Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteers What's new?

Who are the volunteer mentors of GT Scholars? Every once in a while we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers so we can introduce them to you and share the good work they have been doing. Our volunteers form a crucial part of GT Scholars and their charitable deeds never goes unnoticed. We spoke to the lovely Sophie Germain to find out her views on social mobility and what she enjoys most about volunteering with GT Scholars.

Could you tell us about what led you to volunteering as a mentor with GT Scholars??
I try to explore a different area each year and I felt that volunteering with teenagers is one of the demographics I have not worked with before. I wanted to do something that was accessible to a lot of people and that was not limited to only a certain area you live in, the school you go to etc.

What are some of your opinions about social mobility?
In London, a perceived good area and a not so good area can be found in a commutable distance from one another. There are a lot of things to see and do and a lot is available for free. Perhaps in smaller towns, this mix is harder to find. Also once you’ve passed the stage of institutional education and you’ve started your career you are less likely to be type-casted based on where you went to school and it’s more about your experience. I went to a state school and some of my friends were in private schools but both groups have ended up in equivalent positions. Sometimes if you have a plan and you are dedicated to it, it is easier to achieve a particular goal if you have access to the correct information and the right people around you. However, there are certain historical and cultural issues that are still at play today that puts up barriers for some people. For example, an issue like the gender pay gap review due to male dominated boardrooms and industries. Balancing this will take a long time and to do it in a way that is fairer.

How did you come to this conclusion?
London has quite a high diversity level and when I was growing up it was common for children to socialise with other children who have a very different background to their own. In regards to gender, changes in attitude need to come from men and women. Including better grounds for the way children are raised and not pigeonholing them based on aspects such as gender. It also requires being open-minded in recruiting positions to not focus on gender, race, economic background, social circles etc.

What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering with GT Scholars?
It is a well-operated volunteer programme so I would recommend people to get involved. You get the chance to share new ideas and methods of learning with a young person who can benefit from it. It is nice to hear the dreams of a young person and help them to access the tools that they need to achieve them.

What do you enjoy the most about being a volunteer at GT Scholars? Well, it is early days for me because I have only done two terms so far. I would like to get more involved in the open days. But I would say that I enjoyed giving my mentees a positive outlook on what can be achieved. For some people, teenage years can be quite difficult to go through. I tell my mentees about the different perspective of other people and prepare them to have the skills to deal with other people’s opinions and encourage them to be focused.

What is your message or advice to young people of today?

I would suggest that they try as many new things as they can whilst they are young. This helps to build up experience, meet different people and get familiar with what they like and dislike. I would also advise not to become overburdened with things and take the time to learn what brings them inner peace, as I think it is an important part of getting to know oneself. Don’t be overly judgemental and learn how to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

As a Kingston University graduate, I can apply the skills that I’ve learned and I can also share the passion of what the core company is. I study philosophy in my spare time and enjoy staying fit.

Sophie enjoys her professional career as it falls in her line of interest and previous studies. She works for AEG Europe as an analyst in the live sports and music industry. Her company offers a Giving Back Day to employees for volunteering.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

One-to-one Online Tutoring is growing in popularity – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down

One-to-one Online Tutoring is growing in popularity – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down

Growth mindset Private tutors What's new? Young people

In recent years, the demand for private tutoring has grown at a phenomenal rate. The many challenges facing the traditional education system have deemed a proactive approach from stakeholders outside the system. According to an article in The Guardian regarding an increase in the number of children receiving private tuition,  almost a quarter of students in the United Kingdom received some form of private tutoring in 2016. This is a sharp increase from the 2005 statistic of only nine percent. Mathematics and English rank as the most requested subjects for private tutoring followed by the Sciences. These facts prove without a doubt that private tutoring is here to stay and for good reason.  

The average teacher-to-pupil ratio in the public schooling sector is roughly 1:16. In the global context this seems reasonable, but when taking into consideration that each child is unique in their learning style, it becomes less desirable. Many parents are coming to the realisation that more is needed to supplement their child’s understanding of the concepts learnt in the classrooms. Possible reasons for this include:

Enrichment
Many parents recognize that their child is capable of achieving goals and understanding concepts far above the expected level of education that forms part of the school curriculum. Every parent wants their child to reach their full potential. Private tutoring is one way to equip young people to reach their full potential. It allows for learning to occur at the pace and preference of the student while taking into consideration the students individual strengths and weaknesses. For students who are particularly gifted, it is better to challenge their appetite for education through private tuition. This can aid the personal growth of a student and place them at an advantage for higher learning opportunities.

