How to survive high school: Top tips for students

With the first week of school now behind us, spare a thought for the many Australian kids making the transition from primary school to high school.

The return to school after a long summer holiday period can be daunting for all students, but no more so than for those students making the big change from primary to high school.  For those of us who can no longer remember what all the fuss is about, now is a great time to reflect on the juggling act that is settling into a new school: a new classroom and playground environment, new teachers, new friends and new subjects.  It’s enough to make any student feel at least a little bit daunted.

The ABC spoke with Jessica Holsman, the YouTube personality and study guru from the channel Study With Jess, who provides study advice to young high school students.  What did Ms Holsman have to say about starting high school?  She said that students need to “just ease into it“, that it’s important to be mindful of the time it takes to settle in, and that it’s important to be open to new opportunities.  It’s also good to remember that teachers “have your best interests at heart and they’re there to help you“.  And perhaps most importantly: you are not your grades.  Click here for the ABC’s full article.

At Aspire Tuition, we know that the return to school, especially the big change from primary school to high school, can be an anxious and stressful time for students.  However, we believe that with guidance and support from our tutors acting as mentors, some of the burden on students and parents can be relieved.  Our tutors have all been through these challenges personally and they are trained to help our students to overcome such obstacles on their own terms.  Feel free to contact us to discuss your child’s needs.

-Aspire Tuition Team

Making math and science compulsory?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for mathematics and science to be made compulsory for all students finishing high school.

Australia has seen a sharp decline in teaching of math and sciences. At present, math and science are only compulsory until year 10. Statistics released by the University of Sydney show that, between 2003 and 2013, final year high school enrolments in Advanced and Extension Mathematics have steadily deceased. In the same period, the number of students choosing not to enrol in mathematics at all have significantly increased.

This is despite universities moving towards imposing requirements which demand mathematics as a prerequisite to entry to a number of courses, including science, engineering, psychology, medicine, commerce and law. Along the same lines, the University of Technology, Sydney, is in the process of commencing a program which would require every student, regardless of their degree, to complete a compulsory numeracy subject before they graduate.

The Australian Government has recently sought to make STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) a priority, with widespread support from the academic and business communities. The chair of the National Committee for Mathematical Sciences has made the frightening observation that “We are leeching out the mathematical skills from the majority of the population … Apprentices are becoming bricklayers who don’t know how many bricks to order and students are becoming nurses who are unable to work out dosages“. Click here for the full article.

The future of Australian industry and jobs will be driven to a significant degree by technology and the skills which are most compatibility with new those technologies. It is critical that students and young people are equipped with the necessary skills to embrace that future. At Aspire Tuition, we aim to generate passion in our students for all subjects, including math and science. We understand that these subjects help to lay the foundations for our students’ futures, regardless of what career they intend to pursue.

-Aspire Tuition Team

A creative approach to education

‘Creativity’ is a skill which has been the subject of an enormous growth in demand from employers in the past three years.

But what does it mean to be creative? Traditionally, creative has been a label applied to a limited number of people, drawing a line between the arts and sciences. However, the recent push for creativity seen those boundaries being broken down. According to the Foundation for Young Australians, over a third of the ‘Top 15 Occupations Requiring Creativity’ are based in STEM subjects, such as engineering and IT.

Fittingly, this is set to be the topic of two panels at Sydney’s Vivid Festival this year, one titled ‘How to make a career out of Ideas’ and the other ‘Creativity in Education’. Alongside the Federal government’s push towards greater focus on innovation, it’s hard to ignore the truth behind a growing desire for creative thinkers. Click here for the full article.

Like most things, creativity is a skill. It can be developed and improved by applying interesting new approaches to study, even within the school curriculum. At Aspire Tuition, we encourage our students to think creatively, learning to solve problems, not just memorize content.

NAPLAN: Regular testing creating anxious kids who struggle at school

After coming home from a long day at school, many parents find it challenging to inspire students to complete their homework. At the same time, most parents will agree that homework is a necessary step in securing high test scores. But is the pressure of homework and regular tests really doing more harm than good?

Dr Elizabeth Green, a Perth pediatrician specializing in behavioral issues,  has taken a stand against both homework and standardized testing. She says that with the introduction of NAPLAN, anxiety could become the next “big” public health issue, with many of the children she treats expressing fear toward the upcoming tests. “It’s testing and not educating our kids,” says Dr. Green. “[And] of most concern is that they just give up”. Click here for the full article.

