Tuition in Leicester: Choosing Spark Academy

Hi, my name is Anjani, I am currently studying Economics (BA) and this is my Spark Academy story.

 

Where it all started – looking for tuition in Leicester

 

During my time in college, I studied Economics, Biology, and Chemistry at A level. I joined Spark Academy halfway through my first year at college, and this was because I was struggling with Chemistry and Biology. My initial career goal was to study veterinary medicine and become a vet surgeon – despite not having any pets of my own, I loved them. The requirements to study this course were very narrow; prediction of AAA at A-level and 5 weeks’ work experience in a mix of both clinic and equestrian farms. There was also a formal interview and psychometric tests. Not to mention, only 7 universities carry out this course all of which have strict policies of resubmissions if you get rejected the first time.

 

I knew I needed assistance

 

At college the subjects I was learning felt overwhelming with the amount of content I had to understand and learn. I began to search for tutors around my area and decided that Spark Academy would be the one for me. Their focus on Biology and Chemistry helped me decide because these subjects were key for the course I wanted to study at A-levels. I met with Mital and Gemma, who helped me significantly by explaining where I needed to improve and how to improve my science grades. All the little tips and in-depth teaching improved not only my grades but my confidence too.

 

 

What happened next

 

It wasn’t until just before my exams I decided to completely change the course I applied for at university. I changed it to Economics because I was unable to get placement for the Vet Medicine course. I was happy with my decision because I had a passion just as big for economics as I did for animals. The night before results day, I was unable to sleep so I stayed up waiting for my results to be revealed. I was nervous despite receiving an unconditional offer at DMU and having done my best – I was hoping my hard work paid off. I am currently in my second year of study and I do not regret choosing Economics. Not only do I learn about money circulation and markets but accounting, maths, and marketing too!

 

I encourage my friends and peers to choose Spark Academy when considering tuition in Leicester. One piece of advice I would give A-level students is to do as many past paper exam questions as possible, remembering to check answers against the mark scheme and record what topic areas they need to improve on.

I would recommend Spark Academy for sciences because the tutors are passionate about their teaching subjects.

 

Not sure what you may need help with? Book your free trial with us and we will help you decide which membership plan suits you best.

How to Figure Out the Right Learning Styles for Kids?

Learning Styles for Kids

Tags – Learning Styles for Kids

 

If someone tells you that they know how to train your brain to learn, they are simply lying. Let us explain.

Even though scientific progress has been seen with a better understanding of most parts of our body, our understanding of the human brain, in general, is at quite a preliminary level. To put it into context, scientists are now able to grow a beating, new heart, or even try to put a new head on humans, but mapping out the brain and the meaning of all neuron activity is still a puzzle, for the most part.

So, apart from a few tricks that work at the level of building and storing memory, for instance the mind palace technique, most of the learning shortcuts are simply lies, or, at the least, exaggerations. So, don’t get sold to pop science and waste your time and money.

However, in terms of how matters come out in real, i.e. our styles, the understanding of human learning is a bit more concrete. To put into context, an understanding of our learning styles is far more effective, including, in terms of improving our children’s performance.

 

Learning Styles for Kids

In more explicit terms, understanding the learning styles for kids gives you a better understanding of the kind of environment required that encourages soaking, understanding, and expression of knowledge and learning.

And, as you can imagine, there is not a single path of figuring out the right environment for your child. At Spark Academy, in order to do so, we follow a simplified path: Finding the sweet spot where the kid is enjoying their learning journey.

 

The Fun Element in the Learning Journey

You may not realise this but humans are genetically curious. And, you can imagine what happens when this human curiosity is fed the right way: we have fun.

Sadly, when the topic of fun is brought up in education, most parents think of an environment that is overly ‘lenient’; one where the education facilities are simply designed to keep the kid satisfied, with little to no emphasis on real learning.

However, that is not always the case.

The right learning environment for a kid, in itself, is full of fun. However, treating fun in learning as an end result is a fallacy too.

