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Meet the tutors

Debbie working on a project

Meet the Tutor - Debbie France

Debbie France is a much valued Silversmithing & Jewellery tutor for Kent Adult Education. Debbie first caught the craft bug when attending a taster course over 15 years ago with her friend. She was instantly hooked, and since then, she hasn’t stopped creating. Debbie, often inspired by nature, explored a variety of different mediums including beads, glass, leather and many more. This creative drive led her to gain a diploma certificate endorsed by the manufacturers of ART CLAY. Debbie enjoys making bespoke pieces of jewellery, especially when she has helped someone make a piece for themselves. Debbie says: “This is why I love teaching to help people achieve their goals and enjoy the process of creating something that they are proud of. The benefits of having a hobby you enjoy are huge”.

Debbie’s courses have a relaxed and friendly feel to them, as she prefers to support and encourage her learners to find their style and develop their skills further. Her main motivation behind teaching is the reward of seeing how happy craft can make her learners. As Debbie herself says: “There is little better than seeing somebody feeling great about being able to gift a piece of jewellery that they have made. It gives me such a great feeling to know that I may have helped them tap into a skill they didn’t know they had.”

Take a look at Debbie's courses
Victoria Wainwright smiling for camera

Meet the Tutor - Victoria Wainwright

Victoria Wainwright is an artist/illustrator with a fascination for all media including pen and ink, watercolour, oils, printmaking and sometimes mixing it all up together. She is also a keen silversmith.

“I came across Adult Ed when I had a sudden overwhelming desire to take up silversmithing. I did a course with a great tutor and later someone suggested that I should teach what I love. Over ten years later I am absolutely loving teaching. I have a real passion for drawing, getting inky, using watercolour washes and playing with oils and acrylic. Pretty much every media inspires me and it’s great to mix them up. My students teach me and motivate me so much that it has become the perfect balance for my own creative work.

During lockdown, I have really enjoyed staying in touch with my students and have found teaching online to be very different but just as rewarding.

Being creative is exceptionally important for wellbeing, especially now.”

Victoria has a wide variety of weekly and one day courses available aimed at various levels.

Take a look at Victoria's courses
One of our tutors, Ana Baker, smiling for the camera

Ana Baker

Ana is one of our fantastic Spanish and ESOL teachers. As a native Spanish speaker, she is able to fully immerse her learners in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. Additionally, since English has not been her first language, she fully understands the challenges learning English poses for speakers of other languages, allowing her to better understand her ESOL students.

Ana has grown up in Colombia and quickly developed a passion for learning other languages and cultures which brought her to the UK at just 19 years old. From there, after completing her studies, she became a teacher of Modern Languages in order to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for learning. Because of this passion for learning and teaching, Ana has always strived to stay on top of emerging trends and resources in education to ensure her students received the very best tuition. She individually assesses every learner in the group to plan the best way forward and ensure all her students make progress every day. Ana approaches teaching with an open mind and an adaptable attitude to make all her learners feel at ease and comfortable whilst learning, no matter their level or goal. Ana says: “The pleasure and pride for myself and students when they become really involved, feel supported in their learning and enjoy making progress as their confidence builds, continues to inspire and motivate me as a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages”.

Take a look at Ana's courses
Caroline Greville smiling for the camera

Meet the Tutor - Caroline Greville

Dr Greville (always Caroline to her students!) is a Creative Writing tutor for Kent Adult Education. She is a published author of fiction, life and Christian writing, living in Kent with her family. She loves teaching and describes it as ‘always a highlight of [her] week’. Some of Caroline’s learners have gone on to produce books, others short stories and poems, and many have long projects underway. They all say that it is the support of coming to class that has made this possible.

Caroline loves seeing her students progress; some have no creative writing background whatsoever when they first arrive in class, whilst others are adept when they begin their learning. However, all are achieving more than they thought by the end of term. Caroline makes her courses fun and she thrives on seeing my students feeling satisfied and fulfilled. Learners often say that two hours are just not long enough! Caroline says: ‘I’ve heard the comment ‘the best two hours of my week’ more than once, and I find the enthusiasm in the classroom infectious.  It’s a wonderful privilege to do the job I do’.

Take a look at Caroline's courses
Lorella, our tutor, smiling for the camera

Meet the Tutor - Lorella Tudor

Meet Lorella Tudor, our inspiring Arts tutor, who is wholly dedicated to her work. She first set up as a full-time artist thanks to a bursary from the Princes Youth Business Trust. As an artist she exhibited periodically in solo shows, open exhibitions and festivals in London, West Sussex and Kent. Initially concentrating on large scale life and figure work, Lorella’s interests have expanded to mixed media landscape and still life in collage.

