Summer is time for STEM!

Summer is a great time to engage kids in fun and educational STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities. Just incase you were wondering what STEM means.? 

Before we start, if you’re seeking exciting and enjoyable summer activities to share with your children, look no further! We’ve teamed up with Tina, the mastermind behind the incredible STEAMulation Lab, to provide you with exceptional STEM tips and insights. Get ready for an unforgettable experience: http://steamulationlab.ca/

We’ve included some activities below – but first, let’s chat about the many benefits of STEM that come from even the most simple, creative activities. These benefits are:

 

  • Develops Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Skills:

STEM activities encourage kids to think critically, analyse problems, and develop creative solutions. They learn to ask questions, make observations, and apply logical reasoning to find answers.

 

  • Curiosity & Love for Learning:

STEM sparks curiosity in children and cultivates a love for learning. By engaging in hands-on experiments and projects, kids get to explore and discover the world around them. They become active participants in the learning process, which can lead to a lifelong passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

 

  • Builds Resilience & Perseverance:

STEM activities often involve trial and error. Kids learn that not every experiment or project will be successful on the first try. In this way they develop resilience and perseverance to keep trying and learn from their mistakes. This helps them develop a growth mindset and understand that failure is a natural part of the learning process.

 

  • Preparation for Future Careers:

STEM skills are in high demand in the job market, and the demand is only expected to grow in the future. With STEM they will develop a solid foundation in these fields which can open doors to a wide range of career opportunities.

To sum up , STEM activities provide a well-rounded education that nurtures essential skills and prepares children for the future in a rapidly advancing world. It encourages them to be curious, adaptable, and innovative problem solvers, capable of tackling challenges.

 

Here are some examples of STEM  activities you could get your children to tackle this summer:

  1. Build a Solar Oven: Construct a solar oven using a cardboard box, aluminium foil, and plastic wrap. Kids can learn about the greenhouse effect and solar energy while using the oven to cook simple snacks like s’mores or heat up small meals.

 

  1. Water Rocket Experiment: Build a water rocket using a plastic bottle, water, and an air pump. Kids can experiment with different water levels and air pressure to see how they affect the rocket’s flight. It’s a great way to introduce basic physics concepts like thrust, aerodynamics, and gravity.

 

  1. DIY Volcano: Create a volcanic eruption using simple household ingredients. Mix baking soda, dish soap, and food colouring inside a volcano-shaped structure made from clay or play dough. Pour vinegar into the volcano, and watch as the mixture erupts, demonstrating the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda.

 

  1. DIY Weather Station: Help kids build a weather station to track and record weather conditions. They can create a rain gauge using a plastic bottle, a wind vane from cardboard, or a simple anemometer using cups and a stick. Encourage them to make daily observations and record the data.

 

  1. Star Gazing: Spend evenings outside observing the night sky. Learn about different constellations, planets, and other celestial objects. Use a star chart or smartphone apps to identify and locate stars and planets. You can also consider visiting a local planetarium or astronomy club for more in-depth knowledge.

Have fun and get STEMulated this summer :)

 

Compiled by the BrightSparkz Canada Team

Does your child blank out during exams?

Have you heard your child said they’ve blanked out during an exam? Do they study really hard, go in feeling good but come out stressed and achieving less than they deserve?

Blanking out is an unnerving and upsetting experience for any student. There is a great deal of pressure to perform well in exams and a lot of fear that poor exam performance will negatively affect your child’s future opportunities.

In the next 3 emails, we’ll share some of the most important tips with you outlining what your child can do before, during and after an exam, to limit the chances of being affected by blanking out!

 

BEFORE AN EXAM:

Tip #1 – Practical Preparation

  • Encourage your child to be specific about content they’re needing to study for a particular exam
  • Listen attentively for advice or clues a teacher may give around the questions that are likely to come up in an exam
  • Be proactive by asking the teacher if there are any areas to focus most time on preparing
  • Factor time into their schedules for plenty practice using past exam papers when possible.

Tip #2 – Emotional Preparation

  • Get used to feeling of exam time limits using past papers
  • Create an environment that’s similar to an exam situation with no distractions prior to starting a practice exam
  • Spend some time visualizing writing the exam in a calm and composed manner
  • Using positive reinforcement to calm your mind such as phrases like “I’ve got this!”

