An interview with one of our scholars Priscilla

An interview with one of our scholars Priscilla

Online volunteering Post 16 Private tutoring Scholar spotlight What's new? Young people

Please tell me a little bit more about yourself?
My name is Priscilla, I’m 16 years old. I like swimming and I was part of a competitive swimming team for two years. I have a passion for swimming and therefore, I decided to take a rookie life-guard course so that I can apply for a part-time role as a life-guard with an indoor swimming facility. My favorite subjects is English & History and in the future I would like to become a lawyer.

Why did you decide on law?
My parents work in the NHS, so when I was younger, I wanted to become a doctor. I then realised that I wasn’t that good in science, but that I had a keen interest and passion for English. I love debating and I love talking and speaking out, so law was just something that caught my attention. I also love reading & investigating which forms part of the law sector. I’m definitely looking into attending one of the Russell Group Universities. My dream is to go to Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge – any one of the top universities would be great to get into.

Why did you decide to join GT Scholars?
My mum did some research and came across GT Scholars. She told me about it and we went to a workshop, I found it interesting and it met my needs. For me having online tutoring sessions was also easier. The whole programme seemed interesting and it was also cheaper than the tuition that we were paying for at the time.

When you decided to join GT Scholars, did you have any special goals that you wanted to achieve? 
Yes, so when I first started I focused on Maths because my Maths grades were really low. I wanted to pay extra attention to Maths and I wanted to be able to at least get an A grade for Maths at GCSE level. I feel like I managed to achieve my goal in the mock exam earlier this year. I didn’t have a chance to write my GCSE Maths exam because of the GCSE’s that was cancelled, but in the mock exam, I have really improved. I ended up getting a grade 7, which is all because of GT Scholars and my maths tutor.

Your second term with GT Scholars you decided on focusing on English instead of Maths; how did that go?
My tutor Michael really helped me a lot and he made me think about the questions and answering them in a different way, which really ended up helping me during my exam. Because I really enjoy English, it was very nice to talk to someone who is also passionate about English to help develop my reading skills. I started off with a grade 6 and I ended up getting a grade 8 in English.

What positive impact did the programme have on you? 
The programme really helped me with setting up my study time. Before joining the programme I would procrastinate when it came to working. I  found that I didn’t really have an interest in doing work, but because of GT Scholars and getting homework regularly, I had that one hour a week to focus, so it was really good in terms of keeping up with my studies.

What was your favorite part of the programme?
My favorite part of the programme was the enrichment and skill building days that I got to go to. The Dragon’s Den was my favorite workshop. I got to meet new people and learn new skills, so it was definitely my favorite part of the programme.

Did you learn anything new about yourself while being on the GT Scholars programme?
I learned without a push from the tutors always supporting and checking in with me, I wouldn’t really be studying as much as I would’ve before joining the GT Scholars Programme. I feel like when I have someone by my side always encouraging me and checking up on me, it works out better for me.

And now that you are moving on to A levels –  will you be applying things that you have learned during the programme to your future studies? And what will that be?
Yes, less procrastination. I’m definitely going to make a revision timetable. I’ll also revise any work that I’ll do on a daily basis. Coming back home and reviewing the work and making flashcards so that I know that at the end of the term I don’t have to be stressed out, because I have my flashcards already prepared and ready to start my revision studies.

Do you have any advice for a young person that is considering to join the GT Scholars programmes?
My advice to them would be to have an open mind and to have a growth mindset because the programme is online. The environment will be different and it might be easy to get distracted, but if you approach it with an open mind and be willing to build a good relationship with your tutor, it will really help with the learning process. Then also remember that if you ever get stuck contact your tutor because they’re always willing to help.