Lorella’s life and work have consistently been involved with the Arts. As an Art Youth Worker she organised activities for young people and foreign students around the county, before working as an Arts Officer responsible for running five library galleries and related events programmes.

Now Lorella focuses on passing on this huge amount of experience together with her zealous passion for art to her learners at Kent Adult Education. During Lorella’s career with us, she has taught a wide variety of Drawing and Painting classes, and has also been involved in Summer Schools, Family Learning activities and Art projects within local schools and the community.

Lorella encourages her learners to learn by doing, by experimenting with different colours and techniques. Her courses have an open, friendly atmosphere where all ideas are welcome. Lorella says: “To support and guide students in their creative growth and to watch their confidence and skills improve is such an exciting and privileged position to be in”.

Take a look at Lorella's courses
Meet the tutor Amber Halshall

Meet the tutor - Amber Halshall

For Amber Halsall, our Arts tutor, creating things has always been a part of her life. From studying art at 18 right through to her working life, she kept her love of painting and making books even when she only had small slices of free time. In 1995, Amber finally took the plunge and gave up full time work to fully focus on her love for art.

She initially became interested in botanical art on a trip to Kew gardens. Her love of the countryside and an eye for the quirky side of plants inspired her to paint subjects from nature. After submitting her first pictures to the Society of Botanical Artists in 2004 she was delighted to be awarded full membership in 2009 and now shows her work each year at their Exhibition in London. Amber has also exhibited in many other locations and has sold work both at home and abroad including, among others, the USA, Europe and China.

Amber gives her learners a structured approach so that they can build on their techniques and get to grips with how to use the media in the initial stages. Students are encouraged to learn at their own pace and to choose subjects they have a passion for. Amber loves to share the beauty of the Botanical world by teaching others the techniques and skills needed for precise drawing and painting so that they can then develop their own style. She says: “Watching students progress and gain confidence in their painting and drawing and fulfil their potential is one of the most rewarding parts of being a tutor”.

Take a look at Amber's courses
Meet the tutor Marianna

Meet the tutor - Marianna Zavagno

Marianna Zavagno is a valued Kent Adult Education tutor, teaching many of our Italian courses. Marianna has always been interested in new languages and different cultures and consequently started travelling and working abroad as a teenager. She pursued her passion further by studying English and French at the University of Trieste in Italy and subsequently a PhD in English from the University of Birmingham. Following this, she taught in further education and has given seminars at universities in Italy, UK and Turkey. Marianna also pursued a career in the corporate world which enabled her to practice her language skills in a business setting. Eventually, her passion for academia brought her back to education and she now teaches Italian language and culture for Kent Adult Education, where she has the privilege to share her love for her country with many brilliant learners.

Marianna thrives by helping students cultivate their passion and develop new skills and use her knowledge to serve other people. She finds it extremely rewarding to see and hear how they learn and improve week by week. Her classes are all person centric. Marianna says: “As much as possible my classes evolve around my learners’ personal interests in order to allow them to feel more confident and stimulated, as well as around cultural and historical aspects which can increase not only their knowledge but also their enjoyment in learning about Italy, its language and traditions”.

Take a look at Marianna's courses
Meet the tutor Jackie

Meet the tutor - Jackie Brooks

Meet Jackie, our extremely talented Floristry tutor, who has been a florist for 30 years which she describes as ‘the best job in the world’. She loves being creative with colour and making different styles for different occasions, all varying by the season. Her work revolves mainly around weddings, gifts and funerals. Jackie cherishes them all, helping a family honour a loved one or celebrating with a happy couple.

Jackie loves teaching at Kent Adult Education and she thrives on seeing her students grow with confidence and become more connected with the nature around us all. Often, she finds learners who come for just a short class, stay and learn with her for many years. Soon enough they come into class presenting a beautiful branch, piece of moss, the bargain they found in their local shop and then turn it into a piece of art for themselves. Jackie particularly enjoys mixed ability courses where new students can learn from returning ones - and the other way around too! As she says, ‘everyone is always learning something’.

For Jackie, mother nature is her biggest inspiration, because she is always changing our surroundings. Jackie says: “A twig will look completely different on a cold frosty morning, to being covered in snow, to seeing the buds burst out, to seeing it filled with leaves and then autumn comes along and the leaves change colour. Wow, she is clever and inspiring! Going for a walk, looking around and collecting things on the way is just heaven to me”.

