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On Set with BrightSparkz Tutors

Lights, camera, action!

BrightSparkz Location Tutors

In the year that BrightSparkz Tutors has been providing film production companies with on-set (location) tutors and childminders, our tutors have travelled all over South Africa, from Mpumalanga and the Drakensberg, to the Cederberg and all over Cape Town. No day is ever the same, with stunts taking place, weather being made, crazy costumes and crazier make up, and incredible sets being built overnight. One thing stays the same – this is a film set, not a school, and children partaking as lead actors or extra’s need to be kept occupied, safe, and ready to head to set at a moment’s notice.

Any minor working on a filmset must legally be accompanied by a childminder. This role frequently extends to tutoring, as the school-ages actors and extras are often out of school for days or weeks at a time while filming, and someone needs to ensure their daily schooling requirements are met!

Schooling starts when the children sign in, and location tutors check up on their schooling needs and homework, which subjects they need help with today and what their schedule will be like. BrightSparkz ensures that there is a tutor on set that can handle questions from any major subject (Maths, Science, English and Afrikaans, and others if necessary – this sometimes includes other countries’ curricula!). Once on set, and in-between takes, the books come out. BrightSparkz’ childminders and tutors help the children through any tough course work, helping them through any school-related problems they may be having, as well as supervising homework and studying. It’s important for the children to stay up to date with their school work, and do something productive with all the time spent waiting around!

Location tutors and child minders also act as a go-between for staff and school-aged actors/extras, shuttling them to set when needed, collecting them for meals and scenes, and ensuring that all children are where they should be, when they should be there! (Our tutors sometimes need eyes at the back of our heads, and on the sides!). A major concern on set is safety. Any set always has a great deal of heavy equipment, cables, cameras – and this just the smaller things. Stunts and explosions, fire or snakes and scorpions are just some of the things that threaten the children’s safety. It is also these things that amaze the children as they watch a stunt or listen to a snake wrangler explain the way the snakes’ poison works (a lesson they will never forget – no books or tests required!).

BrightSparkz’ location tutors and childminders have another important job – being an advocate and voice for school-ages actors/kids in an adult-dominated environment, making sure they have someone to turn to, to ask for advice, or even to speak up if the time between bathroom breaks becomes too long!

BrightSparkz ensures that tutors and childminders are suitably qualified, with university and teaching degrees or well on their way to obtaining them, as well as experience tutoring the subjects they are on set to tutor. They are also passionate about children and education, and aim to make the exciting experience of working on a filmset both fun and productive!

The BrightSparkz team also provide regular updates and report-backs to the production team on academic matters, as well as personally liaise with schools and parents regarding examinations and assignments. We currently supply location tutors and child minders in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but tutors in other locations can also be arranged. Get in touch with us if you are interested in booking a location tutor, or becoming a location tutor!

The Crucial Importance of the Grade 11 Year

Setting up Your Future for Success

Coasting through high school and waking up just before your Matric finals to put forth massive effort may seem appealing, but it is short-sighted and unwise! Unless you (or your family) is abundantly wealthy, and you believe that you’ll never need to be concerned with earning a sustainable income, you need to be aware of the importance of the impact of your Grade 11 year on your future success.

Here’s why…

Grade 11 forms the platform for much of what you need to learn for Grade 12. It builds the knowledge you need to base your Matric material on. If you don’t pay attention throughout your Grade 11 year, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot later.

Studying is important in grade 11

If you intend to study at university, your Grade 11 marks are vitally important. You could possibly use these marks initially when applying for your degree or diploma of choice.

Granted, your Grade 11 marks can only give you provisional acceptance and you would still need to excel in your Matric finals, but it gives you a bit of breathing room in Grade 12 if you have a solid Grade 11 foundation – like a free headstart. You’d have to perform quite badly in Grade 12 to lose your provisional acceptance.

There is a critical shortage of places available at South African universities. For example, for the 2017 academic year, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) had a total of only 10 500 places to offer to more than 135 500 first year applicants, and the University of the Witwatersrand had only 6 200 first year places and around 69 000 applications!

Looking at these figures, it’s clear how foolish it would be to mess around during your Grade 11 year while others are working hard and gaining provisional acceptance at the sought after universities? Waiting for your Matric year to deliver the goods puts you on the back foot and makes your life unnecessarily difficult.

Does that mean that if you do badly in Grade 11 and extremely well in Matric, that you won’t get an opportunity to attend university? Not exactly, but you’ll have to wait in line. You may have to defer your studies for a year due to those with early acceptance getting preference, and improve on your marks even more.

University entrance is competitiveIf you are struggling to get the marks you need to do well in Grade 11, consider getting help sooner rather than later. Brightsparkz Tutors can help you to achieve the results you need with a hand-picked tutor especially for you. Your tutor may also be able to guide and advise you about university life as they may be studying themselves, or be a graduate who has been through it all.