Preparation for exams
A recent study concluded that around 38% of students reported having received private tutoring for the GCSE exam, while around 18% of students reported that they have found it necessary to receive private tutoring for the grammar school entrance exams.  Schools are expected to teach content but the responsibility of exam preparation falls primarily on the shoulders of the student. Preparing for exams is a daunting task on its own. Students have to deal with stress, time pressure and expectations from parents and schools alike. It is also a time where a formidable understanding of the examinable content needs to be solidified. The necessity for private tutoring becomes apparent in terms of providing much-needed support to students. It allows students to ask questions, revise content and attempt examination questions with the assistance of a reliable tutor who has a firm grasp of the content and the manner in which it is examined. A private tutor can provide educational support such as exam technique or study tips and much needed reassurance during this usually stressful time.

Remedial
In most cases, students require more time to fully grapple with and understand a concept. A private tutoring session can give a student additional time to engage with the content in a meaningful way. Again, the pace, strengths and weaknesses of the student can be more appropriately catered for by a private tutor. A private tutor can be a useful resource for motivating and challenging a struggling student to accomplish goals in a personalised environment.

Everyone is different
Students are all individuals, especially when it comes to their learning methods. There is a range of learning techniques that are ignored by the traditional schooling system in order to make learning mainstream. This means that the majority of students are missing out on the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. Private tutoring places your child at the centre of the learning process. Your child becomes more than just a statistic for the School Board, but rather the recipient of a valuable education process that can propel them towards a successful future.  Private tutoring has the potential to improve a student’s performance for this particular reason.

Benefit for parents
Private tutoring can also be a great help to busy parents with demanding schedules. The responsibility of assisting your child with homework and preparation for assessments can be managed by the private tutor. This is an advantage for your child as a tutor is better qualified to provide a conducive and productive learning environment. It also relieves some of the demands placed on a parent’s timetable allowing for more family quality time.

Monitoring progress
The traditional schooling system provides limited progress reports that are often not detailed enough to adequately monitor a student’s educational and personal development. Private tutors can provide continuous analysis of the progress of a student. This allows parents to mitigate not just educational problems that might arise, but also behavioural and personal issues that a student may be facing.  This also places parents in the best position to participate in the growth of their child.

Personal growth
Private tutoring can boost young people’s marks which can, in turn, increase a student’s self-confidence. This can also create a lifelong love and appreciation for education, rather than a disdain for it. Personal responsibility is also heavily emphasized during the private tutoring experience. Through the help of a private tutor, a student is able to recognise the value of being dedicated to one’s work. The benefits of which are higher test scores. This can be the springboard for personal motivation and growth.

If you believe, like Benjamin Franklin did, that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, then private tutoring is a worthwhile investment for any student. Private tuition is increasing in popularity, not because parents see value in tutoring, but rather that they see value in their child. It is in the interest of ensuring that their children extract the fullest potential from their educational journey that has seen a sharp incline in private tutoring nationwide.

GT Scholars is a non-profit organisation that believes that education goes beyond the classroom. If this article has inspired you to join the growing number of parents that are choosing private tutoring, then register your interest the GT Scholars programme. The programme offers tutoring in Mathematics and English and will give young people aged 11-16 the best opportunity for educational success.

 

Seven character traits of a successful student

Seven character traits of a successful student

Growth mindset Improving attainment Mentoring Post 16 Private tutors What's new? Young people

No one student is alike, some students get good grades and others don’t. Perhaps some students operate with more integrity than others or perhaps some are greater leaders than others. It could be that some children are more passionate and proud and want to make a difference in the world. We are all individuals with different strengths.

Caretakers and teachers are often seen as role models by young people. With no support structure in place to help young people achieve their instinctive goals, their dreams are lost and become embers of a distant fire. But, what if we gave them enough support and stimulated them in the right direction? What if we gave them the skills and the know-how to be able to achieve their ambitions? Amongst most young people are leaders, influencers and change-makers. Successful young people are usually hardworking and ambitious and most of all they want to excel further in life.

Certain qualities can make it easier for young people to learn and grow within their own potential. Investing time and effort in young people can help them realise their qualities and build their confidence, an important factor in determining their future career path.

We have listed seven influential characteristics of a successful student which could help them benefit from the many advantages of private tutoring.