Take a look at Jackie's courses
Karen smiling for the camera

Meet the tutor - Karen Duckworth

Karen Duckworth, our outstanding Spanish tutor, caught the travel bug young having spent several years living in Kenya as a young child. This quickly led to a keen interest in discovering different cultures and learning new languages. She went on to study Spanish at university and has spent time living in both Latin America and Spain. Learning Spanish has opened Karen up to countless new experiences, and she feels learning a new language is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons and experience a different culture.

Karen loves meeting new people and she is always excited to find out what has brought people to her course. Her naturally social nature makes gives her classes a friendly atmosphere and by knowing her students well, Karen makes her courses person-centric by tailoring the lessons to her learners’ needs. Her classes are interactive and fun; no lesson is ever the same. Karen says: “I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and teaching with Kent Adult Education is a fantastic way to do this”.

Recent changes have forced all our tutors to adapt and Karen is no exception. But she stays positive, telling us: “I’ve been really impressed with how well online teaching can work. I would encourage those who are thinking about learning a language to consider giving an online course a go”.

Take a look at Karen's courses
Angela smiling for the camera

Meet the tutor - Angela Collins

Angela Collins, our talented Craft tutor, has been exposed to all forms of art from a very young age. Her mother was a gifted seamstress who won a scholarship to an art school and her father, an accomplished knitter, produced remarkable architectural drawings.

Angela went on to study a City & Guilds course to gain a professional qualification.  Whilst working full time she spent her spare time attending as many Embroidery courses as she could fit in, undertook a teaching qualification and qualified as both an Assessor and Internal Verifier. She joined the Embroiderers’ Guild, was the Secretary of the Maidstone Branch for 5 years and went on to teach their first City & Guilds Embroidery and Design course.  She was delighted to be asked to participate in the renovation and updating of the Guild teaching portfolios to inspire and teach future generations.

Angela has produced work for the Millennium Embroidery housed at Maidstone Museum and has held exhibitions and shown her work in Kent libraries. She says: ‘I feel privileged to be able to share my skills with my students and was very proud last year to be awarded a Grade 1 for my teaching with Kent Adult Education’.

Her classes are truly enjoyable, delivered with a healthy dose of humour and she is often told by her students that the lessons go far too quickly! She maintains an open, relaxed atmosphere in her classroom where no question is too silly to ask, and all ideas are welcome. She also tailors all her classes to match her learners’ interests and abilities. Angela says: “Knowing that you are part of students’ journeys of creative discovery is hugely satisfying but also seeing how they grow in confidence is equally rewarding. I enjoy seeing students form new and lasting friendships as a result of attending classes”.

Meet the tutor - Carole Barter

Meet the tutor - Carole Barter

Carole Barter is one of our revered Craft tutors. She is a truly creative person, having started sewing and crafting aged just 4! She went on to study a huge variety of different crafts, including pottery and decorative paint techniques along with machine embroidery, fabric dyeing and crochet, to name but a few.

As a young adult, Carole wanted to make a difference. She moved to Sudan, and working for the UN, she taught craft to refugee villagers, allowing them to gain skills to make sellable items and gain a degree of independence as well as a source of income. This is when her passion for teaching truly began. Carole says: “Although we had no common language the teaching was achieved by patient demonstration and drawn instruction”.

When she returned to the UK, Carole taught a series of embroidery workshops for a local shop followed by four years study for a full 4-year City & Guilds Embroidery qualification. She has been both Secretary and Chairman of Tunbridge Wells & District Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild and is a member of an exhibiting embroidery group.

Carole’s furnishing experience was gained by working for a local upholstery and curtain workshop supplying furnishings for top London interior designers and for high profile clients such as Clarence House and the Queen Mother.

Carole has been sharing this amazing wealth of experience with Kent Adult Education learners for the past 30 years. She finds teaching truly rewarding and enjoys nurturing students’ talent and allowing them to develop their personal interests at their own pace. She says: “There is no comparable feeling to that of seeing a student gain confidence in their sewing abilities when two years ago they could not even thread a sewing machine! The joy they show at having been able to make something beautiful to enhance their homes is second to none”.

Take a look at Carole's courses
Meet the tutor

Meet the tutor - James Rowdon

James Rowdon has enjoyed playing guitar from a young age. Originally from Dorset, it was his love for music that brought him to Kent, as he travelled here to study it at University. Since then, he played in many different bands in the county, enjoying genres like Jazz/Big Band Swing, Afrobeat, Funk, Soul, Rock/Blues, Folk/Trad, as well as performing solo classical guitar. His inspiration has long been Francisco Tarrega, who helped to popularise guitar in the 19th century. James says: ‘He learned to play being partially blind and later continued performing concerts after becoming partially paralyzed, so I like to use him as an example of playing and learning music in the face of adversity’.

