Ways you or a tutor can help your child excel without being pushy

Ways you or a tutor can help your child excel without being pushy

Improving attainment Mentoring What's new? Young people

As parents, carers and teachers, we all know and understand that children have different mindsets, learning abilities and motivation levels which we need to consider and support when it comes to education. It is very important that we do this without demanding too much of them. Nowadays it is thought that 5 good GCSE’s are required to give your child access to a good university, and providing your child an edge is considered by many as the answer.

Most parents will admit that they have been pushy at some point or another. Some might confess that despite their best efforts they’ve seen no change in their child’s behaviour or attitude towards a certain matter.  Being pushy generally leads to negative attitudes, rebellion and puts the child under enormous pressure and lowers self-esteem. Demanding extra hours of study when a child is tired or pushing for extra study time over weekends are both examples of being over demanding. Another example is insisting that homework is done on a Friday afternoon, especially after your child had a long and challenging week at school.  A rested brain will be able to take in more information, whereas an over-tired brain will not be able to take in any more information due to information overload.

Parenting does not come with a textbook, especially considering no two children are ever the same. Parents must often rely on trial and error to establish which methods are the most effective when it comes to communicating effectively with their children.  

We have a few ideas that you might want to consider if you would like to give your child a bit of extra motivation to excel in whatever they take on.

 

Knowing your child’s intelligence:
Dr Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, developed a theory called ‘Multiple Intelligence”.  His theory suggests that there are 9 different types of intelligence that accounts for a broader range of human potential.  Perhaps knowing your child’s type of intelligence will help you distinguish from which angle to approach your child. According to his theory, the intelligence categories are:

  • Verbal-linguistic intelligence – someone who has good verbal skills
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence – someone who can think abstractly and conceptually
  • Spatial-visual intelligence – someone who can think in images and visualise accurately
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence  – someone who can control their body movements
  • Musical intelligence – someone who can compose and produce rhythm, pitch and timber
  • Interpersonal intelligence – someone who detects and responds appropriately to the moods of others
  • Intrapersonal – someone who is self-aware and who is connected with their inner feelings
  • Naturalist intelligence – someone who is able to recognize objects in nature and categorize them
  • Existential intelligence – someone who takes on deep questions about the existence of mankind.

Become more involved
In order to excel, a support system is needed.  The first person in line is you as a parent. Set aside a time each day or week and talk to your child about what tests or exams are coming up and if there are any subjects they feel they will need to pay extra attention to. Support homework and exams by drawing up tests or asking questions.  Try to be more involved with projects and functions. Provide the items necessary to get the homework done.  Your role is to provide support and guidance. Teach, coach, mentor! Stay away from telling them what to do.  Instead,  allow your child to show and explain what needs to be done, with you acknowledging and or making suggestions for improvement.

The importance of reading
Reading is the key to lifelong learning. A love for reading should be introduced to your child from a young age. Reading can be a fun activity. Do research on books that match your child’s interest and suggest them to your child. Another great method is to also read the book and make it a topic of conversation and express your opinions on characters and happenings in the book. Allow your child to suggest a  couple of books as well. This way you also set a good example and showing your child that reading can be fun. Reading will definitely improve their general knowledge and can also inspire them or spark a new idea.

Your attitude towards education.
Children are influenced by the opinions of that of their parents. Therefore, if you have a positive attitude towards education, your child is most likely to adopt that mindset too. If you regard a good education as important so will your child. Showing a positive interest can spark enthusiasm and lead them to the very important understanding that learning can be enjoyable and rewarding and in the end, well worth the efforts. Motivate them by giving them tips on how you used to study and how well it worked for you. Always have a ‘can do’ attitude when discussing subjects and exam related topics with your child.

