Books shelf

Covering 100 percent of texts for O-level, IP Lang Arts & IB Lit Texts for Selected Schools

2020 is be a year with a major breakthrough for I am delighted to announce that all O level Literature texts are covered; all A level texts are covered. In addition all Lang Lit texts done for the following schools for all the levels will be covered:

MGS
SCGS
SJI
TA
VS
CHIJ ST Nic
NJC
HCI
ACSI
RVH

So call me to book sessions for 2020 now.

 

 

Feminism, female customer care, care for employees, labor union, CRM, and life insurance concepts. Protecting gesture of woman or personnel with icons representing group of woman.

Feminist Text – “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woof

Feminist literary theory is one popular lens to explore and interpret literary works. Literary theories are useful tools to help A level Literature students understand and interpret texts and produce insightful essays.  As a Literature tutor, I recommend that A level H1 and H2 Literature students familiarise themselves with the writings of leading feminist authors and theorists.  Four women come to mind when one thinks of feminist writers –  Mary Wolstonecraft, Virginia Woof, Gloria Steinem and Simone de Beauvoir.

But in this post I like to write a little about the seminal essay by Virginia Woof entitled “A Room of One’s Own”. This remarkable essay was delivered by Virginia Woof in 1929  to an all-female Cambridge college audience. Woof’s assertion about the reasons for the absymal lack of female authors and the short supply of works by female writers in the past and during her time centred on that the fact that no women could write because they have no “room of her own”. This personal room is the metaphor for the conditions that Woof strongly feels must be present for women to produce literary works.  The conditions are privacy, money and education. To Woof,  it is the conditions of everyday life that made it impossible for women to write literature. It is not intellectual inferiority, but rather a woman’s life that prevented her from writing.  A woman’s conditions – her duties to the family if she is married, her duties to her family (parents, siblings) if she is not married and her lack of education or her rudimentary education  if she is literate that hinders her.

Her seminal essay became a torchpoint for the feminist movement to intensify the fight for women’s emancipation. But fast forward to 21st century, the post-feminist era, when women are no longer barred from attending hight education, have  voting rights and head companies and lead countries as heads of state, the question that arises is how far have we arrived as fully emancipated individuals in control of our own destiny, driven by ambition and drive, able to attain our career goals and aspirations. Are we still tied to the apron, to the kitchen sink? More than anything is there a reversal or backtracking along the road of female emancipation. Do women really want to be emancipated? Do they really want to be at the top whether it is in politics, commerce, and the arts? But the reality that is worth celebrating is women now have a choice – if she wants to spend her time cooking away, raising a family, then she has the freedom to do so; if she wants to pursue a career in law, she is able to do. It is the importance of choice that makes all the difference.

Women have certainly come a long way. In schools we are reading works by Anita Desai, her daughter, Kieran Desai, Catherine Lim, Doris Lessings, Amy Tan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Pearl S Buck, Arundhati Roy, JK Rowling, etc. And in many fields, women have reached the summit in their fields. Women now have very beautiful rooms of their own now, to borrow Woof’s metaphor.

 

 

The Difference between A-level & O-level Literature

It is about time an A Level Literature tutor enumerates and elaborates the differences between O level and A level Literature.

“Understanding the differences is the first step to doing well for
this wonderful subject.”

As an experienced and dedicated A level Literature tutor, I have realised the importance of  ensuring students know the contexts to improve and deepen our understanding of the texts.  This is one of the open secrets of doing well. It is also one of the major difference between A-level and O-level Literature. As an A Level Literature tutor, I am committed to helping students understand the text in a perceptibly profound manner and interpreting questions to know what are expected and the way to writing out the answers.

One Crucial Difference

Contexts

Having an A-level Literature tutor who knows the differences makes the key difference between an effective and a non-effective A-level Literature tuition session.

Answering Techniques

The “Peel” method which is so ingrained in our students does not apply to questions for Literature in English. Students has to give that up, letting go the usual repetitive linking sentence at the end of the elaboration for each point.  Whenstudents write correctly, they will get the marks they want. In this regard, the A level Literature tutor will spare no efforts to role-model and provide scaffolding to enable students to answer the question in such a way to scor

What is there not to love about George Bernard Shaw?

