Senior School Transitions

Senior School Transitions

For a student transitioning from Year 10 to Year 11 or from Year 11 to Year 12, their journey through senior school feels both exciting and intimidating.

  • Exciting because they have more opportunities for leadership, wider subject selections, and are closer to the end of their time at school.
  • Intimidating because of the responsibilities and expectations thrust upon them seemingly overnight. They know that previous years have been preparing them for senior school, yet they feel like they’re staring into the unknown with no idea what to expect or how to survive, let alone thrive.

In these transitions, students who are well-organised and self-motivated have a distinct advantage. Even more so, students who are proficient with reading comprehension, writing, and general maths skills. Students who have not found personal motivation for learning or feel behind their classmates often experience anxiety, which can appear to concerned parents and caregivers as worry, irritability, or apathy.
Qualities of successful students, such as diligence, curiosity, and self-motivation, take time to develop, so it is crucial that students feel encouraged and supported as they seek to cultivate a positive attitude to their education.

Some students in year 10 are completing their Preliminary HSC course amongst their other year 10 subjects. Students in Years 11 and 12 need to complete their Major Works (HSC) and Internal Assessments (IB) alongside exams and other assignments. For all students, organisational skills are crucial to managing the competing demands of senior years.

  • All students need an effective method of note-taking and revision.
  • All students need a reliable system for managing email inboxes and cloud-based file storage using Google, Microsoft Office, Canvas, or another online storage platform provided by their school.
  • All students need to allow adequate time for researching and referencing assignments to comply with academic honesty policies.
  • All students need to balance their studies with time for family and friends and getting adequate sleep and exercise. Some students also need to balance extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs with their studies.

Whether your child is academic, sporty, musical, arty, or just looking forward to life after school, all students need to feel supported through times of transition and encouraged to meet new expectations about workloads and responsibilities.

At Nepean Tutoring, each one of our tutors has been there. We know how it feels to juggle competing priorities and we’re well acquainted with the range of emotions that your child is feeling. Our tutors are patient listeners and passionate about sharing realistic advice and giving practical support to help your child reach their learning goals.
No matter what year your child is in, there is no better time to begin working on these essential skills. We have tutors with openings for Term 4 and for the summer holidays, but be quick! These slots are filling up fast, so contact us today. We’d love to welcome you into the Nepean Tutoring family and help your child on the road to successful life-long learning.

(Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash)

Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole

What exactly is curiosity? What do we mean when we say that curiosity is an attribute of successful learners?

‘Curiosity’ is a trait similar to inquisitiveness: it encompasses a desire to question, investigate, and explore how things work and why things are the way they are.

Indira Ghandi once said, “The power to question is the basis of all human progress.” If we want to change the world, or inspire our children to make a difference, we must first be curious about what is before we can imagine what could be.

But how can we curate curiosity in our children when there are a plethora of entertainment options to choose from? How do we inspire inquisitiveness when we have countless devices to occupy our eyes and our thoughts?

To my mind, nothing replaces a day trip to a museum.

  • If you love art, there is the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW, or the National Portrait Gallery.
  • If you love science, there is the Powerhouse Museum or Questacon.
  • If you love books, the Mitchell Reading Room at State Library of NSW is awe-inspiring.
  • If natural history is your passion, there is the National Dinosaur Museum in Canberra or the Australian Museum in Sydney.
  • If you’re interested in ancient history, you can’t go past the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney.
  • If you want to know more about Australia’s national history, the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum of Australia are phenomenal.

I’ll always be a reader; trips to the library will always be as exciting to me as Nutella Fairy Bread. But I’ll also be the first to acknowledge that not everyone loves words as much as I do. The best thing about museums is that they suit every learning style.

There are interactive exhibits for energetic and kinaesthetic learners. Visual learners can behold artistic masterpieces, contemplate infographics, and marvel at architectural wonders. Many museums have audio guides and run tours for those who like to listen and ask questions. And of course, if there wasn’t enough to read during the exhibit, the gift shop will give you the opportunity to purchase a book for more information and as a souvenir to remember your adventure.

And if you’re self-isolating or stuck inside on a rainy day this school holidays, look no further than Google Arts and Culture (https://artsandculture.google.com/). We might not be able to travel physically, but you can virtually explore hundreds of renowned museums and galleries from Australia and all over the world including the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Van Gogh Museum, and all of the Smithsonian museums. All you need is an internet connection.

So go on! Incite your family’s imagination this holidays and encourage curiosity by physically or virtually exploring a museum together. Follow your interests and don’t be afraid to lose yourself down the rabbit hole of knowledge. You never know what you’ll discover!

(Photo by Reuben Teo on Unsplash)

Inspiring the Unmotivated Student

Inspiring the Unmotivated Student

Many students go through stages where it appears they are wholly disinterested in school. They might say, “School’s boring,” and without elaborating further, parents feel powerless to help.

Closer observation or speaking to their teachers might reveal underlying factors such as low self-esteem, trouble at home, conflict with friends, physical or mental illness, learning difficulties, or that they are over- or under-challenged in the classroom. Knowing the cause is helpful, but what do you do when nagging your child to do their homework or threatening to take away privileges is has lost its effect?

Ultimately, motivation has to come from within, but parents and teachers can play a significant role in inspiring students to learn. The key thing to remember is that learning is not confined to the classroom. We are constantly gaining knowledge about history, culture, politics, people, and the environment from the news, our entertainment choices, and our discussions with others. As we reflect on our own experiences and empathise with the experiences of others, we are challenging and developing our opinions, and acquiring wisdom for future decisions.

Here are a few approaches you can try to stimulate your child’s curiosity:

  • Identify their learning style (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, introverted, extroverted, etc) and try a different approach to school work that is more appealing. For example, tackle a maths problem by drawing diagrams or study for a history test through a family discussion about the causes and effects of World War One.
  • Encourage participation in family discussions. Sometimes students disengage because they are afraid of getting the answers wrong. Informal discussions about current affairs or theorising about what will happen next in your favourite television drama allows for students to ‘take risks’ in a safe environment where they don’t feel the pressure of comparison. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge when your child has a good idea or if you decide to change your opinion. This lets them know that it’s okay to be wrong and that there is no shame in reviewing information and changing your mind.
  • Get out of the house. Go for a walk together to review content for an upcoming exam or unpack a daunting assignment. This might also create space for the student to talk about other issues or struggles which are affecting them.
  • See a movie together. Use their current film, TV and Netflix viewing to discuss plot, themes, soundtrack, and casting. Understanding the storytelling techniques of media they are interested in can spark ideas about the novels and films being studied in class.
  • Make links between the student’s interests and passions and the classroom. If they love sport but hate reading, find articles of game results or personality profiles to make reading more relevant. If they love food but hate maths, try doubling or halving a recipe together to see fractions in action.
  • Highlight progress, no matter how small. Celebrating their wins will help them to see the positives in what they are learning and develop vital self-confidence. Even if their level of improvement doesn’t correspond to your standards of achievement, recognising their accomplishments according to their standards can go a long way towards improving their self-esteem.

Still no luck? Many students find that a fresh face or a new approach can help them to reignite an interest in learning, or deal with any underlying learning problems that are causing them to disengage. At Nepean Tutoring, we boast an extensive team of experienced, enthusiastic, creative tutors. Simply Contact Us and we’ll match a tutor to suit your unique requirements.

Photo by Sébastien LAVALAYE on Unsplash