Create a balance
It is very important to create and encourage a balance of active learning such as sports, music visits museums and socialises with friends as well as quiet learning such as reading and homework. Your child should not feel as if they have no time to socialise and have fun. They need to be able to distinguish between when it is time to relax and when the time has come to work.  Exam time can be a very challenging and stressful time for your child. Make sure your child is coping with the pressure. Sit down with your child and plan the preparation time for the exam together. This way you can ensure your child has a study guideline and that he won’t feel alone and pressurised and had ample time to prepare for exams.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve social mobility and help young people between the ages of 11-16 reach their dreams and aspirations.Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with our workshops, enrichment activities and our after-school tutoring programs and find out how GT Scholars can help your child excel in their school work and prepare for the GCSE exams.

Could your mindset be preventing your child from learning?

Could your mindset be preventing your child from learning?

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Parents have a direct impact on their child’s mindset, and the same can be said of a carer or teacher, even they can potentially influence a child’s mindset. Children observe their parents’ actions and language and use that to set the bar on what is expected of them. You can manifest a growth mindset in your child by being aware of your daily interactions. Always be aware of how you praise them. Talk to them about how the brain works and how it learns. It is also important to teach them how to deal with failure and transforming mistakes into learning opportunities.

Mental and emotional development
A study investigated the influence a parent’s emotional investment had on a child’s emotional susceptivity and competence. The results concluded that the parent’s emotional involvement does affect the emotional competence and regulation of a child. Much has been said of the relationship between a child and their parent, but a child’s learning capacity does not solely rest with their parents. Teachers, guardians, role models, and even coaches may play a huge role in a child’s learning potential and their ability to fulfil it.

Failure mindset
One of the basic mindsets that may pass on and influence children, is their view of failure, or “failure mindset”. Mindset scholar Carol Dweck and Kyla Haimovitz did a study on ‘’failure mindset and found that a parent who viewed failure as debilitating, was concerned about their child’s abilities. Therefore they focused on whether or not they were successful instead of helping them to learn from their failure. As a parent, your belief about failure can also predict your child’s mindset regarding intelligence. A parent’s perspective on failure has huge implications on how they perceive failures. Difficulties that their children may face and these behavioural differences may affect their children’s view on intelligence and ability. Encouraging parents to adopt a failure is enhancing perceptive, could make a big difference to their children, allowing them to develop a growth mindset about intelligence.

Become more invested
There’s no doubt that one of the most prevalent learning tools available to a child or young person is their parents, guardian or teacher. Without knowing they pass multiple actions and reactions, emotions and mindsets. To ensure that the right attributes and mindsets are passed on to our child we can make an active decision to be more invested. Make time to truly invest emotionally in your child and their development. One effective way to do this is to join a group that share the same focus, as it can remove some of the isolation that may come with the journey of being a parent. It can also help to keep you more involved in your child’s life. Sharing experiences and solutions may also offer a new perspective on the development of a child.

Be an example
Children normally look at their parents and use them as an example on how to act and react to situations, especially on an emotional level. An emotion that can easily be passed on to your child is a positive attitude. This does certainly not mean ignoring the negative, but rather choosing to focus on the possibility of a positive outcome. Someone who is a positive thinker acknowledges a situation and approaches it productively. Positive thinking stems from a neutral situation such as starting a new job, a new school, meeting a new teacher or making new friends, in which the positive thinker chooses to focus on the positive aspect of the situation and aims to make more of it. The best way to foster positive thinking onto your child is to be a role model. The more optimistic a parent is, the better a child can understand the principle and implement it into their own life. Be expressive about it. When in a neutral situation such as the changing to a new school, engage with your child, ask what there is to look forward to? If they reflect a negative attitude, help them re-align it, with aid and advice. Reassure them that the worry they feel is only going to worsen things and that they should rather be open-minded and embrace the change and see it as an adventure with new opportunities and a chance to make new friends. By taking on this approach you will aid them in forming a positive attitude from the situation.