Determination
A mentor or tutor can help you prepare for exams, consider potential future choices and how to deal with the unexpected. They help you develop life skills like determination, self confidence and mindfulness. They will also help you to have the strength to be able to swim upstream and dig your heels into whatever it is that is laid in front of you and help you identify potential procrastination habits and how to avoid them.

Self – Leadership
Looking within yourself is probably one of the most difficult things any human being can do. Before being able to become a leader in the real world you must be able to lead yourself. You need to have enough confidence to pull yourself into gear and get going on the tasks set before you.  You are the one that will decide on how you will handle and behave in certain situations and your attitude towards it. How you will deal with your successes and losses. Seeing the bigger picture of where you are headed in life and working towards your goals on a daily basis can help you lead your way through life. To stand with both two feet on the ground, knowing who you are at all times is vital in a world with so much competition.

Active participant
Be curious and ask questions if you do not understand a concept. It could result in approaching the topic from a different angle or answering a question everyone was wondering about but not prepared to ask. Your teacher and peers might be appreciative of that! Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question and there is no such thing as asking too many questions in class! A distant alarm bell goes off in our minds as we somehow remember these statements. The main point of being an active participant is to really listen and pay attention.

Self -Motivation
Being and staying motivated is one of the most difficult traits to maintain. As a student gets older, there will no longer be instruction and guidance from a teacher or tutor watching over them giving them homework deadlines. Students will need to set their own time-specific goals. Putting focus into moving forward towards goals on a daily basis shows internal motivation. This goes hand in hand with being a successful student, not only during student life but also in the future. Making a conscious decision to switch off from all distractions and focus on the main subject during lectures and tutoring times is vital. If you do not have good listening skills you will not be able to participate and communicate effectively with peers during tutoring and socializing.

Resilience
‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down.’ Remember this song? Sure you do. With so much going on in an ever-changing and influential world of young people, it is common that one’s self-confidence can take a knock at times. Many youngsters also experience personal challenges on the home front and this more often than not has an effect on their schooling and social development.

Self – Belief
So many characteristics begin with Self. It is important that young people are stimulated and guided towards finding their inner self and believing that they are capable of anything they put their mind to. If you want it, you can get it. As long as you stay focused and determined and maintain a growth mindset, you will always reach certain goals that you have yet to achieve.

Time Management
Whilst growing up and progressing through your school career, you will start managing your own time and setting deadlines to complete goals. This allows you to start taking responsibility for your own progress in life as you realise once again that only you can make a difference in this world and in your own world. Managing your own time is an important management skill you will need to learn for the career place. Being timeous with your school activities and tasks teaches you a sense of responsibility, a great trait you will need to possess in your future career.

Meeting with a mentor or tutor on a regular basis can help to build confidence and determination to reach your goals and aspirations. Tutors and Mentors who have real-life experiences can guide young children in the right direction when they are faced with difficult choices or situations. Character building is the basic foundation and building blocks of life.

The GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that tackles educational inequality and improves social mobility. We run an after-school tutoring programme that aims to help young people between the ages of 11-16.  Our programme also includes mentoring and enrichment activities with the aim to help young people prepare for their exams, improve their grades and gain access to the most selective universities and competitive careers. To stay up to date and find out more about our courses and workshops, subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Private tutors Volunteers Young people

Every now and then we interview one of our remarkable GT Scholars volunteers to find out who the person behind the volunteer is. Without our dedicated volunteers, our mission would not have been able to make the impact that it has.  We had a chat with one of our tutors about volunteering, who she is and her message to young people of today is. Here is what she had to say:

  1. How did you first get involved in volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I first learned of GT Scholars on the Team London website when I was looking for an opportunity to offer my time volunteering. Since I really enjoyed English as a subject at school and liked plays I thought that being a Volunteer Online Tutor would be the best fit for me. Upon visiting the GT Scholars website and reading more about their cause, I decided that I really wanted to be part of their mission.
  2. Why are you supporting GT Scholars as opposed to other groups working to improve social mobility?
    The reason why I like being part of the GT Scholars volunteer team is that I enjoy being able to work with a wide demographic range of students in terms of their abilities and backgrounds.
  3. What might surprise your friends/family other volunteers to know about you?
    I think most my friends and family would be surprised if they knew that I am a theatre critic in my spare time.
  4. How has volunteering changed you as a person and what have you learned from your time volunteering?
    I think during my time volunteering I have learned how to utilise different methods of explaining concepts to people. When approaching a new topic it’s often the case that I and my student have to go over subject matter a number of times to reinforce the ideas. To ensure that the ideas really stay with him and that he understands the concepts from a range of difficult angles, I have to really think about different ways of presenting the information. This has helped me to think more innovatively and to really listen to my student so that I can tailor my approach in a way that’s most helpful to him. And these are both skills that I can apply to my everyday life.
  5. Is there anyone in particular you could tell me about who has influenced your decision to start volunteering in general?
    When I was a student, about 16 years old,  I was involved with the Social Mobility Foundation. At the time they ran a program which made it possible for me to be matched with a mentor and I also received an opportunity to take up an internship at parliament.  Because I’ve had the privilege of support and guidance as a young person, I feel that I want to ‘’pay it forward’’ and give that same opportunity back to someone else.