Tip #3 – Physical Preparation

  • Ensure that your child schedules breaks for physical activities such as sports or hobbies that may help to relax and balance their minds
  • Take time to get outdoors into nature even if it’s just for 10 – 15 minutes – the benefits are huge!
  • Encourage your child to opt for healthier snacks like fruit, smoothies or nuts, rather than sugary treats that cause a spike and dip in blood sugar and reduce sustained concentration

Next,  we’ll chat about what can be done during an exam to prevent this stressful experience from happening in the moment, and next week, we’ll share a bit about what can be after exams and what can be implemented into your child’s routine to avoid future episodes.

What can do you DURING an exam?

  • The first thing to remind your child is that an exam is not a life-threatening situation even though it may feel like it at the time, and they will get through it!
  • Encourage your child to turn their paper over, close their eyes, take a deep breath and breathe out slowly. Your child should repeat until they feel calm enough to continue.
  • Leave the question that caused the blanking out and move onto the next question, or one that your child is more confident about. This will help in building confidence and momentum and ensuring that your child doesn’t spiral into a state of panic over one question.
  • If your child comes across a question that makes them feel panicky, encourage your child to mark the question in a colour to return to later. Once more questions have been answered, chances are that they may remember more to compose an answer.
  • If your child is prone to frequent blanking out, a first step could be to read the exam paper and circle questions that your child is confident about, and start with those. They’ll then have some marks in the bank before attempting more difficult questions.

NOW, we’ll chat a bit about what can be done after the fact, and how you can help to set your child up to go into test and exam situations with confidence and achieve to their full potential.

So what can be done AFTER an exam?

  • If your child has suffered an episode of blanking out, they’re likely to be upset about it! Without brushing off their feelings, remind them that beating themselves up about it is not constructive and that exams are not life or death situations!
  • Chat to your child to get to the bottom of why they think that the blanking out occurred. This will help to identify the possible causes.
  • Once the possible causes have been identified, make a list of them, and next to each one, note down strategies or solutions that could help to conquer each potential cause that can be worked on or employed before the next exam.

Here are some ideas from our experts:

IDEA #1: 

Tutors have been through exams themselves and know how to successfully navigate the content of their specific subject areas. They’ll share valuable tips and strategies to ensure the best possible exam preparation. Getting a tutor is an excellent idea!

IDEA #2:

Evaluate your child’s study skills and organizational techniques. If your child doesn’t know how to comprehensively and holistically prepare for an exam, retaining and being able to apply the necessary information is already going to be a challenge. Our Study Skills Crash Course will teach your child how to prepare optimally.

IDEA #3: 

If your child has had no success trying to navigate their blanking out on their own or the problem is worsening, there may be an underlying cause. Speak to a school counsellor about the options available. Some students may qualify for additional assistance or support.

How can BrightSparkz help? 

If you feel that a tutor can help your child with knowledge gaps that have caused blanking out in the past, or if you have about how BrightSparkz can support your child, please don’t hesitate to connect with one of our consultants.

If your child is struggling with a particular subject or even a specific topic or unit, a hand-picked tutor is the best option to help your child catch up or close any knowledge gaps before exploring more in depth learning support options. Tutors have been through it all and bring so much benefit and perspective!

Our team loves nothing more than to see students succeed, and would love to do the same for your child.

 

Compiled by the BrightSparkz Canada Team

Let’s talk about teacher gifts!

 

I can’t believe that it’s that time of the year already! And if you are anything like me then “gift giving” is an essential and fun part of the Christmas season. Our children’s teachers are also an essential part of our child’s future and development, and what better way to recognize this by giving a small yet thoughtful gift from your family to theirs during this magical time.

There are many different types of gift choices you could lean towards, depending on your budget or your skills. One thing is for certain – every teacher loves a personalized card from their student. So, if your child is able to write, then getting them to create and write inside a card for their teacher will be greatly appreciated and cherished. If they are not yet able to write, a picture drawn by them or even their name on the card will have the same effect. I remember when I was teaching, my favourite part of receiving gifts was not the gift its self, but opening the card to see the special touch the child had added. This would always elevate a gift to a new level.

