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Coronavirus & Online Tutoring

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Peparing for Mock Exams

Mock exams can be an incredibly daunting and stressful time, but there are many things you can do to help you focus and achieve results you can be proud of.

 

Revise, revise, revise

Being prepared is the key to doing well in mock exams, and revising is the best way to do this. You should start early, setting aside some time every day to spend on revision so you have plenty of time to get your head around some of the trickier parts of the subject. It’s also a great idea to use a revision schedule so you make sure you cover all topics and know what you should be studying and when.

 

Practice makes perfect

Practicing with past papers is a great way to ensure you have a good grasp of the subject. Try setting a timer and completing the paper under exam conditions to get used to the amount of time you’ll have. When you’re done, compare your answers to the mark scheme. This is a fantastic way to learn how the examiners mark the papers and get insight into what they’re looking for in your answers. It can also give you a hint about which topics tend to pop up the most.

 

Don’t forget to plan

Planning is sometimes overlooked when it comes to exams. Many people worry it wastes time and rush into an essay without thinking about it properly. Take your time, read the question several times to make sure you understand exactly what it is you’re being asked to do. Spend five minutes roughly planning the structure of your essay, how many points you are going to make and what evidence you will use to back up your arguments. This will help you stay on track and write a clear, focused essay. A great tip is to wait until you’ve written the whole essay to write your introduction. This makes it less obvious is you waver from your original plan slightly and keeps your introduction more focused.

 

The power of tutors

If you feel you need extra support preparing for your mocks, consider getting a tutor to help. A tutor can help you find the revision methods that work best for you and provide guidance for those trickier areas. At Home Tutor Connect, our tutors provide direction, motivation and inspiration to help you achieve your full potential.

 

Keep calm

The most important thing to remember when preparing for your mock exams is to keep calm and don’t panic. If you’re disappointed with your results, don’t feel that all is lost. Your mocks are there to help you learn, and they should give you a clear indicator of the areas you should focus on before your official exams. Remember to give yourself a short break when mocks are over; you’ve earned it!

Debunking Common Myths About Tutoring

There are many myths that concern parents when considering tutoring. Whether it be that your child has a busy schedule or is already doing well at school, you may think tutoring is not suitable for your child. However, these are common misconceptions and could stand in the way of your child reaching their full academic potential. There are many benefits of tutoring for every child, and it can be an important stage in their academic and personal development.

 

Myth: Tutoring is only for struggling students

Every child can benefit from tutoring in some way. Students have different goals, whether it be improving their grades or simply passing a test, and tutoring gives them the opportunity to meet those goals. Tutors are able to tailor their lessons to meet the needs of the students, meaning they get a more personal learning experience than they would get at school. Tutoring is great for students who need extra support, but it is also great for those who want more of a challenge in their academic work.

 

Myth: Tutoring takes up too much time

One of the greatest things about tutoring, especially online, is its flexibility. You can schedule tutoring sessions to times that suit you and many tutors do not require you to stick to a restrictive routine, meaning you only have to commit to sessions you can fit into your personal schedule. Planning and preparing for tutoring sessions can also develop your child’s organisation skills and help them manage their time more effectively.

 

Myth: Students only need tutoring during exam season

Learning and understanding the material required for exams takes time, so your child will need more than a couple of weeks of tutoring sessions to reach their full potential. It may also take time for your child to settle with their tutor and for the tutor to establish the most effective methods to help your child develop and progress. The more time to prepare for exams, the more time your child has to grasp a strong understanding of the topics and perform well in their exams.

 

Myth: Online tutoring is less effective than traditional methods

Online tutoring is becoming increasingly popular, and in many circumstances can be even more effective than traditional tutoring methods. Online tutoring makes a wider range of tutors available, so you can ensure you find the right fit for your child. Opting for online tutor sessions also has benefits such as the opportunity to record sessions for students to look back on and lessons can be more interactive and engaging for students meaning they enjoy them more. Online tutoring can also be less stressful for parents and students as it is more flexible and students don’t have to worry about meeting someone new face to face.