Roberta is truly inspiring and serves for interesting conversation. When asked what her message to young people of today is, she said: ‘’ Work hard and do your best. If you do those things you will get where you want to be. Take time to celebrate, when you achieve something, celebrate your success. Lastly always be proud of yourself and enjoy the journey.’’ That is definitely words of wisdom to live by! Roberta holds an MSc in International Public Policy from the University College London and a BA Hons degree in History and Politics from the University of Sussex.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are truly exceptional people that are passionate about making a difference in education and doing their part in improving social mobility. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Janet Cheney.

  1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
    I have been tutoring for about 5 years and I am currently in the process of partly relocating from London to South Devon. This will restrict my regular 1-to-1 tutoring sessions in London. I was pleased when I discovered the online volunteer tutoring opportunity at GT Scholars. Tutoring has become very expensive and I loved the idea of combining my love for teaching maths and physics and helping students from low-income backgrounds.
  2. Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
    I completed my BSc (First Class Hons) in Mathematics and Astrophysics and also did my PhD in Astronomy at Queen Mary College, University of London.

    I spent most of my professional career operating at senior level. I have 15 years experience working in key management roles.  In particular, I was IT project manager for BT’s London Code Change Project which involved changing all the telephone numbers in London due to a shortage of codes.

    After 15 Years working on a senior management level, I decided upon an early retirement to spend more time with my family. This was when I began to volunteer my time tutoring within various non-profit organisations.
  3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
    When I was growing up there was not a lot of role models for women. My family was very supportive and I was privileged enough to have had role models within my family. My school was also very supportive.  I was the first in my family to have gone to university.  I’ve always appreciated that I was able to have done so as I was not oblivious to the fact that not all young people were as privileged as I was. I think my dream to study astronomy has motivated me in working hard at maths and physics as I knew knowledge of these subjects were necessary to reach my goal. I am glad I can share my knowledge and help other young people with similar dreams.
  4. Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
    I believe it is the individual attention a young person receives when he has a tutor. Mathematics is an important subject because it can open a lot of opportunities. Often teachers can’t reach all the students’ needs at an individual level as not all the students need help in the same areas. I think a tutor fills that gap. Tutoring can also be a great help for exam preparations and spending that extra quality time with the student on subject areas that they have difficulty with.  I also think that a tutor can be useful when it comes to discussing time management when taking an exam. Especially in mathematics, there are often ways to find faster methods to solve problems.
  5. What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
    I think the most fulfilling part of the volunteering process is to bear witness to the improvement of a young person who really struggled with a  subject. As the tutor, you knew first hand where the difficult areas were and how much the student has improved.

Janet is a good listener with great subject knowledge. She believes that this is what helps her to be a better tutor: ‘If you have a good understanding of who your student is, you will have a better idea of how to approach tutoring that student.’ Janet spends her spare time studying butterflies using catch and release methods as she has a true passion for science and nature.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us

Could you join us as a volunteer tutor? Supporting our scholars with Maths, English or Science (up to GCSE)

Could you join us as a volunteer tutor? Supporting our scholars with Maths, English or Science (up to GCSE)

Private tutors Volunteer roles

We’re looking for graduates and undergraduates that can help make a difference in young people’s lives!

Our online volunteer tutors provide academic support to pupils throughout the year. We’re looking for graduates and undergraduates that can:

  • Provide online one-to-one support to pupils over a period of 12 weeks
  • Build pupil confidence in Maths, English or Science
  • Prepare students for GCSE & A-level exams (if applicable)
  • Give feedback to parents and programme coordinators
  • Work collaboratively with other tutors and mentors

To get started you’ll need to:

  • Have strong subject knowledge in Maths, English or Science (confident enough to tutor at GCSE!)
  • Enjoy working with children and young people
  • Have a minimum of an undergraduate degree or be working towards this
  • Be computer literate, comfortable with tutoring through online platforms.
  • Be able to commit to a period of 6 months (2 school terms)

Please note that this is a volunteering role and we will need to conduct an Enhanced DBS check before you can join us as a tutor.

