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Archive for September, 2015

Is it time to go back to basics?

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Did you catch this article recently? It covers an interesting study from an education think tank regarding the use of computer technology in schools.

Research shows that computers alone don’t actually raise standards… Given that children today are always wired up to technology, this opens up the debate about its benefits.

Technology is a vehicle for learning. And it’s here to stay. Used correctly, it can enhance a child’s understanding. That said, the article is a reminder that computers shouldn’t replace learning basic skills first.

After all, we need to teach children to think critically for themselves, to problem solve, to communicate effectively… Given that the results show:

  • “No appreciable improvements” in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in information technology
  • High achieving school systems such as South Korea and Shanghai in China have lower levels of computer use in school

where does that leave you?

The benefits of being unplugged

While computers are undoubtedly a fantastic resource, we think they should never be over used.

Most children who struggle in school need help with the basics: English reading and writing skills, Maths techniques, how to process scientific data… That’s why it can help to work with a private tutor.

Once a child has a firm grip of the basics, the sky really is the limit. Call our terrific team of specialist tutors today if you need an extra helping hand this term. From Wilmslow to Stockport and Altrincham – plus all across Manchester and Cheshire.

How to crack creative writing

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Does your child struggle with creative writing? Whether starting secondary school, sitting an 11+ exam, or embarking on GCSEs, many children battle with it.

Here are some super strategies from our specialist English and literacy tutors on how to crack creative writing:

Read read read

One of the problems is that children lack language knowledge. A simple way to widen vocabulary skills is to read more! Stories also stimulate the imagination, giving children a wealth of ideas on how to create interesting characters and plots.

Check out Lovereading4kids! Full of book suggestions for every age and interest, there are even excerpts you can download for free.

Get planning

Children often launch straight into creative writing without thinking first. It can help to pause and plan so that some thought is given to structure, characterisation and storyline.

Rushed writing is often full of action. Then, then, then… Whereas good writing can be achieved by sticking to a simple plot. Too much action means you rarely focus on feelings, thoughts, observations, setting, atmosphere – and yet these elements make a story interesting.

Mind-mapping ideas for 5 minutes can allow your child to jot down ideas on character, location, storyline – plus how to open and end the piece…

Answer questions

If given a creative writing title such as ‘The deserted house,’ try to visualise the building in your head. Ask questions: what happened to the house, and when? Why doesn’t anyone live in it any more? What’s inside?

Then think about how a character could make a discovery about the house. Perhaps a secret room is found, or a dusty old journal revealing secrets of the past. Creating intrigue is a great way to hook readers.

Private tuition support

If your child needs an additional push in the right direction, we’ve a host of English and Literacy tutors across Manchester and Cheshire. Call 1-2-1 Home Tutors today…

How to survive the first week back at secondary school

Monday, September 7th, 2015

For many children, the first week back at school after a long holiday break can be a nerve-wracking time.

If your child is moving up into secondary school, however, he or she may not be with their usual friendship group. Plus, in secondary school, children don’t stay in the one classroom with the same peers. They are put into academic or mixed ability groups.

With lots of unfamiliar faces, plus a different set of subject teachers and a bigger environment to negotiate, the first week in a new school can be overwhelming.

Most senior schools support year 7 children through this transition time. Often a separate dining hall and play area are set aside to help children get used to their own year group first.

Plus many schools have a buddy system to ensure that children at the new school are never alone.

Tips for parents

As for parents at home, it can be an anxious time too. What helps is to establish a steady routine early on. Getting your child’s school bag ready the night before avoids complete chaos the next morning.

Packing their lunchbox and getting breakfast bowls/spoons out ready can also give you extra time each day.

Bed time routines are equally as important. Over the summer, early bed times go out of the window. Playing on an iPad or Playstation stimulates the brain too much. So encourage a calmer wind-down activity before sleep: reading or a bath.

If your child shows signs of struggling with a subject early on, it’s best to support them with it as soon as possible. With a new curriculum on the cards, children are facing much more challenging lessons.

Luckily, we’ve a host of lovely private tutors across Manchester and Cheshire who can help your child with tricky subjects! Just get in touch!