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.

 

The Financial Value of an A grade

The Financial Value of an A grade

Post 16 What's new? Young people

During your secondary school years, you often don’t realise that your decisions and actions can impact your future long-term. Understanding how an A grade translates financially into long-term success is essential for young people. During these years, we start laying the foundations of our lives. The skills you learn in school will stay with you forever. You know to set goals and apply yourself so that you can achieve those goals. School teaches you how to balance life between work and play. You also learn to prioritise, focusing on what needs to be done instead of what you would like to do.

How Good Grades Translate to Financial Value

Often, young people underestimate the value of good grades and their impact on their future. Good grades can open many doors, especially when applying for a tertiary education programme. With good grades, you can translate a solid education into a rewarding & well-paying career. Many students cannot access the tertiary education programme of their choice due to not achieving the required marks in secondary school. Students need to understand this and work hard during school to get good grades. The future is yours, and it can be bright with good grades.

In addition to opening the doors to a stellar tertiary education, obtaining above-average grades in secondary school can also improve your employability. Employers look at secondary school results to determine whether a candidate can perform well academically. They use this information to determine whether candidates can learn and thrive in a specific setting.

If you are unsure about which career path you would like to embark on, good academic results will allow you to secure an entry-level job which pays relatively well while you decide on the career that will be best suited for you. This way, you will discover your strengths, weaknesses, and likes and dislikes.

Scholarships

Universities like Liverpool John Moore University offer full merit-based scholarships, rewarding exceptional students for their outstanding academic achievements. Most of these scholarships offer to settle the tuition fees for an entire undergraduate study programme, freeing the scholarship recipient from any obligation to repay the programme fees. A wide range of scholarships is available, including Masters and Doctoral studies.

Young people who excel academically can also consider applying for a scholarship abroad, opening up a new world of possibilities. Studying abroad will allow you to immerse yourself in another country and its culture.

Education is a personal and financial investment and one of the best investments you will make. It influences your life significantly and can determine which path you take in the future. It can even empower you to make a change in the world as we know it.

Earning Potential

Having a good education with exceptional results can provide a stable career with high earning potential. A recent article in the Telegraph stated that a person without a degree could earn up to £12,000 less per annum than a graduate entering the job market. Furthermore, the report says this amounts to over £500,000 difference in earning potential over an average working life. A survey by the jobs website Adzuna analysed a million vacancies, concluding a widening pay gap between non-graduates and graduates. This demonstrates the difference in earning potential that having a solid education can make when pursuing the career of your choice.

Performance in School Translates to Performance in Career

A proven correlation exists between not doing well in school and not doing well in university or your job. An article by James Rosenbaum on the American Federation of Teachers website states that students who do not perform well in school will probably not graduate from college, and many not progressing further than remedial courses. There is a close connection between high school preparation (regarding the rigour of courses and grades received) and college completion. This information is well-known to statisticians, researchers, and policymakers who follow such matters. High college enrolment rates and low graduation rates are known facts in most open admissions and less selective colleges (both two- and four-year).

Education is a lifelong journey which adds lasting quality to our lives. There are so many different educational pursuits we can follow and many different fields of study. The tricky part is choosing what you want to pursue!

The GT Scholars Awards programme focuses on helping young people understand the variety of career and study options available to them and can assist in making an informed decisions about their future careers.

If you are struggling to achieve good results in school, our flagship programme, The GT Scholars Academic Programme, has helped many students. This unique after-school programme combines tutoring in either Maths or English, Enrichment and Skill building classes. After joining the programme, students improved by two grades within a year. If you are interested in one of our programmes, you can register your interest here, and one of our team members will contact you to discuss things in more detail.

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Growth mindset Post 16 Private tutoring University What's new? Young people

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a restaurant. A waiter walks over to your table to take your order, “One double cheeseburger, a medium chips and a regular coke, please”, the waiter jots down the order and reads it back to you, you nod, satisfied and he walks off. As you sit there waiting for your food, the restaurant starts to fill up, a family of four take the table to your left. A young couple is guided to a table directly in front of you. There is a group of ladies; celebrating a bachelorette party, fourteen in total guided to a collection of tables lined up in the centre of the room.

More people come and a few leave as you sit there an hour later and still no food. You notice that the young couple, sitting opposite from you, is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes over two orders of delicious looking ribs and mashed potatoes. You look at the table with the bachelorette and her posse, where one of the ladies is making a toast as the others enjoy an array of starters.