You will be provided with support and training for your role and any travel expenses within London will be reimbursed up to the amount of £12 for any session.

This isn’t a paid role so there is no salary. However, tutoring with GT Scholars is extremely rewarding. You’ll be able to:

  • Receive training and support for your role
  • Develop leadership skills and teaching or tutoring experience
  • Be a role model and make a real difference in the life of a young person
  • Have flexibility through online volunteering.
  • Join us at our volunteer days in London (if you are able to)
  • Meet like-minded volunteers at our quarterly socials
  • Get involved in our end of year ceremony for our scholars
  • Contribute your skills in arranging our end of year social for volunteers

How to apply: Please attach your CV and a short cover letter through our contact form.

Meet one of our Science tutors – Arunita

Meet one of our Science tutors – Arunita

Private tutors Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Arunita Roy

    1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
      I really enjoy helping people and working with students. I worked in university with different students, helping student services as a student financial consultant and also founding an entrepreneurship student society. I like to interact and engage with students from different backgrounds, and I also love teaching and being a role model to young people. I wanted to continue this and widen participation, so when I met Temi, the founder of GT Scholars, and heard more about the programme, it really interested me and I decided to get involved. 
    2. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what got you to where you are today?
      I am currently studying at King’s College London, finishing my final year in Computer Science with Management. I am interested in science, technology and languages, and I enjoy learning new things. I am a motivated person and I like to be involved and take part in many different things. I like to find new things to do and gain new experiences in different opportunities or programmes. Even in high school, I was always eager to get involved with student life such as being a student representative and making sure that my voice and my fellow students’ voices were heard. Now I enjoy helping students with their university journey and beyond, and I am interested in working with companies and programmes to help make more opportunities for students to improve their experience and academics, especially in science and entrepreneurship.

      I am not really motivated by one person or role model, but rather, I am inspired by the hard work that people put in. When I see someone, such as a student struggling with a particular topic, pushing themselves to reach their maximum potential, it really drives me to do more to reach my maximum potential. I also believe that having a good academic background helps you to have a more positive outlook on life, which is great motivation to do better and study further.
    3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
      I did not have the same amount of access to resources and opportunities that students have today. I did have a few really pivotal teachers and lecturers that helped me to excel. I am also inspired by my parents who are both university-educated, and they really motivate, inspire and guide me.
      Even though students of today are a lot luckier than I was with regards to access to and the number of available resources, I do think they have other things to contend with such as intense competition and many distractions that can be impediments to success. This is why support is still very important to motivate them to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them and to encourage them when they struggle.

 

  • What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I really love volunteering. The mere fact that I can help students makes me happy. I also enjoy seeing their progress over time and watching how their confidence grows in topics or subjects from when we first started with the sessions. I am proud when they do really well and their grades improve, and happy when they are enjoying and become interested in what I teach. I have also gained interesting new perspectives on topics from working with them.

 

 

  • What do you think is the most important skill to have to be a volunteer tutor?
    Patience is very important, but also being able to understand the topic from the student’s point of view is an important skill to have. You can’t look at the topic with your in-depth knowledge as the only perspective. I present the topic from the student’s perspective by relating topics to real life examples or explain it to them in a way that makes sense to them.

 

Arunita Roy is a hardworking and creative individual who is enthusiastic and motivated with a keen interest in learning new skills. She has strong technical skills with a passion for business. She is involved in many volunteering opportunities, and helping young people is one of her main focuses. She also enjoys being involved in many extracurricular activities and was the winner of the King’s College London Business Club Apprentice Challenge where she and her team were able to show initiative in providing solutions to real industrial business challenges.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Should luck play a part in your child’s academic success?

Should luck play a part in your child’s academic success?

Growth mindset Parents Private tuition Private tutors What's new?

Luck is an attractive idea, as it means believing that your success was brought about by chance rather than through your own actions.

The problem with chance is that it is a misunderstood force that cannot be controlled or predicted. No one can tell or choose when you will be blessed with good luck or when you will be harmed by bad luck, and so it makes it a very unreliable factor.

On the other hand, choosing to rely on your own actions gives you control over the outcome and your future. Thus, if you decide to put in the hard work yourself and to persevere towards a goal, the outcome is more than likely to be successful.