What was the most helpful thing that your tutor taught you or helped you with?
I had two different relationships with my tutors because the subjects were completely different. Martin was my maths tutor and he was very understanding because he recently did his GCSE’s, and he could easily relate to me and explain things to me in a clear way. The one thing that I learned from Martin, was to not have an “I can’t do it” mindset. He really pushed me, even if I didn’t know how to approach a question he would always push me to be able to answer the question myself because he knew that I could do it. Michael was my English tutor and he had a lot of experience within the schools and education systems. He taught me to be confident with my answers and taught me to always read my answers back to myself, even when I think that I’m finished,  there is always something to add or improve on what I’ve written. He definitely taught me about self-confidence and using my imagination in creative writing.

Your tutors helped you develop a growth mindset and having self-confidence – When approaching a challenge do you approach it with a growth mindset and self-confidence?
Yes, and not only on an academic level but also in my day to day life. When I was swimming, I felt that I wanted to give up and I would remind myself that I can do it. Nowadays there are a lot of things I would do when before I wouldn’t have imagined that I could do it. When approaching something new I feel I can do it if I just put my mind to it. I also combine a growth mindset with self-confidence which my English tutor has taught me.

Is there anything you would like to say to your tutors that supported you on the programme?
I would just like to thank them for everything that they did because it is clearly evident that the programme made a positive impact on my Maths and English grades. I managed to go up two grades in both subjects which is what I wanted to achieve, and I would like to thank them for their time and dedication. They were really supportive, really nice, friendly people and from the first session, I felt like I clicked with them. So I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me!

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

Online volunteering Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I went through school and after that, I did Economics at A-level and then studied Economics full time at UCL. During my time at UCL, I was the president of the UCL branch of the charity Team Up. After graduation, I was offered a job at the Bank of England where I worked as a Data Analyst.

What made you decide to become a volunteer tutor?
I really feel like I want to give back to society and give back to people that are in a less fortunate position than I am, through no fault of their own, and help them achieve their full potential. I did some informal tutoring a few years ago and I got really good feedback. That made me think and I then decided to take my strengths and use them to help people that really need the support. Since volunteering at UCL, I was trying to find other opportunities to volunteer that could fit in with my work schedule. I find that tutoring is a really good option and that I can make a real difference in a young person’s life.

What did you enjoy most about tutoring your scholar?
What I enjoyed most was really seeing the development of my scholar throughout the 12 week term. I think the highlight for me was in week 4 when I logged into Skype for our session and my scholar said: ‘’Sir, sir you know the thing we’ve done with the area of the square? I tried it in class and my teacher said I got the question right!” She was really chuffed about it and that was great to hear. I think engaging with the scholar and building a good relationship is what I’ve enjoyed most. I was very lucky to be matched with someone who is really engaged and ready to learn.

What challenges have you helped your scholar to face?
What I found at the beginning of this term in my scholar was the fact that she was doubting herself. I think the challenge was to reinforce the knowledge she already had and building her confidence. In the beginning, I would ask a question and she would attempt to solve 60% of the question but wouldn’t have the confidence to work through the remaining 40%. She would then say she did not know how to do it. I focussed on building her confidence and to say to herself, I do know how to do it and I won’t give up. It’s really great to see how much her maths has developed and improved.

What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
I think a good example of one of our goals would be the mock test my scholar had coming up. A week before the mock test we did two tutoring sessions so I could help her prepare for the test. After the test, she came back and said that a lot of the work we revised did come up in the test and she really felt confident answering them. We also set up goals for some of the topics she felt a bit weaker in and although she was struggling with it earlier on in the term she was able to tackle them after a few week’s sessions.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
Because I feel that students at school have a wide range of abilities and are at different levels. I don’t think that the modern skill system can factor that in with a class of 30 students, with different abilities and learning styles. Some young people need additional support and a lot of them don’t have the opportunity to get 1-to-1 support and can fall behind. I think tutoring can help fill that gap between school and home. Free tutoring is great to bridge the gap between young people who can afford private tutoring and those who cant.

Do you have a message for young people?
I would say they should keep working, keep trying and keep persevering with whatever they want to do in life. There’s no one path to get you where you want to go. Be who you are and don’t try to be anyone else. And with that mindset try things and really persevere. Like with the GT Scholar Programme, even if you don’t get the results initially, keep trying and pushing forward and towards where you want to go.

