In the Know – Speaking up to make a difference!

In the Know – Speaking up to make a difference!

In The Know Parents

For young people to make the most out of the academic and career opportunities available to them, they will need to be able to articulate their thoughts and present their ideas well. They will also need to be able to hold their own in a room full of people and engage well with others. Here are a few activities to help your child be confident when speaking and presenting their ideas to other people!

Speak Up: Find Your Voice, Change The World!

This workshop hosted by GT Scholars is open to young people from the ages of 11 to 16. Taking place on Saturday 22nd June from 10am-4pm at Goldsmiths University, your child will get to learn valuable public speaking and presentation skills. They will also find out how to apply their skills to play an active role in their communities and ultimately make a difference in the world! Tickets cost £12.50 and you can book them here. We hope to see you there! Tickets are still available and can be booked via the Eventbrite waiting list.

Practice Makes Perfect!

The best way to improve public speaking skills is to practice and we know just the app that can help young people! VirtualSpeech VR is an app that helps you practice your speaking by creating realistic environments through the use of photos, sounds, and an audience. It even offers interactive courses to help you prepare. Download the free app for Apple or Android here and get your child started today!

Youth Connect!

We Rise is hosting a YouthConnect event on Tuesday 9th July for young people 14 years old and up. This is a great way for your child to not only continue perfecting the art of public speaking, but also other important skills such as communication, brainstorming, and teamwork. Your child will also get to interact with professionals and industry experts. The event is free and will be taking place at 3Space International House. Find out more here. We do

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

 

Nature vs Nurture: Are gifts and talents down to a child’s natural ability or can they be nurtured?

Nature vs Nurture: Are gifts and talents down to a child’s natural ability or can they be nurtured?

What's new?

Young people discover their gifts and passions as they grow. As they discover their abilities, should parents take an active role to nurture these abilities, or should it just be left to nature?

In this context, nature is defined as the innate disposition of someone or the inherent attributes of a person – simply put, it is what makes up the person. Nurture, on the other hand, means to actively care for or develop someone so that they certain skills or abilities.

Each child has natural abilities that may depend on biology, genetics or the environment they grow up in. Abilities that depend on biology and genetics are usually to do with physical attributes – for example, for a child to excel in basketball, it would be easier if they are tall. It is not impossible if they are short, but it is far easier.

Natural abilities are part of what a child is made of and may play a role in their personal identity. They usually manifest themselves in the early stages of a child’s life. However, these natural abilities are usually just seeds waiting to grow, and as with any other seed, they need to be nurtured and nourished to grow and develop into a plant.

Hence, as your child grows, you can play an active role in nurturing their natural abilities to grow into fully-fledged abilities and talents. You can make sure that they are exposed to the right environment and experiences, that they are receiving enough resources and support from someone that can help them such as a teacher or coach, and that they are guided in the right direction.

You can also help your child to explore and discover their natural abilities by being observant of what they excel in, providing opportunities for them to explore various things from creative to academic, and getting them help from a guidance counsellor or insight workshop if need be.

How you can nurture your child’s gifts and talents
Like anything in life, a gift cannot grow on its own, it requires deliberate and intentionally guided steps to develop it to its maximum potential. However, when nurturing a child’s gifts, it’s important to listen to their needs as well. Here a few helpful points when helping them to discover and develop their natural abilities.

  • Give them time to discover their natural abilities by themselves. Generally, children like to explore, and they do this better without a parent’s preconceived ideas of where they would like their children to go in life. Give them time to do what they are interested in without being directly involved but just being there to observe and guide them
  • Provide them with resources and opportunities that will help not only unlock their gift but further develop it. Resources could include a musical instrument of their interest or identifying opportunities where the child can showcase their gift in front of an audience, even if it is just family members or at school. This can also help to build up their confidence. You can also play an active role in helping them practise their talents, for example, if your child’s talents lie in playing chess, you can buy them a chess board to practice with and you can play with them to develop their skills. If you don’t have the skills, you could also get someone else to play with them which will develop a healthy competitive element in them
  • Be their biggest supporter. They may not always feel inspired to do what they love, especially if they fail to perform at their best, so it is up to you to encourage them. They need to be taught that sometimes it’s okay to fail, it doesn’t mean they are bad, it just means that they learn from their mistakes and improve on that. As a parent, it means the world to your child when they know you support them. Whether you know much about their gift or not, let your child know you are there for them
  • Enlist the help of someone with more knowledge regarding their gift to guide them. Professional help goes a long way especially if your child wants to make a living out of their gift. Finding a coach or teacher to provide specialised support/guidance is important as it helps to identify the child’s strengths and areas that still need improvement so they can perform at their optimum.