Another bonus! Early application with Grade 11 results will give you the option to apply for bursaries, as well as one of the limited spaces in a university residence of your choice.

Taking your grade 11 year seriously and putting in your best effort serves as a “practice run” for your Matric year, and will make your life a lot easier in Matric too. It will help you prepare, and identify gaps in your knowledge. It also instils self-discipline which is needed not only for Grade 12, but also for study at university of college.

Use your Grade 11 year to put some serious thought into your future – what are you planning to study? Where would you like to study if you’re accepted? Are your marks good enough in the correct subjects to study what you’d like to do? (By now, you should’ve chosen the subjects you need, but if you need to make a change – the beginning of Grade 11 is the latest we’d advise this).

Now that you realize the importance of your Grade 11 year, what can you do to improve your chances of success for the future you want?

Develop a plan to put yourself ahead of the other approximately 800 000 of your peers who will compete with you for university places and jobs after school. Even if you do not intend to study further after school, you will still need to compete for employment, both in South Africa and abroad.

Start building a CVStart building a CV (curriculum vitae) for yourself. School leavers and even new graduates often struggle to obtain employment as they have no work experience. It’s difficult to get relevant work experience when you are still at school, but it can be done. Here’s how:

– If your school promotes a “Grade 11 Job Shadowing” project, participate wholeheartedly. If you don’t know what this is, it’s an opportunity for Grade 11 learners to spend a week (often during the school holidays), job shadowing the type of work they’d like to do (preferably) in an organisation which is willing to engage with school learners in this manner.

– If your school does not promote this initiative, be pro-active and approach some companies yourself to organise it. The experience will be invaluable in providing you with insight into working life, and whether you’re suited to a certain type of work. Bear in mind that some companies might not agree to your request, but keep trying.

– You can ask your family, your friends’ parents, your parents’ friends or your Life Orientation teacher for companies they may know who may be willing to give you an opportunity for job shadowing. Once you know who you’d like to approach, do it personally, either via email, phone call or visit. Do not let your parents ask for you – you are the one who needs to do the work, and it demonstrates maturity and pro-activeness.

Be on time!

– When you get the opportunity, treat it as a proper job. If everyone starts work at 8am sharp, make sure that you are ready to start work at that time. Do what you are told to do as well as you can. Do not walk around with your cell phone hanging from your hand. Be observant, and help wherever you can.

– At the end of the week, ask for a reference. Hopefully it will be a good one. Perhaps it will even open the door for you once you finish school for a job opportunity, or even a bursary. Add the reference to your CV.

– Don’t expect payment. You’re getting something better than payment – free experience (although they may pay, it’s unlikely).

– Accumulate other valuable references from doing weekends work or part time jobs. Anything that sets you apart from the masses will be to your benefit. Even working as a waitron and being on time and diligent can earn you a good reference as someone who is reliable and learns fast.

Volunteer!

– Volunteering at an animal shelter or a weekend job at the local vet for example, can improve your chances of being accepted into veterinary studies (a very specialised field). You will have relevant experience and be showing a keen interest when selections for places are made, provided you also have the necessary grades.

Volunteer

– Volunteering for community service work, or helping at church (holiday club or youth work), or helping at an orphanage may also lead to some great references for you. Most of your peers will not do this and it will set you apart.

 

Putting some thought into your future after school can go a long way in determining your success, and you are encouraged to start as early as Grade 11!

Tutor Of The Month: Erin Miller

 Get your own amazing tutor!

Erin is our July 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Erin matriculated from St Andrews School for Girls in 2014 with excellent results all-round, and is currently in her 3rd year of a BA Psychology degree at the University of Pretoria. She is truly passionate about education and would like to teach special needs children once she qualifies. Erin joined BrightSparkz Tutors in 2016 and has gone over and above to prove herself as both an incredibly reliable, focussed and enthusiastic tutor and Concession Facilitator. She is always willing to help, even at short notice, and is constantly going the extra mile for her learners and clients. Erin has worked with more than seven of our clients (tutoring and exam concession clients) over the past year. All of her clients have been immediately willing to provide wonderful feedback and phenomenal testimonies for Erin as an outstanding tutor, as well as a mentor to their children. Erin – thank you for being exceptional! We are so proud to have you as part of our dynamic team!

Erin’s clients have the following to say about her: 

“As always the facilitators were punctual and very professional. Once again a pleasant experience liaising with all!”

