Understanding how recruiters work

People are often confused or unaware of the inner workings of a recruiter or recruitment agencies. Applicants often assume that it is the job of a recruiter to find them work and if the recruiter cannot do so then he/she is no good.

The idea of writing a CV is often misunderstood and when a recruiter suggests the acceptable way of writing a CV, many think that the recruiter is just being difficult.  Many people fail to realize that a recruiter and even the company offering the position only spend at most 2 minutes going through your CV and so it is expected that your CV is short and to the point. Well-arranged and must have a profile photo of the applicant.

Recently, I have heard of stories where “recruiters” ask people to pay a certain amount of money upfront or they would not be helped in finding a job. They often call this a recruitment fee or some would call it administration fees. What must be understood is that you should not be paying recruiter any money for any of their services. Recruiters need you more than you need them! Without you, a recruiter cannot make money. What do I mean?

A recruiter makes money, not from the applicant! But from the company, they recruit for! Recruiters have a signed agreement with the company they recruit for which would stipulate how the company will pay the recruiter for each person they recruit and successfully completes the probation period. Notice that you, the applicant does not need to pay anything to a recruiter.
If a recruiter asks for money upfront, STAY AWAY! What admin fees do they have that you would need to pay for? Nothing! Recruitment fee? They cannot guarantee you a job so what do they want you to pay for?

During my time as a recruiter, I have noticed that people do not really know how recruitment works. They merely just trust blindly and do not do their own homework. About doing your homework it is absolutely important to understand every detail before going through with it. There are many scammers out there who give recruiters a negative reputation. Recruiters are good people who serve to assist and facilitate job placement. I say this many times and will do so again. A RECRUITERS JOB IS NOT TO FIND YOU A JOB, BUT RATHER TO FIND PEOPLE FOR THE JOBS THAT ALREADY EXIST. Please understand that.

A recruiter who you can trust will always be transparent with you and will always have the time to give you the advice best suited for you. Honesty should be key and is key with many recruiters, but people need to do their homework and ask as many questions as possible!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will discuss in detail other areas such as visa’s and accommodation and much more which are included in the contract.

Peer Assessment

In peer assessment, a collaborative learning technique, students evaluate each other’s work. This technique is often used as a learning tool, which gives students feedback on the quality of their work, often with ideas and strategies for improvement.  At the same time, evaluating peers’ work can enhance the evaluators’ own learning and self-confidence. Such an involvement personalizes the learning experience, potentially motivating continued learning. blog-resource-pic.jpg

When used in grading, peer assessment can give the teacher the much needed information on each student’s performance. For large online classes, it may allow inclusion of assignments where students’ creative work could not be graded reliably through automation or efficiently by teaching staff.

Peer assessment techniques vary considerably, and are often best understood through example.  To give effective, valid and reliable feedback to fellow learners, students need clear guidelines, training on assessment criteria and scoring rules, and practice with examples.  Before students are ready to give feedback to others, their assessments should be compared to staff-grading of the same examples for quality assurance.

How does peer assessments help students?

  • It engages students in the learning process
  • working cooperatively
  • thinking critically
  • giving constructive feedback
  • learning from critical appraisal received from others
  • managing one’s own learning autonomously
  • developing interpersonal skills and
  • developing an awareness of group dynamics

Strategies for peer assessment

  • Make it clear for students to understand why they are being involved in such a task
  • Criteria for peer assessment needs to be set out clearly
  • Develop peer assessment skills
  • Make it anonymous

Complement peer assessment processes with a formal and explicitly stated moderation process so that students can see that grading is reliable even while students have a significant role in it.


To ensure that students reflect critically and early during a large, summative assessment task such as a report or essay:

  • Use cluster groups
  • Have students present to their group a short draft of their work to date
  • Ask the group to give informal feedback to their peers on their progress
  • You can also have the group provide a formal assessment based on, for example, how well points are supported by evidence, as well as the style and presentation of the draft.

Teacher Resources

All teachers have the daunting task of creating worksheets which are time-consuming and can be stressful at times when thinking of content to add.Compiled below is a list of websites you can use to get worksheets for your classes.All grades and subjects,.Some of the links below also include lesson plan ideas and templates.

Just click the on the titles below to get endless resources…


  1. Super Teacher Worksheets
  2. Teachnology
  3. education.com
  4. Teacher Planet
  5. TES
  6. TeacherVision
  7. Edhelper
  8. SchoolExpress
  9. BusyTeacher
  10. Student treasures



Voices in the classroom

Classroom management is all about procedure. Many like to say that you should have “rules”, but that right there is a problem. Students don’t like rules. A classroom should be a place where students should be free to express themselves within a controlled environment. Rules in a class just stifle students. Makes them feel as if they are in prison and a classroom is anything but a prison.

A classroom needs to be a place where creativity is exchanged; students learn and develop skills that they will take with them into the future. Education today is all about collaboration. If kids are not collaborating, they are not as effective. Many teachers fear that group work brings about noise. Nevertheless, there are many techniques that could be followed to facilitate an effective, collaborative classroom.