 

Myth: Students don’t develop a connection with tutors through online tutoring

Many students find it easier to connect to their tutor online than they do through traditional methods for a variety of reasons. Some students find meeting new people face to face stressful, therefore they find it harder to focus, but having their sessions online removes this worry and they are more able to concentrate. Online tutoring can also prevent distractions as there are fewer things to take in during a video call than in the library or the student’s home, so students spend more time listening to their tutor and less being distracted.

Myth: Tutoring is too expensive

There are many face to face and online tutors available for all budgets. At Home Tutor Connect, our tutors have varied hourly rates displayed in their profiles so you can ensure you choose the right tutor for you and your budget. Once you have chosen your tutor, you complete a form and establish a lesson plan with the tutor. You can pay for some or all of your lessons upfront, or on a pay-as-you-go basis, whatever method works best for you.

 

Tutoring has excellent benefits for your child, and can be a significant part of their learning journey. With the right tutor, your child can gain confidence, develop strong time-management and organisation skills and learn to enjoy the subjects they study.

Knowledge Gaps Between Primary and Secondary – A Tutor Can Help

Gaps in knowledge are common for children, and with the global pandemic disrupting normal school life, it’s understandable and expected for many students to feel out of their depth with certain topics or subjects. The transition from primary to secondary school makes these knowledge gaps more apparent, with some students struggling to adapt to the more advanced levels of work and having a negative impact on their confidence. Having a tutor can be a huge help and give students the confidence boost they need to make their learning journey a positive one.

 

Builds Confidence

For some students, learning surrounded by 20 other people can be a challenge in itself. They may not get the attention or help they need, leaving them unable to grasp a solid understanding of the subject. One-to-one tuition with a tutor means students get the time and attention they need to help them progress, and they can spend more time focussing on topics they find the most challenging, boosting their confidence with the whole subject and bridging any knowledge gaps. Having a tutor also provides a relaxed atmosphere, giving students the chance to practice answering questions without worrying about getting them wrong in front of their class. Making mistakes is incredibly important for progress, and a relaxed atmosphere helps students feel more comfortable with this, building the confidence to answer questions in class.

 

Personal Organisation

Being organised is one of the most important things when it comes to bridging any gaps in knowledge, and having a tutor is a great way for students to develop strong organisation skills. A tutor can go through a subject in depth, breaking down topics into manageable lessons and managing time to ensure nothing is missed. They can also help students create a revision timetable, showing them that planning their study sessions in advance can increase their focus and help them achieve stronger results.

 

Develop Revision Techniques

Knowing how to revise effectively is something many students struggle with and their school teachers often do not get the time to go through this. A tutor can show students different revision techniques, determining which work best for the student and creating a strategy that allows them to focus on the topics they find the most challenging, bridging any gaps in their knowledge and helping their overall progress.

 

Make Learning Enjoyable

Many children dislike school, but this is usually because they are not interested enough in their subjects. A tutor can tailor sessions to suit the student so they are more engaged in lessons, meaning they will be able to focus and learn more. Having personalised lessons helps motivate students, giving them the opportunity to learn at their own pace, meaning they are more likely to find interest in the subject. Making lessons enjoyable also gives students a more positive attitude towards learning, meaning they will be more engaged during school lessons and will develop a better understanding of their subjects.

The Transition from Primary to Secondary School

Moving from Primary school to Secondary school is an exciting time, but it can also be an upsetting one for some pupils. With so many things to think about from the larger environment to the independent travel to school, it can be difficult for some to adjust to the changes, causing stress and anxiety. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to prepare, making the transition less overwhelming for both you and your child.

 

Identify Any Worries Your Child May Have

There are many things that may be on your child’s mind about their move to Secondary school, and the first step to helping and supporting them is to ask them if there’s anything worrying them about the transition. Talking through any issues they have builds their confidence and helps them feel supported.