Your child’s academic success is very important. It unlocks the potential of your child by providing the right knowledge and tools to achieve a certain goal or career path. Thus, a well nurtured and successful schooling career ensures a bright and prosperous future. Since academic success is of such great importance, it becomes clear that the last thing a parent should do is leave it to chance. So, here are a few ways that you can overrule luck and take control of and predict your child’s academic success:

  • Personally, monitor your child’s progress: It is important for you to personally keep track of your child’s academic success. A child in the UK spends only about 22% of their week in school. This means that more than three-quarters of their week is being spent at home with you. This shows that you have a far greater influence on your children than their teachers, and you should take an active role in their education, beyond just going to parent-teacher meetings and school functions. Set aside a specific time, daily or weekly, to ask them about their academics and how they are doing in school to keep yourself updated and involved. You can also check on their current school work and assignments regularly so that you can find out whether they are struggling with any subject or topic.
  • Support their aspirations and goals: Your child needs to have aspirations, dreams, goals and plans, whether they are academic or extracurricular. You should regularly ask them about these aspirations so that you can support and advise them. You can support them by making sure that they are doing what they need to do in order to achieve these goals, or you can provide them with extra help or classes. For example, if they want to be a scientist when they grow up, make sure that they are taking the appropriate science subjects in school, enrol them in scientific extracurricular clubs or activities, and provide them with access to helpful books and resources. You can also enlist the help of a mentor who has experience in the field that your child is aspiring to be part of, who will be able to provide educated advice and wise counsel so that they can make their dream a reality.
  • Support them if or when they fail: It is very likely that your child will not succeed in everything that they do in or out of school. Failure, after all, is always going to be part of life and your child should be taught that failure is not the end of the world. Therefore, as a parent, you need to make sure that you are supportive and understanding when your child fails. If you are too hard on them, it will develop a fear of failure which will discourage them from trying new things. Richard Branson, the famous founder of the Virgin Group, believes that the people that are generally considered more fortunate or luckier than others are usually also the ones that are prepared to take the greatest risks and to not be afraid of trying something new.
  • Praise them for every effort they make: Research done by Dr Carol Dweck, a leading researcher in the field of motivation and a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, has shown that sometimes parents can negatively affect their child’s academic development by focusing too much on achievement, and not on the effort made to reach the goal. This will lead to a fixed mindset, where they will believe that they cannot improve their intelligence, character or creativity no matter the effort they make. On the other hand, if you praise them for the effort they put into reaching a goal, it forms a growth mindset, where they firmly believe that extra effort can make them more intelligent, and they will not be afraid of any challenge.
  • Nurture and encourage a good work ethic: It is important to teach your child about the importance of hard work and independent learning. This prevents slacking in school, and they will independently choose to succeed academically. You must make sure that they are doing their homework and assignments properly and on time. You can do this by keeping a record of their homework activity, removing distractions such as technology and social media if need be, and helping them to come up with a daily schedule so that they can manage their time effectively.
  • Enlist a tutor if needed: If you find that your child is struggling with a certain subject or falling behind in school, and it is beyond your expertise or help, it is best to provide them with a professional tutor. The tutor would able to provide knowledgeable assistance with the specific subject or problem since they are well-educated in their respective field. They will also provide personalized care for your child’s academic needs, using a uniquely tailored approach to help your child achieve success. Furthermore, since you are paying them directly, you can closely monitor if the tutor is making a significant positive difference in your child’s academic career or not.

As you can see, your child’s academic success should not just be left up to the teacher, and it definitely should not be left up to luck. You as a parent can really make a meaningful difference. By taking an active role and providing consistent help, your child will feel supported and able to succeed.

GT Scholars really believes in going beyond luck and putting in the hard work to achieve academic success. Our tutors and mentors are professional and well-informed in their respective study fields, and can provide the perfect assistance to your child’s academic needs. If you want to make sure that your child is set up for academic success, you should contact us for more information. We offer private tuition in Maths, Science and English and a mentorship programme. Register your interest here or give us a call on 02088168066.

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Tutor

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Tutor

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Tutors have risen in popularity over the past few years due to a growing need for personalised learning and the noticeable benefits of one-on-one teaching. According to a report done by a social mobility charity, Sutton Trust, the number of 11 to 16-year-olds in England and Wales who receive extra tuition rose from 18% in 2005 to 25% in 2016. In London, the figure is even higher at 42%. They also noted that this private tuition mostly benefitted students from high-income backgrounds, widening the gap between students from different backgrounds.