Every teacher has their unique preferences, but here are my top picks on the kinds of gift options to think about:

  1. A gift for your child’s teacher to enjoy at home
  2. A gift for the teacher to enjoy in the classroom
  3. A multifunctional gift for their home or classroom
  4. A gift for their whole family

 

Gifts To Enjoy At Home

 

  • Especially for female teachers, you can never go wrong with good quality bath and body products. This is never something I buy for myself but I love receiving fancy soaps and creams that are practical and indulgent at the same time. Do keep in mind though that not everyone enjoys or appreciates scented products, so best to check first!
  • Chocolates are enjoyed by almost everyone so this is always a go-to gift that I like to give and receive.
  • There is such a great selection of candles available at most stores and is always a great gift that teachers won’t always buy for themselves.
  • Something that your child’s teacher may enjoy if they’re creative or arty is an adult colouring book with some good quality colouring pencils
  • Another option is you’re wanting something that you child’s teacher can keep or look at is something like a vase or a unique cookie jar.
  • This may not relevant for all teachers, so use your discretion (or ask!), but if your child’s teacher does enjoy wine, then a bottle of either your favourite, or a suggested wine will go down well for this time of year. I once received a bottle with a note that read: “Knowing you teach my child… I thought you may need this!” – it made me smile!
  • Another option for a spoil would be a gift card from a small business, a store they’re likely to frequent or an online store (like Amazon). If you know that your child’s teacher likes coffee, these are always a win!
  • Another gift card idea which would be a real treat for your teacher, a massage or manicure gift voucher is a sure to go down really well!

 

Gifts For The Classroom

 

  • To many parents, this may sound like a strange choice but pretty much all teachers (especially elementary teachers) use a lot of stationary Supplies such as stickers, stamps, fancy markers, coloured pens and even multiple sized funky notepads are all great gifts for teachers to receive.
  • Just like we like to have nice items on our work desks, so do teachers. Pen holders, paper weights or a frame. Personalizing these items makes them even more special.
  • A lanyard could be a useful gift for a teacher who carries access cards, keys around with them all day.
  • A personalized item is always a great gift. Examples include things like a sign for their classroom with their name on, like a tote bag or cushion or blanket that is personalized for them to use at school.

 

Gifts For School OR Home

 

  • Plants are another favourite gift choice of mine. Plants make any room feel comfortable, beautiful and relaxing. Always go for a low maintenance indoor plant that doesn’t need much sun, water or attention. 
  • If you’re opting for a plant, you may also want to put it in a beautiful pot
  • A multifunctional gift for either him or her would be a stainless-steel tumbler or larger coffee travel mug. Stainless steel is great as it keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Teachers can make use of this either at school or at home, or even both.
  • I also feel like you can never have enough water bottles as these should be replaced regularly. If your child’s teacher already has one then this new gifted bottle could be left at school daily or used specifically at home. There are so many fun and different bottles with inspirational messages available, so pick one that shows gratitude for the work your child’s teacher puts into your child’s future every day.

Gifts To Enjoy with Family

 

  • A chocolate or cookie selection. If this is a gift you are wanting them to share with their family then a selection type purchase will be better. Or to take it to the next level (if you enjoy baking) you could even do a home baked batch of cookies or cupcakes and get your child to help ice or decorate them. 
  • Given that it’s Christmas season, a Christmas decoration for their tree or home is a lovely idea to add to the Christmas joy and festivities, if your teacher celebrates.

 

Whatever the gift is that decide on, whether you make it or purchase it, keep in mind that it is really the thought that counts the most. Teachers don’t expect elaborate or costly gifts and in fact isn’t even compulsory. As long as it’s given with love and kindness, nothing else matters!

 

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

 

Love Leigh

BrightSparkz Project Co-ordinator & Teacher (with over 20 years experience!)

What Makes an Effective Online Tutor?

The important role of online tutoring in today’s world of learning!

Online learning has grown exponentially in the last few years, and this is for more reasons than because we’ve all been home-bound due to Covid. One of the most significant reasons for this trend is that online learning and tutoring fits better into our modern lives. Due to its flexibility, online tutoring can work around your child’s busy schedule. Whether we are speaking about extra murals, last minute projects, or their best friend’s birthday party that they forgot to tell you about, online tutoring’s flexibility makes it easy to schedule (or reschedule) lessons to suit our busy schedules.

 

Reluctant to try out an online tutor?

