• Space of Mine

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:

  • Local Teacher Bloggers

    Instead of asking teachers or staff from one particular school in the area, we've decided to host all of them under one heading. We expect great things to happen on this page, so make sure to check often to read their stories, insights, explanations, and thoughts on education for children, adults, special needs, or extra-curricular.

  • Trudi Hayes
    She is the Director of Swiss Language Group in Geneva, which comprises of three schools. Wall Street English, Swiss French School and Ecole Suisse d’Allemand. Trudi has a background in client relationship and service management and is a qualified English teacher. She and her team of language consultants help students find the best language courses for them, according to their individual objectives and requirements.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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By Sabine Hutcheson, Education Consultant at TutorsPlus

As most international students are aware, those considering the US for their university degree will have to take an SAT or ACT exam.  Both of these exam boards offer a standardised set of skill-based exams on English language and Math skills. The nature of the questions aims to test students on their analytical, logical and reasoning skills in a short space of time.

While the ACT test will remain the same as it has been for several years, the SAT exam has been revamped for 2016, with the first session of the new format to take place in March.  Broadly speaking, according to College Board, the new test is changing to reflect the high school curriculum more closely and to stand as a better indicator of students’ readiness for university degrees.  The principle is still the same, the higher the score, the greater the choice of top universities.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.