It is with delight that MOE has once again selected the works of this all-time eminent but controversial playwright for A-level Literature. As a Literature tutor for both O-level and A-level students, I am always pleased about tutoring his plays. For O-levels, Pygmalion is the drama text for Pure Literature students but will be taken for 2020, and for A-level students, it was previously Mrs Warren’s Profession and now it is Saint Joan.  Having studied his works in great depth , I can say he is an awesome playwright and certainly strive my best to make my Literature tuition sessions fun and beneficial for my students. To be an effective Literature tutor, it is vital for the tutor to possess the following attributes:

  • A willingness to work diligently
  • Thorough knowledge of the text and the  various relevant contexts
  • Understanding the background, beliefs and precepts of the writer
  • Infinite patience and a nurturing temperament.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I enumerate the reasons for loving his works and even this great playwright.

Reasons for loving Shaw

A Feminist to Boot
In an era when British women were fighting a bitter battle for the right to vote, Shaw was already an ardent advocate of equal rights for women – not only at the ballot box, but in the institutions of higher learning, in the right to pursue a career, in the opportunity to be financially independent. His female characters have a mind of their own, unafraid to speak up for themselves, unafraid to voice their opinion. Never mind that he makes them  “unwomanly” in his plays, (by the way that is how the epithet, Shaw’s unwomanly woman” originated), the point is this great guy was penning brochures to promote the suffragette movement, speaking at their rallies and gatherings and specifically giving them equal status with men as members of the Fabian Society. He also donated to their cause.

A Fervent Socialist. 
He was not the violence/revolution-espousing leftist, in case that is what you are thinking. No, he believed in peaceful means of revolution – that was why he founded the Fabian Society. Shaw saw the evils of unbridled capitalism – the greed, the exploitation and the glaring inequalities that it spawned. Indeed, the wealthy upper class characters in his plays are usually portrayed in rather negative light and he often gives his best lines to the lower classes. The downtrodden working class were often portrayed sympathetically while the wealthy upper class are depicted as immoral, hypocritical, and self-seeking.

A Self-made Man.
His life story is the story of the poor boy made good. Who does not love such a story and admire such a man? Shaw was forced out of school by a selfish drunkard for a father and after working as a lowly-paid clerk, he moved to London (to join his very unconventional mother) where he educated himself by reading fervently in libraries, and attending talks and lectures. Actually he did not really liked schools, calling them prisons. He embarked on self-education which made him very much the immensely successfully playwright that he was.  But success eluded him for a long time (the first five novels he authored all failed abysmally), it was only in his mid-forties that he started tasting real success.  By his fifties, he became a household name, respected and admired in Europe and America. He won numerous awards and citations, including the Nobel Prize for Literature not to mention the Academy Award, the Pulitzer Prize.

Unafraid to Speak His Mind
Shaw was a man unafraid to speak his mind and some of his plays were banned. One example was Mrs Warren’s Profession which deal with the subject of prostitution among other issues. He was pretty controversial too – some of his beliefs are really up my alley – he once wrote that “a man is a woman without petticoats”. Now is that not wonderful that he had actually conferred on woman the signifying power of gender, thereby reversing the way gender was determined in his patriarchal society. That statement is sufficient to make him endearing to me.

An Interesting and Unique Character
He led a remarkably interesting life. I mean he was an interesting character. Of course, it is expected that Shaw led a colourful life in the department of romance given that he was rather good-looking (when he was younger than he was in the photo) and undoubtedly very talented and successful, all of which naturally made him a magnet for women. His public and sincere advocacy of  women’s rights also moved his appeal to the opposite sex many notches up. But overall his relationships with women were mostly platonic. He did have a thing for actresses and if you are interested, do read up about his love life. I assure that it is quite entertaining. Nevertheless, this man only married once and his life changed for the better when he became a married man – the married playwright became the successful playwright.

A Remarkably Tenacious Character
He was always very persistent and failures did not deter him. His career as a playwright was not always smooth-sailing although his works made him very rich. This is a quality many of us could certainly emulate. In addition, he was witty, entertaining although he had some eccentric habits which I rather you, my dear reader, find out on your own.  

In conclusion Shaw is truly a unique person who cared a lot for the downtrodden and his life is certainly inspiring for those who feel they are different and have problems fitting in with conventions and norms. And it is always a lot of fun teaching his works.