In fact, if you treat learning and knowledge as an end-result, the journey becomes insufferable.

Therefore, it is important to draw a journey map for your child and figure out what wakes up that curiosity in your child. And, this is exactly what we do for your kids at Spark Academy: we place your kids within the right styles of learning.

 

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

 

And, to learn about other areas of tuition and your child’s learning, check:

  1. Self-Confidence and Test Results – An Ignored Connection
  2. Teacher Talk – Lively Literature
  3. What are the Benefits of Group Tuition?

Self-Confidence and Test Results – An Ignored Connection

Self-Confidence and Test Results

Tags – Self-Confidence and Test Results

 

What are the factors that contribute to a child’s educational test results?

At the most basic level, most of us are well aware of the importance of imparting the right knowledge in the right setting. However, this right setting is more than just cramming information within surrounding walls.

In fact, for most of the students, actually knowing an answer usually contributes to just half of the marks. The rest of the marks are built around the environment and the ability to express in a desired manner. In other words, self-confidence and management of stress are as important as actually knowing and understanding your content. The combination of these factors brings the needed balance. And, this has been the case for ages.

 

An Old Legend

You may have come across this old legend before.

An elderly, popular musician was about to perform on a sitar (an indian rendition of the modern guitar) for an anticipating crowd. However, when he tried to play the instrument, no sound came out. Rightfully, a nearby younger person pointed out that the strings were not tight enough to vibrate and produce a sound.

At this point, the elderly man started laughing and said that learning and education are the same. There is no positive outcome without the strings being fine tuned to vibrate in the needed motion.

In other words, there is no expression of knowledge, and hence test results, without the right mental state, i.e. confidence and stress management of the child.

The sad part is, all of us have gone through some form of pressure and stress. However, we seem to forget that kids go through the same, or similar cycles.

 

The Pressure to Perform

Do you remember the last time you were in an exam situation? Here, we are not just talking about an educational exam. In fact, the same principle can be applied to most challenges in life.

Now, in comparison, think of the first time you were in such a situation.

For most of us, unless you were always great at it, the situation is quite daunting. You may be great at speaking to a group now, but public speaking, for instance, is psychologically enlisted as one of the biggest fears among humans. Similarly, think of going blank in an interview.

The examples here are endless. The point we are trying to put across is: your child needs to learn and grow too; the same way as most of us did over time. And, learning so has helped us in more than one way.

The discussion here is not just regarding how many marks can your kid get but how well is your kid going to perform through their life.

To provide some further context for the discussion, let’s look into the reasons for why the stuttering happens.

 

Understanding Confidence and Tackling it

Do you know what is our brain’s natural reaction to excessive bleeding?

Shutting down the body.

This may sound completely illogical but our body goes into a closing mode when the going gets tougher.

However, if you can press down on the point of bleeding and get the right help in time, you can, in a way, fake it and create a coping mechanism for your brain, signalling that the situation is not so bad.

This is exactly the same case for confidence.

We may think that some people are simply more confident than others. This may be true at a basic differences level, but, keep in mind that confidence can be built with the right conditioning.

Our animalistic instincts might tell us to flee but if you can assure your brain that things are not as bad, with the right guidance to keep things in check, your kid will learn to fight with the right tools.

And, that is why, we, at Spark Academy have made confidence a central point in our tuition services.

 

To learn more, get in touch with us today. 

 

And, to learn about other, related areas of tuition for your kids, check:

  1. Childhood Development: 3 Ways Your Child can Benefit from our Tutoring Services
  2. Exam Prep Stress? Here’s how to Combat it
  3. Celebrating Pupil Progress

Does my child need tutoring services?

tutoring services uk

The year 2020 means setting new intentions for the new decade, including exploring opportunities for your little one. Tutoring services are nothing new. In fact, they have evolved. At Spark Academy, we focus on holistic development elements in addition to improving grades for maths, English and science. If you agree with any of the below, your child may need tutoring services.