How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
My dad is a maths lecturer, I could not get away from maths as a young person (laughs). Until about GCSE I was rubbish at maths, I used to get 40%. I think it was because I wanted to get away from maths because my dad will always be talking about it. At that age, I did not realise the importance of it. Until my dad sat me down and got me to engage and focus and made me realise the importance of it. In terms of other subjects, I did not have formal tutors but had support from my peers and family that helped me a lot.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
I feel like I gained a lot of confidence. I was a bit nervous before my first session because I see it as a real responsibility and duty to help a young person on their journey with mathematics. I really wanted to do a good job and make an impact on my scholar’s life. Having my scholar come back by the fourth session saying how she benefited from our sessions had really boosted my confidence. I think there are a lot of children out there that don’t see their own potential and it’s really opened my eyes to that. I have also gained a great relationship with my scholar and we even joke around during sessions sometimes.

Would you recommend becoming a tutor with GT Scholars?
Definitely. I think the whole process is really good and I gained a lot from the experience. For a tutor to be able to come in and really feel the positive impact made with a scholar and really seeing the journey you’re both going through during the 12 weeks is just amazing. The programme is really great for those scholars who are at average or just below, to give them that extra boost they need. Volunteering as a tutor is a nice way to start volunteering, whether it’s your first time or if you’re an experienced volunteer. I definitely recommend it in terms of it being a great way to volunteer and help young people.

An Interview with a Parent: ”The online maths tutoring sessions have definitely helped her excel in maths. ”

An Interview with a Parent: ”The online maths tutoring sessions have definitely helped her excel in maths. ”

Parent Spotlight Scholar spotlight What's new?

We had the pleasure of interviewing a parent of one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions Programme this term. It was great to hear about her experience with the programme and to find out if being on the programme made any positive impact on her daughter’s life.

How did you find out about GT Scholars?
We first got introduced to the programme when Laura’s religious (RE) teacher passed on information about a GT Scholars Workshop called the Career Insight: Pre Launch Event. Laura was very interested in going and shared the information with me. Just days before, my friend and I had a conversation about career choices and about the fact that most young people do not have enough in-depth information on different careers these days. After she attended the workshop she was fascinated by the different career choices available to her. This workshop was a real eye-opener for my daughter and after the workshop, she decided she was not completely set on pursuing a career as an architect and wanted to look more into a career in business. Since then, she’s been thinking about a career where she can combine her love for art and her interest in business.

Have you seen any positive change in your daughter since she joined the Bright Ambitions programme?
I’ve definitely seen a lot of improvement in her maths. It’s great because I cannot help her that much with maths since it’s not one of my strong areas. It was important for her to fill in the gaps on areas that she’s been struggling with. Maths is an important subject for my daughter because she’ll definitely need it for the career paths she’s interested in. Since having her regular online tutoring and mentoring sessions she’s become more confident. She recently completed her exams and we are very pleased with the results. My daughter has moved up an entire set in Maths and she is also one of the top two students of her class!

Do you feel that it was worth enrolling Laura to the Bright Ambitions programme?
I would say yes, it was definitely worth it. The online maths tutoring sessions have definitely helped her excel in maths and the mentoring sessions have helped build her confidence and made her more open-minded.

As a parent, how did you find interacting with the tutors and mentors?
I am very pleased with Derek, he is a very nice guy and he’s absolutely wonderful as a tutor. Our mentor, Rachel is also a wonderful lady and my daughter gets on well with her. She really guided her on finding her own career path and keeping her options open.

What do you like about the fact that tutoring is done online?
What I like most about online tutoring is the convenience of it. It eliminates the stress of having to travel to a location for every tutoring session and my daughter can enjoy her tutoring sessions in the comfort of our home. The fact that there is a dedicated tutor that works with her to reach her goals is also great.

Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents out there looking for a tutoring and mentoring programme?
Yes, I would because I think it works out and is worth it in the end. The results are great!

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

Parents Private tutoring Research What's new?

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.

