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Tutor Of The Month: Marc Kasongo

Marc Kasongo

Marc is our November 2017 Tutor of the Month!

We are proud to announce that Marc Kasongo is our Tutor of the Month for November! Marc is one of our newer tutors who has proven himself as an incredible asset to our team very quickly. He receives excellent feedback from all the clients he works with, and is currently in his 3rd year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree at the University of Johannesburg. Marc is one of our tutors who are able to tutor Maths and the Sciences to Grade 8 – 12 level learners, as these are his specialty subjects. Thank you Marc for your dedication and commitment to our team and to your learners who look up to you!

Marc has the following to say about tutoring:

“I was a scholar at an IEB school where I managed to achieve 72% for Mathematics in Matric, and I would like to help high school learners achieve the same or even higher! I have over 100 hours of tutoring experience and in that time I have learnt to be patient, calm and reliable… The only vision I have for my students is success!”

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Bassie Nkhereanye

 Bassie Nkhereanye

Bassie is our October 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Bassie has completed his B.Ed Degree at the University of Johannesburg, specializing in Senior and FET phase education, and majoring in the subjects of Mathematical and Life Sciences. He matriculated from Grosvenor Boys’ High School with distinctions for all of his subjects, including 85% for Maths, and was also the top student in his Maths courses at university. Bassie has quite a bit of experience working with learners, either as a teacher in a classroom or tutoring one on one. He has worked at schools, as well as having tutored Maths, Life Science and Accounting to learners from Grade 7 to second year university students. He is always incredibly well prepared for lessons, he is always responsible and reliable, as well as willing to help out. He has only been with BrightSparkz for a few months, and all his clients love him. He is able to make his learners excited about Maths. Bassie has the following to say about his style of teaching and who he is:

“I’m an upbeat and positive person who really values education and the opportunities it provides access to. I believe that learning can be fun and to that end, always try and make lessons as fun, interactive, lighthearted and relaxed as possible. I’m driven and determined person who is creative and adaptable to any challenges I encounter and always try to solve them as best as I can.”

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Joshua Boucher

 Joshua Boucher

Joshua is our September 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Joshua matriculated from Hyde Park High School in 2015 with great results all-round. He is currently in his 2nd year of a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Law at the University of Johannesburg, and hopes to become a Lawyer or work in the industry once he qualifies. Joshua joined BrightSparkz last year, and has worked with seven of our clients at BrightSparkz Tutors, and has received amazing feedback! He also has previous tutoring experience, having assisted a learner with Maths at Grade 7 level, and has been actively involved in mentoring and managing large groups of youth during his high school career. Joshua received his half colours in academics throughout high school, and has also received colours for multiple sports that he was involved in during his school years.

He is a confident and patient young man, and has proven himself as an experienced and dedicated tutor at BrightSparkz, having assisted the following learners: Two Grade 8 learners with Physical Science, a Grade 9 learner with Physical Science, a Grade 12 learner with Physical Science and a Grade 12 learner with Life Science, all with incredible feedback from both client and learner. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing and watching sport, as well as socializing with his friends.

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

Tutor Of The Month: Jade van Biljon

 Jade van Biljon

Jade is our August 2017 Tutor of the Month!

Jade is currently studying a BSc. in Information Technology at the Pearson Institute for Higher Education, and last year she completed a Higher Certificate in Systems Engineering at the same institution. She achieved 5 distinctions for Matric, graduating Cum Laude. Jade has been tutoring primarily IT and Maths to our learners since the start of 2016, and we’ve had excellent feedback from her clients. Jade is always friendly and helpful, and willing to assist her clients. She is a bubbly person, with a real passion for tutoring.

Her advice for students? “Develop a passion for learning – when you do, it will never cease to grow!”

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

“Unaisah loved working with Jade, she is amazing.”
“Lisa has done very well in her IT – 94%, and we are very thankful to Jade.”

 

To get your own amazing tutor, click here.

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

The Brains Behind BrightSparkz

“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.” 

It’s been 10 years since the humble beginnings of a few flyer handouts and informal tutor recruitment. As we celebrate our decade milestone, the brains behind BrightSparkz get personal – sharing some insights into running a business, their various challenges and achievements, as well as a snippet of what we can expect from BrightSparkz in the future. 


Amy Stockwell (Johannesburg)
“I completed a BSc. Physiotherapy degree before moving from Cape Town to Johannesburg at the end of 2006 to do my year of community service, while also planning the expansion of our Cape Town tutoring business to Gauteng. In 2009 I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management through the Wits Business School, and quickly realised that business was my passion. In 2011, I stopped practicing physiotherapy, got married and started dedicating all my time to BrightSparkz Tutors. Our family grew in May 2015 when we were blessed with our baby boy, so my time is currently best spent on being a mom and supportive wife to my husband, who is a competitive cyclist and mountain biker. When I get time of my own, I enjoy running 10km and 21km races.”


Dominique Oebell (Cape Town)
“I completed a BSc. Physiotherapy at UCT in 2006, and worked part-time as a physiotherapist while we were establishing BrightSparkz Tutors. In 2013, I obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at the UCT Graduate School of Business, and while it was initially Physiotherapy that developed a lot of empathy in me and a passion to make a difference, I believe that its entrepreneurship and education that can really improve people’s lives. In my free time I love spending time at the beach, walking my dogs, and reading books that inspire me to be a better person. My faith life is also really important to me, and that keeps me centered when things get stressful!”


