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Syed Talha

Syed Talha

English (Foreign Language) and Arabic Tuition in Tooting

I have been a student of the Arabic language for over 15 years.

In 2004 I graduated with a First in BA Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Between 2001-2003 I lived in Damascus studying both at the University of Damascus and privately with local teachers. I have studied classical texts of grammar, such as Al-Ajrumiya, Qatr al-Nada and Alfiyat Ibn Malik, as well as works on rhetoric, poetry and prosody.

In 2005 I successfully passed my CELTA.

I have been a writer and translator of literary works for over 20 years.

In 2012 the Koestler Trust awarded me the Leopold de Rothschild Charitable Trust Platinum Award for my poem "Grieving" and a further prize for the collection from which it came from.

In 2014 the University of Turin published a selection of my poetry translated into Italian accompanied with an essay about my career by Professor Pietro Deandrea.

I am currently studying MA History at SOAS.

Tutoring Experience

I taught prisoners at HMP Belmarsh and HMP Long Lartin in classes for English as a Foreign Language, basic literacy and maths between 2006 through 2012. In 2008 I completed the Community Learning Champions Programme run by Lewisham College to become a mentor for those with no formal education.

Since then I have tutored students from SOAS, University of Westminster as well as individual adult learners.

I have experience with the Edexcel GCSE and A-level Arabic curriculum, as well as iGCSE Classical Arabic. All my GCSE tutees have gained As for their exams.

Course books I have taught include: Haywood and Nahmad, Wightwick and Ghafoor, Schulz et al, Arabiyya Bayna Yadayk, Al-Ajrumiya as well as individual packages.

I have taught English using the Callan method to Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking students.

In 2015 I was requested by the Ibn Jabal institute to teach the poetry and media Arabic modules for their pilot year long programme. I covered poetry both religious and secular, as well as contemporary writings on art criticism and scientific research. The programme culminated with students giving a presentation on a subject of their choice all in Arabic and fielding questions from fellow students.

I have had corporate clients in law, finance and advertising.

Testimonials from other tutoring sites:
"Talha has a very systematic and enthusiastic approach towards teaching Arabic. He makes the experience better by explaining in a very creative and patient manner. He even stays a little longer to ensure that the student has understood the topic. Would recommend!"

"Upon meeting with my daughter and discussing her needs for over an hour, Talha decided she didn't really need a tutor right now. We were satisfied with his decision and found him to be a competent and reliable tutor and would have been more than happy to hire him."

"Talha taught our Level 1 Arabic course based on the first 8 chapter of al-‘Arabiyya Bayna Yadayk over a 12 week period preceding the start of Ramadan 2016. He was prompt and professional in dealings. The students enjoyed his classes and gave positive comments. We are pleased he will resume teaching with us."
Shahan Alom, Project Manager, Jibreel Institute

"Talha tutored my son for iGCSE Classical Arabic via skype. My son is fluent in Arabic and so the help he required was very specific and high level. The exam required command in both Arabic and English and was very challenging. We had only ten weeks left before the exam when I got in touch with Talha. After the initial meeting, Talha made an assessment of my son's level and started giving him lessons. It was exactly what my son needed – Talha made him feel very comfortable and relaxed even while tackling hard translation exercises. I feel we got so much more out of the tutoring than the actual teaching – My son feels he has a friend, uncle and teacher all in one. In fact, a few weeks after the exam, my son realized that his English had even improved due to Talha’s detailed and meticulous teaching technique!

Talha also devoted time outside of the actual lessons to research and recommend material to my son that would be of benefit.

I am very grateful to have Talha as my son’s tutor – I hope he will continue to teach him through his AS/A level Arabic course.

Whatever your level or needs are – I would definitely recommend him."
Umm Sulayman, iGCSE Classic Arabic via Skype (UPDATE: her son got an A for his IGCSE and As for his A-level Arabic with me too)

"I have found to be exceptionally good. Talha is obviously well rounded in his Arabic knowledge which becomes very evident when we discuss the easiest to the most complex of Arabic language matters. He has a very good capacity to explain in a simple style and has always been punctual with our lessons. After having tried various teachers, it is a true blessing to have come across Talha. I would not hesitate to recommend him to any eager Arabic students out there."
Faisal, Intermediate casual learner via Skype

"I was blessed to stumble upon and find Talha. After several failed attempts at learning Arabic in the past, I have finally found someone who is clearly a very gifted teacher. As well as having great knowledge of the Arabic language, I have found that Talha is extremely patient and ensures that the lessons are tailored to my needs as opposed to trying to stick to a pre-determined syllabus which may not suit everyone. I would not hesitate to recommend Talha, and hope that I can continue my Arabic journey with him for the foreseeable future."
Omar, Beginner

"I am practically impossible to teach. That’s due time constraints and also because I can be a bit thick at the best of times. My appreciation of this language has unfolded naturally and I find myself thinking and speaking Arabic. If you want to learn Arabic then get on this very knowledgeable and capable teachers good side.
Disclaimer. This review is written after 9 months therefore good sample."
Shaf, Beginner via Skype

Tutoring Approach

I have the experience of rigour from traditional learning methods practised in Damascus and I have my British university education. I adapt my approach according to the need of the learner.

Outside of lessons I am available to my tutees via phone, email, SMS, Skype and Whatsapp.

I can also assist beginners with classical texts in Arabic grammar like Ajurumiya, Qatr an-Nada and Alfiyah Ibn Malik.

I aim to make total beginners self-sufficient learners in 8-12 sessions so they can take advantage of the free and low cost resources online. From my experience, I have come to the view that languages are learnt, not taught.

Our first session is at no charge.

Don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss your learning needs.

LanguagesEnglish (British)
AvailabilityWeekends, Weekdays (all times)
References Available On File


Dulwich College1998School11 GCSEs, 3 A Levels
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)2004BachelorsBA Arabic (First Class Honours)
Oxford House College, London2005ProfessionalCELTA
Lewisham College2008ProfessionalCommunity Learning Champions Programme

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