 

7 Ways to Use Technology for Good

7 Ways to Use Technology for Good

Growth mindset Post 16 What's new? Young people

Parenting can be challenging at times as it is, but parenting in the 21st century certainly brings on board a whole lot of different concerns. Especially when it comes to monitoring children’s exposure to technology. What is the daily limit of allowing your child to watch TV or play computer games?  What precautions can parents take to ensure children’s safety online? At what age are they allowed a smartphone?

Living in the information age where knowledge is freely available at the click of a button, means that children are learning at a much faster pace than before. Years of information and research are now contained within pages of compressed knowledge which has been simplified. There are also images and videos available to easily illustrate complexed concepts allowing children to take in information and knowledge without a long-term commitment.

A study conducted by Info Central in 2016 concluded that the average age for children to own an electronic device with access to the internet is 10, with over 64% of children favouring the tablet as a form of entertainment during car rides or while at home.

Children are very much aware of the World Wide Web and they want in. Trying to deny children access to the internet and technology may not be the best approach and you may end up doing the opposite of what you’ve hoped to achieve.  Parents need to strive towards guiding their children so that they are confident in using the internet and most importantly, be able to identify potential online danger.

The advance in technology is neither a good or bad thing. It is innovative and it simplifies a lot of once complex processes. It is neither helpful nor detrimental in itself, the latter is dependent on how you use it. Technology has revolutionised every sector and industry ranging from the corporate workplace, beauty, art as well as education.

Parents can utilise educational technology to empower their children and contribute to their growth and knowledge. Children should be taught how to use the internet and guiding them through this is the first step to empowering them with the right knowledge.

Here are seven ways to use technology for good:

E-Classrooms
The internet is home to various platforms where children can get the extra help that they need.  From online exercises and courses to online tutoring. E-classrooms often provide a supportive environment for learners and reward systems that encourage a learner’s strengths. Some courses are designed for particular grades and levels of knowledge and may be accompanied by virtual assistants who guide children through exercises and others encourage parent participation which can be a great way to spend quality time together.

Free Podcasts and Videos
Free podcasts and videos are more accessible as most platforms do not require the creation of an account before the information becomes available to the end user. The information obtained from free podcasts and videos may be a little less reliable than official e-classrooms that use curriculum materials pertaining to the country. Be that as it may, platforms like Youtube and scholarly articles shared online still remains a good source of information for young people to learn and improve their knowledge. Since the content of free podcasts and videos have not been certified and approved by scholarly boards, further research on topics might be needed to avoid being misinformed.

Mentoring Websites
One of the biggest advantages of the internet is that it connects people. Mentoring websites connects experienced people who are willing to shed light on industries with parents and their children looking for first-hand information. This can be extremely helpful when children start to consider different career options.  A mentoring website can provide children with answers pertaining to their prospective careers and what they will need to increase their chances of success.

Self Care Websites
The downside of free-flowing information is that it is not censored. Children can sometimes come across content that can negatively affect their confidence and perception of self.  It’s important that children think of the internet as a resource to build good self-confidence and a healthy self-image. There are several websites that offer health tips as well as emotional and psychological care guidelines. Positive affirmation is particularly strong and when coupled with love, support and guidance children receive from home,  these websites can help them distinguish between positive and empowering information and also help them identify and prepare them to deal with negative content.

Technology as an outlet for creativity
Another great way technology can enrich children’s lives is by providing an outlet for the creative and talented. There are great apps available, from online videos to singing apps likes Musical.ly.  Another great app is Soundcloud which allows the user to share audio files, and let’s not forget to mention Apple’s GarageBand! These are all healthy ways for children to stay focused on school and be expressive at the same time.

Calendars
It is beneficial for children to learn how to manage their time appropriately and how to organise their day. Over time they will be able to balance school and their social lives independently. Calendars are now integrated into electronic devices like phones and tablets. Google Calendar allows users to synchronise calendars between family members, friends and even schools. This is a great way for parents to keep a watchful eye on their children’s schedule without seeming too overwhelming and allow children to learn how to manage and organise their time.

