Staying Sharp over the Summer: Level up with Language Skills (Part 1)

The idea of learning a new language may seem daunting for your child, and futile for you as a parent. Your child has successfully gotten through the school year despite any academic hiccups, and you are both exhausted. Your child is no longer in their usual daily studying routine, and their days are looking less structured and more chaotic as the holiday mode sets in. So why take on the mammoth task of learning a brand new language? Well, learning a new language has many benefits, such as cognitive and logical thinking, and improved memory to name just a few. 

In one of our previous blog we explore the benefits of learning a new language, such as:

  • Being bilingual or multilingual enhances your ability to multi-task (as you are thinking in different languages) which reduces stress.
  • Research has also shown that knowledge of other languages improves decision making ability and helps you become a better listener.
  • For children, or anyone involved in studying, knowledge of another language improves academic performance in other areas such as Maths, reading, comprehension and vocabulary tests.
  • You will be able to make deeper connections and form deeper friendships with those of other cultures 
  • Increased job opportunities in your child’s later years

So, why now? Why should your child learn a new language over their Summer vacation? In Part 1 of our linguistic series, we‘ve highlighted our favourite reasons as to why your child should learn a language over the Summer:

  • A free mind is a curious mind

Without the stress of exams and assignments, or the pressure of extra mural activities, your child might enjoy taking on a new academic task. They will be able to find a healthy balance between relaxing and scheduling time to study – especially if the benefit is bragging about knowing another language – staying sharp while being savvy. 

  • Keeping your brain stimulated and activated

Strong study habits and techniques, once implemented, need to be practised regularly. But let’s be honest, no student wants to study during their Summer vacation, right? Learning a new language, however, is FUN – especially if you are doing it with friends. Learning anything is a good way to stay mentally sharp, stimulated and exercise your brain (just as you would a muscle)

  • It’s easy and convenient

The holidays are a convenient time to learn something new at your own pace – keeping the sense of structure, while doing something interactive. Learn to parle français in your Pajamas! One of the most convenient parts of learning at home, in a comfortable and familiar environment, is being able to fit your learning time into your holiday schedule. Not only will you avoid cramming by having three months to get it done, but you’ll be relaxed and ready to take on the task. 

  • BrightSparkz is backing you!

We have made learning a language easy, fun and interactive. Our online language Boot Camps will have your child learning a brand new language in 10 easy modules. Our unique blended learning model offers the benefits of a flexible online course coupled with the benefits of one on one online lessons. The best part is that it can be done from the comfort of your home, or at the beach, or even on a family vacation. 

The summer is a perfect time to enrich your language skills with a BrightSparkz Language Boot Camp! With more than two stress-free months to learn, practise and start using an exciting new language, there is no better time! Sign up for one of our BrightSparkz Language Boot Camps between now and 31 July and get 20% off!

Help your child get savvy this Summer and step up their language skills!

 

Written by the BrightSparkz Canada Team

The Benefits of Online Tutoring

What is Online Tutoring?

Online tutoring is one-on-one tutoring that happens in an online environment, with learners and tutors in different physical locations, like their homes or offices. Our tutors commonly use Skype or Zoom to conduct online lessons. Both of these platforms offer video calling, messaging, screen sharing, and are free to use other than the normal data costs involved in any internet-based application. Online tutoring is an excellent and convenient alternative to face to face tutoring, and offers all of the same benefits!

The Benefits of Online Tutoring

There are various of reasons to opt for online tutoring instead of face to face tutoring, including:

  • The learner and tutor can be based anywhere in any time zone
  • You do not have to accommodate the tutor in your home
  • Lessons can begin and end promptly, making them more efficient
  • Online tutoring may be well suited to you if your child has a tight extra curricular schedules or who is in boarding school
  • Online tutoring is a great alternative if you’re an adult learner, who wants to fit tutoring in after work or who travels a lot
  • Lessons can be structured around web-based examples, so you don’t need to have as many resources available, and don’t need to print anything (textbooks can be in PDF form, videos can be used as a teaching aid)
  • Health concerns are negated by online tutoring
  • Any safety concerns you may have are negated
  • There is no travel cost (additional travel rates don’t apply)

What is the Online Tutoring Process?

Scheduled lesson times need to be upheld, even though the tutor isn’t travelling to you. Both the learner and tutor should be in a quiet environment. There should be no distractions or external noise, and they should use headphones if possible. Both parties should be online 5-10 minutes before the lesson is due to start. This is to check the audio, visual and connection in advance in order to start on time. 

The lesson will start in the same way as a face to face lesson, with the tutor checking in on the learner’s problem areas. The tutor will then begin to go through the work set for that lesson. They will use a slideshow, video presentation, or explain it themselves with props. Any lesson material used will be shared with the learner. After this, the learner will practice some examples, either on a virtual whiteboard, on a shared document like Google docs, or verbally. These will be checked and explained by the tutor, with opportunity for the learner to ask questions. 