In conclusion, one would say that, for a child to fully realise their potential in any area of their interest, both natural abilities and the nurturing of these will play an integral part. It’s only when the gift has been identified that one can help further develop the talent by providing the right environment and ensuring the child gets the necessary support. This support can either be in terms of the supply of resources/tools or emotional support.

GT Scholars offers many opportunities for young people to discover and develop their gifts and talents. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

How To Support Your Gifted And Talented Child

How To Support Your Gifted And Talented Child

What's new?

A gifted child is defined as a child who gives evidence of high-performance capability in intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership areas, or in specific academic fields. They often require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities.

These children have characteristics such as unusual alertness even in infancy, are rapid learners, have an excellent memory and have unusually large vocabularies for their age. They also demonstrate longer and more intense concentration spans, ask probing questions, are highly attentive to detail and highly self-disciplined, and they have little tolerance for boredom.

Gifted children will tend to get bored at school if teachers do not stimulate their minds. So, it is recommended that gifted children are brought up differently compared to other children. Here are a few tips for raising gifted children.

Provide an intellectual challenge at school and away from school
Gifted children are extremely fast learners. They can often accomplish things faster than their peers and with little effort. Their perfectionism means that they will always strive to over-achieve and this presents them with a lack of challenge in mainstream schooling. Allow your child opportunities to work on things that will challenge them and require them to take extra time to figure out. Also, attempt to have the school provide them with opportunities to learn things that are outside of their comfort zone and that will stimulate and challenge them mentally.

Set boundaries
All children need to feel that they are protected. It is not correct to assume that a gifted child will be able to make their own decisions about the best activities for themselves. It is important to listen to their concerns and understand their perspective, however ultimate decisions should always be in the hands of the parents to ensure that the gifted child will receive the best for their needs.

Don’t overburden your child
Although it has been demonstrated that your child can mentally cope with things that their peers would need more practice with, you should not set unusually high expectations for them. You can expose them to different skills and activities, which could nurture their hidden talents and passions. However, it is important to also give your child the freedom to make their own choices regarding the types of activities and extracurricular things that they may like to do. You should also not allow or expect your child to take on too much at once. Set aside time for them to have fun or downtime.

Be patient and supportive
You should avoid expecting perfection from your child. Instead, you should allow them to make mistakes without chastising them, and you should allow them to pursue their interests and abilities freely. You can assist your child to recognize which skills and knowledge will be important in their adult lives.

Praise your child for their abilities and efforts
Gifted children also need recognition for their abilities just as much as anyone else.  Try to compliment and congratulate your child when they have put in a great deal of effort or thought into something and when they need encouragement or positive feedback. You should always acknowledge their talents in all areas, whether it’s art, music, sport or gaming.

Don’t use your child as an example for their siblings
It is best to avoid an unhealthy rivalry between siblings, so you should not use your gifted child as an example to their siblings. It is important to acknowledge that each person is unique and has their own unique skills and talents – which are sufficient. A gifted child is no better than a non-gifted child and it is unfair to emphasise this.

Teach your child to prioritize
Gifted children tend to have many interests and can get more done than other people. Sometimes, they may take on too much and not know how to prioritize their tasks. It is important to instil this in your child, and teach them how to manage their time and how to take enough time for them to relax and regroup.

Teach tolerance and humility
Teaching your child about their special abilities is good, and will build their confidence. However, caution your child against developing a know-it-all attitude. Teach them that it is important to accept oneself, but to also accept others as we are all gifted differently and are unique. Instil in them, a sense of humility and that they can always learn something from others. This will develop better social skills that are very important once they are independent.

A gifted child is indeed a blessing, and it is important to do things that will complement their gifts whilst also remembering that they are still young and will need your help. Teach them that they are allowed to make mistakes and that they are also allowed to shine.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

In the Know – Explore the creative world!

In the Know – Explore the creative world!

In The Know What's new?

The creative world offers many opportunities to young people from rewarding career paths to useful outlets for expression. This week we have lined up three diverse activities that will allow them to explore their creative side and gain valuable skills and new experiences.

British Museum – Make a Manga Comic
This one hour workshop will give your child the opportunity to design their own comic inspired by the British Museum’s collection of Japanese manga. They will get to develop digital art skills to create characters and invent stories at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. This free workshop is for 11 to 16-year-olds and you can find out more here.