You look to the family of four, study their frowns, their “plateless” table and think to yourself at least you are not alone; they too, are victims of this appalling service. At least that is until your waiter arrives at their table, their orders on a tray. Fuming now, you wait until they are served and then call your waiter over to your table. “What in the world is going on, where is my food?” you demand. The waiter looks at you as if you are crazy, absolutely bonkers, “What are you talking about sir, the chef is starting on your order as we speak?”

“Starting, he is only starting!” You shout, shocked by the complete disregard for you, the casual dismissiveness of your waiter’s answer and the outright injustice of it all. “I’ve been here for over an hour, most of the people you have served came after me, I was first and yet they get their food before me…” “So what?” your waiter says, cutting you off mid-sentence. Of course, you can’t believe what he just said; you are at a loss for words. Your waiter looks toward three of his colleagues approaching, trays overloaded with soft drinks, ten double cheeseburgers and eighteen medium packets of chips

Your waiter smiles, “Here comes your order sir,” he tells you. “This is not my order,” you say as the three waiters carrying the trays begin to offload on your table. “What do you mean sir?” Your waiter seems genuinely surprised, “Did you not order, double cheeseburgers, medium chips and cokes.” “I ordered one double cheeseburger, one medium chips and one regular coke, not this mess.”  You are yelling now, beyond boiling point. “But sir, what difference does it make, whether we serve you first or last, two cheeseburgers or ten?” Your waiter asks sincerely, “Are you not the one who said, you do not need math?” You just sit there, unable to speak. “Oh yes, and this meal will cost you two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds. Now is that going to be cash or card?”

Ok, I admit that this is a bit extreme, or is it? Shakuntala Devi once wrote: “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”

I want you to ask yourself, what do you want for your future? Do you hope to own a house someday, own a car? Well, those come with payments like taxes, mortgage, and insurance and you will need math to calculate those or risk paying too much, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds for a cheeseburger as an example.

How about your career of choice? Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a biologist, archaeologist, an attorney or work as a cashier at Tesco, it is without a doubt that numbers will be part and parcel of the job. Basically, you will never be able to live without math so accept it and try to make learning math fun.

A friend once told me, “I want to be a photographer, what do I need to know about calculus or trigonometry?” Well, that is quite simple actually, a photographer will need to calculate the depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure, and so much more.

Do you like playing video games, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and others? Do you have a few killer ideas that you just know will make great games? If so, guess what? Math is a necessity. Aspiring video game programmers will need to study trigonometry, physics, and calculus.

As a boy, I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, “to go where no man has gone before.” If that’s you, then consider this, astronauts use maths in order to make precise mathematical calculations, from how the spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how the astronauts pilot the craft. So no math, no Captain Kirk.

Math is a necessity and when considering the uses and benefits thereof there are a number of reasons to learn math:

  • Develop your “lifelong learning” skills:  Asking others for help, looking stuff up, learning to deeply focus on tasks, being organized, etc.
  • Develop your work ethic:  Not making excuses, not blaming others, not being lazy, being on time, not giving up so easily, etc.  This is more important for “success” than raw IQ. There is no shortcut.
  • Get better at learning complicated things.  You are less afraid of complex ideas and classes.
  • Develop pride & confidence in your ability to understand complicated things.  This is not fake self-esteem, but one that is earned.
  • Certain careers in science, health, technology, and engineering require serious Math skills.

Studies suggest that intelligent & motivated people are generally more interesting and happier. Your frontal lobe is not done developing until the age of  25-27. The more things you can learn before reaching that age, the more things you can learn over your lifetime. A survey concluded that 20% to 40% of college freshmen take remedial courses.  Do you want to retake high school courses in college, or do you want to take real college classes?

If you need assistance with Maths or English, sign up for GT Scholars flagship programme, GT Scholars Academic  Programme. This programme not only has tutoring in Maths or English, but also provides skill-building, enrichment and mentoring.  Keep a lookout for our enrichment days and our skill-building workshops by signing up to our newsletter.

It is never too early to introduce your child to personal development and mentoring

It is never too early to introduce your child to personal development and mentoring

Growth mindset Parents What's new? Young people

It is never too early to introduce your child to personal development

Most psychologists will agree that temperament and environment influence the development of a person’s personality the most. It is also said that developing your mind is the most important goal, as everything you do in life is affected by your mind and how it operates. This being said it is crucial for a young person to understand the importance of personal development and achieving their potential.