“My concession facilitators were very friendly, kind and professional. They made me comfortable and calm when I was anxious about tests and exams. Your team is perfect!”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Genna Moss

 Genna Moss - June 2017 Tutor of the Month

Genna is our June 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Genna is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology and Chemistry at UCT and matriculated from Wynberg Girls’ High School in 2013, having received 4 distinctions in Maths, Biology, Geography and Life Orientation. While still in high school she worked as a peer tutor and has been tutoring for BrightSparkz since 2016. She has been assisting quite a few of our learners since starting with us, two of whom are sponsored learners, and has had several short term or once off learners in the past, who all loved working with her. Genna is always on the ball and super friendly towards the BrightSparkz team and the families she tutors, and we can always count on her to assist a learner in need. When she is not tutoring or studying, she is out on the trails, taking part in mountain biking challenges, or in the water, working towards completing her advanced open diving course. 

Genna’s clients have the following to say about her: 

​”BINGO!!! Genna was a hit. My daughter worked hard for the test but she also says she really enjoyed her lesson with Genna very much … and scored 86% WOOHOO!​” 

“You can see she understands what she is talking about and is very excited about the subject. She didn’t just learn the content parrot fashion and instead came to teach it to me.”​​​

​”The match was great. She is bubbly but firm and he liked the fact that she wasn’t there to try to make a friend. She had a job to do, did it very well and got down to business very quickly.​​”

“Genna had called me prior to meeting us and I had the opportunity to discuss some of my concerns and she took this info and planned the lesson and gave me feedback after the lesson on what my son needs.​ This is the first time a tutor has been forthcoming with any information / feedback, so well done!​”

​”Genna is awesome and her and my son have connected nicely.​”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Mark Bessinger

 

Mark is our May 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Mark matriculated in 2011 with outstanding results, including 2 distinctions. He is currently a 6th year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Pretoria, and after having been awarded a bursary, he plans to work for Eskom once he has completed his studies. He is one of our one of our highly recommended tutors, having worked with many learners. Mark has a passion for teaching and it is still something he considers as a possible career, having thoroughly enjoyed his experience in tutoring so far.

His advice for students is to “work hard and work smart while keeping a positive attitude”.

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Before You Break! Why Study Breaks Are Important

The Benefits of Study Breaks and How to Use Them Effectively

When faced with looming exams, it can often be a student’s first instinct to cram, pull all-nighters, or study for long periods of time uninterrupted. While this may work for a few students, studies find that studying without regular breaks can actually decrease academic performance and results. In addition, it can lead to anxiety, depression and insomnia! Research suggests that short mental breaks, doing something completely different, will actually help you to focus. Study breaks can improve retention and understanding over longer periods, as well as relax your mind.

Making study breaks successful

• Make a note of where you are stopping
• Set a time limit to your break, and stick to it
• Change your scenery
• Know yourself, and don’t start any activity that you could easily get lost in
• Get back to work as soon as your break ends, without stressing about how much there is left to do or procrastinating

What not to do in a study break

• Update your Facebook
• Phone or message a friend
• Anything to do with the subject you’re studying
• Start a new series
• The same thing you did in your last break!

What to do instead

• Exercise: take a walk, kick a ball around, or dance to your favourite song
• Meditate
• Nap for 10-20 minutes (any longer and you’ll just feel drowsy!)
• Make a (healthy) snack
• Read a book or magazine

How can BrightSparkz help?

Ask your tutor to help you plan your study timetable, as well as advice on what study methods you should use based on your Learning Styles Assessment. If you need extra lessons to help cement in some of the concepts you need to know for your exams, either contact your tutor, or get in touch with your BrightSparkz office to book extra lessons today (email Cape Town or Joburg). If you’re totally at a loss for how to study, book a Study Skills Crash Course with our Educoach! Click here to find out more.

Written By: Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

Surviving the NBTs: What you need to know

What you need to know about the National Benchmark Tests

The National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) are South Africa’s version of the SAT’s. These tests determine your academic readiness to enter university. The NBTs are necessary because of the variety of school curricula in South Africa, as well as the differences in the level of education provided country-wide. These tests therefore provide an even playing field – a national benchmark against which to score students. University admission and placement are determined by the NBTs.

There are two types of NBTs, and which test/s you need to take is determined by the university course you are applying for (most universities have this information available on their websites). The Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL) Test needs to be written by all applicants. The AQL tests language and mathematical literacy skills, and may be taken in both English and Afrikaans. The Mathematics (MAT) Test tests only mathematical skills. Both tests are multiple choice, and you will have 3 hours to write each test.

The National Benchmark Tests test your ability to apply prior knowledge in a way designed to test problem-solving and lateral thinking. The results will indicate your likelihood of being able to succeed academically at tertiary level. These results are sent directly to the university/universities you have applied to. As a result, you will only need to write one set of tests, even for multiple applications. For more information on what is in the tests, click here.

When do I need to write?