Acknowledge negative situations
Having a positive attitude does not make you oblivious to the negative. Acknowledge the downside but emphasize how dwelling on the negative points will not help the situation. If your child has a broken arm you must show empathy and acknowledge the pain with reassuring statements like “I know your arm is in pain and it’s making you feel upset” but always remember to also offer an alternative to negative attitude as well. You can suggest that you can draw some awesome pictures on his cast and get his friends to do the same. The earlier you teach your child the principle of positive thinking, the more equipped they can become in applying it when they are faced with a negative situation and they are on their own.
Remember that although parents do play a vital part in the development of a child, they are not the single variable that may dictate a child’s learning potential. The environment, peers and teachers contribute almost just as much. The building blocks, however, does start at home and parents can definitely provide a solid foundation that can form the basis of a child’s mindset.

Programs such as the GT scholars programme offers an enriched environment, promoting growth and learning, with high impact courses, workshops and programmes are designed to give young people aged 11-16 the strategies and skills they need to achieve their aspirations. If you would like to keep up to date with the latest enrichment activities and workshops in and around London, sign up to our newsletter.

Life is not fair and other messages parents and private tutors need to start telling their kids

Life is not fair and other messages parents and private tutors need to start telling their kids

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As parents we love our kids and we want to protect them from some of the harsh realities of this life and the disappointment that goes along with it. But, an overprotective parenting style can have some negative effects in the long run and may leave our children unprepared for the real world.

According to Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, parents have the very best of intentions, but when they over help, they deprive their children of the chance to learn the important things in life. Here are a few basic fundamental principles to teach our children that life is not always all that fair.

Hard work pays off:  Teaching children the importance of determination and hard work is essential. Especially in this era where we are continually exposed to convenient and easy ways of doing things, such as information that is easily accessible on the internet or microwave-ready meals.  Parents must make more of an effort to ensure that they can still raise independent beings who are able to go out in the world and fend for themselves. You can do this by praising their effort more than their achievement or put them in difficult but achievable situations. Children need to understand that when an effort is being made to achieve a goal, great benefits can be reaped. Furthermore, teaching children self-perseverance is extremely important for their social and emotional development.

Teach them to take responsibility for their own actions:  As a parent, you often have to administer penalties to your child even though they may feel equally daunting to you. Through this they will learn an important life lesson – there are consequences to every action. You can demonstrate this by connecting the action and consequence using real-life examples. For example, because you did not go to bed early last night you am tired today and can’t focus, or because you spent your money carelessly you can no longer afford the new laptop you had your eye on. Forcing responsibility onto children has never been proven to be effective, so children need to be taught life skills and responsibility will naturally follow. If children do not have responsibilities they might feel entitled and start adopting the-world-owes-me-something mindset.

Learn the importance of education: Children need to know the importance of obtaining education and how a good education can be their ticket to their desired life aspirations. They need to grasp that good grades are necessary for college acceptance and that their grades are a reflection of who they are to the admissions board. They need to understand that not working hard in school will result in poor grades which will then, in turn, result in only being qualified for low paying jobs.

Failure is part of life: Teach children that life is full of challenges, and that some of these challenges often result in failure. It is important that your child learns how to deal with failure and process the emotions that come with it. Failure can also be a part of learning as it teaches perseverance and appreciation for achievements. Remember parents set the example so be careful how you act in front of your child when you deal with failure, whether you scream at the sky or laugh, this will be the example your child sees.

Independence is invaluable: It is always a great idea to encourage independence. An easy way to do this is by giving children guided choices and respecting their choices, such as letting them decide on a family activity on a Sunday. You can also involve your children in making plans or coming up with solutions, such as working out a quicker route to school or setting up a chore roster. Learning simple life skills, for example, doing the laundry, working with money, or planning grocery shopping will be a great skill to have in the long run. Children must be able to look after themselves mentally and physically.

The list above is not all of the tips that you as the parent may consider to prepare your child for the realities of life out there, but they most definitely will be helpful in the initial steps of preparation.

Get started by looking into GT Scholars programmes that support your child in reaching their full potential. The GT Scholars programme helps young people aged 11-16 to achieve excellent grades and reach their future goals. Contact us to find out more.