Educational Chat Rooms
Apps like Whatsapp are a favourite among preteens and adolescents. Instead of just being used for passing time, they can also be used to network and discuss ideas and help clarify questions for group assignments. This free app is a useful tool because it can be used by children from all financial backgrounds. Parents can create these chat groups for their children within the app and children can exchange images, audio and links to information over the app.

GT Scholars is a non-profit organisation that focuses on social mobility and growth mindset. They also run an afterschool tutoring programme that includes online tutoring, mentoring as well as skill building and enrichment activities for young people aged 11-16. For more information on how to join the GT Scholars programme please feel free send an email to contactus@gtscholars.org

 

7 Benefits of One-to-one Online Tutoring

7 Benefits of One-to-one Online Tutoring

Volunteers

It is a known fact that students perform better when receiving one to one tutoring.  Online tutoring is growing in popularity, and with reason. It can be just as effective as traditional tutoring. Here are 7 benefits of one-to-one tutoring, to name a few. It is very important to remember that within a classroom environment students may often shy away from asking a question to gain clarity on a topic. The student might be afraid of what his peers might think or perhaps the student is an introvert and does not want to speak up in front of his peers.

1.  It makes distance irrelevant
Due to the flexibility of online private learning, logistics are irrelevant as both the student and tutor have the option of scheduling and learning from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. Students have the added benefit of being able to study when it best suits them. This gives them the ability to have time to study and still be able to partake in hobbies, sports and other extracurricular activities. Students spend most of their day in a formal learning environment and with after-school tutoring they might not feel up for entering another formal learning space. With online tutoring, they can still receive after-school support but they are in charge of the location.  It can be somewhere informal and most importantly, where they feel comfortable.

2. Individual attention
Just as with traditional tutoring, one-to-one online tutoring is also able to provide the student with that much needed individual attention. One-to-one tutoring session builds confidence and helps the student be less intimidated by exams. It is a great way to give your child extra support with material that he finds challenging, whether it is in Maths, English or Science. Every young person has a different learning style. Taking this into account an online tutor can tailor lessons to adapt to the students learning style and pace. Students receiving individual attention can drive the conversation, and control the question that they want to ask. An online tutoring session creates a stress-free environment where the student experiences minimum fear of failure.

3.  Tutor availability
Online tutoring opens a world of tutors that hold academic degrees and have experience in a professional field. Online tutors are passionate about sharing their knowledge with students, in return making the students excited to learn more about the subject and passionate about learning in general. Communication technologies available today makes it easier for online tutors to connect with their students, and offer students many different ways of communicating with those who impart knowledge that a normal classroom would not. With online tutoring, a student can contact their tutor by sending a quick email or text via an instant messaging application if they require clarification regarding certain class material or assignments. With face-to-face tutoring, the student has to wait for the next face-to-face tutoring session before getting help with questions.

4.  Better grades
One-to-one online tutoring is effective in helping young people improve their grades as it makes them more motivated and engaged, discussing problems and trying to figure out the answers for themselves. Online tutors also have the opportunity to reinforce lessons and creating an effective learning environment. This results in students being equipped with the tools to succeed in their exams and having the tools to succeed at school, university and beyond. Online tutoring increases the student’s sense of responsibility as they cannot copy someone else’s work or rely on the ideas of their peers. This makes them take on a more serious approach when it comes to fully mastering the materials.

5.  Private tutoring provides additional information
Online one-to-one tutoring not only provides the student with the opportunity to address the things they need help with, but it also gives them the opportunity to lead the conversation topic to match their interests. They are given tasks and materials which are different from the material given at school and can also choose their own additional reading lists if they wanted to. This often helps a student to perceive the topic from a different point of view making them understand the topic better. A gifted child, for instance, can be stimulated by the private lessons they received as they would go beyond a normal classroom syllabus.Online tutoring can go beyond improving a child’s marks in school and can help them set and achieve life goals. This can result from having tutors and mentors who provide the tools to set and achieve said goals.