Their marks are dropping

This is the first sign that may indicate that your child could need tutoring services. Unless there are external factors, such as high absenteeism or a family matter, your child’s grades should more or else stay within the same average. If they start to drop despite the same level of commitment to the work, a tutor may save the day. Start by approaching your child’s schoolteacher to speak about your concerns and they will likely recommend avenues for extra help.

A decline in grades is only a short-term challenge as a change in curriculum or subject matter may require an individualised approach for understanding.

Their confidence is low

A quiet child does not mean lack of self-confidence, however if they are withdrawn and struggle with interaction with their peers, then this area needs work. Choosing a tutor that caters to your child’s individualised approach will help them become more independent and confident in their abilities. Benefits of tutoring services include developing problem-solving skills, a supportive structure where students are comfortable with asking questions, and an environment that encourages interactive learning and a high-performance mindset.

Tutoring services are in line with the curriculum

Tutors don’t necessarily teach anything new, and rather focus on teaching the same work differently. Being up to date with the curriculum prepares your child ahead of relevant exam and assignment topics so they are familiar with the work even outside the tutoring centre. Tutoring centres have relationships with schools, guaranteeing the quality of work your child receives.  

I cannot help with homework

Parents struggle to find the time to immerse themselves in their child’s homework, let alone understand it. Methods and approaches have changed since the last time you sat in a classroom and we know how frustrating it is to not understand the homework presented before you. Tutoring services offer packages that offer homework help so you don’t have to worry about it. At Spark, we also check for any upcoming projects so that you prepare for them on time.

We know how much your child’s development matters to you and we foster relationships with our students and their parents. We provide weekly reports on their development, self-study material they can use during holiday periods, and frequent tutor check-ins for your convenience. Begin your Spark Academy journey by getting in touch with us to book your free consultation.

Maths Tutor: 3 Ways They Can Help with Your Exams

maths tutor

Firstly, can we agree that any form of help is great? The problem is halved and as the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Even beyond the years of your primary school career, you may find that you need a maths tutor to help you with your current schoolwork. University or A-level students often think that they need to figure their coursework out on their own, limiting themselves to university resources. Sometimes, this is not enough, leading to heightened stress, especially during exam preparation. Let us look at 3 ways a maths tutor can help with your exams.

1. They can tutor using an approach that suits you

Tertiary education means no more handholding. This is quite different from the constant support and accessibility you received from your school teachers, however, this does not mean you should struggle. We believe in using individualised approaches to your studies and a maths tutor can guide you through what will work for you.

2. A maths tutor will have access to additional learning material

Maths tutors are experienced in the subject and some are passionate about it. As people who bridge the gap between lecturers and the student, they know where to find material that will help you refine your understanding of maths. In some instances, when you practise with past exam papers and use study guides, the same maths equation may appear in your exam.

3. Your maths tutor can plan sessions ahead of time

Students, especially in their first year, tend to structure their study timetable to fit just enough preparation without planning for contingencies. What happens when a subject or section takes much longer to understand? Your sessions are well-planned in terms of how they will work and what you will focus on when you have the help of your maths tutor.

Once your tutor has helped you, the rest is up to you. Tips for maths exam preparation include:

  • Taking sufficient and well-timed study breaks
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking plenty of water and eat a balanced diet
  • Revising with past papers

Excellent maths tutors teach problem-solving methods that you will use long after the sessions are over. One of our students has gained confidence through her improved university marks. Spark Academy offers A-level tutoring for maths and science, from which many of our students find great value. If you are ready to improve your grades, here is what we have on offer.