Now, he shares his passion for music with others through teaching at Kent Adult Education. But why does he enjoy it so much? Hear it from James himself: ‘I don’t think anything beats the satisfaction of teaching a student and watching them perform, knowing that you helped nurture and facilitate that ability. Music is also a great tool for inspiring pride and happiness in people, so I am very fortunate to teach in this area. Music has been my passion since I was a child and so having a job where I am able to teach and talk about it all day long is very rewarding’.

James’ classes are fun, friendly and relaxed. He allows students to lead the way and this makes his lessons feel unforced and natural. He allows his learners to learn from material they already love so that they stay motivated, but he also thinks it’s important to expose them to styles of music they might not have heard before. But above all, James is dedicated to ensuring that his students learn to truly enjoy and appreciate music.

Take a look at James' courses
Meet our tutor Florence

Meet the tutor - Florence Lee

Meet Florence Lee, a tutor of Chinese Mandarin at Kent Adult Education. She is a huge Chinese culture enthusiast, enjoying Chinese cooking, meditating and calligraphy.

Florence has a Certificate in Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language, and a master’s degree in Management Psychology. Her skills as a Certified Behavioural & People Development Consultant and Certified Coaching & Mentoring Professional enable her to design and deliver exceptionally high-quality learning and training programmes. Florence’s classes are fun and engaging thanks for her experimental learning approach. She focuses on her learners individually to ensure they get what they want out of her class. And Florence truly enjoys teaching. As she says: “It gives me the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life - to be able to inspire, support and coach my students. It’s an amazing feeling to hear my students speak nearly fluent Chinese Mandarin, knowing that I have contributed to their learning journey”.

Take a look at Florence's courses
Meet the tutor Helen Easter

Meet the tutor - Helen Easter

Helen Easter, our fascinating Art tutor, has always been the one to draw and paint as a child. She recollects sneaking into the local art school on the way home from her regular school, just to take a peek at the creative process. Being dyslexic during that time, it was not possible for Helen to join a fine art course. So, she settled on a design course whilst doing four classes a week with Kent Adult Education in Folkestone and learning Printmaking, Pottery, Art History and Life Drawing. Soon enough, recognising her talent, she was offered to train to be a tutor in her mid-twenties. That was well over 30 years ago and she’s still passing on tips and tricks to enable as many people as possible to discover the joy of creating art.

Helen loves teaching and helping students gain skills they never thought they could truly master. A firm believer in practice, she focuses her courses on ‘doing’ rather than theory. She shows her learners different mediums and encourages them to experiment and work with them. As Helen says: “I’m not a teacher – I’m an artist who will show you how to do it”.

Take a look at Helen's courses
Selene Genovesi smiling for the camera

Meet the tutor - Selene Genovesi

Selene Genovesi teaches Italian and Spanish at Kent Adult Education. She has always loved languages and other cultures and embraced moving to the UK 8 years ago. Now, she hopes to help others fall in love with foreign idioms and show them how fascinating discovering a new culture can be.

Selene makes her classes exciting, wanting her learners to truly immerse themselves in the language they are studying. She describes her lessons as ‘displays of the Italian and Spanish worlds, a true virtual journey in the countries, for an hour or two’. Selene adapts to her learners and reinvents her teaching style with every group to ensure her students feel comfortable and really learn during their time together. And Selene genuinely loves teaching. She says: “Every learner and every class is different than another and this is a never ending source of excitement”.

Take a look at Selene's courses
Meet the tutor Liliana

Meet the tutor - Liliana

Liliana is a valued Spanish tutor at Kent Adult Education. Her passion for teaching begun young. She has grown up in Ecuador, and having numerous educators in her family, she saw first-hand the difference a good teacher can make. When she moved to the UK in 1996, Liliana learned a lot about the value of different cultures and foreign languages. She soon realised that teaching was something that she would love to do one day and that she had skills and the open personality to help others.

Liliana carefully plans her lessons, but she also likes to give her students space to learn at their own pace and experiment with their own personal interests when learning Spanish. She believes that learning a language should be fun and useful which is what she wishes to convey in her lessons and why she likes to bring real life situations into her class.

Like many of our tutors, Liliana recently involved her students in learning online due to the pandemic. She says: “It has been great teaching online sharing audio, PowerPoints and getting them involved in different activities. All learners loved doing this”.

Take a look at Liliana's courses