I am a dedicated educator and researcher with a strong value base in learner-centred and research-led teaching. I have a PhD in English Literature and extensive experience of teaching and tutoring students from a range of backgrounds, ages, abilities and levels, from Year 9, GCSE and A Level, to adult education qualifications and undergraduate modules in English Literature.
For me, the most important and rewarding part of my job is to work alongside students to:
I love to learn, and I love helping others learn how to learn!
Encouraging, motivating and supporting students to fulfil their potential, while also maintaining good mental health, is extremely important to me. The rigid structures of the national curriculum don’t always work for everyone, and in my experience often lead to students falling out of love with a subject, getting bored with it, and even experiencing a decline in their mental health due to the pressure. To counteract this, I like to give tutees some autonomy and choice about what they learn and how they learn it. I find that this helps to improve their interest in the subject, which aids motivation and confidence.
As well as this learner-centred approach, I like to make sure that tutorials are research led wherever possible. This means that I will encourage students to engage with cutting edge literary research, introducing them to different types and examples of literature, and encouraging them to conduct their own research. This helps to keep the subject fresh while also enhancing their knowledge of the subject and supporting their study of curriculum-based texts.
My Experience and Expertise
My research expertise is in English Literature and I have a broad knowledge of the subject, spanning from Chaucer to the present day. My particular specialisms are in poetry, modern and contemporary literature, interdisciplinary approaches to literature (specifically politics, music, spirituality and the environment) and feminist theories.
I have extensive teaching experience in English Literature (KS3, GCSE, A-Level, undergraduate level) and English Language (KS3, GCSE) and can teach to all of the main UK awarding bodies syllabi across both GCSEs and A Levels. I have assessed Functional Skills English papers, and have worked as an approved Specialist Marker in A2 English Literature for OCR. I have also worked as an English tutor for The Brilliant Club, delivering 6 week university-style courses to KS3, 4 and 5 pupils in schools that have low numbers of students progressing to study at universities. As well as tutoring, I work as an English Lecturer at Brackenhurst College (part of Nottingham Trent University).
Alongside English, I can also help with entrance exams, study skills, and university applications and interviews. I have detailed knowledge of the Higher Education sector and can offer advice on the admissions process, from choosing the right course and institution to filling out the UCAS form and writing personal statements. I also have some strategic knowledge of the research funding landscape, particularly regarding interdisciplinary and collaborative research and teaching, and can advise on MA and PhD research and funding proposals.
For more information about my subject expertise, see the “Research & Publications” section below.
Supporting Students with Additional Needs
I am DBS checked and have experience of tutoring and mentoring neurodiverse students and students with mental health and learning difficulties. I have tutored several students with additional learning and/or support needs, such as dyslexia, ASD and anxiety disorders. I have also worked as an academic mentor to adult learners and mature undergraduate students with additional learning needs, providing pastoral and academic support. This includes supporting students to manage their workload, deadlines, and other academic problems encountered alongside the day-to-day challenges they experience. In addition, I have taken on advocacy roles for students, developing personalised learning strategies with them, and guiding them through the undergraduate dissertation process. This support enabled students to reach their academic potential, achieving 1st Class Honours Degrees.
I am currently training in transactional analysis, which is a psychoanalytical, educational and organisational theory that helps in the understanding of social interactions and behaviours.
Research and Publications
My PhD research examined the intersections of music and spirituality in the works of the 20th century Irish writer, Samuel Beckett. I have published academic books and articles on Samuel Beckett – most recently a Palgrave book with William Davies called Beckett and Politics (2020). I have also published articles on poetry, one of which features in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013). I am currently preparing a book called More Nearly Pure Spirit: Beckett, Music and Spirituality. See below for more details of my current and forthcoming publications:
More Information About Me
I live in Nottingham and am currently only offering online sessions to new clients due to COVID restrictions. In normal circumstances, however, I offer both online and face-to-face tutorials in tutees’ homes or other locations in and around Nottingham or Ashbourne.
In my spare time I enjoy music and play the violin in various orchestras and ensembles. I also enjoy going for walks, bird-watching, reading, and travelling to new places.
Helen is a highly experienced and dedicated tutor with an infectious enthusiasm for literature and learning. She will work with clients on an individual basis to build their confidence, boost their independent learning and research skills, and encourage analytical and connective thinking that will help them to achieve their full potential.
She holds a PhD in English Literature and is an active researcher and scholar in the field. She has published several articles, chapters and books, including 'Beckett and Politics' (Palgrave, 2020) and a chapter in 'The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry' (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Her teaching experience encompasses KS3, GCSE, A Level, Access to HE and university level English Literature and Study Skills. She has excellent knowledge and experience of the education sector, having worked as an approved specialist marker for A Level English Literature exams, a teaching and research associate in English at the University of Reading, an interdisciplinary research strategy officer at the University of Sheffield, a short course tutor for The Brilliant Club's Scholars Programme, a tutor and Study Skills Lecturer in Access to HE at Loughborough College of Further and Higher Education, and an English Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.
Her knowledge of English Literature spans Chaucer to the present day, and her specific research interests include poetry, modern and contemporary literature, interdisciplinary approaches to literature (specifically politics, music, spirituality and the environment) and feminist theories. She has detailed knowledge of the Higher Education sector and can advise on the admissions process, from choosing the right course and institution to filling out the application form and writing personal statements. She also has strategic knowledge of the research funding landscape and can advise on MA and PhD research and funding proposals.
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