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Below you will find a selection of the most recent entries from bloggers in our Education section.

To view the entries from individual bloggers, click on the links below:

  • Sandra Steiger
    TutorsPlus Academic support manager, Sandra and has over 10 years’ experience teaching English at various schools in Switzerland. During her 6 years at the International School of Geneva, she was also the Service Learning programme Coordinator, Homeroom Mentor and Head of Year 8. Now she helps parents and students get the academic support they need.
  • Michela Mantani
    Communications Manager at La Côte International School, Michela is passionate about education and the impact that different learning styles can have on a child’s learning journey. She has been researching and writing about the various educational options available in the Lake Léman region since relocating here from London in 2008.

  • Sarah Frei
    Head of Marketing and Communication at Brillantmont International School, Sarah is excited by the opportunities created by technology not only to communicate with the multicultural, far-flung school community but also to share knowledge and experiences about educational practice.
  • Sabine Hutcheson
    Sabine Hutcheson is a British-trained school teacher, with over a decade’s teaching experience in Switzerland, UK and neighbouring France. She has taught a variety of subjects to children from 5 to 18 years old, as well as to adults. After working as an Educational Consultant at TutorsPlus, Sabine is now Head of Sixth Form at the British School of Geneva.

  • Julie Tompkins-Wagner
    Julie Tompkins-Wagner is an active concert pianist, music educator and administrator with over 40 years of experience, 27 of them in the International environment. She is passionate about the benefits of making music, bringing young musicians together and working with young people of all ages in order to help them gain the life skills that they will need for their future.

  • Marianne Salem
    Marianne Salem was the Executive Director of the Lake Leman International School (LLIS) in Morges, Vaud. Founded in 2011, the school offered education to students aged between 3 and 11, with flexible teaching that matched each student's needs and a strong focus on community engagement for both pupils and their families.

  • Sara Dubler is responsible for advertising, digital marketing, and communications at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in St-Légier-La Chiésaz near Vevey and also for developing the alumni network.  She is a marketing enthusiast who is passionate about the digital world and enjoys combining her knowledge and skills to boost the vibrant school community and watch it thrive and develop.

  • Denise Nickerson
    Co-author of Know-it-all passport’s Education Guide Switzerland, Denise has been a speaker in over 300 international schools in 30 different countries. Working as a college and university counselor, and as an educational consultant helping families around the world, she also provides training and development for educators in schools and universities, and is passionate about international education!


By Julie Tompkins-Wagner, www.Julie-music.com

At what age should children start taking music lessons?

I am often asked this question. There is no right answer as each and every child is a unique individual and, particularly at younger ages, children’s development can vary widely. However I can offer some guidelines which may help parents to understand if and when their child is ready to take up individual music lessons.

The first and foremost requirement is this: is your child really interested and enthusiastic about the idea of studying an instrument? If the child isn’t interested, then no amount of will power on the part of the teacher and parent is going to get that child to practice.

Can your child sit still, more or less, and concentrate for half an hour? While it would be ideal for small children to have two 20 minute lessons per week, the reality is that, unless you live very close to the teacher, logistics will get in the way. Wait until your child is mature enough for that 30 minutes of concentrated time.

brillantmont technoloyblog

By Sarah Frei, Brillantmont International School

Next time you go to a restaurant with your children, take a look around and I'm sure you'll recognise the following scenario. There'll be the parents, smart phones firmly out of sight, trying to engage their children in discussions as varied as sports training, Justin Bieber, braces and organising homework. Their children cast envious gazes towards the neigbouring table at which conversation has long died a death, with mum, dad and everyone else hooked to their screens. Then, there'll be the family where, keen to be fair, each child is allowed 5 minutes on the smart phone in between courses- very equitable in theory but in reality a second by second countdown resulting in arguments about who’s had longest.

Sound familiar? As to which family's approach is right, you can be the judge of that.

The reality is that none of us has all the answers when it comes to technology and the big question of technology in schools is something of a hot potato.

ASC sandrablog

Submitted by Sabine Hutcheson, Education Consultant at TutorsPlus

As some readers may know, TutorsPlus is part of ASC Education Group which, for more than 40 years, has been providing high quality language training to private individuals, corporate clients and young learners in Geneva and Vaud. Having grown up with three languages in both English- and French-speaking countries, language learning is a subject near and dear to my heart. I’ve invited guest blogger Sandra Bialystok, polyglot and traveler, to share her thoughts on a topic which will surely touch most of you.

The advantages of language learning; or, what learning Italian taught Sandra Bialystok other than how to order the perfect pasta

Many years ago – when I was young and had few obligations – I went to Rome to live with my boyfriend (now my husband) and to learn Italian. My French boyfriend had been sent to Rome for his work, and after a crash course in the language, he was immediately expected to converse with the local employees. I, on the other hand, could learn the language in a more leisurely manner, even though I was eager to also become fluent.

sabine blogoct2014-3

By Sabine Hutcheson, Education Consultant at TutorsPlus

Earlier this year the Economist Intelligence Unit compiled a report for Pearson which showed the UK coming into the top 10 education systems in the world. This is a much better score than last year’s PISA report which can be partly explained by the fact that Pearson looked at the rate of students continuing into higher education; a mere detail perhaps but a significant one. This poses the question of an education system’s raison d’être. If we explore this issue, the English curriculum, on offer in many private schools in the Switzerland, certainly ticks all the boxes.

The English curriculum does not grade students in the same way they are graded in Swiss or French schools.  It is based on a set of competences that each individual child acquires throughout their education.  These translate into levels. At the end of primary school some children may have ideally reached a level 5, while others are at level 3. The levels pertain to a child’s acquired skills in literacy and numeracy.  Because students are rated against their own progress and achievements, as opposed to a benchmark or their peers, they move on unhindered until the age of 14. At this point, they will be guided to a choice of qualifications suitable for their academic level and/or vocational aspirations, most of which can lead to university.  


By Sarah Frei, Brillantmont International School

The sun is shining and it’s that time of year when we’re all thinking ahead to the long awaited summer holidays, daydreaming of a break in the routine, whether in colder or warmer climes.

Swiss Public schools break for summer in the next couple of weeks, but children in private schools, may already be on holiday. This means a break of anything between 7 to 12 weeks, depending on the kind of school they attend.

Some would argue that having worked hard all year and in some cases prepared successfully for examinations, children deserve to spend their holiday weeks lounging around. Of course, we all need some rest and relaxation, but there’s no reason why the summer holidays should mean switching off completely. Let’s not forget too, that many working parents may have limited or no holidays so they put their childcare juggling skills to the test!