Dr. Green advocates that a healthy life requires a healthy balance. While she encourages parents to respect the choices of teachers, she advocates parents stepping in when they feel the homework load is unreasonable. In particular, students who are not familiar with the homework routine from primary school are more likely to struggle with the concept in high school.

The challenge of NAPLAN is one that students will now have to overcome four times in the course of their primary and high school education (in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9). Overcoming this challenge can be stressful for both students and parents. But a helpful tutor and mentor from Aspire Tuition can help to alleviate that stress.

At Aspire Tuition, we believe in striking a balance between study and other commitments, while developing good study habits from an early age. Such well-rounded individuals are best equipped to deal calmly with the stresses of being a student and the later challenges of their adult life. The personalized, one-on-one style of tuition and mentoring which we offer at Aspire Tuition has been demonstrated to close educational gaps and alleviate test anxiety.

Focus on individual students helps improve learning outcomes

Focus on individual students helps improve learning outcomes        

A number of Sydney schools are reporting dramatic improvement in academic outcomes after adopting  an overhauled learning environment which focuses on individual students rather than entire classrooms. The new model involves changes to the structure and style of the classroom, to the manner and method of the teachers, and to the role of students in facilitating their own learning.

The author writes: “It starts at what each child can do, what we know they can do, what they can do, and then crafting learning experiences for them. Good teachers have always done that, but as we’ve gone into a mass production process sometimes we’ve lost the focus of the individual, because we’ve focused on the group or the class. What we’re doing here and across our schools is making sure we’re focusing on each child and so that each child will improve their learning.” Click here for the full article.

At Aspire Tuition, our tutoring program revolves around the importance of focusing on individual students. We believe that changes to Australia’s education system, towards a system which better emphasises and understands the needs of individual students, are both necessary and desirable. Unfortunately, it will very likely take some time before such changes to Australia’s education system become more widespread.

In the meantime, we are confident that the focused attention of in-home, one-on-one tutoring can ensure that your child is receiving the best education possible. Our tutors devote their personal time and attention to understanding the needs of your child and will customise their tuition program according to those needs.

If you have questions about our tutoring program or general tutoring inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our expert team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to answer your questions and help you with your tutoring needs.

-Aspire Tuition Team

Singapore schools: ‘The best education system in the world’ putting significant stress on young children

Singapore schools: ‘The best education system in the world’ putting significant stress on young children

The Singaporean education system was awarded the title of “world’s best education system” following a review last year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, it has also been criticised for the amount of pressure it places on students, who often feel the need to sacrifice their wellbeing for the sake of better grades.

In response to these criticisms, Singapore has been making changes to their system in an effort to reduce the levels of stress students have to manage. Clearly, even Singapore still has room to improve if they are to reach a balanced education system. The author writes “You do not need to compromise on both education and emotional well-being”. Click here for the full article.

At Aspire Tuition, we believe it is important that students are well-equipped to manage the stress of studying and exams. Our tutors understand the stress of balancing studies with everyday life, and are there to ensure your child has the support they need. Our tutors acknowledge the importance of test results, but also know that it is also important that your child genuinely enjoys their educational experience.

If you have questions about our tutoring program or general tutoring enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our expert team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to answer your questions and help you with your tutoring needs.

ATAR scores no predictor of uni marks

ATAR scores no predictor of uni marks

The ATAR score, and the final high school examinations on which it is based, are imperfect measures of a student’s academic performance. The Age newspaper recently published a discussion of a study conducted between 2009 and 2013 which indicated that the ATAR was a poor predictor of academic performance in a student’s first year of university.

The author writes: “Universities should stop recruiting students based on ATAR scores, which have been shown to have little bearing on academic performance, a new report recommends … ‘ATAR score is just one of the many factors, it doesn’t really explain a lot in terms of diversity in student outcomes’”. Click here for the full article.

The article draws particular attention to the impact of certain socio-economic factors, including gender, quality of school and language, on university performance. It observes that “when controlling for factors determining socio-economic status, students at lower quality schools tended to get better grades at university”. This supports the idea that the opportunities arising from a university education remain available to people of all backgrounds.

