I approach each topic according to the immediate and long-range needs of the student, whether they require help in comprehending their topic, in preparing for exams, or in planning, executing, and proofing written work. Depending on the desire and temperament of the student, I can gear my lessons either towards cramming and exam survival or towards the nurturing of lifelong learning.
In my time as both lecturer and tutor I have learned that there is no effective one-size-fits-all approach to pedagogy. If you're struggling with an obdurate topic and simply wish to pass an exam that you're dreading, I can help you by teaching to the test and unlocking the code of what's expected at your level. If you're enthralled by your subject and wish to pursue it further, beyond the bounds of learning outcomes and assessment, then I can cultivate that passion in you. If you want to improve your critical or creative writing, I can help you articulate your vision and present it according to high standards; along the way I will instil good practices that will help you in any such task.
For any given first session I like to get to know the student, find out where they're at in their course of study, and see what their current working methods are like. Usually, talking about the current piece of homework, the next upcoming exam, or due assignment is a great way to gauge their requirements, assess where my help is most needed, and thus collaboratively devise a joint programme of work. Some students work better with a more freewheeling approach in which they discover the joy of their own working methods, whereas others achieve their potential with a more planned and scheduled approach. Contingent upon these considerations, my sessions can run between one and two hours.
I have been lecturing in English Literature at Brunel University, where I received my PhD, since the 2015-16 academic year. I have been offering private tuition in various capacities since I was a teenager. I have received consistently positive feedback from the groups I've taught at university, and have had successful results with my private students since focusing on tuition in the last year. I am also a nationally-published writer whose book reviews have appeared in The Guardian and Prospect Magazine. I have run sessions on writing technique at my university.
Recently, an MA student at Birkbeck whom I have coached in writing technique received a Distinction for both essays that they wrote in the past year, an A Level student of mine got a place on the Classics & Philosophy BA of their choice, and a GCSE student showed considerable improvement on his English mock exams. In addition to English I have also tutored in Religious Studies and French Language (GCSE) as well as History, Classic Civilisation, and Philosophy (A Level). I am familiar with the AQA, OCR, and EdExcel syllabi, as well as the skills required to thrive in a university setting.
I have an Enhanced DBS Certificate, dated March 16th of 2020. I am signed up for the update service.
Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature—Brunel University London (2019)
Master of Research with Distinction in English Literature—University of Southampton (2011-2012)
• Recipient of Sue Wilson Scholarship
• Awarded mark of 86 for dissertation
Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in English Literature—University of Southampton (2007-2011)
• Awarded mark of 61 for French Language Stage 6 (equivalent to CEF C1) in the 2008/09 academic session
• Awarded mark of 84 and £100 cash prize for best dissertation of the 2010/2011 academic session
A Levels in English Literature, History (A), Spanish Language (B), French Language (C)
IGCSEs in English Literature, English Language, Spanish Language, French Language, History (A*), Geography, Physics, Mathematics (A), IT (B)
Brunel University London, 2015-Present
• In the 2015/16 academic session I taught three seminar groups for the first year core English Literature and Creative Writing module Learning London.
• In the 2016/17 academic session I taught two seminar groups for World Literature, which replaced Learning London.
• In the 2017/18 academic session I taught three seminar groups for World Literature, for which module I also delivered several full-hall lectures before the entire first year cohort for English and Creative Writing. I also piloted a new module for third year English and Creative Writing Students alongside Professor Will Self, called Reading for Writers/Writing for Readers.
• Since the 2018/19 academic session I have been responsible for seminar groups encompassing the entire first year intake for English and Creative Writing. In addition to this I have continued to deliver full-hall lectures and further develop the module that I co-teach with Professor Self.
• Before undertaking teaching duties at Brunel I attended Introduction to Teaching for Postgraduate Research Students, and have a certificate to that effect from the Brunel Educational Excellence Centre.
Will Self – (concealed information)
• Professor of Contemporary Thought, Brunel University London
Perfect! Alexis is an excellent tutor. He helps my son in his English course work. My 16 year old son is thoroughly enjoying his English lessons with Alexis.
Perfect! Fun, professional and knowledgeable keeps the students engaged, and helps expand vocabulary, can recommend.
Alexis is a teacher of my son. He is a great professional. He always takes into account my wishes, gives modern, relevant and high-quality knowledge to my son. He is an excellent teacher and tutor. He is very friendly and attentive. I’m happy to have such teacher for my son.
Alexis assisted me in writing two assignments for my Masters Degree in Contemporary Literature and Culture, one on postmodern literature and the other on human rights narratives in documentary filmmaking. His delivery of feedback was encouraging and respectful, and his grasp of the style and flow of an essay goes beyond the straightforward content of the work. His knowledge, though operating in subjects distinct from the area of his primary study, was wide-ranging and flexible, and his keen insight was invaluable in attaining the two distinction grades the essays were given. I couldn't recommend Alexis more highly, for tuition in English literature, and indeed any humanities subject .
Alexis is a truly wonderful tutor. He is teaching GCSE English (analysis, comprehension, creative writing) to our son and is familiar with the requirements. He is always prepared and understands just what’s needed to deeply prepare for each topic, while also improvIng exam strategy and confidence. He is clearly capable of more: A-level and university tutoring too. We’re thankful that he instilled great skills in our GCSE son who is on his way to moving up 2 grade marks. His teaching is personalised to specific needs he keenly observes and he is also open to feedback. Trustworthy, patient, prepared, easy to communicate with, professional, punctual, kind- he has a good grasp of students’ needs and structures lessons that lead to noticeable improvement, allowing the student to find their own love for the subject. I highly recommend Alexis.
Dr Alexis Forss was initially my doctoral student at Brunel University, where I hold the Chair in Contemporary Thought. Latterly, he became both my trusted colleague, teaching several modules with me (as well as teaching solo on other courses at Brunel), my friend and intellectual companion - and he has also tutored two of my own sons, privately. As the extent of my involvement with this young man would indicate, I consider him to be not simply trustworthy, but an excellent teacher, thinker, writer and communicator. Indeed, in ten years of teaching in higher education, Dr Forss is the best teacher and lecturer I've seen. He is empathetic as well as eloquent: understanding the capabilities of students intuitively, working to provide them with heuristics that will suit them at their level, and patiently leading them into new skills and areas of knowledge. He is diligent in his preparation for classes, and sincere in his belief in education: this man is not a hack. My own retention of Dr Forss as a teacher for my sons (both of whom are ASD), indicates just how highly I regard his abilities.
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