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Sophia L

"Sophia has taught my Year 9 daughter Latin and French for a year. She is an outstanding tutor, who always goes the extra mile. She has brought my daughter’s Latin skills up by three full year groups, from knowing nothing to being top of her class in only one year. I can’t recommend her enough for her flexibility and support of my daughter."

Year 9 Parent

  • 11+

  • 13 +

  • A Level

  • French

  • Latin

  • Senior School Entrance

Academic History

Classics and Modern Languages (French), University of Oxford (Trinity College), 2:1 – 2015

A-Levels: French: A*; Latin: A*; History: A*; Classical Greek: A*; Russian (AS Level): A

GCSEs: French: A*; German: A*; Latin: A*; Maths: A*; Science: II: A*; Science I: A; Music: A*; Russian: A*;
English: A*; English Literature: B; Classical Greek: A*;
History: A*

About Me

I am fluent in English, Russian and French. I also speak some Italian and beginners’ German. While I am only qualified to tutor French and Latin, my knowledge of other languages has certainly proved beneficial when comparing and explaining foreign languages to students. My tutoring varies according to the needs of the student and whether or not exams loom. With students immediately willing to engage in new topics or revise a forgotten one, I apportion sections of the lesson (whether French or Latin) to new vocab, new grammar and translation respectively (for French we also cover listening or speaking – sometimes both if there’s the time for it). If a student has done their homework – which always consists of learning vocab, verb tables and/or noun or adjective declensions and translation or listening exercises, the lesson proceeds relatively easily.

If a student is still struggling to get to grips with a new topic in grammar we revise it. Customarily I set students of French spontaneous translation exercises in the lesson to see if they not only have absorbed what we’ve done recently but still remember what we covered weeks or months ago. Closer to GCSE or A Level exams we focus on translation exercises from past papers and the reading passages therein. For Latin this is also regularly done since passages in either the Cambridge Latin Course (for Key Stage 3) or John Taylor’s Latin to GCSE or Latin Beyond GCSE help consolidate everything that’s been learned.

Recent tuition

I provide tuition for 11+ and 13+ exams in French and Latin, which are required for some independent schools. I’ve had experience coaching students toward 13+ (including ISEB papers) and am currently tutoring a student for a 16+ exam in French.

Key Stage 3 French

I tutored S, a year 8 student, for a year. At first she admittedly seemed uninterested in French grammar or vocab. However, it was quite obvious from the offset that she was capable of achieving GCSE-standard French grammar and composition. Every week I would set S a learning homework and every other week I would give her a large list of English sentences to translate into French (around 8 or 9 complex ones). She found these challenging at first but would readily improve with every submission. By the time our tutoring sessions ended, she had progressed immensely and was getting to grips with Year 10-level French grammar still in Year 9.

Key Stage 3 French (with the aim of 13+)

D was a very good Year 7 student hoping to sit the Westminster 13+ exam next Spring. His parents arranged for lessons to take place only during the summer for a span of six weeks, first twice- then thrice-weekly. D already knew a great deal of the Key Stage 3 French curriculum (far beyond what is normally taught at Year 7) and in his case it was a matter of easily consolidating the material learnt and introducing new vocabulary and verbs. That said, D struggled with pronunciation. In the past couple of years I’ve made pronunciation a major point of my lessons, as while some students pick it up instinctively others get stuck. With D I had to really inculcate how to articulate French syllables: writing out their pronunciation next to their spelling:

“oi” sound: wa. E.g. moi: mwa; toi: twa; loi: lwa; roi: rwa; soi: swa; la soie: la swa etc.

D was eager to correct himself so I would make him read French passages aloud and not give him the answer until he remembered the correct pronunciation. By the end of the course he’d improved and learnt new verbs, word order and vocab.

GCSE French (AQA)

M was a dyslexic student who disliked French but excelled in other subjects. When I first began tuition with him it became clear he was better at the subject than he thought he was. We started off doing one and a half hours a week and then progressed to two of these sessions, culminating in around three and a half months of tuition before the exams. It was intense GCSE French learning and revision and I made M learn more irregular French verbs than even the syllabus mandated. M did extremely well and went from being predicted a 5 in his exams to achieving an 8.

GCSE-Level French

K was a Year 11 student (going into Year 12, or 11th Grade, as it’s known in the U.S.) who was being made to sit the French IB exam at the end of his studies. However, having attended other schools where they had barely taught French, his level was around the middle of Year 7. K’s parents only wanted a limited course during the summer: two sessions of one and a half hours over eight weeks. Although K showed little interest in French we went over numerous topics together: vocab including holidays, countries, numbers, times of day, week, month, year, directions, health and many other Key Stage 3 necessities. We also covered tough grammar: regular and irregular verbs, word order, direct and indirect object pronouns and their order – in addition to reading, speaking and listening practice. By the end of our lessons he had reached a Year 9 or early Year 10 level of French.