 

Make Sure They Know About The Changes

Your child will undoubtedly be aware of many of the changes from Primary to Secondary school, such as the larger atmosphere and bigger classes, but there may be some that they have not thought about. These could include:

 

  • Larger volume of homework and higher expectation for it to be completed on time
  • The need for greater organisation skills and meeting deadlines
  • Stricter uniform rules
  • Following a class timetable
  • The requirement for more school equipment

 

Talking through these changes with your child will help better prepare them so they are not overwhelmed during their first few days and can focus on enjoying them.

 

Encourage Them To Make New Friends

Starting Secondary school is an exciting time to meet new friends, but this can be a daunting experience for many pupils. Your child may have their old classmates join them at Secondary school, but encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and make new friends can help build their confidence and allow them to create friendships that are better suited to them in the long run.

 

Help Them Get Organised

Being well-organised is a must for Secondary school, but your child may need help getting into good habits. Have them pack their bag the night before school so they get used to doing so, and help them create a study schedule for when to work on their homework so they don’t get into the habit of struggling to complete it the night before the deadline. The better organised your child is, the less stressed and anxious they will feel.

 

Remind Them It’s Okay To Ask For Help

Asking for help is something many pupils struggle with so reminding your child it isn’t as scary as it seems can help build their confidence about it. Discuss with them that if they have any concerns it’s important to talk about them and encourage them to find someone they trust, such as a tutor, so they feel as comfortable as possible.

 

Encourage Them To Make The Most Of New Opportunities And To Enjoy Themselves

Starting Secondary school is a time of many new opportunities for pupils. Find out what clubs and activities the school has available and encourage your child to take part. Remind your child this is an exciting time and everyone is in the same boat, so they should embrace the changes and remember to have fun.

Creating the Perfect Revision Environment

With so many subjects to study and exam dates looming, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to revision. Creating a space that is as revision-friendly as possible is the first step, but even this can be daunting to approach. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks to help you create an environment that will make you feel productive, motivated and ready to face the dreaded exam hall. 

 

Be Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable

You’ll be spending a lot of time in your revision area, so being comfy is a must. You should be using a table or desk with enough space (dining tables are a great choice) and your chair should have enough support to stop your back getting sore. Don’t be tempted to work from your bed as this can make it a lot harder for you to get a good night’s sleep, meaning you won’t be as refreshed and productive the next day. 

 

Organise & Declutter

A messy environment is a stressful one. Before you even attempt to revise, you should make sure your space is neat and tidy. Give yourself enough room to work, and move any stray papers, books or notes out of the way. Having any stationary, supplies or snacks you might need handy will stop you getting up and disrupting your flow of work. When you’ve decluttered your space, try to keep it tidy so you can get to work straight away each revision session.

 

Manage Your Time

Sticking to a revision schedule is the best way to stay on track and make sure you’ve covered everything before the exam, so it’s important to manage your time properly. A clock should be visible from your work space, preferably a digital one. Avoid using your phone, and keep your revision schedule close by so you always know what you should be doing and how long to spend doing it.

 

Pay Attention to Noise Levels

When it comes to noise levels, everyone is different. Some people need absolute silence to work, others need some form of background noise to keep them on track. If you work best with limited noise, find somewhere quiet to set up your revision space. This could be your bedroom, the dining room, or even the local library. If you’re revising at home, make sure you let your family and friends know so they can keep the noise down. If silence isn’t for you, try listening to some relaxed music with no vocals. Movie soundtracks work brilliantly for this. Coffee shops can also be a great place to study, as long as distractions are kept to a minimum.

 

Limit Distractions

Distractions are everywhere, but there are some simple ways to help you keep them at bay and stay focussed on your revision. Your phone is likely the biggest distraction, and the easiest way to fight the temptation of replying to messages or scrolling through social media is to put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode (or switch it off entirely) and put it out of sight. Try putting it in a drawer or another room, or even giving it to someone else to look after until you’ve finished studying. If being apart from your phone is too much, or you are using it as part of your revision, you could try one of the many apps (such as Stay Focused) that block social media temporarily, so you can work through your revision without worrying about temptations. Switch off the TV, and make sure people around you know you’re working and need to focus.