At Aspire Tuition, we find the results of the report to be unsurprising. There is much more to a child’s education than their ability to perform in final exams. Exams tend to favour those students who are naturally inclined to perform well in examination conditions, for example, whilst students who suffer from test anxiety are unable to perform at their best. An important question facing the education industry is how to incorporate these considerations into university admissions, perhaps via the ATAR score.

With 2015 HSC exams looming on the horizon, we are now looking to support our students in overcoming their difficulties and achieving their very best. If you have questions about our tutoring program, or general tutoring enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our expert team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to answer your questions and help you with your tutoring needs.

– Aspire Tuition Team

NAPLAN: How would adults perform?

NAPLAN testing: How would adults perform?

NAPLAN national testing concluded recently, with over one million students across Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 completing the Language Conventions and Writing, Reading and Numeracy tests.

Congratulations to all of our students on completing your NAPLAN testing!

The regulated testing system has received some criticism in the past, and this year one school took the measure of sending out a heartwarming letter to remind students that, while results reflect reading and writing ability, they cannot begin to asses all of the unique qualities of each individual. The teachers wrote: “This test does not assess all of what makes each of you exceptional and unique“. Click here to view the full article.

For those parents wondering what the NAPLAN is all about, news.com.au has a released sample quiz of NAPLAN-style questions. For the curious, or the competitive, click here to have a try and see what you think of the test!

At Aspire Tuition, we believe that test results are important, but we should always take the time to reflect on the message that students are not defined by a single mark.

If you have questions about NAPLAN testing, or general tutoring enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our expert team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to answer your questions and help you with your tutoring needs.

-Aspire Tuition Team

Size does matter when you’re in a class of 42

Size does matter when you’re in a class of 42

Overcrowding in classrooms creates a poor learning environment, drives teachers out of the profession, and reduces the quality of education for all students. The Guardian recently discussed how the UK schooling system will cope with an increasing number of students with an increasingly limited number of resources, and this begs the question: how are Australian schools going to cope with the same problem?

The author writes: “To get class sizes of 20, the government would need to build a third more classrooms. To increase class sizes to 50, schools would need to start knocking down walls. Both are expensive actions. So what actually happens when, as now, there is a pressing need for more school places is that class sizes creep upwards, just as they did in the 90s, and classrooms increasingly resemble Christmas dinner – with children running next door to borrow ‘temporary’ chairs, then sitting at their teacher’s desk and jamming elbows into each other as they write.” Click here for the full article.

At Aspire Tuition, we think that smaller classroom sizes are the most desirable option for our schools. We acknowledge that there are practical limitations which make this difficult to achieve, but this does not make it acceptable to ignore the issue.

We also believe that the ability of a tutor to devote personal time and attention to the needs of a child, and customise that child’s tuition program accordingly, is of utmost importance. For that reason, we believe that the focused attention of in-home, one-on-one tutoring can ensure that your child is receiving the best education possible.

If you have questions about our tutoring program or general tutoring enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our expert team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to answer your questions and help you with your tutoring needs.

– Aspire Tuition Team

Lessons for Australian schools

Lessons for Australian schools: the simple reasons behind Finland’s educational success

The Australian school system is often subject the subject of great debate and criticism – and usually rightfully so – there are important questions to ask about the performance of our school system and the impacts that this has on the success of our future generations. The Age recently examined the simple reasons behind Finland’s educational success, which raises the question: what lessons are there for Australian schools?

The author writes: “Finland’s remarkable education success is now reasonably well-known, and the reasons behind it sound surprisingly simple. These include: valuing of – and rigorous entry requirements for – the teaching profession; comprehensive and egalitarian public funding; and teaching encouragingly for the purpose that students learn, rather than punitively for the purpose that they meet the requirements of high-stakes external tests.” Click here for the full article.

At Aspire Tuition, we think that the tutoring community has valuable contributions to make to this discussion, and we are thinking about how to incorporate these simple lessons into our own teaching to provide the best education for our students.

We believe in teaching encouragingly and fostering deep understanding and a love of learning. We believe in creating well-rounded individuals. And we believe that a strong education and happy childhood can go hand in hand. Our tutors are trained to help your child enjoy the learning experience and find their own path to success.

If you have questions about our tutoring program or general tutoring enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our expert team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to answer your questions and help you with your tutoring needs.

– Aspire Tuition Team

1 2
page 1 of 2