Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums

Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums

Experienced, fully qualified primary tutor and EAL specialist, for help with all aspects of English. I can help!

Do you have a child who lacks confidence or engagement with her English learning? Does she have a test or entrance exam that she needs to pass? Does your non native speaking child need help with her communication? More about my experience:

- PGCE (distinction) qualified primary teacher
- Experience in mainstream, independent, Montessori and special needs schools
- CELTA, DELTA and BA Hons English

Operating as usual


On my way to a client in Scotland today in the rain 😅. One of my new clients messaged and said 'You're just the right teacher for us!' 😊

How will you know I'm the right teacher for you and your child?! Well, most likely:

-You have a child whose first language is not English, who is currently studying in the UK, OR wants to come to the UK.

-Your child might be finding it hard to understand his or her teacher or to communicate with other children.

-Your child might need help passing a UK entrance test, but with some extra language support from a specialist.

- You probably want a teacher who prioritises making your child feel comfortable and safe, and making learning engaging, positive and fun.

- You may be looking for some help understanding phonics or pronunciation in English.

If this sounds like you, I might just be the right teacher for you too! 🤗


More sweet words from a client today. There is something really magical about working with early years children in particular, as I am often their first real English teacher. Everything is done through play and attention to the child's emotional and physical development are as important as the intellectual (if not more). This feeling of treasuring our time together is very much mutual. 🥰 #英文老师

Photos from Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums's post 01/10/2023

Jinny came to me without knowing any English, having tried other tutors and group classes and thought that 'English is too hard'. Now she is confident in English and proud to be able to use it in her lessons at school. 👏 #英文老师

Photos from Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums's post 29/09/2023

I'm not a big fan of grammar for grammar's sake... Grammar is SO important, but what we choose to focus on often comes out of the task and the needs my pupil presents when completing it. Zion has loved learning how to structure a basic story, describe a character and present and solve a problem in her story. It became apparent that we needed to focus on tenses and in this case, the past simple. Zion really enjoyed learning about the past simple because it helped her improve her story and has illuminated some of the confusions she has previously had about English. We both had great fun putting together her story and she has a piece of work to be proud of! 👏


One of my favourite things about working for myself is choosing for myself what I need to work on in terms of CPD. I love learning about how second language learning is different from first language acquisition, but also what the similarities are. The Lightbown and Spada book is an invaluable resource for any language teacher; I've read it before but enjoy dipping back in to remind myself of important ideas. I'm also reviewing punctuation a lot at the moment, such as when and how we need to use commas versus semi-colons, because I have noticed this is something my pupils- and even many native speakers- struggle with. Whilst relationships, fun and meaningful learning are top of my list as a teacher, they wouldn't be much good to me without an in depth understanding of the language I am teaching! I'm always looking to improve my understanding, which is great fun. How did I do on my punctuating of this post?! 😅 (I'm far from perfect and will always make mistakes and have more to learn, as all good teachers are willing to admit!). #英文老师


Story cubes. Throw the cubes, arrange them in order and tell a story!

Reeta is very proficient in English now and needs lots of chances to use it freely and creatively. We do more structured storytelling tasks first, for example we've been learning about onomatopoeia and how it can enhance a story. But the tasks Reeta loves are ones like these where she feels free to be creative. It is also interesting to watch her listen to and pick up the language I use when I have a go. Although I've got to say, her stories are probably better than mine. 🤣


Suay and I having a good giggle in class this week. The website is really good for finding fun graded readers that use the sounds we have learnt in class. They have some nice, simple interactive activities for exploring comprehension, spelling, literary techniques etc. 10/10! I think Suay agrees. 🤣

Photos from Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums's post 11/08/2023

Lovely messages for a wee Friday boost! I'm lucky enough to have considerate clients who take the time to express gratitude and want to share their children's learning experiences with me. This makes my work feel even more meaningful and I am very grateful to them in return. 💕


Lovely new game for a spot of speaking practice! This promotes higher order thinking skills (You have to be creative as you can't say certain words) and is such a fun way to get learners thinking and speaking in English! Can't wait to play it with my pupils tomorrow. Teaching is fun!! 🤗



This week, I had a client email me about her daughter's previous sense of terror at going to English class. They had tried both classes and tutors, but her daughter felt 'English is too complicated, it is harder than other subjects, it is something I simply cannot do'. She wanted to thank me for helping her daughter move on from this. She now finally feels English is something she CAN do, and she even looks forward to class!

