Oxford, providing little support or rigorous input generally. Our work together initially was focused on writing her section 10. During this process she began to gain a whole new way of thinking about and making artwork. I encouraged her to think about her interests and aptitude for further maths in relation to the way she liked to draw and the things she was interested in, in terms of the project work. Once this way of connecting concerns and making began, our discussions in relation to her projects, took a whole different orientation. Creative and imagination space opened for her as she began to realise the mode of making akin to contemporary art. She has said of our work that the ‘fabric and framework of her thinking was broken down and rebuilt ‘in a way that has given both her everyday life and making practice creative and imaginative scope. She gained an unconditional offer to Oxford university (January 2014), a highly competitive school to get into. She received a distinction for her foundation course where they recognised, she had surpassed both intellectually and practically the work of her peers. During our work together I tutored her in drawing, sculpture, photography and film making as well as general idea development and research.
A level History and English Literature – A’s for both
A receptive, positive, creative student who often felt overwhelmed with the requirements of approach and information needed to be understood and retained for her History and English A level. Although very capable the key to unlocking her potential and capabilities was to devise an approach that was aligned to her spatial /visual way of thinking. She fully grasped the relationship between inventing a form of ‘how’ to work with information as equivalent to enabling the understanding of this information. Large A3 sheets of coloured paper where the rubric for creating maps, charts, elaborate diagrams along with other formats invented to unpack convoluted information, such as the war of religions in Queen Elizabeth the 1st Reign. These formats allowed her to process the content as well as capture it in a clear, memorable, way assisting both revision and exam conditions. At the end of our work tougher she was fully resourced in taking an overwhelming situation into her own hands asking herself how do I need to attend to this and recognising once she had discovered the ‘how’ she could calmly work with the overwhelm rather than feel paralysed by it. Her creative capacity and intellectual ability became aligned each assisting the other to achieve the task. She was delighted and empowered with what she had discovered.
A level religious Studies achieved, Photography A level and applications
A bright determined and competitive student whom I worked with on her A level religious studies her extended essay for Art A level and various applications including section 10 for UCAS and others related to opportunities within her school. These successful applications enabled her to attend a master class at Cambridge university and to spend two days’ work experience at CERN. During this process she learned how best to think through and write proposals and applications to meet criteria making intelligent connections between what she was interested in and what the various institutions were asking from her. In the work we did on her extended essay she gained a grasp of how to structure long pieces of writing and transform her research into well-argued and analytically sophisticated essay. She developed the necessary resources for thinking critically about her own work and how to redraft her work and thereby rethink it through the redrafting process. We also worked on her Photography books – the requirement for A level, discussed the technical aspects of her photographs as well as the lay out for the books and the reflective analysis of both her own and other peoples photographs.
A level religious Studies achieved, Photography A level and applications
BA Hons St Mary’s University London – Film studies essay module – Bus 174. Achieved an A
I met this student three weeks before her deadline, in a state, having failed previous film module essays, yet having to pass this module in order to stay on the course. She had no understanding of how to analyse a film at the outset of our work, making a relation between the form of the film and its content was a foreign notion to her. Her writing lacked analysis and structure. To begin with we watched the film together and began to analyse it, discussing each of the frames and how the film was constructed and the impact this had on the storytelling, interpretation of the subject and message conveyed. The film became visible to her in a whole new way. We then turned these discussions into small manageable chunks of writing and worked closely on analysis. She would write and send me sections, which I would comment on, and push her to analyse further giving examples of what further analysis might sound like. Having examples of thought to follow and questions to ask herself greatly assisted in her ability to develop this capacity. We then dealt with structure and the argument of the essay thinking carefully about how the chunks of writing she had done could be constructed into an argument following themes, strands and investigations. She met the deadline and received an A enabling her to take her year abroad. Her confidence was greatly improved, as was her whole outlook on looking at films and other forms of media.