The importance of personal development
Personal development is an important lifelong process and an exciting journey everyone must embark on and is associated with self-awareness. The importance of personal development must be communicated to children from a very early age on and be introduced to them as an active priority. The earlier personal development is set in motion, the better the chances are of a child achieving success in adulthood. Personal development is a good way for people to assess their skills and qualities, consider what their aims in life are and set goals in order to realise and maximise their full potential.  It is a very effective way to identify strengths and how to address and improve on weaknesses. It also covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develops talents and potential, builds human capital and facilitates employability. Furthermore, it can enhance a person’s quality of life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations.

Introducing your child to personal development
Throughout a child’s development, there are many different skills learned. Starting from as early as birth through to adulthood. The general age ranges are grouped from 0-3 years, 3-7 years, 7-12 years and 12-19 years. In general, a child’s development progresses from head to toe, from inner to outer, simple to complex and general to specific. A child’s development can be measured through social, emotional, intellectual, physical and language milestones.

Social and emotional development forms part of how your child manages emotions, how they learn to express themselves and manage positive and negative experiences and relationships. You can help your child by giving praise for achievement, allow them to socialise with other children and adults. Another great way to improve your child’s social and emotional development is by  providing opportunities for them to learn how to share by letting them take turns playing with a certain toy or game, let them learn to share in decision making, make time to listen to their thoughts, opinions and concerns and most importantly providing them with opportunities to take responsibility. As a parent or carer showing warmth and affection and also giving your child the chance to express how they feel can make them feel safe, secure and valued and this will improve their self-confidence. When a new situation arises it is always a great idea to give them the necessary time and space to adjust to the change.

Intellectual Development focuses on learning and attention span. This points to how we understand and process information, our reasoning skills, our memory and logical thinking. Language development and cognitive development are the two main areas of intellectual development. Language development allows us to process our thoughts and understand the thoughts of others and cognitive development is all about using our minds and structuring our thinking to understand what is happening around us. It is important to take time to talk about what your child sees, hears and experience as this can assist in his intellectual development. Motivate your child to be inquisitive about understanding how machinery and computers work. Ask and answer questions and entertain your child’s ideas and suggestions. If you do not know the answer to certain questions, spend time researching topics together. Dare your child to be innovative.

Language development in your child can be addressed by discussing books, pictures, objects and sounds. You can even ask your child to recall something from the past or ask them about how their day was and how they solved problems they were faced with . Young people who have decided to go to university or college, as well as those learning a new trade, will continuously improve their language skills thus improving their chances of employment. Always remember that it is your responsibility as a parent, carer or teacher to nurture and encourage the different skills necessary, especially in the early development years of a child. Thereafter young people, with the support and guidance from parents or carers, are responsible to uphold their desire for further development and success.

Physical development starts from infancy and continues well into a child’s late adolescent years. Physical development focuses on both gross and fine motor skills, which involves gaining control over the body. Coordination and muscle movement plays a big role. Physical development reaches its peak during our childhood years making this an extremely critical time for neurological brain development as well as coordination. As physical development continues children gain self-confidence which in turn has a positive effect on social as well as emotional development. There is no doubt that physical development is vital to lead a healthy life. Encourage your child to be active and motivate them to join a sports team or go on hiking trails as a family.  Young people can learn important skills and values like honesty, teamwork, respect, discipline and fair play. By joining a team or participating in competitions young people can learn how to approach and deal with competition. How to process victory as well as failure.

At GT Scholars we understand the skills required and provide impact courses, enrichment days and skill-building workshops to assist in your child’s personal development. Our programme gives young people the strategies and skills they need to achieve their aspirations. Young people enrolled in our programme will benefit from improved grades, increased confidence, motivation and raised aspirations. Visit our website for more information on the GT Scholars Programme. You can also sign up to our newsletter and be kept up to date on our enrichment days and skill building workshops.

 

7 Ways you or a Maths tutor can boost your child’s skills in Mathematics

7 Ways you or a Maths tutor can boost your child’s skills in Mathematics

Parents Young people

Mathematics is one skill you cannot go without in life. It is the basis of all things and it forms part of our everyday lives. From buying a bus ticket, scheduling appointments, telling the time or driving from one city to another, all these actions, and then some, require maths. The better we become in maths, the more we can achieve. According to the Math Worksheets Centre, almost every good position in the business world requires some form of maths.