Learning a language can feel very scary and if the environment is not supportive or appropriate for the learner's level, there is a risk of making the learner dread lessons and even become phobic about language learning. As a language learner myself who was very shy as a child, I understand how scary and embarrassing this whole experience can feel.

That's why I think it's so important to focus on some really simple fundamentals with total beginners:

✏ Keep it simple. Very simple language, loads of repetition (but in a meaningful context).
✏ In doing this, you can get the learner very quickly remembering some simple structures and being able to use them communciatively, which is empowering and feels like a big win. Get that communicative experience happening right from the start, just on a small and simple scale.
✏ Be gentle and warm, encourage, praise and laugh together. Be a teacher who makes mistakes, encourage mistakes, normalise mistakes. Mistakes are good! Praise shouldn't be empty; encourage genuine effort.
✏Build up very slowly. Don't forget the things you've already worked on, keep using them again and again in different and fun contexts.

And again, be kind and laugh! Learning a language is fun. 🤗🥰


Alisa and I always laugh a lot in class, but here we are finding this piece of writing particularly funny/ bad.

One of the best ways to get children to focus on improving their writing is by having them uplevel (improve) poor (or even average) examples to make them more exciting. Thinking about what good and bad examples look like is one of the most powerful things we can do to arm students with an understanding of what works and what doesn't.

We have been looking at using techniques like alliteration, similes and metaphors to do this. We've particularly loved exploring how personification can intensify the creepiness in a scary story ('The floorboards screamed', 'The clouds were scowling', 'The wind was a weeping child' etc...).

We look at both good and bad examples of each part of a short story, then Alisa writes her own. Her creative writing has been absolutely stunning this term, and she told me that she is having loads of fun writing her story! :)


Jinny is eight years old and a complete beginner in English. I absolutely love teaching beginners because it's so rewarding watching their English learning journey as they slowly become able to communicate. We are using Oxford Discover online but I simplify the material even further, using lots and lots of repetition, games and pronunciation work to give Jinny a really solid foundation.

For beginners, it's really important to keep it very simple and keep practising the vocabulary and structures studied, building up very slowly at first. Small wins should be celebrated. It's not unusual to have a couple of months where the learner barely speaks and appears not to be able to use English, whilst internally she is actually doing a lot of processing and understanding more and more receptively... Then gradually the learner starts to speak more and more, and all of a sudden their progress skyrockets!

After about six weeks together, Jinny is now able to express some likes and dislikes, introduce herself and say who is in her family, and recognise and tell me what colour or animal she can see. She loves all the pronunciation work and pays fabulous attention to intonation and how to shape her mouth to make the different sounds in English. Her mum has said that she never liked English before and now she's suddenly really motivated; she can't believe it turns out it is not only learnable, but also super fun! 😁💫


Shuhe and I have been working together since last October. Her English is very good and we've been preparing her to study for the IBMYP. In spring this year, we worked together to prepare her for an interview at her chosen international school in Switzerland. We've just found out that she got in! Fantastic news Shuhe, what a superstar! I'm going to miss you, especially your cheeky sense of humour. 😆


So lovely to receive these words from happy clients! It's always so sad when a pupil leaves because we form such a strong bond working together, but it's so wonderful that we can still learn together online. 💕


Anyone who thinks that learning phonics isn't full of joy, excitement and laughter is doing it wrong! #英文老师


One of the many fun games we have played to practise prepositions (and to use some of our new vocabulary for household objects). 'The microwave is between the fork and the spoon'. This can take a lot of practice for Chinese speakers, since the word order for describing prepositions of place is so different in Chinese from in English! Suzie is starting to get the hang of it though! Also, I got to teach Suzie the word 'weird' to describe my attempt at drawing a fork! 🤦‍♀️🤣


Lovely Suzie doing some segmenting practice to create words containing the graphemes (the letters/ letter combinations that represent sounds e.g. 'igh' in 'night') we have been working on. As an EAL learner, she needs extra help with pronouncing the sounds and with learning the vocabulary that contains these graphemes (So many EAL learners sit in class and hear/ see these sounds/ letter combinations again and again without actually knowing the meaning of the words they are placed in!). She has absolutely risen to the challenge and should be extremely proud of her progress! 🙌


This sweet face peeking at the camera belongs to six year old Reeta. She has been learning with me for about six months. In that time, she has gone from being barely able to speak a word of English, to speaking naturally and almost fluently.

This remarkable transformation is the result of two key factors: firstly through immersion in the language, and secondly, through dedicated, regular study of the language with structured support from an experienced teacher (with regular review/study and support from Dad, I should add! Classes are more effective if you review/study on the days in between!)