 

Growth Mindset: The one thing you or a private tutor should be teaching your child

Growth Mindset: The one thing you or a private tutor should be teaching your child

Growth mindset What's new? Young people

Dr Carol Dweck said it best: “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort, and keep on learning.” The Psychology Professor from Stanford University presented and popularised this philosophy in 2007 through her book, Mindset. It is here where she explains her very profound, yet simple idea – the differentiation between two mindsets namely a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Mindsets shape the way in which we perceive our abilities and it also impacts how we view the world around us. With a fixed mindset, a person believes that their core personality, talents, skills and overall intelligence are fixed traits. In a fixed-mindset world, you are either perceived as smart or simple-minded. On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset believes that skills and talents can be developed through consistent effort and persistence. Essentially, this mindset lends itself to the idea that there are no smart or simple-minded people but rather those that have or have not unlocked their intellectual potential. This mindset allows you to be more receptive to learning and improving through hard work.

As a parent, you don’t only want your child to be successful, but you want them to have the know-how on handling setbacks when they occur. Their journey to success should be a fulfilling and a satisfying one. This will only be possible if your child takes on a growth mindset. There are a few ways that this can be done. Let’s look at some practices you can adopt today:

Growth Mindset Role Model – Take charge of the language you use in reference to yourself. As a parent, you must remember that developing a growth mindset within your child starts with you, so start showing your child your excitement for challenges and how mistakes can be regarded as a learning opportunity. Share instances in your life journey where you have encountered success, failure and challenges.

Brain Knowledge – Showing your child how the brain works, has a positive effect on how they view learning. Teach them that the brain is a muscle that will grow bigger and stronger through continuous hard work, perseverance and practice. They will learn that it is adaptable and that it can change and grow depending on how we use it. Equipping your child with the knowledge that the brain has extraordinary ability to change and evolve based on our experiences illustrates that we have a lot of potential to develop into much more than we ever believed. GT Scholars has an interesting article on Study Habits which is an interesting read on this topic.

Embracing Mistakes – Your child needs to know that making mistakes is a natural part of a learning journey. This approach facilitates in building self-confidence in the mere act of trying anything. Your child will be less anxious about whether he is going to make a mistake. Another great method is to have daily learning discussions with your child, whether it is in the car, during dinner or at bedtime. Ask questions like what they learned that day or what mistakes they made and what they learned from it.

Power of “YET” – It is important to have an ear-on-the-ground approach when it comes to monitoring your child’s language. This will give you an indication of whether they are thinking with a growth or fixed mindset.  Teach your child not to focus on their shortcomings but rather on the next step to their achievement. Look out for words such as “I can’t”; “ I don’t” and “I won’t”.  As soon as your parental radar picks up on this, complete it by saying ‘yet’. Try to introduce story books where the character learns to do something he did not think he could do or where he learned from mistakes.

Use these 4 tips and start nurturing a growth mindset in your child today. It will allow them to go through life knowing that they are in control of their own ability and that they can always improve by learning. Hard work and persistence does pay off but the underlying secret to success is to obtain and maintain a growth mindset.

Get started by looking into GT Scholars programmes that support your child into reaching their full potential here! The GT Scholars programme wants to help young people aged 11-16 to achieve excellent grades and reach their future goals.

In The Know: Half term activities for young people!

In The Know: Half term activities for young people!

In The Know What's new? Young people

It’s almost half term and most students will be looking forward to taking a break from academia! We have put together a selection of activities that young people can enjoy with their families.

Lab Life- Metropolis: This event is ideal for families with young children under twelve years of age. It gives participants, adults and children alike, an idea of how cities are built by giving them the chance to explore, tinker and create through a variety of facilitated events. The current theme, ‘Metropolis’, is designed to enable exploration of how cities evolve through material, shape and function. Tickets to this event cost £5 per person and are limited in availability. This event is scheduled for the 29th of May. Read more about this event, here.