It is very easy for a child to develop a phobia for maths. This could be due to a number of facts. Maybe it is because maths, in general, is regarded as a difficult subject and the child has made the assumption that this is true. Therefore they do not engage in a growth mindset when they think of maths. It could also be due to a teacher’s attitude towards the subject and how they present it. Whatever the reason may be, the general viewpoint of how your child looks at maths can be morphed into a positive one. Let’s look at 7 ways you can boost your child’s skills in mathematics:

  1. Understanding the Basics:  Maths is learned by following a learning order.  All functions and concepts of maths are related to each other and in order to understand the more complex concepts, a good understanding of the basic concepts is important. Maths is like one big puzzle and all the pieces fits in together in the end.  Parents can help their child feel more confident in the basics of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. This will prepare them for the next advanced levels of maths. Confidence is key!
  2. Ask for help:  Children should always be rest assured that it is okay to ask for help and they should be encouraged to seek help when they feel that they have reached a dead end. Sometimes students get frustrated by a math problem and this can make them feel despondent, but perhaps if they had access to a tutor who could help and give that extra bit of guidance, it could make a world of difference. Sometimes a child only needs a bit of extra attention and explanation on a certain topic. Knowing they have a tutor on hand will make them more eager to communicate as to which areas they are having difficulties with. GT scholars have maths tutors to assist your child in maths as well as any other subject that he might need guidance on.  Try to recognise when your child is getting frustrated and reach out in either acting as a tutor yourself or if time is of the essence an actual tutor will be the best option. 
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice!: ‘’Practice makes Perfect’’.  Maths is seen by many as a language on its own and just like learning a new language, practice is an important factor in being successful in maths. Set time aside to practice mathematical skills with your child. For some students learning maths can be a slow-moving experience, teach them to embrace the ‘’A-Ha!’’ moments as this will ignite enthusiasm and energy for learning maths. 
  4. Find gadgets and games that encourage Mathematical thinking:   It has been proven that learning mathematics can be more effective if games and activities are used as learning aids. Math puzzles, riddles and even math inspired cellphone apps are a great way to make learning maths fun. Use these methods to improve and help them relate maths to real life situation. Simple games like Uno, Chess or Checkers serve to highlight mathematical concepts. The possibilities are endless and you can use things that are easily accessible like a home calendar, a wall clock, measuring cups and even a ruler.  These are all mathematical tools. Incorporating the fun factor into your child’s maths learning experience cultivates a growth mindset and boosts their development of a clear concept of mathematics. 
  5. Maths in real life:  Make them aware of the relevance of maths in everyday life.  Challenge them to recognise and solve real-life maths problems while you’re out together.  Allow them to sum up the total cost of items while out shopping, calculate change or even how many of a particular item will be needed to last through the month.  Your child will show more interest in mastering mathematical concepts if they realise the value thereof. 
  6. Learn the vocabulary of mathematics: Learning the vocabulary of maths is the doorway to understanding more advanced concepts and getting used to mathematics in general. It is always a good idea to check if they know the definition of new terms. If your child cannot define the terms, help them by using examples and make them solve simple problems to demonstrate how the term is used. 
  7. Guide them on how to tackle their math homework: The goal of math homework is to reinforce the skills learned in class. Get them into a habit of studying the textbook and worksheet examples first before starting on the assignment. Redo some examples first, making sure that they understand the lesson, before starting the assignment.

 

 

 

 

As a parent, strive to make your child realise the beauty of maths and how to embrace it. We need to make them understand that the better one’s abilities are in maths, the more successful one can be. On top of it all, mathematics also offers rational thinking habits to make life easier.  Our children should learn to use maths as a helpful tool in daily activities and problems.

It is always a great idea to engage with initiatives such as GT Scholars as a method to utilise resources to enhance your child’s academic career.  GT Scholars is an accelerated learning programme aimed at achieving academic success.  Our tutors and mentors are professional and well informed in their respective study fields, and can provide the perfect assistance to your child’s academic needs.  If you would like to ensure that your child is set up for academic success, you should contact us for more information.  We offer private tuition in Maths, Science and English as well as a Mentorship programme.   Register your interest here or give us a call on 020 881 68066.

 

We need private tutors to teach children that failure is a part of learning

We need private tutors to teach children that failure is a part of learning

Growth mindset What's new?

Firstly, let’s understand this: to learn we must fail. Yes, that’s right. Failure provides us with opportunities to learn and an opportunity to reflect. Like Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that it won’t work.” Every attempt is a lesson to learn.