 

Get To Work!

Following these tips is the easiest way to create an organised and productive study environment, and you’ll be able to focus on the revision itself. Remember to eat well, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and take plenty of breaks to ensure you keep your body and mind as healthy as possible to keep that productive and refreshed mindset.

The Benefits Of Online Tuition For Younger Students

Online tuition for younger students is nothing new. Families in rural areas, through geographic necessity, have experienced the advantages of online tutoring for many years.  However, more recently, the widespread travel and human interaction challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought it to the attention of a far larger audience. As a result of the global pandemic, the traditional at-home 1:1 tuition market will probably never revert to form. Why? Quite simply, as a result of the availability and flexibility of online tutoring.

 

Technological advancements have ensured that our ability to communicate and educate online has never been easier. There is an outstanding choice of immediately available (and typically free) online tutoring platforms, including; Zoom, Skype, Bramble, Google Meet, Blackboard, GoToMeeting, Webex, Moodle, Microsoft Teams…and many others!

 

Younger students, from 5 years old and upwards, are increasingly within their comfort zone online. They are becoming more comfortable and capable in using online technology, and, more importantly, enjoying it, using it to communicate and learn effectively. Is this a good thing?  Of course! The COVID-19 global pandemic has forced almost everyone to embrace online learning, and to expand their understanding of what can be achieved online. The future use and day-to-day impact of online activities, particularly with regards to education, has been altered irreversibly. Younger students should be encouraged to engage with education online; it is their future. Most university lectures have been delivered online since the first lockdown and most schools have provided online teaching, to varying degrees, during this same period. It is essential that students, from an early age, are encouraged to become online specialists – it will broaden and accelerate their learning like nothing else before. For an example of the online capability that opens new horizons for students, take a look at the free App ‘Google Arts & Culture; it is a great example of a ‘game changer’ in online education.

 

Younger students, who may find it difficult to ‘keep up’ in class, now have exceptional resources available to them at any time online, with the vast majority costing nothing. This is a massive resource!  So many parents are desperate to help their kids to keep up in class, but things may have moved on so far that they are often not able to keep up themselves!  

 

Many parents of both primary and secondary school students report struggling with supporting home learning. Almost 60% of the parents of primary school children and nearly half of the parents of secondary school children report that they are finding it quite or very hard to support their children’s learning at home.” (source: joint IFS & IoE survey, May 2020). Providing regular 1:1 online tuition takes the pressure off parents and provides them with the peace of mind that the fundamental educational stepping stones are being accurately and effectively addressed.

 

1:1 online tutoring has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity ever since the first lockdown. It was the only way available to 1:1 tutors to immediately overcome the stringent social distancing rules. What it also did was to force a swathe of older tutors who had never contemplated online tutoring to try it…and they love it! Feedback from tutors who have engaged in online tutoring for the first time is overwhelmingly positive. They have been surprised and impressed with the ability of younger students to focus and retain their interest online. Many tutors have developed their own ‘tricks of the trade’ to help younger students to remain engaged. These have included introducing a couple of 3-minute general knowledge quizzes, swapping jokes at the end of a topic and discussing the celebrity they would most like to invite to tea! These relaxing interludes also help to develop a positive and motivational bond between the pupil and the tutor. Increasing the use of exciting pictures and bright colours is another way of retaining interest during an online lesson. Reducing the typical one-hour lesson to 40 minutes is another option some tutors promote.

 

Online education and tutoring also tends to be less stressful; no last-minute rushing around to tidy the house before the tutor arrives, no requirement for tutors or pupils to drive across town to attend lessons. It is safe (all tutors should have an Enhanced DBS certificate) and comfortable to partake in online tuition, and younger students will often feel more relaxed and confident in asking questions when they are in their own home. Mum and Dad also have the option of sitting-in on online sessions if they believe this would benefit the student.