6.  Regular feedback on Academic Progress
An online tutor can provide parents with regular feedback on their child’s progress and address any areas of concern. Some online tutoring companies provide parents and carers with weekly or monthly reports on their child’s progress. This eases the concerns some parents may have of their child’s progress and also helps them to evaluate the effectiveness of the online tuition.

7. Online one-to-one tutoring is cost effective
Private tuition can be costly and not everyone can afford a traditional tutor. Online tutoring makes equality teaching available to more students. For a much lower fee, every student can gain access to quality online tutoring.

 Given the information we now have regarding private online lessons, it’ almost seems as a matter of necessity to have children enrolled in such programmes for them to better succeed in an ever-changing world that requires constant learning. Online learning can be a powerful tool that parents should opt for if their child is in need of help.

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.

 

More schools and tutors are teaching mindfulness techniques – here’s why!

More schools and tutors are teaching mindfulness techniques – here’s why!

Parents Volunteer mentors What's new?

Mindfulness does not immediately spring to mind when you think of the types of activities your children should be engaged in while at school. Be that as it may, there are many benefits to introducing mindfulness into the classroom, but are we really aware of the benefits it could have for your child and thus the urgent need for such a skill to form part of your child’s life?

There has been an increase in the number of young people being diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The most recent survey by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that one in ten children aged between five and 16 years old has been clinically diagnosed with a mental disorder. So, in light of these facts, what can parents do to improve the situation? Can mindfulness in schools perhaps help young people be overall happier and more well-adjusted?  We took a closer look at what mindfulness really is and what the benefits it holds for our young people.

The meaning of mindfulness
From the business world to the political realm and now the school environment; the practice of mindfulness is slowly creeping its way into every aspect of our lives and with good reason.  Mindfulness is a pretty straightforward concept. It is about being fully aware of what is happening around you, of what is happening to you; your thoughts, feelings and emotions and being aware of the space you are moving through.  For many this might be difficult to achieve at first, like anything in life, practice makes perfect. We live in a fast-paced world,  where we find ourselves jumping from one task to the next, rushing through life without a moment to spare to consider the effects on our well-being. Although children may not have to worry about paying bills, work appraisals and the tax man; they are thrown into their own unique age-related whirlpool of family life, school and social life.

Mindfulness in the classroom
We know that schools are not just a place where children gain the necessary academic skills to succeed in life but also where they gain social skills and learn to deal with difficult situations. We know that as adults, those who succeed are not only those who gained academic knowledge but those who gained vital character traits such as self-awareness, self-esteem and regulation of their emotions. Although research into the effectiveness of teaching mindfulness to school children may be in its infancy, there is a consensus among researchers that there are many benefits to the practice. It is our hope that over the coming years, as more research and success stories are published that more schools are willing to come on board with mindfulness programmes and allow children to reap these benefits, affording them the opportunity to become more successful and well-rounded adults. Mindfulness is not yet available in all classrooms but you could implement it at home should you choose to do so as there is a considerable amount of resources available online.

During mindfulness exercises in classrooms, kids are asked to sit comfortably on the floor or at their desks. Then they are asked to close their eyes, place their hands gently on their laps and breathe. To really focus on breathing in and out and any sensations they may have in their bodies. If their minds wander they are encouraged to gently notice where it wanders to and then bring it back to their breathing and their bodies. The aim is to relax their bodies and minds. After the session is complete young people may share to discuss how they felt during the session if they wish to do so.

The benefits of mindfulness in the classroom

It is believed that there are a lot of benefits young people can gain from practising mindfulness regularly.