Many parents want to ensure that their child does not fall behind, while students want to have a tutor that can support them with the subject knowledge, guide them through the challenging topics, and ultimately help them finish the year with a grade that they can be proud of.

Additionally, it is evident that a  good quality tutor can be the difference between passing or failing at GCSE level, which can have a huge consequence on the student’s future. Therefore, a tutor needs to be good at what they do if they want to make a positive and lasting impact on a young person’s life.

Tutoring is not just about having the subject knowledge. One-on-one tutoring requires a certain amount of patience, adaptability and tenacity. Thus, it takes a special combination of personal qualities to be someone who can help a child to improve academically. So if you want to make sure that you have what it takes to be a good tutor, here are seven personal qualities that you should aim to improve:

  • Patience: Every student is different, and not all of them will grasp a concept easily or learn quickly. It is also most likely that the student that really needs tutoring is a student that is struggling. Thus, tutors need to be very patient. Since schools have larger classes, everyone is more or less taught at the same pace. On the other hand, tutors need to teach slowly and at a pace that the student is comfortable with – it is the main point of one-on-one tutoring. Tutors must not rush through course work or get visibly impatient with a student that is struggling. This will discourage the student from learning.

 

  • Expertise: A tutor needs to have a good understanding of the subject knowledge, but also needs to have the skills to teach it. They must be confident in their knowledge of the subject and be able to explain concepts easily. Good teaching skill is being able to take the subject knowledge and explaining it in such a way that the student understands it. This will include knowing where to start, being able to pace the work correctly, always checking that the child understands, being interactive, and simplifying difficult topics if need be. 

 

  • Adaptability: Tutors must be able to adapt themselves to every student that they work with. Since there is no universal formula, your approach must depend on the student’s individual need and the particular difficulties he or she experiences. Throughout the sessions, the tutor will have to keep track of the student’s progress and determine if you need to change your plan or approach if it is not working.

 

  • Energy: The student must be kept attentive to make sure that they are absorbing everything that they are being taught. This will need for the tutor to be energetic and enthusiastic. Tutoring sessions should not just be like classes at school. Tutors should be interactive, and make the coursework interesting to inspire active interest in the student so that they can do well and overcome the discouragement by school and his or her bad grades. Being energetic also motivates the student to aspire to do better.

 

  • Openness: Tutors need to be active listeners and demonstrate a level of openness that makes them approachable and accessible. Listening to the needs of the child will also help you to better understand the student’s situation so that you can come up with an effective plan. The tutor’s active involvement and openness will offer comforting support for a student in trouble and will make the student feel valued. Tutors can demonstrate openness by being visibly dedicated to making a difference in the student’s academics.

 

  • Maturity: Tutors need to display maturity to make them a good role model to their student and to make them trustworthy to the parents of the student. Parents will not trust their children with you if you are impolite, cannot pay attention, or talk about inappropriate things. It is important to note that maturity has nothing to do with your age, and everything to do with how you carry yourself. You cannot carry yourself around your student like they are your friend, no matter how easygoing and open the tutoring is.

 

  • Passion: Great tutors are passionate about the subject they teach and about making a difference in the student’s academic life. You need to love what you teach and show this passion by always being interested and eager. You want your students to feel that their success is important to you and that what you are teaching them is important. Passion should also be the main motivation for you to become a tutor, not money or experience.

Tutoring is important for a student’s academic development and success in their future. As you can see, tutors need to have a combination of the above good qualities to ensure that they are making an effective difference. The student is the focus and point of tutoring, and their needs to be met well.

The GT Scholars tutoring programme is designed to support young people with improving attainment in English, Maths and Science. Our volunteer tutors ensure that tutoring sessions are personalised and tailored to each student and that we give young people the support, skills and strategies that they need to achieve their ambitions. Contact us for more information about how to become a tutor with us and make a difference in a student’s life.

8 things you need to consider when choosing a tutoring programme

8 things you need to consider when choosing a tutoring programme

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Research from the Sutton Trust shows that 42% of pupils in London aged 11-16, have had private tutoring at some point in their academic careers. This shows that private tutoring is popular with many families but what are the things to look out for when choosing a tutoring programme? How do you choose between group tutoring or one-to-one tutoring? How do you know if it’s time to get a tutor?