This will be determined by the date that the course you are applying for needs the results by (this will be on the university’s website). The NBT test schedule provides the date that each test’s results will be sent to the various universities. This normally takes about a month, so make sure you plan ahead!

Where can I write?

There are a variety of venues in each province that host the tests, as well as in most countries neighbouring South Africa. For a full list, please see venues. If you live in a remote location, you will need to apply to the NBT Project to have a venue set up near you, or you can apply to be a remote writer.

What are the costs involved?

To write one NBT costs R80. To write both (must be written on the same day) will cost R160. You can pay on the EasyPay website, or you can visit an EasyPay Paypoint (like Pick N Pay, Shoprite or Checkers). You will need to register for the NBTs before you can pay.

How can BrightSparkz Tutors help?

While no past or sample papers are available for the NBTs, and specific course material is not available, extra tutoring lessons in maths and languages can help you! If you want lessons specifically for this reason, please let your BrightSparkz client consultant know, so that they can find the best tutor for your needs. Find a tutor here.

If you live in a remote location, and need to write a remote test, BrightSparkz can also help you to find an invigilator to oversee your NBTs. Find an invigilator here.

 

Written By: Tessa Cooper, BrightSparkz Blog Writer

Matric Rewrites (Supplementary Exams)

All is not lost…

If you’re a 2016 Matriculant looking to be accepted into a tertiary institution or hoping to become employed, passing Matric and receiving your certificate is one of the essentials. However, due to various circumstances, Matric exams may have been an overwhelming struggle for you, resulting in you not meeting the minimum requirements to pass Grade 12 and step into your planned future.

But all is not lost – you may qualify for a supplementary examination (i.e. a Matric rewrite), allowing you a second chance to pass your failed subject/s.

 

Do I qualify?

According to the Department of Education you qualify for a supplementary exam:

  • If you did not pass Grade 12 but need to pass 2 subjects to obtain your NSC. You can register a maximum of 2 subjects for your supplementary exam. However, the candidate needs to have written these subjects during their final year exam.
  • If the candidate is medically unfit or other special reasons for the candidate’s absence, he or she may register for the supplementary examination.
  • If there is a death in the immediate family of the candidate, or other special reasons for the candidate’s absence, he or she may register for the supplementary examination.
  • If the candidate provides evidence that they qualify for admission to a higher education institution but do not satisfy the higher education faculty requirements or for an occupation, as well as candidates who are one requirement short in meeting the minimum admission requirements for higher certificate, diploma and bachelor degree programs, can register for supplementary exams. However, a candidate is only allowed to register for a maximum of 2 subjects.
  • In a case where an irregularity is being investigated, provisional enrolment for supplementary examination may be granted to the candidate concerned, pending the outcome of the investigation.
  • A candidate who was unable to write or complete one or more of the National Senior Certificate examination question papers for reasons other than illness or injury may apply to write the supplementary examination, provided that a written report is submitted by the principal of the school to the Head of the assessment body.

If you meet the above criteria, and would like to register for a rewrite, please contact the Department of Education, via your school. The closing date for applications is the 19 January 2017. But avoid any further stress and register as soon as possible, after receiving your results.

The supplementary examinations usually take place in February and March, however, the 2016 dates have not yet been finalised so keep an eye on the media releases posted on the Department of Education website, as well as updates posted via our BrightSparkzSA Twitter page.

 

2016 NCS EXAMINATION RESULTS WILL BE BROADCAST LIVE

04 JANUARY 2017  I  18H00  I  SABC 1  I  eNCA  I

Individual results available at schools and www.education.gov.za

05 JANUARY 2017

If you’d like to receive an instant E-mail or SMS as soon as your results are released, sign up via the eNCA website – the official partners of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) for 2016 Matric results.

 

*For more information on qualifying rewrite conditions, dates, pricing etc. visit: http://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/NationalSeniorCertificate(NSC)Examinations/Releaseof2016NSCResults.aspx

*For answers to other frequently asked questions about rewrites, visit: http://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/NationalSeniorCertificate(NSC)Examinations/tabid/338/Default.aspx

 

How do I prepare?

  • Past Exam Papers

Past exam papers are some of the best form of revision. Get access to a number of papers for various subjects via YOU Online or directly from the Department of Education’s examinations page.

  • Tutoring

This is also an excellent time to consider tutoring. Our tutors will assist you with those difficult sections of work you just can’t seem to grasp on your own, and will help ensure you cover all the material needed before your rewrite. By getting support systems in place well in advance, you will improve your chances of improving your marks and passing your failed subject/s.

Get in touch with us via our rewrite page and we’ll set you up with a tutor who will be there with you every step of the way.

We want to see you succeed, and assist you in achieving the marks that you not only need, but are capable of.

 

Written By: Ashleigh de Jager, BrightSparkz Blog Writer (containing inserts from the DoE website)