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Jon Lowe

English Teacher

Qualifications :

B.A., CELTA

Subjects :

English Literature, English Language

Jon has had an extensive dual career in both teaching English and in writing. His degree is in English from University College London and he holds the CELTA teaching qualification. He has written for TV and film and most extensively for magazines and newspapers across the world. Jon has lived and worked in Hong Kong for over 25 years and first worked for ITS between 2010 and 2013 before taking a full-time editor position. We are happy to have him back with us in 2022.

 

On becoming a teacher:

After graduating from London University, I headed to HK to join my expatriate mother and stepfather. With my English degree I soon found a way into tutoring, which was and remains a good fit for me for several reasons. I am engaged with the subject matter so I’m passionate about it and always ready to have an in-depth discussion on set texts or English usage topics. I enjoy helping students discover new levels and more sophisticated ways to explore literary criticism. At the same time I stress the importance of maintaining clarity in writing and making it cohesive and reader-friendly. 

 

Other interests that reflect on my personality as a teacher:

I am interested in writing music which probably influences some aspects. But my years in various editorial roles (such as sub-editor, features editor, writer) on English-language newspapers, magazines, wire services, etc, definitely informs my work as a tutor. I impress upon students that any piece of written coursework starts as a first draft. The overall quality rises in proportion with the time one puts into multiple edits to improve both its content (thesis, arguments, vocabulary) and expression (style, syntax, structure). While exams don’t allow for this other than some hasty proof-reading, students who regularly wear an editor’s hat develop the foresight to avoid pitfalls, and so become more efficient writers under pressure as a result. 

 

A person I find inspirational and why:

Aside from Orwell, I think Anthony Burgess fits that bill for me. He wrote widely in fiction and journalism, and also composed classical music. He had an understanding of society akin to Orwell’s, and it seems quite fitting that both authors secured their names for posterity with dystopian sci-fi novels that explored the relationship between humanity and free will.

In more modern times, Michael Franzese, who is an inspirational speaker. Like Mike Tyson, Ice T, or ‘Mad’ Frankie Frazer, he has a powerful message for young people in disadvantaged circumstances who may be tempted into gangs or criminal life: thinking one can evade the long arm of the law in this hi-tech world is a mug’s game. Franzese was formerly a successful racketeer and capo-regime in New York’s Columbo crime family until the early 1990s. He left the life while doing time (8 years - luck was on his side). Though he broke his oath to Cosa Nostra by leaving, he didn’t testify against any former associates so has avoided getting whacked, so far. He now spends most of his time helping others, from the juvenile delinquents and inmates, to regular people who are having difficulty negotiating with life.  

 

Top tip to younger self:

Write some books! Or in more general terms, follow your dreams.

Dulwich College Singapore

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

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