The Ideas Foundation
The Ideas Foundation is a creative community for 11 to 18-year-olds where anyone with ideas is welcome. They run one-day programmes, online media camps, and creative camps to give your child a taste of life in the world of design, advertising, and tech. They also have a student resources page to download free tools, templates and tips from some of the biggest brands in the creative industry. Find out more here.

Victoria & Albert Museum – Discovering Architecture
The V&A Museum presents their free activity backpacks for young people to explore the V&A through creative and fun activities. Their Discovering Architecture backpack for 11 to 12-year-olds will give your child the opportunity to learn about architectural drawings, colour, ‘connecting spaces’, light and materials, then construct a model and draw their own building. Find out more here.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

How you can make a difference as an Events Team Volunteer and help us at our events, workshops and courses!

How you can make a difference as an Events Team Volunteer and help us at our events, workshops and courses!

Volunteer roles Volunteers

About GT Scholars
The GT Scholar’s programme is a social enterprise that consists of two programmes: The Academic Programme which offers online one-to-one tutoring and the Awards Programme that focuses on mentoring.

As part of both programmes, we also offer free access to our enrichment and skill building events that are hosted throughout London.  These events are designed for young people aged 11-18 years of age and include activities such as STEM activity days, study skill workshops and career days and trips to the city. We also run parent workshops and community engagement events to ensure that parents are aware of the academic and career opportunities available to their children.

What makes us different?
There are a range of charitable organisations and social enterprises offering programmes to improve the life chances of young people. However, The GT Scholars programme has the capacity to work with all state school pupils, not just those on Free School Meals. This means that pupil parents do not have to be on benefits and pupils do not need to be referred by their school in order to qualify for support.

What does volunteering at an event involve?
Volunteers who are interested in getting involved and supporting us at our events can help assist with various tasks and responsibilities.

  • You will need to arrive on time. If an event starts at 10:00am you will need to be there by 9:30am to meet the team and gain an overview of the event with the event coordinator.
  • You will help with setting up and clearing up at events.
  • You will assist to coordinate a smooth arrival and registration as well as departure for attendees and other guests. This can also include maintaining the register and managing any late attendees.
  • Assist with the coordination of lunch or refreshments for attendees.
  • Support workshop facilitators with managing groups of young people or parents.
  • Help with the distribution of stationary and workshop material.
  • Assist the event coordinator with ensuring the health and safety of attendees and overall risk management at events.
  • Give feedback to the event coordinators and programme managers at the end of each event.

When and where do our events take place?
Our events take place throughout various parts of London. Our events mostly take place on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and we often have some events on weekday evenings, like our volunteer meetups, which takes place from 6pm to 9pm.

How much time do Event Team Volunteers commit to?
This is a flexible volunteering role. You will be volunteering as part of the Events Team and you’ll need to be available for approximately 6 events per year. All of our events take place on the weekend or weekday evenings and range from 2 to 8 hours in length.

To get started you’ll need to:
Be passionate and committed to tackling educational inequality

  • Be able to support at events as part of a diverse Events Team
  • Enjoy working with children and young people
  • Be able to remain calm under pressure
  • Be punctual and organised
  • Possess strong communication skills
  • Have excellent time management skills
  • Be able to work well as part of a team

Other important information for this role:
Please note that this is a volunteering role where you will be interacting with young people, therefore the following information must be noted:

  • Enhanced DBS check –  Before you can join the Events Team you will need to have a valid Enhanced DBS check that is dated within the last three years. If you do not have one we can process one for you. Please contact our office for further information on this.
  • Pictures – Please refrain from taking any pictures on the day, especially of the young people this forms part of our data and security policy. The volunteer photographer/videographer at the event will be responsible for capturing the day.
  • GDPR – To ensure we comply with the latest GDPR rules all data must be treated as confidential and must be returned to the events coordinator at the end of the event. Especially documents such as the attendance register.
  • Training – You will be provided with support and training for your role and will be briefed with any additional information on the day of the event.
  • Travel expenses -Any travel expenses within London will be reimbursed up to the amount of £12 for any session.

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

In the Know – Ideas for the summer!

In the Know – Ideas for the summer!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Summertime is all about having fun, but it can also be the perfect time for your child to improve their grades, learn something new, or prepare for university during the long summer holiday. Here are three fun summer activities we have found that your child might be interested in.

Study in the USA!
Ever considered studying abroad? Fullbright Commission’s Study in the USA Seminar on the 26th of June offers a complete overview of the undergraduate admissions process as well as funding opportunities. The seminar will take place at the University of Notre Dame in London from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Registration needs to be done in advance. Find out more here.

