Teacher Profile

Mrs Hannah Clarke

English Language

I am a housewife and mother to four boys on earth and a daughter in heaven. I hold a BA in English Literature & German and a PGCE, both from Queen’s University Belfast. The PGCE was particularly valuable in convincing me of the absolute necessity of Christian Education: there is certainly no neutrality in State education! I was a secondary school English teacher for one year, before the Lord blessed me with twins, and I’ve taught them at home ever since.

What do I like to read?

My favourite question! Thank you so much for asking! It was Enid Blyton who first convinced me reading was worthwhile, and the Golden Age of detective fiction has my heart. I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the morality of Hercule Poirot. Recently I’ve been introduced to the world of twentieth-century women’s fiction, and the postman’s been busy delivering the novels of D. E. Stevenson, Mary Stewart, Miss Read, and Angela Thirkell. Of course, as a Literature teacher, I love the classics. Jane Austen is by far my most “re-read” author, and George Elliot is next on my “to read” list. You can follow along with what I’m reading via GoodReads.

Is English dull?

English Language is the study of how we communicate. Have you ever listened to a much too long wedding speech? Given up reading an article even though you were interested in the topic? Felt uncomfortable when a speaker made inappropriate jokes? Chances are the speaker or author should have paid more attention in English class. Studying English Language equips you to communicate clearly, appropriately, and engagingly in every situation. Studying the best of writers, wrestling with some of the most world-changing ideas – what could be more interesting?

Is English scary?

It’s always unnerving when the mark scheme doesn’t actually have the answers! English is one subject that can never be marked by computers. But don’t panic! It can be taught. All of us are communicating every day, and chances are you or your child have good English skills without even realising it. I’m here to draw out the knowledge you already have, and develop any skills you might be missing. When it comes to GCSEs, the English examination can feel like a bizarre logic test, so I’ll teach you how to understand what the examiner wants from you, and how to give it to him. 

What makes these courses Christian?

Just like in real life, the majority of texts on the course are written by non-Christians. Happily, studying English teaches you how to identify a writer’s purpose, and all the linguistic tricks he has used to achieve that purpose. I encourage my students to ask, “What is this saying?” and “Is it true?” of every text they meet. It is my hope that the critical and analytical skills my students develop in this way in English class will become useful weapons in their war against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

I offer the following PX Classroom courses:

Key Stage 3 English

Who is this course for?

There’s more to English than being a “good reader,” although it certainly helps. This one-year course is designed to bridge the gap between primary school and GCSE English, teaching all the necessary English skills. It’s most suitable for early secondary school aged children.

What are “English skills”?

The four main English skills are:

  • Reading: What does a text say? What effect does it have on the reader? How has the writer deliberately created this effect? What techniques has he used?
  • Writing: Being able to write appropriately and engagingly, no matter who you’re writing for, or why.
  • Listening: Similar to reading: what is a person saying? How are they influencing you? What techniques, both verbal and non-verbal, are they using to manipulate you in this way?
  • Speaking: Speeches, presentations, debates: can you communicate without the written word to help you?

What will we be studying?

We will look at all the different kinds of texts you’re likely to meet: a novel, short stories, essays, memoirs, newspaper articles, poems, and leaflets. We’ll learn how to analyse them closely and figure out what they are saying, how they are affecting the reader, and what linguistic techniques have been used to create that effect. We’ll also learn how to imitate these writings ourselves, and produce our own stories, essays, and articles.

Do I need to purchase any books?

We will cover one novel in the course, which you will need to purchase.

Is this course complete?

Yes and no. English is a skills-based subject, and the only way to develop skills is to practise them. For all the topics we will cover I will teach all the necessary skills, and give an opportunity to practise them. But to really excel at English, pupils will need more practise than I can give in one class a week.

 

IGCSE English Language

Who is this course for?

This is a one-year course for those preparing to sit the Edexcel IGCSE in English Language (Specification A). This course is only suitable for those who are already proficient in the KS3 English skills. It involves a weekly online class and written homework assignments.

What will we be studying?

This course is focused on the study of two anthologies of literature: one of non-fiction texts, and one of fiction and poetry. There is also a writing component. These anthologies are not available online, but I can email copies. The titles of all the texts can also be found in the specification.

Do I need to purchase any books?

No, all materials will be supplied, but you will need access to a printer to print out the anthology.

Is this course complete?

Yes, we will cover the complete specification in one year. However, as English is a skills-based subject, and the only way to develop skills is to practise them, I do encourage further practise for my students outside of class assignments, and am very happy to give guidance about this. All skills will be thoroughly revised, but it is assumed that pupils have already had significant English practice at the KS3 level.

Testimonials

Mrs Clarke helped me to feel confident going into an exam in a subject I struggled with. She not only focused in great detail on the set anthology, but also on exam technique, and how the mark schemes work. Mrs Clarke clearly studies each text carefully, and provides perceptive ways to interpret and discuss each text in the exam, in a way which achieves good marks. Mrs Clarke spends so much time on each student individually, not only marking essays every week, but also answering questions and providing extra helpful material. Although English Language is not my favourite subject, I enjoyed Mrs Clarke’s PX Classroom.

Cassia M.

Aged 16

What an inspiring teacher Mrs Clarke is! During the year she taught me English, she explained the anthology pieces clearly and simply, helping the class to interpret the literature correctly, whilst we developed our own ideas and personal opinions about the writing. I was also greatly helped in my creative writing skills through Mrs Clarke’s encouraging guidance and helpful feedback on my homework. She is always so welcoming and understanding of any questions that come up in class, constantly making sure everyone is comfortable with the pace and content of the classes. Her lessons made me truly enjoy English!

Naomi M.

Aged 16