The Robot Zoo: For those with an interest in zoology or how animals do some of the amazing things that they do, this is a must see. This exhibition features robot animals that are larger than life and have been recreated using everyday machine parts. The aim of the exhibit is to demonstrate how animals hunt, see, eat and hide. Activities include jet-propelled squid racing, designing your own robot mutant creature and shooting a chameleon’s tongue-gun. Tickets to this exhibition cost £4 – £7 per person but there are discounts available for families. The exhibit will run until the 29th of October 2017. For more information, read here.

Science Museum: The Science Museum has several activities planned for attendees during the half term break. Young people can enjoy activities such as simulations of RAF jet fighters, aerial acrobatics, viewing 3D science films, virtual reality trips and building mechanical devices. The museum will stay open until 19:00 during the half term period and entry is free but charges apply for the IMAX 3D Theatre, simulators and for some special exhibitions. Read more about the museum’s activities, here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on growth mindset and reaching potential. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. We aim to help you achieve your aspirations and get into top universities and competitive careers. To find out more, browse our website and get in touch with us: https://gtscholars.org/register-your-interest/

7 Gifts and Talents You May Not Realise Your Child Has

7 Gifts and Talents You May Not Realise Your Child Has

Private tuition Private tutors Social mobility What's new? Young people

Sometimes we get so focused on the measurements of talent and success – high grades, participation in sports, winning competitions – that we can forget our children already possess a number of natural gifts and talents that will help them succeed in life and the world of work.

GT Scholars works with young people to help them achieve their potential, and this also means identifying the talents children already have and helping them to realise how gifted they are.

So, what are some of the natural gifts and talents of young children that you as a parent can nurture now to support their future success in the world of work and life in general?

1. Adaptability

In an ever changing and fast paced world, adaptability is a vital talent for children to have and develop. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about dealing with adversity, but helping them to develop a good understanding that things change, sometimes unexpectedly, and it’s important to continue working to their best ability regardless.

2. Perseverance

Sometimes things don’t go as we plan, and it’s important not to let these things stop us from achieving our goals. Children have a tendency to bounce back quickly from setbacks, and this is a really positive natural gift of theirs. Continuing to teach children to embrace their setbacks as opportunities to grow and develop helps them build the mindset of perseverance to get on in life and work.

3. Honesty

Children are naturally honest and open with how they engage with the world, and at some point they start to lose this – possibly due to a fear of failure or letting people important to them down. Keep encouraging your children to be honest in proactive ways will help them to build the positive communication skills around their efforts and abilities that employers look for.

4. Enthusiasm

Someone who can talk positively about themselves, why they want to do something and who gets excited about doing new things and taking on new challenges always stands out from the crowd. Children are naturally enthusiastic about most things, so keep encouraging this, especially when it comes to embracing new situations.

5. Inquisitive

Taking an interest, asking questions, and having positive opinions all fall under this umbrella – and is another natural gift most children have! By encouraging children to be inquisitive, it also helps them build their communication skills and confidence around idea sharing – all things employers love!

6. Teamwork

Children like engaging with each other, learning about each other and supporting each other. Team work is something that comes pretty naturally to children and is easy to encourage – through team projects, team sports or just nurturing their natural urge to work with their fellow peers.

7. Entrepreneurship

Children have innate creativity and ideas that they love to work on – through play, or other creative pursuits. Believe it or not this can easily develop into entrepreneurial skills, and encouraging them to pursue their ideas and asking them questions (think ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions to help develop their thinking) will help this gift bloom.

 

This list is not exhaustive, and I’m sure the more you engage with your children, the more you’ll start to recognise the talents and gifts they already have, and that you can encourage them to keep developing.

The GT Scholars programme aims to help young people develop an intrinsic motivation for learning. We teach young people how to become better learners so that they can attain excellent grades across all subjects.

Why not subscribe to ‘In the know’? This is our weekly newsletter for parents. You’ll get updates on events and academic and career opportunities for 11-16 year olds. Click here to subscribe: www.gtscholars.org/contact-us