GSCE English literature and Language AQA – Achieved a high B
Kirien was not an academically gifted student and unfortunately attended a less than average school. Her parents were ambitious for her future hence calling in a tutor for her GCSE’s. Working with her was hard work, nothing could be assumed, it required immense patience and a flexible approach having to constantly come up with different approaches in the hope she would grasp one of them. She was not used to having to think for herself and outside the box but over time began to grasp what was expected of her and how to go beyond that and achieve the high results she wanted. The best way I found to help her was to talk in the way I was encouraging her to think, having this tangible example of what she needed to develop inside her own head was the beginning of her building an analytical and explanatory way of thinking. By the time of exams, she has improved considerably and achieved a high B in English Lit and an A in English language. The challenge of not being able to assume anything meant I had to slow down, think around each suggestion I made, come up with different words to explain things and keep encouraging her gently but firmly to push her thinking further.
A level Film Studies, History and Politics (OCR and AQA) – A and a B (predicted two D’s)
This young man was disengaged and indifferent to his studies at the beginning of our work, diagnosed as Dyslexic he had no desire to study for his exams or entertain the idea of university. Previous Dyslexic support offered had been ineffective. Discussion was integral to reanimating his interest in his subjects and discovering what did motivate him and what he enjoyed. When talking about his subjects I would capture his thoughts and responses, this capturing was done on large sheets of unlined paper – through this process he began to regain interest in his subjects as I guided him towards exploring his ideas and thoughts in a free form, unilinear way. This had significant effects on his mind – he felt at ease and freer, it enabled him to access his subjects in a less constricted manner. We worked intensively on Film studies, I was able to bring both content and approach assistance. We watched, discussed and analysed the films together logging observations in a memorable and assessable format, small chunks of information in a table form with lots of space around. He achieved three B’s, in film studies he had been predicted an E and is enrolled for university October 2013.
Non Exam focused – tutoring/mentoring with 40 year old ex banker
Dispirited and down trodden by the corporate world, flattened by virtual computerised ways of working, disembodied from the world and himself – working intensively over the months he has recovered and we have invented a way of working that has reenergized and revived him. Attending to subtle details – what paper and pens to use, how to work on the paper, how to organise his space, seemingly unimportant but actually essential to presence and autonomy. Attending to every particular relationship with the material world has liberated and ignited his imagination and is enabling him to recreate himself and life anew.
Hobbies and Interests
I have a broad range of skills and interests including a Diploma in Herbal Medicine, a PADI Dive Master qualification, a teaching certificate in Satyanda Yoga and in Montessori education. I take an active interest in many forms of alternative health including Acupuncture and Shiatsu and have basic qualifications in both. Cooking is a passion – I especially like to improvise with recipes and play with the alchemy of ingredients. Outdoor activities are part of daily life, I swim, run, play tennis and cycle on a daily basis and ski when I can. Every year I go walking in the mountains of Europe and beyond. I enjoy growing my own food and share an allotment with friends, I also volunteer in local community gardens and city farms, running garden based workshops for urban children. Culture in all its forms – film, theatre, visual art, dance, literature and music are essential to my daily life. I spend a great deal of time, and get enormous pleasure from looking at, listening to and engaging with these various art forms. I have a basic, practical understanding of film making, have directed several plays, read avidly, go to poetry readings and am learning the piano, picking up where I left off – Grade 5. Travel and adventures sustain my love of life, I have travelled extensively, lived a year in India working and walking, spent three months in South America also working and walking, have conducted research in Greenland and Japan and have participated in residences in several European countries. Volunteering has been a theme throughout my life – I worked for Mother Theresa with the dying and destitute in Calcutta, an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand and many farms throughout Europe and beyond. These experiences have broadened my capacity on many levels and allowed me to develop a closer involvement with projects that matter to me.
