2021: A Year in Review
What a year it’s been. 2020 might have had the edge on weirdness but 2021 has come pretty close. For our last blog of the year we’ve decided to wax nostalgic and take a look back at each month’s highlight blog because there have been some good ‘uns, if we do say so ourselves.
We started the year off on a productive note with a blog all about applying to Oxbridge. Students looking to be accepted into Oxford or Cambridge face a rather different process to those applying to other universities, and it’s best to start doing your research early.
So it’s lucky that we have this succinct piece that will give you a detailed introduction to the application process. You’ll come away with a basic understanding of what's required of Oxbridge applicants - written work, admissions tests, interviews - as well as some solid research points for you to pursue. Plus, that all important Oxbridge deadline (spoiler alert: it’s three months earlier than that of most universities).
Remember February? When the UK was still deep in Lockdown #2 and wondering what on earth a return to any semblance of normality would look like? At the time various ideas were being thrown around regarding how students, preparing to return to school after almost a year of on-off home learning, would battle the dire effects the pandemic had had on education. These included extending the school day, shortening holiday periods and further systematic use of private tuition alongside classroom teaching.
Given what we know now and how far we’ve come since this period of speculation, our Covid catch-up blog is a particularly interesting one to look back on. But with the concerning rise of the Omicron variant, here’s hoping we won’t find ourselves back there in February 2022.
Tutor House is a tutoring company. Obviously. So it’s not all that surprising that we back private tuition and believe it should play a stronger role within the education sector. But what exactly makes it the superlative teaching approach? In March’s blog we explored this very question.
We went back to basics and took a look at the top reasons we recommend investing in a private tutor and why we think it’s the best option for all learners, whatever they may be struggling with. We examined all aspects of private tuition from its effects on our brains to its compatibility with our budgets and daily routines. A shameless, but nevertheless informative, plug that we urge you to revisit.
In the chaos of the pandemic, we saw an explosion of online learning. So, in April we created a guide for tutors, providing them with three top tips to help them successfully transition from the real classroom to the virtual one, a difficult challenge for many.
We suggested the use of clear goals, using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). This helps with the biggest problem in online delivery – fully engaging the students and ensuring their progress. We also highlighted the benefits of preparing material specific to online teaching. Not only does it improve the quality of the lessons, but it can be a time saver in the long run as good material can always be reused in the future. We also encouraged the use of student feedback forms and even suggested some useful questions to ask the students.
Tutor House recognises that everyone learns differently and that it is important to be aware of the types of struggles students might face in the classroom. Our May blog examines ADHD in detail and asks whether or not it is a learning disability.
The blog considers the impacts of having ADHD as a student, as well as the challenges for their teachers. Although the blog concludes that ADHD is technically not a learning disability, it still impedes learning significantly, with several suggestions for students and teachers on how best to manage the issue. Exploring barriers to learning such as ADHD really emphasises the value of private tuition when mainstream education falls short in providing the resources students need.
It’s safe to say students are under more pressure than ever before. What with university entry being increasingly competitive and reduced job prospects after graduation - not to mention a pesky global pandemic interfering with every aspect of our lives - how could they not be?
In June we produced a blog aimed at parents who may be at a loss as to how best to help their children during their studies. We gave advice on how to spot the signs that your child is struggling as well as some tips on how to make their study years that bit more manageable. Head on over if you feel you could do with some support in this area.
If you’re reading this as you struggle through your UCAS application, do yourself a favour and follow this link - now! Because generations of sixth formers pass through Tutor House year on year with the same problem: they’ve been told (repeatedly) that the ever enigmatic ‘personal statement’ is the most important piece of writing they’ll ever have to produce, but they have no idea how to write it.
What exactly makes a good personal statement remains a mystery to most students, but after years of helping people with their university applications we know a thing or two about making your personal statement the best it can be. And you might just find July’s blog answers some of your burning questions about university entry. For instance, how should I format my personal statement? Should I open with a quote? How exactly can I demonstrate the passion I have for my chosen subject? Check it out now; you can thank us later.
Dissertation season; it’s a unique time. Under the sea of discarded topic proposals, overdue library books and used coffee cups, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one experiencing this surreal academic struggle. But you’re not alone and in August’s blog we compiled a list of the most difficult parts of writing a dissertation along with tips on how to rise up and conquer them.
From choosing a topic to navigating those final weeks leading up to the submission deadline, our piece covered it all. Everyone’s experience of writing their dissertation will be different but we aimed to provide a good chunk of general advice to help students feel calmer and more in control during what can be a very overwhelming time.
September: A Student’s Guide to Cooking at University
You’ve arrived at university, you’ve unpacked your books, lamps, cushions and even your doorstop. But, in the run-up to the start of the uni term, it somehow slipped your mind that leaving home would mean meals were no longer going to be put on the table by mum or dad.
Don’t worry - these things happen to the best of us and Tutor House is on hand to help. In September we dished out a few tips for making the transition from at home cooking to student meals that bit easier. From meal planning advice to suggestions for staple meals, we provided a rough guide to first time entry onto the culinary scene that will hopefully stay with you well beyond your student years.
In October we looked at improving the current school policy in one key area: bullying. It is present in almost every school and most students will experience bullying, whatever form it may take, at some point during their studies. The blog sets out the five recognised types of bullying that exist today: physical, verbal, social, cyber, and prejudice.
The blog explores the causes and effects of bullying, highlighting what might push the perpetrators to do it, as well as the impact on the victims. We also made several suggestions on how to improve school policy in the area of bullying. These included making learning more inclusive, making reporting bullying safe, raising awareness about less obvious forms of harassment and providing sufficient resources to anti-bullying initiatives such as in school counselling services.
November: Our Subject Series
The best way to ensure academic success, whether you are in school or university, is to fully engage with the subject outside of the classroom. You shouldn’t only finish all your homework and pass all your exams, but you should also try to develop passion for your studies. Doing so really opens doors for you as it is one of the most important parts of any university application.
In November we set out to help you ignite your academic inspirations with a series of blogs specifically centred on what students study at school. The series is called ‘1 Book, 1 Film, 1 Podcast’ and in each article we focus on a single academic subject and (unsurprisingly) recommend one of each to foster your interest. It’s perfect if you are looking for something to do in your free time and dive deeper into subjects that have started to catch your interest. So far we’ve covered six different subjects ranging from art and design to economics, so you can be sure that there is something in there for you!
Looking ahead to 2022 we hope to bring you lots more engaging and exciting content. A new addition to the Tutor House blog has been to include our top tutors, showing exactly why one to one tutoring is the best way of guaranteeing success. A great example of this is our interview with tutor Jumi in December.
She is an experienced SEN teacher and tutor. SEN tuition is growing rapidly and in our interview Jumi told us about why her technique of using creative subjects such as Art and English make SEN tuition so effective. This is a fascinating topic and no doubt one we will hear much more about in the future.
The main takeaway
This is the time of year for looking back and learning lessons to take into the new year. In reviewing these blogs, we remembered how covid has dramatically changed the way we learn, making in-person and online tuition even more important. Going forward, we also need to keep mental health and wellbeing in mind, making sure we properly plan how we are going to catch up on everything which has been missed in the coming year. We hope you’ll be joining us on the wild ride that 2022 - if the last two years are anything to go on - will doubtless prove to be.
Get ahead for next year
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