Many of us are constantly held back by the fear of failure. But how do we ensure that our children adapt the mindset of, “you won’t succeed unless you try’’? How do we ensure that they experience true freedom through embracing failure?

First and foremost you need to show empathy. We need to empathise with our child when we see that they are in distress. If you only say things like “It is okay, you will do better next time”, it can make your child feel as if their feelings of frustration and disappointment are being brushed off. This can escalate the feeling of distress they are already feeling. Rather try and level with your child. Try saying “I can see that you are really disappointed by this and I know you are really hoping to do better.”

Explain to them that failure is inevitable and happens to everyone. Tell your child about a time when you failed and how you dealt with it but most importantly remember to tell them what you learned from your failure and how you came out better on the other side of it. Make your child understand that things do not always go according to plan and if they don’t, that it is 100% okay.

See your child’s failures as an opportunity to teach acceptance and an opportunity to develop their problem solving skills. It is a great idea to spend time with your child and try to come up with an action plan together on what to do to have a better chance at success next time around. Try exploring areas such as different teaching techniques or perhaps entertaining the idea of making use of a tutor. According to Dr Mintzer, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, it is a balance of acceptance and change and about accepting that the situation is what it is and building frustration tolerance while at the same time asking if you can change something in the future or how to learn from it.

Children need to be taught that when we do fail, we cannot do much about it in the heat of the moment, sometimes we need to accept the outcome and move on. Many of us are constantly held back by the fear of failure. The unseen hazards of social media are often overlooked, for example, if a girl’s friend tells her that she will not be able to go to the movies with her tomorrow night but afterwards she sees her friend posting a picture with someone else at the movies on Instagram, her feelings will be hurt.  These instances are where we need to teach our child that calling the friend and screaming at them because she is angry and feels she failed at a friendship will make matters worse. We need to teach them that there is an option to ignore the situation and not engage in confrontation. This might not make her feel better and this is where you as a parent need to give guidance and empathy to help your child deal with the disappointment.

Our children should learn not to have a too high regard for others opinions. We are too scared about what teachers, tutors, parents and friends would think about us if we fail.  We are too concerned about what society will say if things don’t go as planned. Worrying about other people’s opinions will prevent you from reaching your goals and dreams. Teach your child that in life, one sometimes will get into a situation where you might have to make an unpopular decision to achieve success. If you are constantly worried what other people think it will prevent you from making the right decision

Be an example to your child by striving to constantly grow and move forward. Should we fail, we have to look at it as a lesson to learn, adjust the route, adapt to changes and try again, but now with better knowledge. If appropriate, discuss your failure with your child and share your story on how you dealt with it. We have all heard the stories of failure, Einstein was classified by his teachers as “mentally slow” and Walt Disney was fired from one of his first jobs due to “lack of creativity”. Don’t be afraid to fail, dare to take risks, fail again, try again and reach your full potential.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides a range of courses and workshops. Our growth mindset course focuses on helping young people and parents have a full understanding of growth mindset and how to apply this in their everyday lives. Find out more about our courses and workshops here.

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.

 

An Interview With Our Founder, Temi Kamson

Our story Social mobility Volunteers What's new?

If you ever wondered about the story behind GT Scholars and how it was founded, then watch this interview with our founder, Temi Kamson.

Temi has a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Nottingham and a PGCE in Mathematics Education from the University of Cambridge. Having worked in state and independent schools, she set up the GT Scholars Programme with the goal of helping ambitious young people achieve their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic background. In this video, she also talks about her personal experience with the education system, why scholars enrol in our programme, what scholars will gain from the programme, and what makes our scholars successful.

If you prefer you can read the full interview below:

Why did you start GT Scholars?

I started GT Scholars based on my own personal experience of growing up in South London. I grew up in a single parent home, grew up in council housing and went through the state school system. I remember one of my teachers from primary school, Miss Bickersteth, telling me ‘’Temi, you can be anything you want to be.’’ That statement was so powerful that it stayed with me for the rest of my life, it is still with me today. There were so many times that I wanted to give up but I was really fortunate enough, especially towards the end of my school years to have right opportunities come along at the right time, and that really helped me. It really supported me in those final years when I was thinking about university but not thinking I was good enough. I was really lucky, I went off to university, I studied engineering but later on, I decided to retrain and become a teacher in the hopes that I could give back and make a difference in someone else’s life.

