We’ve Got Talent! The 2014 BrightSparkz Top Tutor Awards

Top Tutors in 2014

Every year BrightSparkz awards the 5 Top Tutors in each branch with a Sparkz Award. This recognizes their commitment to our company, their willingness to go the extra mile with their learners, and their tutoring potential. Find out who was a top tutor in 2014!

One of award-winners, Jeanri Coetzee shares her top tutor tip: Find out about your learner’s interests, whether it is sport or music, and use this in your examples and explanations. This way a learner relates better to the work and understand how it applies beyond textbook theory.”

The categories and winners of each award for 2014 are as follows:

  1. The Back-up Plan Award

Awarded to the tutor who constantly makes themselves available at short notice and who is ALWAYS willing to assist where needed, whenever or wherever!

Winners: Andrew McCabe (JHB) and Jeanri Coetzee (CT)

  1. The Admin King & Admin Queen Award

Awarded to the tutor who demonstrates exceptional administrative abilities and organisational skills on a consistent basis.

Winners: Ben Slabbert (JHB) & Nicola Durandt (CT)

  1. The Longest Yard Award

Awarded to the tutor who has been with us for more than 2 years and has consistently displayed diligence & excellence.

Winner: Alex Arndt (JHB) and Zhuo Fang (CT)

  1. The X-Factor Award

For receiving consistently excellent feedback from clients and for contributing to a dramatic improvement in learners’ results.

Winner: Gail Ingle (JHB) & Alexander Gordon (CT)

  1. The New Recruit Award

Awarded to the tutor who has been with us for less than a year and has shown great enthusiasm & potential along the way.

Winner: Tselane Steeneveldt (JHB) and Ruth Miti (CT)


There was some tough competition, and we are very proud of all of our top tutors for all the effort put in during 2014!

How To Become A Great Tutor

Top 6 Tips for Being a Great Tutor

  1. Have a sense of humour – A sense of humour can help to relieve any tension in a session. It is especially helpful when tutoring learners who are shy and reluctant to learn or to participate. A sense of humour will also ‘lighten’ the mood, making your lesson more fun, give the feelings of going by quicker, and most importantly, memorable. The more memorable the lesson, the more memorable the content learnt!
  2. A positive attitude – Sometimes nerves may rear their ugly head and stress out learners. Stress can result in feelings of inadequacy and a lack of motivation. Times like this require you to be the motivation, encouragement and sense of positivity!
  3. Realistic expectations – An effective tutor will have realistic expectations. Your expectations need to be based on each learner’s individual situation and needs. It is important to set goals that are not too high or too low. Too low expectations can make your learner feel like you don’t believe them or to be lazy while too high expectation can place too much pressure on your learner.
  4. Consistence – In order to create a positive learning environment your students should know what to expect from you each session. You need to be reliable. This will create a safe learning environment for the students and they will be more likely to succeed.
  5. Fairness – A fair tutor is consistent, encouraging and sets realistic goals. A fair tutor will not teach in a hostile or confrontational environment. Instead, he or she will be encouraging when tutoring as well as when providing adequate and helpful feedback.
  6. Flexibility – While consistency is important, it is important to remember that anything can happen and problems may arise at any moment. Interruptions do happen and so a flexible attitude is important when assigning homework tasks and goals.

Problems Facing First-Time Tutees

  • Many learners may be nervous when learning in a one-on-one environment for the first time. Learners may find it hard to communicate how they feel or what exactly they may be struggling to understand. Your job is to create a positive environment that your learner feels comfortable in.
  • Not all learners have received much encouragement with their studies and so might feel doubtful of their potential. It is important that you, as a tutor, take the time to sit down with your learner and set realistic goals.
  • Some learners may struggle to see their tutor as more than an assessor. This is a difficult view to overcome, especially if you are helping your learner study towards an exam. The key is to be open, friendly, and to encourage the learner’s self-assurance so make your style of tutoring non-confrontational.
  • Sometimes you may forget or overlook when a learner may feel obliged to defer to you. This could be because learners are not used to feeling on the spot in a one-on-one environment. A good tutor will notice any such feelings and adjust their tutoring habits accordingly. Tutors should NOT be the only ones speaking during a session. Instead, tutors need to encourage learners to express their own opinions and establish an open dialogue. This will build your learner’s confidence, to encourage them to think independently and will help you (as a tutor) to understand what your learner may have difficulty communicating.