  • Increased Attention: Studies have shown that young people who were taught mindfulness have increased levels of concentration and were able to pay attention for a longer period of time in the classroom. This, in turn, allows children to learn better and to retain the knowledge they have learnt.  It teaches young people to regain there focus quickly if their minds were to wonder, allowing them to be more in control of the focus of their mind.
  • A reprieve from Stress: Many children are dealing with an array of stress from both school and at home. Evidence has shown that mindfulness can help provide a reprieve from stress factors by allowing children the time to relax, be calm and unwind.
  • Self-awareness: Mindfulness by definition is about self-awareness. Young people that practice mindfulness is more connected and aware of their own thought processes and reactions to the external world thus allowing them to regulate their emotions and behaviour both inside and outside of school.  Young people can also be more aware of their behavioural patterns and improve on negative habitual behaviours. It is a time to disconnect from rigid routines and technology and to connect to themselves.
  • Resilience: Mindfulness can help children become more resilient through coming to view the concerns or stresses they have more objectively by reducing the amount of personal blame or fault they place on themselves due to life’s everyday stress factors.
  • Compassion: By practising mindfulness young people are made more aware of their own thoughts and emotions. They develop a better understanding of other people’s experience and feelings.
  • Overall mental health improvement: With clinical diagnoses’ of mental health issues on the rise it is an ever-present worry for parents concerning their children. The practice of mindfulness in schools has shown to reduce anxiety symptoms, reduce depression and reduce fatigue in children.  

It seems that there is not a lot of reasons to shy away from practising mindfulness. With more and more benefits of practising mindfulness being discovered all the time. Studies have shown a lot of positive outcomes for practising mindfulness.

If your child is between ages 11-16 and you’re interested in helping them achieve better grades and a great sense of well-being by getting them involved in our tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme please visit our GT Scholars website for more information.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet

Volunteer spotlight 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

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Elizabeth

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Elizabeth

Volunteer spotlight

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, Elizabeth Polido.

  1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
    I decided to volunteer as a tutor because I wanted to share my knowledge, especially in the field of science. I want to help young people to understand what the subject is about, but also to enjoy it. By doing this, I hope it will help them to improve their grades at school.

  2. Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
    I was born in the UK but I grew up in The Philippines for 19 years. In The Philippines, they heavily focus maths and science in school. This led to me developing an interest in science. When I returned to the UK, I decided to study forensic science at college. This was because I really wanted to do something that was practical or based in a laboratory. I then studied Biomedical Science at the University of Surrey. This is when I became more keen to share my knowledge of science to others, and then I decided that tutoring would be the best way to share my knowledge with young people.

  3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
    Support has been really important to me because without it I would not have known what to do or have some direction and guidance. I also believe in communication being an important part of the support, and I like to hear feedback from others so that I can turn my weaknesses into strengths. For example, when I first started tutoring I did not know how to use the software, but I was able to communicate my problems with someone who could help and then received feedback from them so that they could show me how to use it. Both support and communication are important to me.

  4. Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
    Tutoring is valuable because you get to help them improve their understanding of a subject and then improve their grades. Young people need the motivation to learn and to understand a topic. Tutoring is able to motivate them, especially one-to-one tutoring. The tutor is able to see the student’s individual needs, strengths and weaknesses, and to help them specifically. This will allow them to reach their greatest potential.

  5. What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
    When we start the sessions, my student and I do not know each other well. I really enjoy getting to know who they are so that I can help them. I enjoy seeing that they are learning, while also learning from them. I enjoy seeing their improvement, but also helping them to understand how to do their best and keep on trying when they fail. I am thankful for this opportunity to help young people, while also learning valuable things from this experience that helps me grow.

Elizabeth is a knowledgeable individual with strong communication, organisational and technical skills. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge, but also open to understanding how young people think and is very accommodating. With a background in science, most of her work experience is in the medical or pharmaceutical fields. She is also an associate of the Royal Society of Biology, a licentiate of the Institute of Biomedical Science, and is able to speak four different languages.

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.

10 Websites Young People Can Use To Learn Anything Online

10 Websites Young People Can Use To Learn Anything Online

Learning Resources What's new? Young people

Knowledge is power! Learning new things can change your life for the better. It will give your self-esteem a boost and it will also affect the way you do things on a day to day basis. On top of that, you will experience personal growth.