Childhood development: 3 ways your child can benefit from our tutoring services

childhood development

Since our establishment, we have had parents pop us a few direct messages on our social media channels and schools emailing us a few testimonials, expressing children’s overall improvement. “My child seems more confident since joining the Academy”. “She is always eager to ask questions now”. Childhood development within an educational space should go beyond just achieving good grades. Yes, these are important, but have you considered your child’s confidence, interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities in the long term? Spark Academy focuses on the importance of holistic childhood development together with the grades. Here are 3 ways your child can benefit from our tutoring services:

1.    They will have a supportive structure

Oftentimes, children are nervous to raise their hand, assuming that what they are unsure of makes them wrong. Support does not mean spoon-feeding our students with answers. We have created a culture where our students approach us with what they need help with most. What they learn is the ability to be assertive themselves in who they are, play to their identified strengths, and feel comfortable with how they do things differently. Our classrooms numbers are kept to a minimum, allowing more one-on-one opportunity between the tutor and the student.

2.    Their interactive abilities are challenged positively

Our peer-to-peer engagement approach allows for our students to interact with each other, building friendships within the classes. The differences each student has are challenged in a way that encourages them to learn from one another, working as a team for solutions to the tasks we assign. It is one thing to sit in front of a computer or go through the same schoolwork, which eventually becomes redundant. Our students break off into group to create projects and build models together, bringing their communication, listening, and problem-solving skills to the fore.

3.    We use an individualised approach

Children who are well-guided in their formative years become well-rounded adults who see their worth than being more than just their grades. Ultimately, no two children go down the same path or possess the same academic strength and this is the beauty of individuality. Our qualified tutors are up to date with the current schooling curriculum and specialise in childhood development methods that stem from areas where skills are identified within the child. We then approach the tuition sessions based on what will encourage your child to perform at their optimal best. We further encourage individual thinking through self-study packs, which are available for them to complete even during holiday periods.

 

We also offer homework help, so that they are not continuously frustrated at doing work they are not comfortable with completing alone. We know that this lessens the stress for parents too! If you want to see who our tutors are, visit our team page of fun, qualified tutors. If you are ready to start with us, book a free trial so you and your child can experience Spark Academy first-hand. Not sure yet? Book a free consultation. This gives you a better understanding of how we can truly help your child.

Exam prep stress? Here’s how to combat it

maths and science tutor

Is it too early to prepare for exams? Of course not. In fact, the earlier you start, the more time you have to focus on things that concern you by asking for extra help to iron out those creases. If you are a little pressed for time, no worries. What matters is that you are using whatever time you have left to make a difference to the exam preparation. We have included tips on how to combat exam prep stress, including prioritising your subjects and getting an English, maths and science tutor.

Ensure you have all the exam information you need

Once you are sure of things such as date, time and venue, you will have one less thing to be stressed about on exam day. Go a step further by ensuring that you also know what section of your work to prepare for. Nothing can cause extreme anxiety like studying the wrong thing and showing up to your exam not knowing any of the work.

Prioritise your subjects

There are subjects you are really good at, and some that need you to spend a little more time trying to gain a better understanding. Those that need the most attention should be at the top of your priority list. This does not mean the subjects at the bottom do not need your attention; however, these are ones you could do well in with less time invested towards them. You will also be able to get through this work faster. To figure out which subjects should be your top priority, list all your subject and add a number, from 1 to 10, next to each one with 1 being the subject you are least comfortable and 10 being the subject you do really well in.

Make a revision timetable ahead of your exam date

Timetables are there to keep you accountable and on track – don’t set any unrealistic expectations for yourself. If you know that you struggle to stay focused due to lack of sleep, don’t set a study schedule that will leave you with 3 hours of sleep. An unrealistic timetable will eventually demotivate you, resulting in you possibly falling behind schedule. Here is what you should include in your revision timetable:

  • List of things you will do each day
  • Actual time allocations
  • Regular breaks
  • Time to read through the day’s work
  • Study goals for the day
  • Regular commitments, such as sport and extra classes
  • When to complete past papers

It is also okay to revisit your timetable as you progress through the work. If you dedicated 5 days for your English work and you understand it in 3 days, use the 2 days to revise another subject. This will help you make the most of your time rather than sit through repetitive sections.

