7 Reasons Why Every Young Person Needs A Mentor

7 Reasons Why Every Young Person Needs A Mentor

Parents Volunteer mentors What's new? Young Leaders

A mentor can have an extremely positive influence on a young person’s life, however, the effectiveness of mentoring is often overlooked. A mentor is someone who the mentee can depend on, someone that acts as an active listener, tuned into the unique needs of a mentee. With the right mentor, a young person can gain professional socialisation skills and receive personal support to facilitate long-lasting success.

Here are 7 reasons why every young person needs a mentor:

  • Every young person has potential: We have all heard the saying: ‘In every caterpillar, there is a butterfly waiting to spread its wings, flourish and soar to greatness.’ Much like a butterfly, in every young person exists greatness waiting to be unleashed. Mentors can serve as a source of guidance and support to help young people reach this greatness by assisting a young person in goal setting and providing motivation.

  • Mentoring is relational: It is believed that young people are very dependent on relationships to develop their ideas and perceptions of the world. This is mostly influenced by their interaction with social media, peers and adults. Young people can often feel isolated and disconnected from adults. This can result in a young person’s perceptions and opinions being influenced by misinformation obtained from peers and social media. Mentors can challenge and correct these perceptions and opinions from a more mature perspective and bring about an inquisitiveness, passion and a more informed opinion within a young person through dialogue and active engagement. The relationship between a mentor and a mentee can help build trust and illustrate the dynamics of positive relationships. 
  • All young people are unique and different: “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go through its life feeling like it is not smart”. This quote is worth remembering as young people can sometimes feel pressured to fit into the same mould and can be expected to conform to limited ideas of success and greatness introduced to them through social media and peers. Since mentoring is such a unique process, it helps each young person to realise their own unique abilities, talents and strengths. It is important for each young person to realise the unique ways in which they can contribute to society around them. A mentor can help show a young person that if they are a ‘fish’ they may not be able to climb trees, but they could certainly swim! 
  • Informal education: Throughout a young person’s formal education they are taught a variety of subjects and skills, but they are rarely taught about themselves as individuals. Learning about oneself can be thought of as lifelong informal education that often has no curriculum or duration. However, it is imperative that young people start getting to know themselves before heading out into the world as adults. Knowing yourself helps you to make well-informed decisions later in life such as career choices, social or relationship choices and educational choices. The unique process of mentoring gives a young person the personal space to discover things about themselves which they can use later on to make these important decisions. A mentor can also act as a valuable sounding board since they have the advantage of experience, and they can help steer a young person in making profound discoveries about themselves. 
  • Challenge thinking: Sometimes young people can be overly accepting of certain ideas about the world around them without challenging these ideas and forming their own opinions – such as what kind of future is attainable for them in terms of education and career options. We live in a world where young people are inundated with what the ‘ideal future’ is, but rarely are they encouraged to self-reflect and challenge what motivates and inspires them personally. A mentor can challenge a young person’s aspirations and ideas so that they may be better understood. 
  • Accountability: A mentor can act as a great sense of accountability for a young person to reach their goals and their true potential. Young people may be accountable to a parent for their household chores, or a teacher for their homework but who makes them accountable for their life goals? This is where a mentor comes in. They can set weekly goals for a young person to ensure that they are reaching those goals or working towards those goals. They can also help their mentee stay on track with their ambitions through providing the unique tools they may need to reach those ambitions. Accountability is also a vital life skill for a young person to learn as it fosters responsibility and independence. When a young person is accountable they learn to take responsibility for their own growth.

  • Staying grounded while dreaming big: It’s good to dream big! But sometimes a young person’s ambitions can be rooted in fantasy, and from time to time they can lack the ability to recognize the reality of a situation. A mentor can help in grounding a young person and guiding them practically through some of the realistic challenges they may face on their way to achieving their greatness and goals. A mentor helps to bridge the gap between how a young person may see the way forward and what is realistically the best way forward.

Whilst it’s true that many of the benefits of a mentor can to some extent be fulfilled by a parent or sibling, it may be important to a young person that their mentor is from outside of their immediate family. In our experience, most young people derive greater benefits from mentorship when paired with a non-parent mentor, and that they thrive within this unique and valuable relationship.