One of these techniques is the 6-inch voice. What is the 6-inch voice? This is a technique used among students were by if you were speaking to anybody other than the teacher you are required to use a 6” voice. So how this works is that if a teacher is standing 6 inches away from the student, they should not be able to hear any voices. This technique is perfect for group and pair work. If students fail to use the 6” inch voice then it would result in them not being part of the group or pair activities.

From the first day of school, the 6’voice should be modeled to students, describe how it should work, and have them practice it.Before any group activity begins, remind them of the 6’ voice and over time if need be, put up some signs in the class so that it is always a reminder. Another good way of reminding students of the 6’ voice is to make little cards for each group and stick it on their table which would remind them of the 6’voice and also the fact that if the 6” voice is not used then they would have to complete the group work on their own.

Teachers need to remember that always using a loud voice isn’t as effective as using a softer voice or even whispering. Using a lower pitched voice will always grab attention faster. Teachers also need to remember that preparation is key. Students tend to get bored fast and so preparing well ahead of time is always best.

13 steps to creating an effective learning environment

  1. TTT – 30 %  (Teacher Talk Time)
  2. STT – 70 %  (Student Talk Time)
  3. Teachers position in the class is important – don’t be stationary – walk around
  4. Students seating – More group work – Collaboration
  5. More meaningful activities
  6. Stop lecturing
  7. Allow students to question
  8. Provoke students using appropriate provocations
  9. use the 6 Inch voice policy
  10. Time management is important. Stick to it
  11. Explain well
  12. know how to grab attention
  13. Students must evaluate each other

Technology in Education


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The big question today is; does technology benefit or hinder a child’s learning process? It is universally understood that technology has its benefits, however, there are those who believe otherwise.A quick search on google would pull up a plethora of information related to technology.
As we know, in theory, we can say whatever we like but in reality, proving our views is a totally different ball game all together.Some research shows that students who use technology actually perform worse than those who don’t and some studies show that technology is actually beneficial.

Many argue that social media can have many negative effects.Such arguments have been going on for many years now and will never end. What we do need to realize is that in everything that we do in life, there is good and bad, how we engage would ultimately categorize it for us. Today we look at social media as a blessing for the simple reason that we can easily connect with friends and family who are far away from us. We have the ability to make a video call, voice call, easily share our daily activities with video or photo, we can even have group chats and group calls.

Businesses today use social media as it has enabled effective communication.Technology in education has arisen in recent years in the form of E-schooling, and online applications that are created to streamline education. There is an abundance of apps related to education online. From online libraries to apps for math or science, even comprehensive tools to assess students’ progress, yet with all of this there is still negativity around the use of technology.

I love technology, I work through my phone as I am always on the go. Some choose their laptops while others may prefer their tablets. Classrooms and boardrooms are now equipped with smart boards to effectively enhance their experience. Schools take it a step further by creating an application that would allow teachers, parents and students to interact even while not at school. Students can submit their homework through the apps and teachers can provide feedback almost instantly. Parents can easily send teachers messages about their kids and vice versa. However, with all the capabilities we would still find a lot of negativity.

Many say that technology is a distraction. Kids have become anti-social, kids are facing eye-sight problems because of the constant use of mobile devices. I could say the same when the television had first come out, or when the radio had first been introduced. We need to be able to draw the line somewhere.
Technology is vital in today’s world. It is how the world operates now. However, we have to realize that we must set boundaries. Both teachers and parents need to play an important role. While the effects of technology are alarming, we cannot turn a blind eye to the actual benefits that it comes with. Students should learn to read a book, they should learn how to hold a pen and write. Students should be able to easily switch from technology and this is where parents and teachers come in. There needs to be limitations, there needs to be understanding.
Reading a book on a kindle is fun. But let’s remember that before we teach kids to read, we must teach them to imagine. Technology in education can be fun. Even social media can be fun and educational if used correctly.

Parents need to monitor tech use at home. Time must be equally divided. Teachers also should promote this. Parents need to constantly monitor what their kids are doing while using technology. Don’t just come home from work and then relax. Pay attention to your kids, monitor them, engage them and guide them. The issue today is that many kids don’t really have such a system at home. They are merely left to do as they please when they get home so that their parents can go out and enjoy themselves. If your child spends too much time on technology then yes they would develop eye sight issues, they would become anti-social, however, creating a balance, giving them other forms of activities to do, encouraging social development outside of technology may just help in strengthening their abilities to be responsible and be aware of the world around them.

Technology in education is establishing its place. Today the teacher is just the guide. In the past a teacher was the source of information, but today technology has changed that. A teacher’s job now is to facilitate the learning process and to facilitate in the best ways possible. Facilitation also includes regulating the use of technology inside and outside the classroom. Schools must develop proper after-school development activities for students. Don’t just offer sport programs but other programs such as art, dance, drama, debating, community service, after school trips to the community to further develop their understanding and help them grow to become better independent thinkers who can also work in collaboration.

While I may be an advocate of technology, I am also a firm believer that education should also be facilitated through various means.
We all have different abilities and capabilities. What appeals or works for one may not, for another, but to conclusively state that technology is negatively affecting our kids is wrong. To everything in life, there must be a balance and if we can effectively balance our use of technology in and outside of school, then I think we would have no issues.
The biggest issue with the doubts surrounding technology today is the lack of parents’ regulation of their kids’ use of technology.