A Level French (AQA)

D was a very motivated French A Level student who needed support with her listening and speaking exercises for the most part. She was referred for external tuition by her school, which only took a tutor on for a limited ten-week course. She was in Year 12 and predicted a B. During this time D and I met numerous challenges – not because of her by any means – but because the online software the agency provided was very poor and D often had extremely bad Wi-Fi. That said, D and I went over numerous irregular verbs when we had poor connection and managed to include listening and speaking practice. Her grammar improved after she followed my recommendation of buying the textbook Schaum’s Outline of French Grammar. Her composition in French also improved a great deal and she was grateful for the lessons.

Key Stage 3 Latin

J and L were a brother and sister who had never before done Latin. J was heading into Year 9, whereas L was heading into Year 7. Their mother wanted an intense course to try to get them up to a Year 7 level of Latin as their classmates had all had experience in the subject while they were going into classes with no knowledge at all. We used the Cambridge Latin Course as a starting point. Although L could be reticent to pick up new points, J’s maturity in age and readiness to absorb grammar made him competitive (thankfully!) and the pair scored 94% and 98% in the vocab and grammar tests I set them at the end of the course. By that point we had completed Book 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course by studying one and a half hours every weekday for two weeks. They were both very pleased with their progress and months later their father informed me they had settled into school Latin lessons with ease.

Key Stage 3 then GCSE Latin (OCR) and GCSE French (Edexcel)

E was a linguaphile who wanted to learn Latin purely for the sake of it. Her timetable at school wouldn’t accommodate the subject so her mother found her a tutor. By the time of our lessons E had already learned some basic stuff: first and second declension nouns and first-conjugation verbs. With her love of Latin and speedy absorption, we whizzed through the Cambridge Latin Course, Books 1 and 2, before realising E would be better off diving into the GCSE curriculum. Once we had started with John Taylor’s Latin to GCSE E really got into her stride. We had lessons of one and a half hours once weekly and reached the end of Latin to GCSE, Part 2 before E’s mother discovered next year’s academic timetable could fit Latin in and she no longer needed a tutor. Altogether I tutored E for thirteen months. In addition to Latin I also helped her prepare her speaking exam for GCSE French, which she was sitting two years early (in Year 9). I offered E sample sentences that could help her express herself in French and she achieved an extremely high Grade 9 in her final exam.

GCSE Latin (OCR)

C was an extremely bright student going into Year 11 that September. She had experienced home-school tuition for two years and was reentering school when we started. As someone who excelled in all subjects, C became determined to go from having no Latin whatsoever to sitting the GCSE in the space of nine months, though it wasn’t offered at school. This seemed like a very scary proposition to me! At one lesson of one hour and twenty minutes a week we raced through the Year 7 and Year 8 Curriculum. C was very welcoming of the work and I would set her copious amounts of learn (at one point, I think around 60 words of vocab, as well as six or seven verb or noun declension tables and translation for every lesson). I had never before tutored at so fast a pace. While C was on the right track she missed several lessons as a result of commitments to other subjects and a crisis in her family. When she came back she had forgotten a lot and we only had five months to go. I calculated how long it would take to reach GCSE-level Latin and study the verse and prose texts and informed her mother that we would have to have two lessons a week from now on and not miss half-term and holidays to assure C had learnt all was necessary. Unfortunately this did not fit her timetable and she had to abandon the subject, but she made progress in Latin and it was a pleasure to tutor her.

Hobbies & Interests

I have a wealth of interests. I am a writer and have written thirteen books but only recently published my first. I am also a classical music critic and have published hundreds of articles over numerous publications including The Guardian, Broadway World, Bachtrack, musicOMH and others.

As a wordsmith I love languages because they’re incessantly playful and flexible, but only in the scope of their grammatical and syntactic patterns. I love the arts because I’m an insatiable aesthete and I adore travel as it affords me the opportunity to be exposed to new vistas, languages, cultures and foods.

Testimonials

“Sophia has taught my Year 9 daughter Latin and French for a year. She is an outstanding tutor, who always goes the extra mile. She has brought my daughter’s Latin skills up by 3 full year groups, from knowing nothing to being top of her class in only one year. I can’t recommend her enough for her flexibility and support of my daughter.”

Beth D., Mother of Year 8 Latin Student

“Both my son and daughter would attend Latin language as part of grammar school curriculum. Sophia has been excellent to teach my two children in a small group, and conduct the tuition very efficiently such that my elder daughter would be able to learn from scratch and catching up with her new classmates at school.”

Michael H., Father of siblings (Year 7 and Year 8) in a group for Latin beginners

“I can wholeheartedly recommend Sophia very highly. She helped my son with his GCSE French preparation and with her structured lessons with regular vocab tests and practicing all components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and gave very detailed feedback after each lesson. She knew the GCSE syllabus very well and in the short time we had focused on his weaker areas of improving vocab and grammar, listening and speaking. With Sophia’s support and encouragement my son went from being disengaged with French and being predicted a 5 in his February mock to feeling much more confident, and achieving a 7 and only narrowly missed a grade 8 by just two marks. It was a fantastic result especially as he only worked with Sophia for three months. I really wish I’d found Sophia earlier. [N.B. This was later re-marked and he has now received an 8].”

Aditi K. – Mother of Year 11 French GCSE Student

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