Consider getting help from an English, maths and science tutor

The one-fits-all approach to teaching methods may be the concept you are struggling to grasp. English, maths and science are subjects that may require that you get an individualised approach to the work. At Spark, we focus on the overall development of the student so that they are equipped with the knowledge to solve their English, maths and science work, even when their tutor is not there. Our science lesson structure places emphasis on understanding theory.

Avoid other stressed students

You may think that your stress will bring you together to reach common ground, but the result could be the complete opposite. They could be worried about things that are not an issue to you, however, you will begin to stress about how they could be right. Remember, your strengths are not the same so try to focus on what is beneficial to you.

 

Bonus points

  • Take realistic breaks. Don’t use these to do any other schoolwork.
  • Split your study time into bite-size sessions. You can use a timing method such as the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Get active. Sitting in one place the whole day can cause you to become lethargic. Go for walks regularly.
  • Use your phone, but not for social media. Your phone has many capabilities and tools to make studying easier
  • Stay away from caffeine and maintain a healthy diet.

 

Tutoring centres offer many benefits, which include building confidence and accountability. Spark Academy’s tutoring classes are small so that each student is assisted and engages through peer learning. If you are looking for an English, maths and science tutor, get in touch.

How can my child benefit from after school tutoring?

after school tutoring

Tutoring should start from ages as young as 7 years old, be it on weekends or weekdays after school. After school tutoring has several benefits for your child and it is more than just homework help.

1. After school hours are productive

Once the school bell rings and all children run out their school doors, they have most likely forgotten what they have learned during the day. The hours between after school and bedtime are crucial for establishing a routine of productivity, and that where tutoring comes in. Your child will learn to become productive towards their self-development, which will encourage a positive attitude towards school.

2. Individualised learning approach

A school classroom setting can limit the amount of one-on-one interaction from their teachers. Another frustration may be the one-fits-all approach to the teaching methods which unfortunately do not appeal to all students. Experienced tutors have been exposed to different learning approaches and can adopt a method and pace that ensures your child stays on track.

3. Holistic development and confidence

Your child’s grades will improve through effective after school tutoring, boosting their confidence in the classroom. The tools they use to excel will encourage cognitive thinking that they can apply to their schoolwork on their own and towards solving critical problems beyond the classroom. Other development areas include independence, responsibility, accountability and focus.

4. Your child is more than just a number

In a bigger classroom setup, children may feel intimidated to ask questions, especially if they are struggling to understand their work. Ultimately, teachers are managing many more students at one time. While tutoring centres pace accordingly, methods are best suited for each child and their needs. Some tutoring centres also reward and give credit where it is due. As a parent, you receive feedback on the individualised approach your child is benefitting from.

5. Safety and supervision

After school activities play an important part in your child’s development. Unfortunately, what they may be exposed to is not always safe for them, especially if they are in a larger group setting with minimal supervision. When parents are not around, they are more likely to try engaging in behaviour that mom and dad will not be aware of. After school tutoring means safety for your child, with the supervision of qualified teachers.

Benefits for you as a parent:

  • You no longer have to help with homework you don’t understand. It is frustrating when parents struggle to help their children with the work that comes with an evolving school syllabus.
  • You get to focus on other aspects of parenting. It is no secret that parents are always juggling tasks to make sure school projects are complete, and school meetings are attended. After school tutoring will help you check off at least one task so you can focus on everything else.
  • You are exposed to other ways of understanding your child. This is because they are interacting with content that gives them a different perspective for independent thinking.

At Spark Academy, we offer membership perks that ensure you are well aware of the progress your child is making. We believe you will see their development through their critical thinking abilities, communication and problem-solving skills. Start your child’s development here.

Maths GCSE Revision Tips

Draw up a list

Before you start revising, get all your notes sorted. Draw up a list of all the topics you need to cover before you begin.

Plan your revision

Plan exactly when you are going to revise, and be strict with yourself. Don’t revise all day. Revise in small chunks and take regular breaks. Make sure you do some form of exercise, even if it is just going for a walk.