Q1: Where did you get the idea from to start a tutoring company and what took it from an idea to an actual business? (What was your greatest motivation to get started?)

I started tutoring in primary school and continued into my university years. In third year I was unable to take on more learners, but still tried to help to find suitable tutors for parents who contacted me. This is where the idea was born. After some research, we realised that there wasn’t much out there in terms of home based one-on-one tutoring, and that parents really needed this type of service.  AS

Q2: What would you say to people who aren’t fired up about what they’re doing or studying?

I would advise them to not settle on that career (although sometimes it is wise to learn what you can from a field and to use it to your advantage in a transition period), and to keep exposing themselves to different job environments or fields, to discover what makes them tick. Once they have discovered this, to start meeting people and growing their network of individuals who operate in these fields or environments. This is a great way to learn more about a field, but also to be made aware of new job or business opportunities that arise within those fields.  DO

Q3: What advice would you give people who have or are thinking about starting a business?

Starting a business is the easy part. Maintaining it and “finishing” well is the hard part! Knowing why you want to start a business is key. Many experts in a field assume the logical next step is to start their own company but what they don’t realise is that the skills that make them a great employee are not the same skills that will make them a great entrepreneur. They start with great enthusiasm, with ideas of being their own boss and having their own time, only to realise that often the initial investment of time and energy (and money) can be much greater than expected.

Knowing what your customers needs are, as well as how many players are already in the market, is also critical. It doesn’t matter how well you bake bread – if no one is needing home-baked bread, or there are already 5 people baking bread in your community, your business will fail (unless you can provide something that no one else is, that your customers are needing, of course!).  DO

Q4: The world has changed a lot in the last 10 years, particularly in the area of technology. What is BS doing to leverage the technology we have available to us to better serve and educate learners?

It definitely has! BrightSparkz started using a very manual system until we knew exactly what our needs were, and had our first custom system built in 2011. This is something we are in the process of upgrading, and have also been developing a mobile responsive system that we are currently rolling out with our tutors, and will extend to clients later in the year.

We also introduced BrightSparkz Mobile Maths and Science in 2014, which is a platform that allows learners to access user friendly resources via their PC, tablet, or smartphone. The program caters for both CAPS and IEB learners, by dividing the Maths, Physical Science, and Natural Sciences curricula into comprehensive sections. It’s a great tool to help children and their tutor work through and consolidate the Maths and / or Science syllabus for the year, especially in preparation for tests and exams.

One of our missions is to automate as much as we can without taking away the personal touch from our service, as this is something that is still extremely important to us.  AS

Q5: Do you think the gradual move to online education and self-education is a positive one? Is BS responding to this transition is any way?

There are pro’s and con’s to every change in society, but we have never before had access to so much information as we do in the digital era, and that opens up opportunities for learning to many more people. One can learn anything without traditional limitations of space, time, and money. That said, there is still incredible value in face-to-face time with a tutor/teacher/facilitator, and there seems to be a higher level of accountability in face-to-face or blending learning environments. I think the challenge for online education service providers still lies in how to motivate individuals effectively, specifically children and teenagers. 

We are currently positioning ourselves in such a way that we are able to grow with the changes that are changing the landscape of extra-curricular educational services. Online tutoring via Skype is something we already offer, as well as additional tools such as online whiteboards and learning platforms are just a few of our tech plans for future. However, we believe strongly in a blended learning approach, and will always incorporate the human element into our service offerings regardless of how the tech landscape changes, as we believe this is still what our customers are wanting.  DO

Q6: What have been some of the greatest challenges, and greatest achievements over the past 10 years?

Persevering with this business has probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life! There have been so many times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and trade it in for a job! But after a good cry and a pep-talk from my family, I determine what needs to change and I keep at it. Being able to celebrate our 10-year anniversary is a huge milestone for us! We have learnt many lessons and have experienced many setbacks, yet I’m proud of the excellent service standards we maintain and of our current team of staff who work really hard to attain this. We’ve had many challenges in the areas of staffing, navigating company restructuring, and in getting our business processes up to speed with competitors who use more sophisticated technology. In some areas, we’ve had to work really hard to catch up and although we have not yet “arrived”, our hard work is paying off and we’ve been able to secure contracts with larger educational institutions, publishers and even film production companies.  DO

Q7: How is BS trying to intentionally deal with the challenges faced by South African learners?

One of our primary goals is to eventually make tutoring accessible to as many South African learners as possible, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. Part of our planning this year is to officially launch our corporate sponsorship program, in order to extend our reach in this regard. We have previously worked with numerous foundations who assist in identifying learners showing potential and who would otherwise not be able to afford assistance. This is something we are extremely excited and passionate about, and look forward to partnering with organizations who value education as the key to the future, as much as we do.  AS

 

“No one can be sure of what changes, big or small, lie ahead. One thing is certain, our journey is not over.”

 

Interested in one-on-one tutoring in the comfort of your own home? We can make that happen for you! Feel free to get in touch with us here.

 

Written By: Ashleigh de Jager, BrightSparkz Blog Writer