At the conclusion of the lesson, the tutor will reinforce the major concepts of the lesson, set homework for the next lesson, and confirm the date and time of the next lesson. Both the learner and the tutor will then sign off. 

Is Online Tutoring for Me?

  • The learner needs to be a clear communicator
  • Online tutoring tends to work best with older learners, or with younger learners who have good self discipline and are very computer-savvy
  • For younger learners, you can set up a lesson at a time when you are at home, to help them set up Skype or Zoom and ensure the lesson gets started on time
  • You will need to have a computer, laptop or tablet on which to have lessons 
  • Headphones are also very helpful 
  • You’ll need to sign up for either Skype (https://www.skype.com/en/get-skype/ ) or Zoom (https://www.zoom.us/signup)
  • Your internet connection must be fast and preferably uncapped (ADSL, fibre, fixed wifi)

Why You Shouldn’t Stop Lessons

With the busy schedules of learner’s and parents alike, it may be difficult to find the time for extra lessons. You may be tempted to postpone or even stop your face to face tutoring lessons. However, stopping your regular lessons can have far-reaching consequences. It’s so important for learners to have a routine and maintain consistency if they are to reach their goals. A break of even a few weeks can mean months of extra work on test and exam preparation. If you’re worried about face to face lessons, or if you or your child are sick, you can continue their learning support temporarily with online lessons. BrightSparkz’s online lesson packages work the same way as our regular packages. 

 

Written by Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

Land Your Dream Job With Mind The Gap!

Now that your final year of school or college is over, it’s time to start thinking about getting a part-time or full-time job! The Summer holiday season is a great time to start preparing for your job hunt: getting together all the relevant information and documents, putting together a comprehensive resume and a basic cover letter, and beginning to reach out to your contacts and network about potential employment opportunities. You might have all of this under control! But have you thought about the responsibilities that come with taking on a job (or a bursary or scholarship)? 

1. Doing the work

One of the big differences between high school and work or university is that it is solely your responsibility to ensure that you do the work that is expected of you. You need to be on time, every day. You need to prepare, and you need to make sure that you pay attention every day, and give each task your all. It’s also important to stick it out, even when things get difficult: this shows a good character and work ethic. 

2. Staying informed

Whether it’s about deadlines, tasks, or tests, classes and assignments, it is your responsibility to stay informed and stay organized. Use a digital or paper calendar, or a diary, to ensure that you never miss a deadline, important meeting, or a test if you’re still in university. This won’t make you stand out from your peers, but not doing this is a quick way to get fired or to fail a class.

3. Looking after yourself

Life after school is far more stressful and busy (although there are a lot of fun parts too!) It’s important to take good care of yourself to ensure that you don’t burn out, and can continue to give 110%. This includes getting enough exercise 4-5 times a week, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and eating a balanced diet with plenty of water. This is also important to keep your brain functioning at its best!

4. Opening your mind

You now have the opportunity to meet so many new people, learn new things, take risks and make mistakes. This is the perfect time to try the hobby you’ve never had time for before, to learn a new language or a new skill, or just spend time in a different part of town. Everyone you meet will have a different point of view and mindset to you: make sure you keep an open mind when interacting with new people.

5. Honoring your sponsors or employers

Finally, it will now be your responsibility to make sure that you meet the expectations of your employer or sponsors (if you have a scholarship or bursary). They have invested time, energy and money into your future and seeing you succeed: make sure that you respond by giving your time, energy and positive attitude in return.

How BrightSparkz’ Mind The Gap can help!

If you’re not sure where to start with your job hunt or application process, now is the perfect time to enroll in Mind The Gap – BrightSparkz’ new graduate enrichment and work readiness program! This 10 module course will guide you step-by-step through the daunting process of applying for your first job, to help you attain your goals and land your dream job. Learn:

  • Determining the kinds of jobs & environments that are right for you
  • Considering your working conditions & location
  • Creating an exceptional CV & an impressive cover letter
  • Providing direction on where & how to find your dream job
  • Coaching on interview tips & tackling common interview questions
  • Navigating salary & related negotiations
  • Advising on professional etiquette & communication
  • Dealing with difficult work situations
  • Mastering the basics of money in terms of budgeting & tax

Sign up today!

 

Written by Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

The Benefits of Learning Another Language

Learning new languages can benefit brain and social development

While the prospect of learning another language may be daunting, especially if you struggled to get decent grades for your mother tongue at at school, there are many good reasons to do so.