Most parents of school aged learners grew up in a largely offline world, and are now raising their children in a world where a combination of online and offline is part of everyday life and learning. This could lead to parents feeling less in control, or even uncomfortable with new technologies their children are familiar and comfortable with, including online tutoring. With so many online learning options available, the prospect of moving your child’s academics may seem daunting. 

 

In one of our blogs surrounding the topic, we tackle online learning concerns such as:

 

  • Lack of participation & concentration
  • Impersonal lesson structures
  • Tech issues
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Too much screen time.

Are you aware of the MANY benefits of opting for online tutoring?

So, why should you opt for online learning? Our favourite reason is simple: quicker, more efficient matching with an expert tutor regardless of location!

If this reason doesn’t put a sparkle in your eyes, we’ve come up with a few more reasons:

  • Interactive web-based examples 
  • Flexible learning hours without the traffic
  • Building consistency 
  • Learning effective scheduling 
  • Convenience & accessibility
  • More affordable

 Let’s not forget the ultimate reward… Increased marks & confidence!

 

What makes our online tutors sparkle?

Now that we’ve (hopefully) convinced you to give online learning a go, let’s chat about BrightSparkz’s brilliant online tutors. What makes them special?

  • Their ability to effectively utilise various online platforms
  • Being able to explain material and content in more than one way.
  • The use of applications to make lessons engaging, entertaining & interactive
  • Great technical knowledge of online applications and platforms
  • Having the correct hardware available for seamless lessons 

Most importantly, our online tutors have the passion to help their learner’s succeed though creating interactive online lessons!

 

How can BrightSparkz help? 

We’d love to help you get comfortable with the concept of online learning by sharing valuable resources  with you – our online tutors, and our selection of blogs surrounding online tutoring. 

Should you wish to give online tutoring a try, reach out to us about our available tutors and our online tutoring specials. 

 

Written by Sarah Hufton, BrightSparkz Staff & Blog Writer

Tackling 10 Fears about Online Learning

It’s no surprise that Online Learning and tutoring has become better tailored and well-suited to our busy, modern lives.

 

Most parents of school aged learners grew up in a largely offline world, and are now raising their children in a world where a combination of online and offline is part of everyday life and learning. This could lead to parents feeling less in control, or even uncomfortable with new technologies their children are familiar and comfortable with, including online tutoring

So, parents, we’d LOVE to help you get more comfortable with the concept of online learning. So to put your mind a bit more at ease, let’s tackle some common fears surrounding online learning:

 

1. My child doesn’t have the discipline or time management to make it work

That’s what a tutor is for! Your tutor is trained to conduct online lessons, and will ensure that your child stays focussed and engaged throughout the lesson.

 

2. My child will be less engaged in an online lesson

Our tutors have reported the opposite! Tutors are finding that their learners are more engaged, attentive and confident online than offline and are less hesitant to express that they don’t fully understand or need something repeated. 

 

3. Online lessons will increase social isolation

For children who have grown up in a digital age, online social engagement has been proven to be just as important as offline social engagement – online lessons can help fulfill this role.

 

4. I don’t want my child to have too much screen time

Compared to online gaming or watching TV and movies, online lessons will engage your child’s mind and stimulate their critical thinking, outweighing negative blue light impacts. 

 

5. What if I have tech issues setting up online lessons? Do I have the right equipment?

We have several videos available to show you (or your child) exactly how to connect to an online lesson. Our tutors are also able to help you with your tech questions. All you need is a good Wifi or mobile data connection, and any device capable of connecting to the internet – even a smartphone!

 

6. Will I need to constantly supervise online lessons?

Not at all. As with face to face lessons, you may want to sit in on the first lesson to get to know the tutor, but this isn’t necessary. It’s also a much safer option if you’re using a tutor who you have never worked with before.

 

7. I won’t be able to speak to the tutor about my child’s progress

Your tutor will still be available via phone or WhatsApp to discuss any concerns you may have. 

 

8. I’m not sure if online lessons can be as effective as face to face lessons

Our tutors have been trained on how to conduct effective online lessons. From the feedback that we’ve had over the years, and more recently, some tutors and learners find that they learn better in an online environment than face to face!

 

9. Will there still be activities in the lesson, and homework afterwards?

Yes! Your tutor will discuss the best way to do this with you – they will either send you the activities and homework to print out before the lesson, or they will create digital material and share this with your child. 