 

The 2 most powerful benefits of online tutoring for younger children of 5 years and upwards are:

  • Teaching is focused specifically on their individual abilities, with the goal of developing their skill set at the optimum pace.
  • One-to-one focus completely eliminates distractions experienced within a classroom setting.

 

With the immense changes that have been forced upon us, these adaptations are not going away any time soon. Online tutoring at home has turned a negative into an overwhelming positive, opening up new opportunities and avenues for learning, even for students who find a traditional classroom setting challenging. Home Tutor Connect are experts in this new rapidly expanding field, and can help your child find the perfect tutor to help them thrive in this new environment.

Essentials For Getting Back On Track

In this month’s blog post we take a look at educational workload and the fundamentals for getting back on track to your best standard. It doesn’t come as a surprise to say that the pandemic impacted the education sector drastically, with a sudden switch from face-to-face learning to lessons through a screen. Zoom, Google Meet and hangouts have become a major part of everyday life for many students across the world; so much so, they have been a wonderful tool and will be a cog in the educational system for years to come.

Being a student can be tough enough, but with such a change to normality, some may feel as if there are knowledge gaps in certain topics. Below we take a look at a few key points to help with getting back on track –

Creating a productive workspace

The environment you choose to study in can hugely impact your mood and motivation. The best place to start is by choosing somewhere comfortable. Once you’ve picked a perfect spot, here are some key points to think about –

  • Use some background noise – e.g the radio, a podcast or even a tv show you’ve seen plenty of times!
  • Keep your workspace organised
  • Keep hydrated
  • Plan your study sessions
  • Set yourself study breaks
  • Add some inspiration to your desk, maybe a potted plant or a funky bit of art!

Using all or a combination of the above will help with productivity and motivation.

Having a positive mindset

Having a positive mindset is the backbone to success. Whichever stage you are at on your educational journey there will be hurdles to overcome. There may be times that you come to a certain topic that you just can’t get your head around, but by taking on the challenge with a positive mindset you will remind yourself that failing is all part of moving forward, not that you aren’t capable. Instead of thinking “I can’t do it” think “what can I do differently?” and this will result in less time spent beating yourself up and more time focused on progressing.

Time Management

Whether you’re someone who plans everything down to the tiny details, or you see where the time takes you, having a simple time management plan in place can work wonders. Here are a few tips on how best to manage your time…

  • Create a schedule
  • Allocate time for specific tasks
  • Keep a to do list and check them off once complete
  • Be realistic with what you want to achieve in the time allocated
  • Focus on one task at a time

By setting realistic goals that you want to achieve, you will be able to assign time slots and stepping stone tasks in order to reach them.

Tutoring

Tutoring is another fantastic tool which will assist in personal and educational development. By connecting with someone who is highly qualified in the topic you’re focusing on, you will open up doors to better understanding. Tutoring could be featured in your weekly schedule; allocate a time and a date to go through your work with a highly qualified tutor. Here at Home Tutor Connect, rapidly identifying and effectively addressing weaknesses is the key to passing exams. One-to-one tutoring accelerates this process, providing tutors with the time to impart hard-earned pearls of wisdom and top tips to help students achieve stronger results.

How Has Lockdown Impacted Education?

It’s fair to say that nobody was expecting the pandemic to hit and to hit so hard. People have missed out on all kinds of events, activities and not seeing their nearest and dearest, but how does this translate into the world of education?

It was expected that the education industry would take a hit as normal routines were completely turned upside down. Each generation of students have all had their own obstacles to overcome during this pandemic, in this blog post we are going to take a look at the impact on young children and their language skills.

According to the BBC, there is more and more evidence to show that young children aren’t quite where they would normally be when it comes to language skills and development.

