Dr. Paul Murray | History

Paul Murray LU History Tutor


Paul Murray has a BA in Latin & Italian, a qualification in Italian from the University of Florence in Italy (in Italian), an MA (Cum Laude) in History from the University of Stellenbosch and a Doctorate (D.Phil.) in History from the University of Pretoria.

He has been teaching for 40 years.  He has taught across many disciplines, but History is his favourite.  He has taught Senior History NSC, IGCSE, AS and A Levels.

He has been teaching at Learning Unlimited since 2019 and has taught all of IGCSE English, IGCSE Geography and History and AS and A Level History.

The method that he adopts is that of individual teaching via Zoom.  The method is to spend a lesson going over the work and explain it, followed by Q&A. Then the student completes the assignment, it gets assessed and there is a report-back the next lesson, with the new work being explained then as well.  Obviously teaching to exam results is important.  Emails in between are encouraged if the student is not certain or would like assistance or extra information.  This can be ongoing, as communication provides confidence.  Note-making is strongly encouraged as it affords the student the chance to internalise the content.

The Cambridge International prescribed textbooks are used.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Director of Learning Unlimited, Sharon Levy, at sharon@learningunlimited.co.za or Paul Murray at pauleomurray@gmail.com with any questions you may have.

Why Choose History?

The word History is confusing.  What people think about history is often not accurate.  Dates are not History; they are chronology.  The past is not History.  It’s a chronicle.  So, what is History?

History is the way we order and connect our ideas about other people’s views of the past.  If we research from primary material, the above definition could well change because we are then arranging raw historical material.

Bill Gates the American software entrepreneur concentrates on what is called “Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity,” a 48-lecture course taught by David Christian and published by The Teaching Company. Of this Gates said: ‘he really blew me away. Here’s a guy who’s read across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences and brought it together in a single framework. It made me wish that I could have taken big history when I was young, because it would have given me a way to think about all of the schoolwork and reading that followed. It really put the sciences in an interesting historical context and explained how they apply to a lot of contemporary concerns.’

There are several different skills that you learn when we teach you history … one is to learn how to read interesting sources and answer questions based on them.  The other is to read a longer source and give an opinion.  Then there is the kind of question where you are given a statement and must argue for or against it according to how you see it, using the content that you studied.   Perhaps these are the points that Bill Gates is talking about that he wished he had learnt at school.

So, why choose history?

It is a learning area that will train you to think in an ordered way.  Often our thoughts are not ‘edited’ … we need to edit our thoughts. The word “edit” means what we write down from what we think … we say what we think. There are so many ways we can say things.  But when we write, we need to analyse, arrange, structure, write and sometimes re-write what our thoughts are about history.  Let’s say we need to argue if what Gorbachev did was the main reason the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.  You can’t say it was only him; you can say he was the main reason or one of the main reasons, if you can provide convincing evidence, but it would be hard to argue about this question without considering the role of the USA and Ronald Reagan.  Reagan called the Soviets ‘an evil empire’ and it was through the imposition of his SDI programme that you will know as ‘Star Wars’, that he ended the Cold war.  The Soviets could no longer attack the US from space as there was now a Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI/Star Wars).  You would need to provide more than just these two sides of the argument and feed other factors into the line of argument to reach your conclusion.  It is always going to be a complex issue … with you as the historian unravelling the various considerations that need to be addressed.

The syllabus for IGCSE is to be found at:

The syllabus for AS and A level is to be found at:

Please feel free to get in touch anytime.

Best of luck with your studies!

Dr. Paul Murray

Past Student’s experiences:

Getting taught by Paul was a great experience. He is an amazing teacher but also an amazing person; we always had fun and good laughs together as well as doing some good and intense work securing the best results for my History AS and A levels. I am grateful to have been taught by Paul and to have gotten to know him and I hope to cross paths with him in the future again! – Mattia Gallino one of my past students

Paul is incredible at teaching and has a profound way of gauging his pupil’s understanding. He is very engaging and is a teacher that actually cares about his students and their well being. Paul is a tutor that always delivers. If there is someone who can get you the marks it’s Paul!  – David MacGillivray one of my past students

My experiences of Paul were most positive. He helped me understand the deeper meaning of the book Of Mice and Men. His insight into the book was intriguing and inspiring. He is also very invested and interested in the subjects he teaches and has an understanding which I feel most teachers don’t have (which is what I feel makes a teacher a really good teacher). He also answered any questions we had as a whole class very well and never left a student lost on the topic/subject. – Josh Granelli one of my past students

Doctor Paul Murray is a good teacher because he explains everything in detail and makes sure you understand the content. Classes are enjoyable with him as they are always interactive and enjoyable to be a part of.. = Luke Elliott-Jaaback

Dr Murray is an extremely professional teacher who is dedicated to his student’s learning. His knowledge on his subjects extends far beyond that which is covered in the syllabus, making him able to answer more difficult questions with ease as well as refer students to material that they may be interested in. He is passionate about what he does and is a valuable teacher to have. – Travis Galbraith