Your child will NOT become proficient in English through immersion alone. Studies in second language learning show that structured support at the right level for the learner COMBINED with immersive experiences (like going to an English speaking school) is the most effective method for helping learners to quickly become confident in a new language. Don't let your child struggle in a sea of chatter she doesn't understand, send her to a professional who can help give her the clarity needed to make the most of those immersive experiences!


A little bit of fun in online English today; I noticed that Henry's head fit nicely on the picture of this man and I couldn't resist! 🤣

We were learning some new vocabulary for a story we were going to read and two of the words we discussed were 'smug' and 'boast'. We looked at examples with these sentences in and Henry told me what part of speech (smug= adjective, boast=verb) they were. I asked if he knows anyone smug; he said not really, but that his brother once boasted he is the most handsome boy in the family!

Learners can't just be told the meaning of a word or a translation; they have to understand and use many examples of how the word performs in context. This is one way we can improve a learner's English super fast! So then Henry can boast that his English is so good! But he'd better not be too smug about it! 😏💫


There are many layers to learning to read and write in English. There are 44 phonemes (sounds that distinguish meaning) in the English language, and learners need to be explicitly taught how we represent them using letters (graphemes). Both native and non-native speakers benefit from explicit, systematic instruction (and will likely struggle without it), but non-native speakers especially need lots of work on this, in lots of different contexts.

When I introduce new phonics to my learners, we practise recognising them (and skills like blending to read and segmenting to spell a word) using games, songs, and graded readers that focus on these sounds. But I also have to be sensitive to where learners might find pronunciation challenging (This is where listening games help! And looking at the shapes our mouths make!) or whether they will know the vocabulary that contains these sounds (again, pictures, games and discussions help). Then we see whether they can produce the sounds themselves. And THEN we do it all over again, because practice makes perfect!!

During all of these experiences, I am also ensuring that learning is meaningful, communicative and fun, so that learners feel it matters to them. The result is that their reading and writing abilities soar, they move up a set or two in school and they love learning at school all the more for their newfound understanding and ability to use this beautiful language! 😊

Photos from Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums's post 30/03/2023

There has been some Easter crafting in English lessons this week! After we played some English language games, practised our phonics recognition, writing and reading, we all got down to some serious crafting. We chatted in English the whole time, talking about what we were making and which parts we liked the best. Lots of great language comes out in this part of the lesson and I notice my pupils mimicking what I say and self-correcting when they notice I'm saying something differently from them. For example, these lovely girls are getting better at using the present continuous ('I'm making the handle' not 'I'm make the handle'). They are picking up words like 'tricky', 'fold' and 'stick'. We also strengthen our relationship in this time, having great fun, laughing and sharing in the pure joy of creativity. 🥰 Happy Easter everyone! 🐣


When I first met little Reeta, she was so shy about using English. She could barely speak, read or write. It took using puppets to help her come out of her shell (partly by making her laugh!) and lots of very simple language and activities so she could be successful. Now, five months later, she is communicating confidently with an English accent (!), reading beautifully, discussing the books and writing full sentences! What a superstar! 💫

Photos from Unlock English: Helping All Learners Succeed in English Curriculums's post 22/03/2023

One One and Suzie really love Rachel Rabbit and Sean the Sheep! Rachel is quite naughty and gets lots of questions wrong so the children have to correct her, whilst Sean is super shy and can mostly be found hiding behind Teacher Anni! Luckily these two girls are very good at taking care of them both. Thanks girls! 😅💕


Hi there! 👋 I'm Anni, known by some of my learners as Teacher Anni. I'm a highly experienced and qualified teacher (PGDE distinction, CELTA, DELTA, ten years+ of teaching experience) and I'm here to help ALL learners thrive with their English learning.

I can offer:
- Expertise to help EAL learners access English curriculums (I currently teach the CFE, English National Curriculum and IBPYP), using specialised strategies I have developed over my years teaching EAL learners
- Rigorous help with reading skills, including synthetic, systematic phonics, tricky words, inference skills and more
- ISEB exam preparation
- Support for parents in helping your children learn to read, write, speak and understand English and to ENJOY learning and using it! 💕

I'm a really supportive teacher and I'm here to listen to you and your child and provide a bespoke program of learning, including detailed reports of what we do in class and how your child is doing.

Don't hesitate to get in touch and we can have a relaxed conversation about what you and your child are looking for. 😊

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