In this blog, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when choosing a tutoring programme:

Discuss tutoring with your child:

As with most things, it’s always helpful to have an open conversation with your child to discuss the benefits of tutoring and determine if he or she needs it. Some pupils will be more proactive and ask their parent for a tutor. Other pupils may feel that it is a waste of time because they are just not good at or will never be good at the subject. Tutoring is extremely beneficial to pupils that struggle with a fixed mindset ie. pupils that feel that they cannot improve in a subject. It is therefore worth discussing this in detail with your child so that he or she understands that they can improve and a tutor could make a huge difference if they are open to the idea of improving. If your child is particularly reluctant about going out to a group tutoring session, you can always propose a home tutor or online tutor which is more discreet.

Group tutoring or one-to-one tuition

Both options are widely available but you need to consider what would fit better to your child’s needs. In general, group sessions will mean working with a group of pupils that are at the same or a similar stage to your child. Pupils may find it useful to work with a group where there is some healthy competition and a group where pupils support each other’s progress. One-to-one tuition is more orientated to children that need more focused sessions. With one-to-one tutoring sessions, children are more likely to speak up to their tutor if they don’t understand a topic. The tutoring content will also most likely be determined by the tutor’s ongoing assessment of your child’s progress.

Take an initial assessment

It is very important for the tutor to know where to start and decide if there is any basic concept that might not be very clear, as they need to have a strong foundation of knowledge in order for their knowledge to progress. Your school may provide an end of year report for your child to show their overall progress for the year. A copy should be passed on to your tutor so that he or she can use this knowledge to get started with tutoring. Your tutor will most likely still need to conduct an initial assessment and work directly with your child for a few weeks in order to gain an idea of learning gaps and areas of weakness that need to be addressed through tutoring.

Get Involved

It’s easy to assume that a tutor can solve all academic problems but progress is usually a join effort from the parent, pupil and the tutors. The first few weeks of tutoring may be tough on your child as he or she is being challenged in new ways. As always, you should encourage your child to keep trying and embrace the challenge. As a parent, you also need to be involved in the tutoring progress. This can be as simple as contacting the tutor to schedule or book tutoring sessions at a time that works for you and your child, meeting with your child’s tutor after tutoring sessions to discuss your child’s progress and ensuring that your child completes any homework provided by the tutor.

Security checks

Always make use of a programme that keeps Disclosure and Barring service (DBS checks) up to date. DBS refers to the new agency created out of a merger between the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). It checks the police and other databases to ensure there are no markers suggesting that a tutor is not suitable to work with young people. There is no harm in asking your child’s tutor for a copy of their DBS certificate. They should be able to show this to you before you get started with tutoring sessions.

Terms and conditions

If you’re unsure about any aspects of a tutoring programme – ask questions. Always make sure you understand how the system works ie. the details of tuition, suitable times, flexibility and tutor availability, policies for cancellations, how payments works and any payment options you have. It’s important that you respect your tutor’s time and you maintain clear communications with your tutor. Most tutoring programmes will have very clear guidance on cancellations. The GT Scholars tutoring programme and many other tutoring programmes and agencies require parents to give 24 hours notice for tutoring sessions and if your child turns up more than 20 minutes late to a session, the pupil will forfeit that session.

Time it right

When selecting a tutoring programme, you will need to consider the most suitable day or time to attend the tutoring session. Most pupils will need a short break from school before starting lessons but for some pupils it is better to have the tuition lesson right after school as they are already in “learning mode”. Talk to your child to find out what works best for him or her. It’s also important not to start the sessions late in the evening as your child will probably be exhausted from school, sports, homework and any other extra-curricular activities. If your child has existing commitments with sports or clubs, you may have to make a decision to start the tutoring programme at the end of the season or commitment period. There is no point in overloading your child with extra-curricular activities and tutoring – especially if this could lead to adverse affects on his or her learning.

Cost

Tutoring in London can range from £20 to £60 per hour. With such a wide range in prices, it can be hard to know which tutoring programme or tutoring agency represents good value for money. You will also need to consider the cost of any books or resources. Ultimately, the value of tutoring is determined by the grades that your child can achieve and the boost in confidence, knowledge and skills gained from the tutor. If you are thinking about going to a tutoring centre then you may want to factor in the cost of transport and the time that you would need to invest in the tutoring sessions. If you would rather have a tutor come to your home then they may charge a higher rate to cover their transport cost. If you’re looking into online tutoring you will need to have a reliable PC or laptop as well as reliable internet connection.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on growth mindset. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. To find out more about the GT Scholars Programme, register your interest here: www.gtscholars.org/register-your-interest