Stemettes Hackathon
In association with Oracle, the STEMettes Hackathon is a great platform for girls between the ages of 5 and 22 to put their ideas into action and have fun with computer science. This event is free and will take place on 23rd of June from 10am to 5pm at London Connected Learning Centre. Find out more and how to register here.

Digital Photography Summer School
Ravensbourne is running a 3-day creative Photography Summer School from 9th to 11th of July. This course is free and open for young people between the ages of 14 to 18. The course will give young people the chance to explore opportunities to study photography in a higher education setting. Pictures can be done with a smartphone but digital SLR cameras will also be provided. For more information and how to enrol click here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Upcoming scholarship opportunities!

In the Know – Upcoming scholarship opportunities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

University can be quite expensive, but there are many different ways young people can access funding for tuition, accommodation or books. One such way is through a scholarship programme. Here are three scholarship opportunities that are currently open for young people looking to join an undergraduate engineering programme at a university.

The Kingsbury Scholarship
The Kingsbury Scholarship is a highly prestigious engineering scholarship aimed at bright and dynamic students who intend to study at Imperial College London. With a total value of £20,000 per year for up to 4 years, eligible candidates must also agree to take part in one or more internships or work placements in a UK engineering industry, either before their start at Imperial, as part of their course, or in two or more summer breaks. Online applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday, 1st June 2018. Find out more here.

Chris Seymour Bursary
The Chris Seymour Bursary aims to support one UK female student in financial need who wants to study electronic or electrical engineering at University College London. The award will be £10,416 per year, based on a three-year programme and is subject to satisfactory academic progress. Applicants must hold an offer of admission to UCL to study a full-time undergraduate degree within the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The deadline for the application is Friday, 6th July 2018 at 5pm. Find out more here.

IGEM Undergraduate Scholarship
The Institute of Gas Engineers & Managers Undergraduate Scholarship is open to students who currently hold a conditional or unconditional offer for an undergraduate Engineering Council accredited course at any university in the UK. Successful students will receive up to £9,000 for full-time study. Renewal of the funding after the first year is conditional on satisfactory progress being made. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, 30th June 2018. Find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Get ready for the working world!

In the Know – Get ready for the working world!

In The Know Parents What's new?

It was International Workers Day on Tuesday, so this week we want to tell you about a few work experience opportunities that your child may be interested in. Nothing prepares your child better for the world of work than a few days of work experience, and we hope the following programmes will provide this valuable insight.

GSK School Work Experience
GlaxoSmithKline is a science-led global healthcare company that researches and develops a broad range of innovative products. They offer work experience programmes for GCSE and A-Level (or equivalent) students at fixed times during the year. During the programme, you will get a real insight into GSK, the site, their various functions and the people who make up their business and you’ll learn about the importance of the work they do. Applications for their GCSE July programme closes on the 16th of May 2018. Find out more here.

PRIME Work Experience
PRIME is an alliance of more than 60 law firms across the UK, committed to improving access to the legal profession through work experience. Each law firm runs a work experience programme that is committed to providing at least 30-35 hours of contact time to young people from Years 9 to 13 who are interested in the legal career field. They also aim to improve access to young people at state schools and on free school meals or the first person in their family to go to university. Find out more here.

Croda Work Experience
Croda is a chemicals company that creates, makes and sells speciality chemicals that deliver real benefits to a range of diverse products including health and beauty, engine lubricants, plastics and many more. They are a global organisation with over 4000 employees, who work across 18 manufacturing sites and in offices in over 30 countries. They are able to offer a limited number of work experience placements to school/college students in the UK. Find out more here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

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.

 

7 Ways you or an online tutor can boost your child’s literacy, vocabulary and oracy at any age

7 Ways you or an online tutor can boost your child’s literacy, vocabulary and oracy at any age

Growth mindset Parents What's new?

Language and communication skills are considered to be the fundamental building blocks for how we, as social beings, convey our thoughts, feelings and ideas. For children, the very first exposure to language development starts at home by imitating the language used by parents and utilising this development to further attain additional language skills in primary and secondary schooling and onwards.

According to an Employer Skills Survey conducted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, 91 000 employers identified skills most lacking among employment applicants are either directly or indirectly related to oral communication. We can, therefore, state that language development is of crucial importance to a child’s later success in life. There are various methods that parents, teachers and tutors can implement that can potentially improve young people’s language skills and their overall confidence.