No matter the problem that you or your learner may face, it is vital to be patient with them, and to build their confidence through reassurance and praise. Your ultimate goal is to help your learner become comfortable and assured in the subject, even if they occasionally make mistakes.

Encouraging tutees to contribute

Learners are more likely to engage when:

  • They feel comfortable around you
  • You show them respect and encouragement, ESPECIALLY when they make mistakes
  • Learning is seen as a co-operative exercise, not a militant one
  • You both agree upon realistic and attainable tasks
  • They are encouraged to contribute their own feelings and are not just lectured to
  • Feedback is common so miscommunication does not occur
  • Avoid giving answers to unresponsive or shy. Rather frame your questions in a different way
  • They are presented with open-ended questions that encourages independent thought

When directing discussions it is important to think about and remember to:

  • Give regular feedback that is supportive and constructive
  • To provide corrections in a non-confrontational or hostile way
  • Praise good work and emphasise work done well rather than work done badly
  • Be friendly!
  • Balance tutor and learner contributions
  • Encourage quiet learners, but take care not to overpower them

Closing lessons – To determine how your learner feels about lesson progression, ask open-ended questions such as:

  • What has been the most significant thing you have learned today?
  • Do you have any questions after today’s lesson?
  • Discuss homework that you have given and make sure your learner is able to tackle it with understanding
  • Make a self-evaluation checklist. This can help you be the best tutor you can be and to stay on point!

If you would like a tutor of your own please get in touch today!

What’s New with BrightSparkz Tutors

“With over 10 years of experience tutoring South African learners, we have found that a blended approach to learning, incorporating both online and one-on-one methodologies, has proven to be the most effective approach for learners engaging in online or distance learning.”

Brightsparkz has recently partnered with RETHINK Education. RETHINK Education is an award winning e-learning program designed to give learners’ (Grades 8 – 12) 24//7 access to their Maths, Natural Science and Physical Science needs. The learning content is available from any computer and provides on-going monitoring, support and one-on-one lessons with an online tutor to ensure that the learner understands each section of work.

 Rethink Education logo

RETHINK Education is a modern learning platform providing “educational aid designed to help both teachers and learners using modern technology. The platform delivers multimedia-rich, interactive content in a chat-style format. It is based on the current school curriculum in South Africa for Maths, Natural Sciences, Physics and Chemistry.” RETHINK also supplies content to learners for Cambridge and IEB as well.


Your RETHINK package includes the following:

  • Initial assessment and meet-and-greet with your very own Brightsparkz online tutor
  • Easy-to-use Maths and Science tutoring platform aligned with the National Curriculum
  • 24/7 Access to all Grade 8 – 12 learning content
  • Interactive learning content and material such as videos, pictures and text to teach each section of work
  • Monitoring and detailed tracking of each learner’s progress
  • Regular feedback from your tutor and on-going tuition, support, and assistance

Additional one-on-one Skype lessons with your tutor are available on request to reinforce key learning areas and/or to prepare for tests and exams.

For more information visit www.brightsparkz.co.za/online-learning


If Grades 1 – 7 English and Math are what you need, then Brightsparkz’ My Own Tutor is for you!


My Own Tutor uses a fun and interactive platform to make learning more enjoyable!  As with RETHINK Education, My Own Tutor combines the use of this fantastic platform with your very own online tutor to ensure that each learner receives the maximum benefit of the program.

For home-schooled learners or those following the Cambridge curriculum, the My Own Tutor Maths and English tutoring solution is ideal and covers the Cambridge syllabus for Year 1 – IGCSE.


My Own Tutor has been specifically designed to:

  • Identify gaps and weaknesses within a learner’s knowledge of  Maths and English
  • Increase motivation through fun and interactive games and activities
  • Provide the learner with visual lessons teaching them vital basics missed in earlier years
  • Provide the learner with access to practice exercises for revision and exam preparation purposes
  • Keep parents up-to-date with the learners progress with intelligent reporting functions


Your My Own Tutor includes the following:

  • Initial assessment and meet-and-greet with your very own tutor
  • Personalised term plan designed for your child
  • Support and monitoring of learner activity and progress by your tutor
  • Email support for homework, extra exercises and exam papers

Additional one-on-one Skype lessons with your tutor is available on request to reinforce key learning areas and/or to prepare for tests and exams.


If RETHINK Education or My Own Tutor can help you, then visit www.brightsparkz.co.za/online-learning for more information. For an immediate quote or a free tour, please contact Nic: education@brightsparkz.co.za / 021 823 8704


Happy Learning 🙂