Ongoing research shows that an increased number of four and five year olds are needing extra help when it comes to language development. This age range is a crucial time for gaining language knowledge and a lot of it will have come from spending time with grandparents, going on playdates and socialising with others. But of course, due to national restrictions this has all been put on hold for safety reasons and to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

According to the BBC ‘Of 58 primary schools surveyed across England:

  • 76% said pupils starting school in September 2020 needed more support with communication than in previous years
  • 96% were concerned about pupils’ speech-and-language development.
  • 56% of parents were concerned about their child starting at school following the lockdown in the spring and summer.’

 

Why would a tutor be beneficial?

As children grow up they may still show signs of knowledge gaps due to missing out on crucial educational opportunities whilst locked down during the pandemic. We have a number of tutors that provide engaging tuition from KS1 through to 11+ that are on hand to help build confidence and identify any key knowledge gaps that your child may be showing.

There is a humbling number of intelligent people available for tutoring but we search for the additional, critical people skills which generate step changes in performance; patience, active listening and a genuine interest and appreciation of each student’s challenge.

Exam season – what’s happening?

With the pandemic continuing to unfold in 2021 the assurance and understanding of whether exams would go ahead was once again unclear for many students. Plans for what should have been exam season have now been set in stone, with recent news explaining the government has announced the Summer 2021 examination series will not go ahead as planned. It will instead follow the process of 2020 examinations. This means that teachers will determine the grade of their students based upon a variety of evidence that has been verified by your school or college.

How will I be graded?

Following in the footsteps of 2020, all students will be assessed by their teachers initially. The assessment submitted by your teacher will then be reviewed by the school or college. There are many ways your teacher can assess you, these are based on:

  • Your overall performance level throughout the duration of the course
  • Assessment on non examination content e.g coursework
  • Work you have produced throughout your studies, from class work to homework
  • Teachers may provide a test for you to complete to confirm their decision

You will be advised which pieces of work will be assessed by your teachers, it is important to mention that the evidence provided will be quality checked.

How best to prepare students for exams

As mentioned above, this year overall grades will be awarded after being assessed internally by teachers. This means that the work you are currently undertaking will be used to help determine your overall grade.

In order to best prepare and to make sure your work is at the highest level, having assistance with your studies will better your chances of earning a good grade. The core subjects are the most sought after qualifications and are a standard when it comes to applying for jobs and progressing with certain courses. Most employers or colleges ideally look for 5 GCSE’s graded 4 / C or above including the core subject of English, Mathematics and Science.

For more information about the up and coming exam season follow this link – https://bit.ly/3nqyfAT

Using a tutor is highly beneficial as sometimes during class, questions can be missed or overlooked. With the year that has gone down there may be particular knowledge gaps in certain areas and subjects. A tutor will help smooth over any knowledge gaps which will in turn not just boost confidence but allow students to push their understanding to its full potential.

When is GCSE / A-Level results day?

This year AS and A-Level results day will be given out on the 10th of August 2021 followed by GCSE’s results being handed out on the 12th of August 2021

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Whilst some agencies focus on numbers, we focus on quality.

Our tutors are selected based on their integrity and ability to inspire. If, for any reason, you do not wish to continue with your tutor after the first lesson, we will pay for your first lesson with another tutor, no questions asked.

Selecting excellent tutors is our most important job. We receive thousands of applications, all of which are carefully reviewed. Most of these applications are rejected after the first reading as they do not have the required qualifications or experience, or they are grammatically poor and contain inconsistencies. Our experience has shown that high-quality tutors submit high-quality resumes which reflect the pride and job satisfaction they gain from tutoring.

Personal interviews are the next stage and are the key indicator as to a tutor’s suitability. We look for several critical qualities but, above all, we look for organised, natural communicators with empathy. Some interviewees have an arrogance that does not sit comfortably with students who enjoy enthusiastic, inspirational and engaging lessons with their tutors.

All our tutors have an Enhanced DBS certificate and we always take up references. The time and resources we devote to selecting our tutors give us the confidence to offer you our 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed commitment, no questions asked.