Exercising your brain to learn a new skill will help optimize your brain’s functionality. Learning a new language pushes your brain to develop a new skill set, learn new grammar and vocabulary, and allows you to train your memory to learn new words.

learn language

Here are some compelling reasons to learn another language:

1. Massive benefits for your brain:

  • Knowing another language protects your brain against aging and can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia by around 4.5 years.
  • This is true even if an individual is illiterate but can speak another language.
  • Research reveals that the more languages you know, the less likely you are to experience memory loss or cognitive decline later in life.
  • Being bilingual or multilingual enhances your ability to multi-task (as you are thinking in different languages) which reduces stress.
  • Research has also shown that knowledge of other languages improves decision making ability and helps you become a better listener.
  • For children, or anyone involved in studying, knowledge of another language improves academic performance in other areas such as Maths, reading, comprehension and vocabulary tests.

2. Social and financial benefits:

  • You will enhance your travel experience in foreign countries, being able to order food and know what you’re eating and get a more complete experience of the culture. Being able to fit in like more of a local, you’re less likely to be scammed and harassed as a tourist.
  • You will be able to make deeper connections and form deeper friendships with those of other cultures and they will respect you more just for attempting to speak their language.
  • You will increase your job opportunities – with business becoming more global, it will be to your advantage to learn another language and may lead to better paying jobs.

3. Benefits of learning a local language:

  • In South Africa, we have 11 official languages and many of the reasons mentioned already are also benefits of learning a local language instead of a foreign one. While it may seem fun and romantic to learn French, German or Italian, you will probably only get to use that knowledge if you travel there or move to that country. Of course, the cognitive benefits apply to any language you learn.
  • Learning a local language like Zulu or Xhosa will benefit you in your own country as you will be able to understand and converse with many more of your countrymen.
  • Speaking to someone in their own language earns you respect – even if your accent is strange! Speaking a local language instantly breaks down barriers to communication. Nelson Mandela is believed to have said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.

learn language

BrightSparkz Tutors offers a unique concept of language “boot camps” in French, German and Portuguese. These are appropriate for both school-age learners and adult beginners. This is a fun and effective way of learning the basics of a new language and it removes the fear and resistance that many people feel when learning a new language.

If you’re looking for a language that can help you upskill professionally, academically and socially – our English Boot Camp is ideal for you!

 

Our unique blended learning model in our language boot camps offers the benefits of a flexible online course coupled with the benefits of one on one online lessons. The best part is that it can be done from the comfort of your home.

If you need more specialized language tutoring, we can assist with that too!

Written by Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz  Blog Writer

BrightSparkz’ Summer Boredom Busters!

 

Summer holidays are in full swing and your child is hopefully starting to relax, unwind and settle into holiday mode. As a parent, you may be wondering how to keep your kids stimulated while relaxing during the upcoming Summer break. With 3 months of holidays ahead, it’s time to get creative.

We’ve come up with some bright ideas on how to keep your kids busy & stimulated over the Summer vacation. 

 

  1. Online Resources:

3 months of generating fun ideas and activities for your kids may turn into a mammoth task – especially on those extra hot days. Yes, it’s true that screen time should be limited especially amongst younger kids, but with this being said, why not encourage your child to participate in some active screen time with some of our favourite online resources:

 

 

2. YouTube Channels:

Another great alternative for active screen time is educational Youtube channels, of which there are many! From fun and interactive language channels, to Math, Coding & STEM, your bright spark is bound to find an educational channel suited to their individual personality. Here are some of our favourites:

 

 

3. Other Fun Activities:

It’s that time of year. The Summer fun is endless. Beach days, pool days, ice cream and fun in the garden is never ending. But why not clear some space on your dining room table for active play and indoor educational games. Here’s how you can mix things up and keep the indoor play fun, stimulating and enticing for all ages:

 

  • Play board games
  • Arts and crafts projects
  • Creating a birthday calendar
  • Cooking and baking together
  • Read books together
  • Learn a language

 

4. BrightSparkz Courses:

In the spirit of learning a language for the purpose of cultural integration, future travel, or just for fun – why not sign up for one of our fun & interactive online Language Boot Camps. Learn a language alongside your child, in 10 easy modules. We recognise that winter break is short and family time is precious, which is why we highly recommend these programs, which can be completed in a short period of time, and are suitable for both kids and adults alike. If our Language Boot Camp series doesn’t entice you, we’ve got more sparkling short courses to choose from:

 

  • Learn to Study: Give your child study skills for life with our 2 hour Study Skills Crash Course – one on one with an experienced facilitator and tailored to coach your child on their unique learning needs 
  • Little Sparkz: This Kindergarten prep and enrichment program is designed to give little minds the brightest start. 10 lessons each divided between literacy, numeracy and creativity, this one will bring fun for the whole family, as well as some keepsakes :)

 

Jump into action before the dreaded “I’m bored!” sinks in. Splash out with our boredom busters this Summer break, and keep your kids stimulated, active and engaged during their vacation.

 

Written by BrightSparkz Staff  Members