If your child is between ages 11-16 and you are interested in our mentoring programme, please contact us for more information. We also have great tutoring as well as enrichment programmes available.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Elizabeth

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Elizabeth

Volunteer spotlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Websites young people can use to learn anything online

10 Websites young people can use to learn anything online

Learning Resources What's new? Young people

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

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

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

  1.  CodeAcademy  – The demand for people who have coding skills are on the rise. This is not only true for developers, programming is on the way of playing bigger roles in everyday career paths. With coding added to your list of skills, you can definitely pursue a more rewarding career. Codecademy offers free coding classes covering 12 different programming languages, which include, Python, Java, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and Sass, to name a few.
  2. PhotographyCourse.net – A picture is worth a thousand words. It will be worth your while to have photography added to your skills list. It is a powerful tool which allows us to share and to communicate to those around us.  This website offers free online photography courses. You can enrol in comprehensive photography lessons that cover various topics, such as Photographic Lenses, How to Use Your Camera, Light and the Photographer, and Digital Cameras.

  3. Adobe Photoshop CC – The Complete Beginners Guide – Photo editing is just as important as the actual photo shoot.  Editing defines the mood of the photograph and enhances the overall message that a photo is supposed to deliver. Up your skills with this free course by Adobe Know How. Having photo editing skills can open many doors.

  4. Channel 9 Web Development – If you are interested in a career in web design, go check out  Channel 9 Web Development. This website offers a course for beginners wanting to learn web design.  The course is presented online in a series of 21 videos of 30 minutes long in length. You will only be able to move on to the next lesson if you can master the basics of the lesson before.  At the end of the course, you should be able to create a very good website.

  5. Yousician –  Yousician is an interactive music service that allows you to learn and play a musical instrument.  The website supports the guitar, piano, ukulele and bass.  The site offers easy step by step tutorials and proves exercises based on your performance level.  Starting a band has never been easier.

  6. Developing Android Apps Android Fundamentals – Google and Udacity have teamed up to launch a free crash course in Android development. This course covers theory as well as practice to teach you how to build great apps in a jiffy. The course has step-by-step instructions to teach you how to build a cloud-connected Android app. You will also learn the best practices of mobile development, mainly focussing on Android development.

  7. DuDuolingo – Knowing an additional language can open a world of job opportunities and at the same time establish meaningful connections and be the start of possible cross-cultural friendships. Whether you want to learn a new language from scratch or just want to brush up on your French skills, this site is ideal.

  8. Blender – Animation is everywhere, whether it is in a movie, a TV commercial or business presentation. It will be definitely worth your while to master this skill. Blender is a 3D animation software that can be used to create amazing 3D images and animate them. The best of all is that the software is free and so are the courses. So if you are interested in a career in animation, be sure to check out this site.

  9. Alison.com’s Sketchup course – Do you want to become the next most sought after architect? Get a headstart with yet another awesome program that is completely free to download. The good news is that some architect firms actually recognises Sketchup as a valid 2D plan drawing tool. A free course, plus a free software! Isn’t that cool?

  10. Music Technology Foundations by EDX – All features and materials may not be available as this is the free version of the course. EdX keeps courses open for enrollment after the end to allow learners to explore content and continue learning. The course offers history, theory and practice of music technology, Sound, audio, MIDI, effects and sequencing. It also entails hands-on practice with music-making using contemporary digital tools

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

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

 

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Tutor

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Tutor

Other Volunteer Roles Private tutoring Volunteer tutors Volunteers What's new?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Mentor

7 Personal Qualities of a Good Mentor

Other Volunteer Roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

Mentorships provide an ample amount of benefits to both the mentee and the mentor. In a corporate setting, older or more established business owners or managers take on a younger, inexperienced person with great potential to personally train and advise. This kind of professional relationship would most likely end up with the mentee gaining valuable skills and experience to realise their potential and probably become a successful business owner themselves. The mentor would also benefit by imparting their own wisdom and values and creating their own legacy. This is why it is strongly advocated for by business owners and entrepreneurs.

As with corporate mentorships, mentoring of young people can provide similar benefits. Young people who have a mentor are 55% more likely to enrol in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. Adults who have a passion for helping young people, take the initiative to make sure that young people have access to advice, guidance and training, while also being able to make a difference and create a legacy.

Though the thought behind mentorship is good and altruistic, it must be noted that it takes certain skills and qualities to be a good mentor. This includes a special combination of knowledge, adaptability, experience and wisdom. Furthermore, young people are often vulnerable and impressionable, thus extra care needs to be taken to ensure that they are not misled by a negative mentorship.

So if you want to make sure that you have what it takes to be a good mentor, then here are seven personal qualities that you should definitely have:

  • Dedication: You must be someone who can be fully dedicated. This includes committing yourself to make the necessary effort and being able to make enough time in your schedule. A mentorship does not have to be a huge commitment if you manage your time well. Together with being dedicated, you must make your dedication visibly evident. Young people will easily pick up an attitude that does not reflect the right level of commitment.

 

  • Adaptability: You have to be adaptable and realise that you have to work around your mentee’s needs. This is not an internship where a younger person learns and gains experience through attending to the needs of their boss. A mentorship is first and foremost about the mentee’s needs. You should be flexible and easily provide help and guidance when needed.