Reward yourself

Give yourself little treats and things to look forward to. If you do a good day of revision, take the night off, watch some T.V, go and see your friends. Buy yourself some chocolate, but only let yourself eat it once you have achieved what you need to do.

Complete Maths questions

Don’t just read through the textbook! The only way to revise Maths is to do Maths. You will do much better spending 20 minutes doing Maths questions than spending two hours just reading a textbook. The more questions you do yourself, the more you will get right. This will boost your confidence meaning you will enjoy your revision more and do better in the exam.

Use the internet

There are websites that can set you questions and mark them for you. They take you through solving certain topics step-by-step. Use Spark Vids and BBC Bitesize Revision.

Don’t just practice the topics you can do

Keep working your way through the topics that you struggle with because it is much better to struggle on them at home, when you have time on your side and the answers available, than it is to struggle in the exam.

Make sure you ask for help

If you are stuck on a topic or a question, ask one of the people from your class, your teacher, Spark Academy tutor, or someone at home.

Practice doing questions under exam conditions

Get someone to pick you a set of questions from your textbook, or get some from a Maths website, and try doing them in silence, with no help, for a fixed amount of time. This will get you used to what it will be like in the exam, how fast you need to go, and is the best way of checking that you really understand a topic.

Practice using your calculator

Many people seem to assume that any question that lets you use a calculator is easy, and all calculators work the same. All calculators work differently, and unless you have used yours for lots of different types of questions you might not know how to use them in the exam. Find out if there are any problems early enough to correct them!

Revise with a friend

If it works for you, try revising with a friend for a bit of the time. You will find that one of you understands one topic more, whilst the other is a bit of an expert on another. Just by explaining things to a friend, you will find that your understanding increases, and likewise you might learn a different way of thinking about and understanding a topic.

Try not to worry

A little worry is not a bad thing as it keeps you focused, but revision certainly shouldn’t be a stressful time. It should be a time where your brain gets chance to sort all the information it has been bombarded with and make sense of everything.

 

Good luck with your revision. Please ask for help if you need it.

-Katherine Wallis

Science of learning

Key research

 

At Spark Academy, we are passionate about understanding new research and developments in the world of education. One area that is coming to the forefront is known as the ‘Science of learning.’

Science of learning is a relatively new field of research. It brings together research from neuroscience, psychology, education and other research disciplines to bridge the gap. During my time as a teacher, I have seen many new initiatives become implemented into teaching practice. That is until the next new thing come along and usurps the previous model of teaching.

However many of these initiatives were based on neuromyths. For example, it was thought that individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). Yet there were never any clear implications for pedagogy arising from existing models of learning styles.

 

The Spark approach

 

The new field of research is mainly concerned with looking at how our brains work. From this, we can develop teaching methods that maximise learning by using this knowledge. The brain is multi-sensory so learning benefits from a multiple sensory delivery. How many times have you heard a song that reminds you of a specific event from your past? Or a certain scent takes you back to a happy memory?

 

Is it possible to maximise learning by engaging all of our senses?

 

One idea that we are going to be investigating is having a specific ‘Spark’ scent. This will be used in classrooms to help invigorate student brains and hopefully allow more links to be made during their learning journey.

One statement that is reiterated a lot throughout this research, is that our brains are plastic. We are responsible for allowing our brains to grow and therefore store information. This includes reading a book that isn’t on the English syllabus or visiting a museum that holds an array of historic artefacts.  It is common practice in education to give students labels, however what the research is showing is that the brain can still develop to store the information required, it may just be at a slower rate. What it also shows is that these labels can restrict the learning of the students who have been labelled, for example, with dyslexia. They become dependent on their label as a reason for not achieving something and yet their brains are just as plastic as the next student.

Our mission at Spark Academy is to develop young people that are resilient and independent learners. We will continue to research the workings of the brain and implement changes to our teaching. These new strategies will see us help students to think for themselves, not be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them and in short, be the best version of themselves they can be.