I met Michael S in 1992 in the South East of England. Michael was 15 when we rst met. We met because his mother insisted that he was an intelligent child and that his seeming total incapacity to learn French was a failure of the school and not Michael. He had been treated to extra homework, private tuition, external private tuition and tuition by “learning di culty” experts. None of these measures had worked. He remained at the bottom of his class apparently incapable of achieving a respectable standard of French. His mother persisted and so he and I eventually met.
He struck me as intelligent, personable and perfectly capable. He was motivated and polite and the rst GCSE student I ever helped. We spent six hours together in three two hour sessions. I shared with Michael how to deploy the parts of his brain that were unusually good and avoid the parts that were less good during the process of learning French. The six hours were compressed into a three week period. I did not see Michael again. Two months later he wrote to me with delight letting me know that the new approach had worked. He was now the top of his class.
He communicated with me once more after that. Having passed his GCSE French and enjoying being very good at learning French (a fairly natural piece of behaviour for most of us) he had chosen to go on to learn French at the “A” level. He wrote to me to tell me that his French teacher at his new school had described him as “a natural linguist” and asked the other students not to compare themselves with him because it would only discourage them. A transformation in the perception of others that delighted Michael as much as it delights me to this day.
Evie was struggling with her French GCSE course and as a result was stressed and unhappy – something that is all too frequent in modern education. Evie’s parents were considering arranging private tuition, and approached us for help. We completed 4 hours of private tuition with the whole family present including her two younger sisters the youngest being ve years old. Just two months later Evie reported through her father that she was now at the top of her class, and really started to enjoy the language. Later in 2016, we heard that Evie was so delighted by the result she has opted to study GCSE Spanish too and having completed her exams this year, is planning to take A’level Spanish. Interestingly, her younger sister also went to the top of her class despite just being an observer in the tutoring sessions.