Teacher Profile

Mrs Joanna Brown

English Literature

I hold a BA in English Literature from Goldsmiths, University of London. My formal education journey began in a small evangelical Christian school. I completed A-Levels in a local grammar school but then joined this Christian school as a member of staff and have now been a teacher there for over twenty years. My five children also attend the school, and it is a wonderful delight to entrust my children into the care of teachers who care about the children’s spiritual well-being as much as their educational development. I have experience in teaching GCSE and A-Level English Literature, and also delight in teaching younger students to appreciate and understand good literature.

English Literature to God’s Glory?

Imagination and language are gifts from God, and I believe that each text ought to be read in the light of the gospel of Christ. Studying English Literature develops a set of tools that can then be used by any Christian to help them understand God’s Word. As N. D. Wilson puts it, “Human language is our attempt at navigating God’s language; it is us running between the lines of His epic, climbing on the vowels and building houses out of the consonants.”

One of my joys in life has been teaching my children and others how to navigate the literary world as a Christian. I get a thrill when together we decode a difficult poem and have it come alive on a second or third reading, or when I see them treasure the richness of Shakespeare’s language and laugh at dramatic irony.

I offer the following PX Classroom course:

Key Stage 3 English Literature

Who is this course for?

This course is designed to bridge the gap between primary school and GCSE English courses and is most suitable for children aged 11-14. Many students struggle with the analytical and evaluative aspects of GCSE English Language and Literature, but this course aims to develop these skills early on in life.

What does the course entail?

Most children who enter my classes already read for pleasure, but they have never really thought about why they enjoyed Charge of the Light Brigade but struggled with What Katy Did. Over the course of their studies, students have the chance to develop their reading and writing skills. They learn to spot, comment upon, and analyse poetic techniques and the author’s intentions, and to engage in the interpretation of ideas, all through different literary genres. Each year’s course covers a collection of poems, a novel, and a Shakespeare play, and all these items differ from year to year. This means that some students enroll for a single year while others benefit from enrolling for a second or even a third year, all with different texts each time. Such continuing students are stretched by more demanding essay titles and extension questions which delve further into the author’s intention.  

What is the class like?

I really enjoy teaching, and my classes aim to be interactive and full of discussions. I use audio and video clips to create the visual and aural settings of poems, plays, and novels. Written work is an important part of the course, and students learn to write short summative answers, longer paragraphs, and five-point essays.

What needs to be purchased?

Notes and poems will be provided and can be printed out, but a copy of the novel and play will need to be purchased.

What about further study?

By learning these skills, children are in a better position to go on to study GCSE English Language and Literature, as well as to analyse the written words that they come across in their everyday lives. I hope in the future to be able to offer a GCSE English Literature course.

Testimonials

Mrs Brown is a great and inspiring teacher. She finds a way to explain the most mundane and complicated tasks, and makes them fun and exciting with her enthusiasm. She always has time to explain things privately and help every student at their own pace, never asking for more than their best. Not only has she helped our class tackle Shakespeare and poetry, but she has also helped us all to write sound essays, allowing me to go up a level! She is one of the best and kindest teachers I’ve had and definitely provides us all with a fun and informative class experience.

Lenora F.

Aged 12

Mrs Brown is an outstanding English Literature teacher. Her love and passion drove me not only to push myself, but also helped me find my love for this subject. When I began, I was barely able to construct a simple essay. However, with time under Mrs Brown’s vast knowledge and clear explanations, the state of my essays improved drastically. Mrs Brown’s classes are both clear and fun. Her passion for her subject is obvious, and she encourages her students to work hard too. Her dedication to her work and her pupils is one not often seen in teachers today. As for her teaching, I cannot begin to give enough praise.

Rebekah F.

Aged 14