"Our ten-year-old son had a great lesson with Kieran last night. Kieran was instantly able to build a rapport with him and our son couldn't wait to tell us what he'd learned at the end of the lesson. He is looking forward to the next one."
Parent of Primary School French Student
English as a Foreign Language
London School of Economics and Political Science MSc (2012-2022) International Migration and Public Policy, Classification pending
Global Ambassador, UCL Student Services, (2019-2020)
University College London BA (Hons) (2016-2020) Modern Languages (French and Spanish), First Class Honours (1:1)
APE (A Level equivalent) at Briarcliff High School, New York (scored 1-5, 5 being the highest): 5 in English Language, 5 in English Literature, 5 in French Language, 5 in Spanish Language, 4 in US Government Politics, 4 in US History and Government
High School Diploma (GCSE equivalent) at Briarcliff High School, New York: Achieved a score of 65 and higher in five subjects
The most important aspect of my tutoring style is responsiveness to the individual needs and personalities of each of my learners. I believe that, even in cases where students have very concrete goals, they always benefit more from tutoring that caters to their individual style of learning. The fact that two students might be looking to achieve a certain mark in the same exam, for example, does not mean that they will necessarily get there in the same way. For that reason, my first lesson with a new learner always involves taking the time to get a sense of what they are like as a person as well as the level at which they are currently working. This kind of approach allows me to help students to overcome what I consider to be one of the most significant obstacles for language learners of all levels; confidence, or lack thereof.
In the context of a tutoring approach that is responsive to a student’s individual needs, that student is far more likely to relax enough to feel comfortable making mistakes, which is a key part of learning a new language. Another important part of the way in which I approach language tutoring is supplementing textbook content. While exam curricula and textbooks often attempt to make language learning exciting and relevant, they often miss the mark, in my experience. Taking the time to get to know my students on a personal level, however, allows me to counter this by recommending extracurricular material in the target language that genuinely interests them. Music, podcasts and TV programmes, for example, remind students that there is more to the language in question than the exam they are trying to pass. Not only does this provide additional cultural context, it also exposes students to real-world use of grammatical structures that they have studied as part of formal curricula. Increasing students’ engagement with the target language outside of the academic environment complements what they learn in lessons and makes them more likely to continue using the language after they have achieved whatever academic goal they might be working towards. Keeping the core principles of responsiveness, relationship-building and extracurricular engagement at the centre of my approach to tutoring allows me not only to improve my student’s confidence but also to foster of curiosity and genuine interest. This is what turns a target language from an inconvenience to be navigated for the sake of an exam into a skill that can enrich the life of the student far beyond that.
Key Stage 1 French
I tutored Alex weekly for five months. Alex’s parents wanted to facilitate more meaningful engagement with the language as they often visited relatives in France. He initially showed grammatical knowledge but was nervous to speak. Once we had dedicated a few lessons specifically to pronunciation, his newfound confidence allowed him to navigate simple conversations easily.
Key Stage 1 French
I tutored Harry weekly for five months. Harry’s parents felt she was not being challenged by school French classes. She was curious and motivated but had a short attention span. By devising grammar exercises that incorporated her interests, we established a solid grammatical foundation that will serve her well in the future.
B is a 16 year-old preparing to sit his GCSE French exam. He is intelligent and intellectually curious, but is also easily distracted. B does not enjoy French, and did not originally understand why it was worth studying. When we started our lessons, B’s confidence had been knocked by a recent mock speaking exam in which he had performed poorly. After getting to know B better, I was able to adapt lessons to his interests, practising notoriously dry grammar rules with dialogues about his hobbies or favourite films. Having heard about his interest in drama from his parents, I also framed speaking practice as something akin to acting in his school play, which seemed to change his perspective on it. I was also able to recommend some French language TV programmes and music, which allowed B to engage with the language outside of the classroom and inspired some curiosity about the Francophone world. In addition to this, a particularly helpful technique was to regularly review GCSE mark schemes with B so that it was clear what is expected from him on exam day. B has not taken his GCSE yet, but is far more confident about doing so, and has the resources and study habits he needs in order to perform well.
Intermediate Level French
Bi-weekly, one-hour Zoom lessons with Izzy for ten months. Izzy was preparing for the English component of police officer training in her native Spain. We focussed on practical speaking skills based on past exam papers, involving improvised responses to prompts. This was complemented by discussions of popular English-language TV programmes to improve fluency, vocabulary and exposure to different accents.
Intermediate Level English
Weekly, two-hour lessons for six months. He was a native Spanish-speaker and wanted to supplement a private English course he was taking. We worked on formal structures and expressions, applying them to a 15-minute presentation he had to prepare. We then focussed on his personal goal of reading novels in English, which became much easier for him.
Beginner Spanish for Adult learner
I tutored Robert (aged 24) weekly, one-hour lessons for four months. He had studied Spanish at secondary school but felt unable to communicate during trips to Spain. After reviewing basic grammar and pronunciation, we focussed on popular culture in the target language. This provided engaging discussion topics that facilitated quick progress in spoken Spanish.
Hobbies and Interests
Interestingly enough, the hobbies that I enjoy the most have been enhanced by my knowledge of other languages. I was brought up in a house of music lovers and ever since attending my first concert at the age of 12, I have always tried to see as much live music as possible. I love the excitement of watching live music, the dynamic between the artist and the audience and the feeling of having a collective experience. For me, music is a great way to connect with people and has been the starting point for many friendships. This was the case during my Erasmus placements at the universities of Strasbourg and Córdoba during the third year of my undergraduate degree. I made lasting friendships with local students that started from a shared love of live music and my longstanding interest in artists who sing in French and Spanish. In the same vein, I took advantage of my Spanish placement in Andalucía, the birthplace of flamenco, to start flamenco guitar lessons with a local teacher. I have continued to practise since my return from Spain in 2019. Through my teacher, I met many other local residents I would never have come across otherwise, which was fantastic for my Spanish and as an opportunity to share my love of music. I feel incredibly glad that my fluency in Spanish has afforded me opportunities like this, and this perfectly illustrates the kind of experiences that I hope to facilitate for my students by fostering genuine interest in and engagement with their target languages.
“Our ten-year-old son had a great lesson with Kieran last night. Kieran was instantly able to build a rapport with him and our son couldn’t wait to tell us what he’d learned at the end of the lesson. He is looking forward to the next one.”
Parent of Primary School French Student