It was while I was teaching, working with young people, that I really wanted to inspire them and raise their aspirations. What I realised while I was teaching was quite profound. Many of the young people that I worked with were already really ambitious. They wanted to do well; they wanted to get good grades at the end of school. But many of them they just didn’t feel confident, they didn’t feel that they had the ability within them. These beliefs were so deeply ingrained that many of them thought that even if they did their very best; the best they would ever be able to achieve was a C-grade. Some of them felt that they did not have the right background and that certain opportunities were only available for the privileged few. After some time, I realised that young people needed more than just good teachers. They needed people to support them in terms of seeing the opportunities available to them and supporting them to make the most of these opportunities.

Why do young people join GT Scholars?

So at the moment in England, only about 1 in 3 young people from low-income homes, are able to leave school with 5 GCSE’s or above and this is, of course, actually quite disheartening.  There are many young people who would love to achieve better grades by the end of school, access top universities get into competitive careers but often what happens is that they genuinely have no idea how to do this. The saddest part is that many of them are so full of self-doubt that they don’t even believe that they are capable of achieving this.

What do young people gain from GT Scholars?

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school courses, workshops and programmes for young people, particularly young people from low-income homes. Our goal is to give them the support they need so they can achieve their academic and career potential. Scholars on our programme receive academic support through tutoring. They also receive coaching or mentoring from undergraduates, graduates and professionals from top universities and leading organisations. Our scholars also get to take part in enrichment activities such as visits to the city, visits to universities and the aim of that is to help them understand the opportunities that are available to them. We also run skill building days, again, with the aim to help them and support them so they know how to make the most of these opportunities.

What makes your scholars successful?

Over the past few years, we’ve had support from organisations such as Charities Aid Foundation, School For Social Entrepreneurs and The Young Foundation. Our scholars that have been on the program have been able to move an average of 2 grade points in a year and we’ve even had some of our scholars move from a predicted D grade to achieving A-grade within a year of being on the programme. We are really proud of that.  What makes GT Scholars successful is the genuine belief that our tutors and mentors have in our scholars. They invest their time and energy supporting our scholars and building positive relationships with them. This, in turn, helps our scholars believe in themselves and that helps them realise their strengths and ultimately helps them improve their grades and career prospects. I know I wouldn’t be here today if not for the role models that supported me and believed in me when I was growing up. So if there is anything I have learned over the past through years it is that anyone can make a difference. An hour a week may seem so small, but those few hours could have such a positive influence on a young person’s life.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment that is designed to help young people aged 11-16 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Contact us if you would like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can join.

7 Ways to Prepare For an Interview

7 Ways to Prepare For an Interview

Young people

There are many times in life when you will find yourself needing to prepare for an interview. It could be your sixth-form college, university, or job interviews. So preparing yourself for an interview is a valuable and important skill to always have.

Interviews are notoriously difficult to prepare for. Some organisations and companies are kind enough to tell you exactly how or what to prepare, but most places will not do this for you. The whole point of the interview is for them to see how you think, apply your skills and talents, or react to a situation or scenario. They want to make sure that you will be an asset and a good fit for their college, university or company.

Your aim for the interview is to convince the recruiters that you have the skills, knowledge and experience for the job while also showing them that you fit the organisation’s culture and work ethic. Here are seven valuable ways that you can prepare yourself to reach this aim: 

Do your research about the college, university or company:

The recruiters need to know that you are interested in their organisation and not just using them for your gain. They might ask you direct questions about their organisation, or they might ask you more indirect questions. You need to do enough research about the organisation beforehand to make sure you can answer their questions well. Visit the organisation’s website to ensure you understand what they do, their background and mission statement, and the courses or products. You can also get more perspective about the organisation by reading about them in news or trade publications.

Compare your skills and qualifications to the entrance, course or job requirements:

Thoroughly analyse the entrance requirements or job description and outline the knowledge, skills or abilities they list. Ensure that you are suitable for the organisation and that your qualifications match or better what they seek. If they list a particular skill, they may want you to demonstrate if you know how to do it, so you should ensure that you have the skill and are well-practised.

Prepare responses to commonly asked questions:

Most interviews have a set list of questions they are sure to ask, such as your strengths and weaknesses, academic or career goals, etc. You should prepare your responses to questions like these beforehand to answer them quickly. You should also understand that there are different ways to ask the same question; for example, they could ask you about your qualities that are useful to their organisation instead of your strengths. These questions can be answered almost the same way, so ensure you can identify that.