 

  • Openness: A good mentor is always approachable. Your attitude should not depend on how you are feeling on that day. Whenever you are with your mentee, you must be enthusiastic, patient and kind so that he/she feels welcome and comfortable. Being approachable also mean you have to create a feeling of openness so that they are comfortable with talking about any issue that is bothering him/her.

 

  • Tolerance: You must be mature and tolerant enough to deal with a young person. Young people are not necessarily going to be in a good mood all the time. Thus, your respect for them should not depend on receiving their respect in return. You must be patient and be able to tolerate them at all times.

 

  • Respect: With tolerance, a good mentor should also respect the dignity of the mentee. Even though your mentee is younger than you, you must still treat them well. Do not patronise them for being young or inexperienced. It is also imperative that you do not trivialise the issues that they are going through. It may seem simple or small to you, but always remember that they do not have your level of experience.

 

  • Understanding: You must always be understanding and empathetic. To be understanding of your mentee, you should be someone who is a good listener. Listen attentively to everything that they say, and make mental or actual notes if need be. Do not overrule the conversation and always be the one who is talking. Although you want to impart your wisdom to your mentee, it would make sense to understand what they need before you provide solutions.

 

  • Credibility: You should be credible and have actual experience and good wisdom to impart. After listening carefully to your mentee describe an issue or situation, you need to provide support, advice or direction. You can either work together with your mentee to come up with a solution or provide them with stories about how you dealt with a similar situation in your past. You can also just use your expertise or specific knowledge from your occupation to provide credible solutions. Do not be afraid of telling your mentee about your failures or previous setbacks – this makes you relatable. You must just be sure that there is a good outcome or positive ending that can make this a valuable lesson.

As you can see, being a mentor is not necessarily a walk in the park, and there are many things to consider before you choose to be a mentor. On the other hand, if you do have these seven qualities, you are likely to be a superb mentor. Thus, we urge you to consider becoming a mentor. Young people of today desperately need direction and guidance, and you would definitely make a positive impact, not to mention you would also be able to create a lasting legacy.

GT Scholars provides an excellent mentoring programme for scholars aged 11 to 16. The mentoring sessions involve working one-to-one with a mentee that is linked to your career or working in a small group of peers. You will have approximately 6 sessions in the year. The sessions are mostly focused on setting personal goals and coming up with suitable solutions or ways to achieving your goals. Get in contact with us for more information.

Seven ways to improve yourself academically

Seven ways to improve yourself academically

Improving academic attainment

Studying for a qualification or degree was never meant to be easy. Many students may find themselves underachieving academically at some point. If you’re looking to improve yourself academically, below are seven ways that might help.

1. Positive attitude

Poor results can trigger several things. From depression to feeling defeated, looking on the bright side can be tricky. Adopting a positive mental attitude beats most challenges in life. Going into that exam, for example, with a can-do attitude will go a long way to achieving your desired results.

2. Where are you falling short?

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Address those areas where you’re struggling and set out a plan on how you can improve. Look at your grades over the last few months and try to find patterns. Do you have one subject that is always a problem? You may already have an idea, but by writing things down, you’ll be able to see more clearly.

3. Ask questions

Never be afraid to ask questions if there is something you don’t understand. We’re all taught to ask questions at a young age. Teachers and parents are there to help you; their assistance shouldn’t be overlooked or ignored if you need clarification.

4. Improve your writing skills

Not everyone possesses proficient writing skills; some may struggle to construct sentences. It can be frustrating if you know what you want to say but cannot get it onto paper. Understanding what makes up an excellent essay-writing technique will do wonders. Techniques such as writing a great opening paragraph, grammar and proofreading are all essential skills.

5. Don’t procrastinate

This is a problem for most people, not just students. Sometimes it can be hard to focus on a particular task if there are too many distractions. By procrastinating, you’re only delaying the inevitable. The work is still going to be there waiting. An excellent way to beat procrastination is to set yourself small goals. When these goals are achieved, reward yourself.

6. Time management

At the start of the academic year, you will know when assignments must be handed in or when the exams are. Plan your time efficiently, and whatever you do, don’t leave everything until the last minute. The best way to address time management is to create a work calendar. This should list the dates and times of exams, etc. You can also use it to break down revision times for each subject. Make sure to plan in time for yourself.

7. Private tuition

Finally, there is the option of private education or after-school tuition. If you still find yourself struggling, then a private tutor may be able to help you improve your grades for a complex subject. A little bit of extra tuition might just be what you need to give you that final push towards the end goal.

If you would like to register for the GT Scholars programme, you can do so here.