Alongside my tutoring practice I am also an artist, working with sculpture and drawing predominantly and a gardener – employing the practice and ideas of Permaculture to growing and land care. Both these concurrent practices feed into my tutoring work – the creative approach I bring to sessions with a sensitivity to visual, spatial and non-verbal ways of working whilst permaculture, through its recognition of holistic, interconnected systems between people, creatures and context, is essential to my thinking. I am also studying a healing practice called Acutonics, which uses sound and vibration on Acupuncture points. This integrated approach to health adds a further dimension to my tutoring.
“I began working with Amanda at the beginning of my second term in year 12, after struggling to keep up with my class work and deadlines. The previous year I’d been registered as dyslexic by a private education psychologist after my school had failed to recognise my problems with learning. Since then I had had no help from my school to learn to work with this disability. After moving into the school’s Sixth Form it became obvious that some professional help would have to be sought outside of the school system. We found Amanda.
A large problem of mine was meeting deadlines with essays and coursework, which my teachers reacted to by calling me lazy and procrastinating. Although in actual fact I would sit for hours in front of a piece of work and have no idea where to start – in planning but also simply in understanding the task or question. Working with Amanda she first helped in developing ways to breakdown what was being asked of me into a way that I could process. We then went on to finding ways that I could plan my work, exploring a wide range of techniques away from the rigid tables teachers often directed us to use.
Amanda explained to me how the mind of a dyslexic may work differently to the way they try to teach us to think in school – that our thoughts can often be intertwined and busy rather than disconnected and easy to differentiate between. This was helpful as it meant I was no longer discouraged by the fact that I struggled immensely with the forms of teaching in school. What is more, she went on to help me develop ways to work in class that suited me to make the most of school time. In addition we worked on how to study independently (learning new things and revising) to maximise my potential in class and exams.
I undertake a lot of extra-curricular activity, and having nailed the learning and revising process with Amanda, she then helped to organise my time keeping so that I was able to use the new skills I’d learnt to get better in school work and keep up with my other activities. I now keep a weekly diary so that my busy timetable doesn’t get confused in my head. During school I also used I monthly calendar to schedule exams, revision, deadlines and lessons, which I stuck to my wall so they wouldn’t slip my mind. My school wasn’t being very forward in helping me get the appropriate resources for class and exams, Amanda was very supportive in helping make contact with senior staff so I would receive extra time, yellow writing and planning paper and be allowed the use of coloured pens for examinations.
With the guidance Amanda has given me over the last year and a half, together we were able to explore new ways for me to take notes in class and lectures, truly process the information I was learning, and then go on to format my work in a way I could easily understand for when it came to exam revision. For example, in revising for English Literature, we created a process of revision whereby we would make a poster for each possible theme of a text I might be questioned on, and within that poster I would use different colours to signify my answers in relation to each assessment objective of the exam. Through Amanda’s help in achieving the appropriate exam support I needed, I was allowed to use coloured pens in my exams. This meant that when it came to writing my answer in the exam, I would use the same colours I’d used in revision to remind me of my possible answers. This really helped me in terms of utilising my senses (sight) and the memories I had connected to them.
Overall, my time with Amanda has been incredibly supportive and successful in finding ways to use my dyslexia in a way of working to the most of my potential, rather than confining myself to the restricting formats most often used in schools. Amanda’s constant encouragement and resourcefulness means it’s been easy for us to get on well and she’s been a pleasure to work with. I’ve really enjoyed working with her and have truly benefitted from it – I honestly don’t know how I would have survived the heavy work load of A Levels without her guidance. The techniques we’ve developed together will stay with me throughout my working life, giving me the confidence to tackle any challenge without the overwhelming anxiety I used to struggle with.” Student
“My daughter was a 1-year university student, who, for personal reasons, had not followed her course, and was worried she’d fail her end of year exam.
Amanda came on the scene, and in 3 weeks my daughter had worked through the course material, learned to structure her work in a way that helped her remember, and was able to take her exam confidently. We were very impressed with Amanda’s personal approach, her ability to understand her student’s way of learning, and to adapt her tutoring to their individual ways. An excellent tutor who gives her students much more than just the knowledge of the subject.” Parent
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