Pushing students from C1 to C2

Some of you may have heard me talk about my CAE student before. He’s 10 years old and is the coolest chap! I first met him and his family two years ago when I was in Sheffield teaching at the Confucius Institute. A lady I met there mentioned the director wanted a teacher for his son, and so that’s how we met! Unfortunately, I was starting my PGCE and didn’t have time to teach any extra hours, so we didn’t go ahead with it. But in March they got back in touch and asked if I’d be able to teach their son this time around.

He passed his FCE (B2 exam) last year and is now working towards completing the CAE exam. During lockdown we had lessons up to 3 hours a week, and now we only have a 90-minute class on Saturday, which is actually quite a shame! I haven’t yet met a 10 year old who is so worldly and inquisitive, and he has a wicked sense of humour too. 

But, the reason I’m writing this is because I’m at a bit of a crossroads now. Most of what we do is either easy or fairly easy for him and I‘m not happy with that. I love that he’s able to use English to such a high level, but I want to challenge my students as much as possible so that they learn all the wonderful things about English.


He reads English books, watches movies and documentaries in English and uses it frequently throughout the week. He’s a very fluent speaker and rarely faces difficulties. He has an incredible range of vocabulary and speakers in such a lovely way. He’s polite, but can easily joke and laugh around. He knows so many variations between informal and formal language, slang words and idioms.

Where do I go next? He’s still only 10!


I am thinking of buying a CPE / C2 level book, but I also want to find some interesting articles or videos to add into the lesson that are suitable for a 10 year old student from China! I know first hand that many websites are blocked there (Google, BBC…), so I can’t just send him a link (we tried this in the beginning) and certain topics are sensitive culturally and not always appropriate because of his age. We’ve done okay so far but now I really want to up my game.

I know many of you reading this are far more experienced than I am and I’d love to hear your advice or suggestions, please?

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