Experienced working with Gifted and Talented
Leon Conrad, Director
Do you believe that being able to think and being able to learn are essential to being able to pass exams?
Do you believe in investing in your child's confidence, rather than cramming facts into them?
Do you believe that an inquisitive mind and a love of learning go together?
I have nearly 30 years' experience tutoring and teaching learners of all ages, from kindergarten to adult education; in sixth form colleges and on graduate courses, in state, private and home schooling environments.Unlike many recent graduates who take up tutoring, I don't do it as a stopgap to pay off a student loan. For me, it is a passion. I love what I do - and bring a wealth of experience and creative strategies to the learning environment. My approach is based on an integrated approach to the liberal arts, particularly the Trivium of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. I firmly believe in a sound foundation of logic, grammar and rhetoric as the basis for a disciplined approach to developing understanding, wisdom and enlightenment. And I encourage learning through the nurturing of natural inquisitiveness, confidence building, developing an eagerness for discovery. I take a holistic approach to dealing with students who appear unmotivated to learn, or have been put off learning by uninspiring teachers. I have several teaching qualifications, but the main core of my teaching is my integrated liberal arts approach.
I am a parent as well as an educationalist and understand the frustrations parents sometimes have with an increasingly regimented schooling system, as well as the challenges that teachers face within that system. I aim to provide practical solutions that empower children to cope with learning both within and without the school environment.
My approach is rooted in sound educational practice, has grown through a wealth of experience and is nurtured with a good dose of common sense. It is organic and constantly evolving.
Some of the things that inspire me that I use in my teaching approach include:
Stories and storytelling. I use these to develop longer thinking arcs, develop structured thought by working with structures and forms that are hard-wired within us. This feeds into creative writing, lateral thinking, and problem solving.
Drawing. I've found that drawing really helps children who have problems with maths come to terms with the underlying concepts behind this highly symbolic language.
A holistic approach to learning. Confidence comes with familiarity. Familiarity comes with practice. But practising what? Repetition without a basic understanding of the underlying structures and frameworks on which a subject is built is of very limited use. When teaching learning skills, I put the emphasis on co-discovery, not imposition of information. Parents - be warned. This approach initially takes a while to bear fruit, but it is a long-term strategy that will equip your child with the skills they need to apply to make science and any subject that requires essay writing a fun rather than a challenging undertaking.
Traditional Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric
Preparation for the 11+ and 13+ exams (Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning, Maths and English)
Music Theory (ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall, LCM; other boards on request)
Piano and Voice (As above)
Maths (to GCSE level)
English (to A level)
Interview techniquesPublic speaking, effective communication and listening skills (LAMDA, Trinity Guildhall, English Speaking Board exams; English Speaking Union competition, etc)
Improvisation and Storytelling
Learn to learn
Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric (as a foundation for learning, thinking, self-expression)
I help students develop their understanding of what they learn about the world around them, encouraging them to seek original answers and solutions to problems, through a thorough connection with the basics of how words, numbers, and thoughts work - for them.
I'm a highly experienced tutor, specialising in foundational skills - language (communication, composition, comprehension, creative writing), numeracy (mathematics, geometry, algebra, and specialist dyscalculia support), logic, and critical thinking skills.
I teach English at all ages, up to degree level; Maths up to GCSE and creative thinking for 11+ upwards (younger for gifted and talented students on a case by case basis).
I am a published author and innovator in educational practice. I am co-author of Odyssey: Dynamic Learning System, and author of History Riddles (Liberalis Books).
I have published poetry and in 2007 was poet-in-residence at the first Edinburgh Food Festival and was invited back to be poet-in-residence at the Pleasance Dome the following year. I have written and produced shows combining traditional storytelling and performance poetry which have been performed in Edinburgh and London, the most recent being “Under The Arabian Moon”, a retelling of stories from The Arabian Nights at The Roundhouse in 2009.
Born in London, educated in a bi-lingual school in Alexandria, Egypt, I am fluent in five languages (English, French, Italian, Russian and Arabic). I have published several articles in academic journals and trade magazines on the subject of effective communication, and liberal arts education and have been interviewed on BBC Breakfast television as an expert in the subject. In 2012, I co-hosted ‘The Talking Shop’, a series of radio shows with Giles Abbott, about different aspects of storytelling.
I am passionate about reviving the integrated approach to teaching the liberal arts, in particular the Trivium of logic, grammar and rhetoric.
I hold a Master’s Degree in the History of Design and Material Culture of the Renaissance from the Royal College of Art / V&A Museum, and a graduate degree from the Trinity College of Music in London. I am a City and Guilds Adult and Further Education Qualified Trainer, co-founder of The Academy of Oratory, a specialist voice-centred communication skills consultancy, and a Teaching Associate at The Negotiation Lab, specialising in effective communication techniques for negotiation.
Since March 2013, I have been exploring the links between mathematics, language and logic with Professor George Spencer-Brown, and have developed an innovative way of teaching classical logic based on his work that is quicker, more intuitive and easier to use than all other methods, and particularly suitable for secondary school students.
I have taught praxic, dyspraxic and dyslexic children and children with dyscalculia, and have also worked with gifted and talented students to release their potential and encourage them to develop holistically. On both sides of the SEN spectrum, I encourage students to be creative as well as more self-aware.
“What you achieved with Zoe was brilliant. I’m really pleased. She’s really opened up.” Parent of SEN student.
"We just got the fantastic news that Max has done very well on his Winchester entrance and is fully accepted. Thank you for helping him improve so much." Parent of G&T student at 13+ level.
"Simon has been offered [a place at] Emanuel, Kingston Grammar, and Sutton Grammar ... We are absolutely delighted ... He put a massive effort in and we are extremely proud ... Thanks!" Parent of student at 11+ level.
Check out the free on-line course I have put up on YouTube taking readers through George Spencer-Brown's ground-breaking book, 'Laws of Form' - a book Heinz von Foerster said 'should be in the hands of all young people - no lower age limit required.' Put your mind to the test here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoK3NtWr5NbqEOdjQrWaq1sDweF7NJ5NB