Being in a constant flow of learning new things ensures that we are current and up to date with our ever-changing, fast-paced environment. It makes us open to new, exciting opportunities and will kick start a personal growth journey filled with endless possibilities. As long as we can learn, the sky’s the limit! If we do not learn new things we stagnate and eventually we will start moving backwards.

Because there is absolutely nothing to lose, except your comfort zone, there should be no reason why you should not visit one of these awesome websites to embark on your new journey!

  1.  CodeAcademy  – The demand for people who have coding skills are on the rise. This is not only true for developers, programming is on the way of playing bigger roles in everyday career paths. With coding added to your list of skills, you can definitely pursue a more rewarding career. Codecademy offers free coding classes covering 12 different programming languages, which include, Python, Java, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and Sass, to name a few.
  2. PhotographyCourse.net – A picture is worth a thousand words. It will be worth your while to have photography added to your skills list. It is a powerful tool which allows us to share and to communicate to those around us.  This website offers free online photography courses. You can enrol in comprehensive photography lessons that cover various topics, such as Photographic Lenses, How to Use Your Camera, Light and the Photographer, and Digital Cameras. 
  3. Adobe Photoshop CC – The Complete Beginners Guide – Photo editing is just as important as the actual photo shoot.  Editing defines the mood of the photograph and enhances the overall message that a photo is supposed to deliver. Up your skills with this free course by Adobe Know How. Having photo editing skills can open many doors. 
  4. Channel 9 Web Development – If you are interested in a career in web design, go check out  Channel 9 Web Development. This website offers a course for beginners wanting to learn web design.  The course is presented online in a series of 21 videos of 30 minutes long in length. You will only be able to move on to the next lesson if you can master the basics of the lesson before.  At the end of the course, you should be able to create a very good website. 
  5. Yousician –  Yousician is an interactive music service that allows you to learn and play a musical instrument.  The website supports the guitar, piano, ukulele and bass.  The site offers easy step by step tutorials and proves exercises based on your performance level.  Starting a band has never been easier. 
  6. Developing Android Apps Android Fundamentals – Google and Udacity have teamed up to launch a free crash course in Android development. This course covers theory as well as practice to teach you how to build great apps in a jiffy. The course has step-by-step instructions to teach you how to build a cloud-connected Android app. You will also learn the best practices of mobile development, mainly focussing on Android development. 
  7. DuDuolingo – Knowing an additional language can open a world of job opportunities and at the same time establish meaningful connections and be the start of possible cross-cultural friendships. Whether you want to learn a new language from scratch or just want to brush up on your French skills, this site is ideal. 
  8. Blender – Animation is everywhere, whether it is in a movie, a TV commercial or business presentation. It will be definitely worth your while to master this skill. Blender is a 3D animation software that can be used to create amazing 3D images and animate them. The best of all is that the software is free and so are the courses. So if you are interested in a career in animation, be sure to check out this site. 
  9. Alison.com’s Sketchup course – Do you want to become the next most sought after architect? Get a headstart with yet another awesome program that is completely free to download. The good news is that some architect firms actually recognises Sketchup as a valid 2D plan drawing tool. A free course, plus a free software! Isn’t that cool? 
  10. Music Technology Foundations by EDX – All features and materials may not be available as this is the free version of the course. EdX keeps courses open for enrollment after the end to allow learners to explore content and continue learning. The course offers history, theory and practice of music technology, Sound, audio, MIDI, effects and sequencing. It also entails hands-on practice with music-making using contemporary digital tools

So, what are you waiting for? Information has never been this easily accessible We need to grasp every opportunity to learn with both hands. The world (or should I say web) is definitely your oyster!  There are numerous free and low-cost websites and apps available on the Internet.  The list above is only but to name a few. It is also worth to mention that Youtube also offers thousands of video tutorials on a wide variety of topics.  To find out about more great opportunities and events for young people, feel free to sign up to our newsletter.

The GT Scholars programme wants to help young people aged 11-16 to achieve excellent grades and reach their future goals. If you’re interested, you’ll need to register your interest or give us a call on 020 881 68066.