Plan what you are going to wear:

Your appearance is your first impression, so you should ensure they do not rule you out before you even tell them about you. Be sure that your overall appearance is neat and clean. It is best to dress smartly in neutral colours, with your clothes clean and ironed and your hair combed and out of your face.

Prepare what you need to take to the interview:

You should plan what you need to take to the interview to look prepared. Some organisations will tell you what they want you to bring to the discussion. Still, if not, then you should take the following: at least one copy of your transcripts or CV on quality paper, a notepad or professional binder and pen, a list of references, the information you might need to complete an application, and a portfolio with samples of your work if relevant.

Understand and pay attention to nonverbal communication:

Nonverbal communication speaks volumes and dramatically influences your impression and your interview. As you walk into the building, ensure you are mindful of your nonverbal communication, even in the waiting room. Show that you are confident but do not appear arrogant. Smile, establish eye contact and use a firm handshake. Sit well and be aware of nervous movements such as tapping your foot. Maintain good eye contact while answering questions – do not look around too much, as this will make you seem inattentive. Be aware of your facial expressions and reactions, and keep adverse reactions internalised. At the same time, do not appear too fake or rigid. Be comfortable and self-assured.

Prepare questions that you can ask them at the end of the interview:

Interviews usually end with an opportunity for you to ask questions or clarify any queries. Be strategic with questioning and ask questions about information not discussed in the discussion or found on the organisation’s website. For example, what are the most important criteria for success in this job, how will your performance be evaluated, or what is the next step in the hiring process? Using your prior research, you can develop a list of insightful questions.
This will both impress them and provide you with helpful information.

The interview process may seem daunting and challenging. Still, as you can see, with the proper preparation and prior knowledge, you can display your best qualities for any potential sixth-form college, university or employer.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from various backgrounds. Contact us to find out how we can provide you with a knowledgeable mentor or insightful course to help you prepare for interviews.

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Other Volunteer Roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

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 mentors, Jason Luu.

Why did you decide to volunteer with GT Scholars?
I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars to make a difference in my local community. Having already done some work to help other communities in different countries, I came to the realisation that I should also be contributing to my local community. I also recognised that providing support to people when they are still young can make a significant difference, as this is something that I was not fortunate enough to have when I was younger. If I had the opportunity to be mentored when I was a teenager, I can only imagine how much more I could have achieved by now or how many disasters I could have avoided.

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I was born in London, my parents were refugees from another country. This had a huge impact on me and my upbringing. When I was younger, I was embarrassed by my heritage because it was so foreign to western culture. But as I got older and matured, I embraced my background and decided to stand up and stand out rather than follow the crowd. I more took control of my life and did not live according to other people’s expectations. This has become a big factor in getting me to where I am today. It turns out that my own expectations for myself were wildly beyond other people’s expectations of me.

I also have role models who I can look up to and inspire me. Some of them are alive today and some are historical figures. Having these role models allow me to draw energy, ideas and behaviours from. If anyone reading this doesn’t have a role model, then you better start looking.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?
Traditionally, mentoring is something that has been reserved for older, professional and sometimes even wealthy people. Many of the most powerful leaders in our society have or had mentors. So why can’t the rest of us have access to this resource?

Many young people today from my local community have parents who are very busy working or studying, and their friends are usually in the same boat as them. Thus, having a mentor who has the right experience would really help with some of the things that they struggle with, and would help to develop smarter behaviours and habits. This additional guidance and development can really help a young person to be successful in all that they do. I really believe that if I had a mentor when I was younger, I would not have had to experience so many difficulties in my life. I would have been able to get where I am today sooner or even be more successful sooner. It is the aim of all good mentors is to guide their mentee to reach their full potential.

What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
Seeing students and their parents working together, and it provides extra support to traditional parenting.

What do you think is the most important skill to have as a volunteer mentor?
I think showing a genuine interest in someone else’s future and actually caring about their happiness is an important skill. It is not just about making sure that they are successful, but also about helping to define what true happiness means to them and their family.

Jason briefly attended university before deciding to drop out and start his professional life earlier. He now works in the headquarters of the Department of Health, holding CEOs, directors and major leaders in healthcare and education accountable to the taxpayer as a Senior Contract Manager. He has spent the last 3 years dedicated to promoting equality and fighting social injustice at his place of work and at home in his local community.

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.