 

10. The cost of data will make online lessons far more expensive

A 60 minute Skype or Zoom call uses an average of 60-100MB. This is equivalent to 1 minute of a YouTube video, reading 7 emails, or uploading 2 photos to Facebook – not a lot for an hour of learning!

 

Still not convinced about the benefits of online tutoring? Here’s what some of our tutors had to say:

“Online tutoring has given me the opportunity to delve more into students’ capabilities than ever before. Unlike in-person tutoring, my students have excelled at directing their own learning with even greater confidence. I am of the belief that online tutoring is the future of tutoring. It’s also great option available for students who are boarding at schools.” – Caamila M.

“Online lessons increase a student’s confidence in tackling questions and making mistakes without feeling “judged”. Online lessons made my learner more comfortable and helped him cope better with the work.” – Gracia M.

 

So, How can BrightSparkz help?

We’d love to help you get comfortable with the concept of online learning by sharing valuable resources with you. If you’d like to read more on the topic, we’ve got some bright blogs to get you going:

Should you wish to give online tutoring a try, reach out to us about our available tutors and our online tutoring specials, or, click HERE for a sparkling online tutor!

Written by Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

Rest, Relax & Regroup

The Importance of the School Holiday Period

After a busy year of classroom learning, tests and exams, homework, school socials, extra-curricular activities and sport, the end of the year school holiday is eagerly anticipated by most learners! It is a time to get together with their friends, sleep in, look forward to a possible family holiday and have lots of fun.

For some children, it does not take long before boredom sets in, and some may even start missing school. Many children function well with routine, and the school vacation is unstructured in most cases. The end of the year school vacation is felt to be too long by some people, not least of all parents who need to be at work and have to contend with the constant refrain of “I’m bored”. Some people believe that such a long break is bad for academic performance, especially for children who are not academically strong. If you feel that your child would benefit from some holiday tutoring, contact https://brightsparkz.co.za/ for some assistance.

However, there is a need for a few weeks break from school as more children than ever before are stressed out, anxious and even depressed. They need time away from the books and the homework to clear their minds and give their brains some downtime before the new school year when it all begins again!

There are some important elements to include in your child’s school vacation time to ensure that they are able to start the new school year energized and motivated to do well. These elements are: rest, relax and regroup.

Rest

This is integral for children who are tired out from a hectic school schedule of constant studying, sports and other activities. For the first few days of the school vacation, it is wise not to plan too many activities and let the child sleep in as much as possible. Limit too much stimulation and noisy activities for this period. A reasonable bedtime should still be followed, perhaps just a little later than normal.

Rest Recess

Relax

Once your children are well rested and have regained their energy, encourage them to enjoy their favourite activities, including being physically active. Sitting in front of the TV or PlayStation all day is unhealthy and leads to mental tiredness once again. Encourage them to “read for fun” instead of for school. Younger children can be encouraged to show off their reading skills to holiday visitors. Your children will certainly enjoy outings and time spent with friends. Encourage your children to pick up some new hobbies that interest them so they are still learning, but in a fun way!

Relax Recess

Regroup

This phase involves putting the current year behind you and moving forward with renewed purpose. It is good to include this in the week or two before school resumes. Help your children reflect on what was good during the year (for example, being selected for the first soccer team), and what can be improved upon (for example, a drastic drop in maths marks). Teach them to set some simple goals to work towards in the new school year, and provide them with a nice planner or journal to use. Time management skills will be one of the most important life skills that your children will learn in order to cope with adult life, and the sooner they start learning (in an age-appropriate way), the better they will become at acquiring the skill. Children will still be relaxing and enjoying their vacation at this point in addition to “regrouping”.

Regroup recess

Returning to School

About a week before school resumes, encourage a return to normal routines so that the start of the school year is not a complete shock once again. Help them to pack their school bag and check their school uniform. This ensures that all the benefits of the school vacation is not lost on the first day back at school when you are unprepared and in a panic.

Another important thing that you can do to go into the new school year well-prepared and relaxed, is to book a tutor for the challenging subjects and get started with consistent lessons as soon as school starts.

A little planning of school vacation time will bring great benefits to your children, and be less stressful for you too!

 

Written by: Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

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