Encourage writing
Trying to motivate young people to write can sometimes be a challenging task.  Providing young people with frequent opportunities to write has proven to be an effective way to improve written language skills.  Encouraging young people to write in a journal or diary is a great idea. Younger children still developing basic writing skills can have writing incorporated into everyday tasks. This can include writing birthday cards, postcards during holidays or grocery lists, they are all great introductions to writing. Another fun way to encourage young people to write is to let them participate in local poetry or writing contests or volunteer their writing skills at local publications or non-profit organisations.

Variety is key
With the information age in full swing, it goes without saying that there is a great demand for our attention. Twenty four hour news cycles, social media platforms, electronic devices and all the click-bait entertainment value that comes along with it are all demanding of our attention. It is consequently paramount to incorporate variety into the methods we use to teach our children pivotal language skills to ensure optimal stimulation and entertainment while they are learning. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Instead of selecting their reading material, take children to the school or community library and encourage them to choose their own materials to take home. Families can start their own ‘book club’ by setting aside one evening per week to discuss various books or publications together as a family. Young people can also practice reading out loud as it can boost confidence in their language and oracy skills.  Try to make learning fun by hosting ‘game nights’ playing games such as Scrabble or Upwords.

Debate and engage
When defining good language skills, one would assume that this encompasses the entire spectrum of these skills in generic form from listening, speaking, reading to writing. Over the years, however, there has been the sense that speaking and listening skills have taken the backseat in comparison to reading and writing skills in the standard educational systems.  The very same survey conducted by UK Commission for Employment and Skills detailing the lack of applicants with good oral communication skills identified that these applicants did not have the ability to manage one’s own feelings and the feelings of others, persuade and influence others and to make speeches or presentations. We must then, certainly, invest dearly into the development of young people’s spoken communication skills. Don’t underestimate the power of the debate. When speaking to young people, avoid the yes-no questions and leave them open-ended to encourage fluency and grammar skills. Question their answers and debate the topic! Remember to take on the role of the talker as this is a crucial part of improving children’s speaking skills. Make sure you always provide good speech for children to listen to as they will use this as the basis for their development.

Books, books, books
When acquiring any new skill, practice does make perfect. Books and related reading materials are the backbone of teaching and improving young people’s literacy and overall vocabulary.  Providing constant access to books and reading material will ultimately help them spend their time on something constructive, better their language skills and ipso facto provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in a professional world as adults.  Parents and tutors with a love for reading can set an excellent example and can encourage young people to do the same.   Do a little bit of research to find out what most young people enjoy reading. It can make it easier to connect and engage with your child. Set aside some time at home or in class to discuss what kind of books young people read for pleasure, don’t limit the discussions to school textbooks or course texts solely. Don’t underestimate the paperback – it is not set in stone that electronic reading devices are the preferred reading method in today’s society. Always provide children access to paper books.

Be the role model
Parents, teachers and tutors serve as the first subjects of imitation for children. We provide them with their first exposure to language usage, social skills, ethics and cultural norms. We cannot expect our youth to automatically attain the required language and communication skills if we do not set the example for them to follow and learn from.  Let your child see that you love reading and when they see you reading frequently they will follow your example. Share what it means to be a passionate reader by discussing your all-time favourite books and characters with them. Discuss books and topics and when young people see their peers being open-minded towards other opinions and new point of views they will feel more encouraged to behave in the same manner.

Give incentives
It is always important to reward young people for their efforts. Even as adults we feel more valued in a professional environment when we know that our work is appreciated. Rewarding and encouraging your child’s development will instil motivation for them to continue learning. They can be rewarded for writing well. Something as simple as encouragement stickers or certificates can go a long way.  Another way to reward them is to type out their written work, they will truly enjoy seeing their writing in a professional document format. You can also reward reading by taking them to do special activities related to the book they’ve finished reading. This will make their efforts feel valued and encourage them to read more.

Invest in tuition programmes
Sometimes we do need a little extra help,  don’t stray from asking for it!  There are many ways to ensure young people receive effective language schooling. There are many possibilities out there to consider like tutoring, short courses and mentoring programmes. Investing in one of these platforms gives our young people the optimal teachings they need for overall literacy and oracy and ultimately put them on the right path to personal growth and success.

The GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit social enterprise that offers various programmes and workshops to provide young people between the ages of 11 to 16 with the necessary skills to set them on a successful career path, improve grades and enrich their mentoring experiences. Sign up here and look out for our enrichment days and skill-building workshops.