SACE in a state of confusion

downloadThese days there seems to be confusion is regards to the definition of the word qualification. We must understand that this word, qualification may refer to both academia as well as practical qualifications (experience). We need to stop using the word as we please and use it according to the correct definitions. What qualifies a teacher to enter a classroom or even label them as such? Is it the paper they possess which states that they have completed a 3 or year diploma or degree? Is it the number of years’ experience or is it the level of competence?
When looking to analyze these questions we need to take into account that many people have very many different opinions on these questions and all opinions must be respected.

After a period of three to four years (depending on course duration) a student would receive a diploma/degree to certify that they have now successfully completed their modules of study and have passed and been awarded a diploma/degree to be able to go out into the real world and work as a teacher or a better word to use is an educator.
However, the newly graduated teacher enters looking for a job only to be told that they must be registered with a body known as SACE (South Africa Council for Educators) and receive a SACE number in order to practice as an educator. SACE seems to have become the all powerfull of education in South Africa, with nobody really understanding what they really do.
In many countries today, especially countries who are leading in education, their teachers are directly registered with the ministry of education in those countries, yet in South Africa, it does not happen like that.There must be a middle man- SACE.
The procedure to obtain a teachers license from SACE is one of the most questionable procedures currently.

To ellaborate, if you are a South African citizen applying you must personally go into the SACE office within your province and apply by filling out a pointless form, submit your ID along with qualifications and experience letters, note that this must all be South African ( if you are a South African applying for the license).Your teaching at schools, as well as experience letters, should all be from South African schools not overseas, however the SACE website does not specify this,To me this is ridiculous because any teaching experience from any school should be accepted provided the applicant submits official documents from the school they worked with, and right now, any teacher with international teaching experience should be accepted considering South Africa’s disastrous ranking in world education.
In addition to the submission of required documents, applicants must also pay a fee of R200 for South Africans and R400 for foreign educators with an annual levy of R120.

What has SACE really done since its opening? Professional development topics have no relation to what it needs to be.The SACE points program from 2014 is still in its pilot program which is evidently failing.Professional development needs to be based on what is happening global education.Effective classroom environments that work well.Understanding students of the 21st century rather than assuming topics that would work which has just failed.
In order for our education system to improve, in order for our teachers to thrive, we must pay attention to increasing the hours of professional development that both engaging and modern.We must stop focus on whether or not the Professional development course is accredited or not, but rather does it ad value to teachers and can it, in turn, reflect in students behavior and performance in class? We must stop being brainwashed by “accreditation”.It isn’t about points or certificates but about adding value.

How is SACE assessing teachers in order to award a teaching license? they are just taking for granted that a teacher is competent because they have studied a teaching program.This I feel is the biggest mistake they are making and it is because of this that we have so many issues in schools today.The department of education seems to be more interested in teachers compiling paperwork rather than whats really going on in the classroom.Paperwork needs to be forgotten, we live in the digital age now! Teachers need to spend their time enhancing their capabilities within the classroom and not on pointless paperwork.SACE needs to effectively evaluate teachers before issuing a license.They need to perhaps have newly graduated teachers, teach for at least a year and then have them apply for their license.The application for the license needs to be a rigorous one, their needs to be a portfolio of evidence submitted with the application in order to prove a teachers competence in order to qualify for the license.If a teacher fails to meet the criteria for the portfolio then they should revisit the sections they are facing difficulties in.Along with a portfolio of evidence should be an interview with the teacher.The process needs to be a logical one, not an illogical one just to make money.
It’s like obtaining a drivers license, I cannot just go into the driving school office and submit documents, pay my fees to wait a few weeks and then get my drivers license.There are logical processes and assessments in order to deem an applicant competent.Once all evaluative procedures are passed a license is issued.

We must understand that no matter how many degrees and certificates a person may accumulate over time, it does not necessarily equate to practical competence. What we mean by this is that when we look at the ministers of both education departments, and I still fail to understand why the department was broken down into two separate divisions as it makes no sense. Both ministers maybe well qualified for the job academically however they do not know what is going on in the classrooms. They would speak as if they know but they fail to really understand what is really going on because if they did there would be a substantial improvement already.It is and will always be the practical experience that proves to be more successful.

Those in power assume they know what’s going on however the sad reality of the situation is that they know nothing about what’s going on. They pass laws and policies according to the degrees they hold which are now outdated and by this, I mean that the content that is being taught at the B.Ed. level of study is terrible.I ask many new teachers to talk to me about the education systems in other countries and they just cannot do it.I ask them to talk to me about the different examination boards and different curriculums and they simply cannot answer me, I also ask many who study early childhood development to discuss the emerging and successful approaches to ECD and they cannot tell me about them. I ask about methods of differentiation and why are they not interested in using them and the answer I get is that these methods take up too much of the teachers time. Such an attitude is an attitude that must be done away with and can only be done at a tertiary level. The most shocking thing about my findings is that it is not only new teachers but also many experienced teachers.

Teacher training needs to be brought back immediately.We need to follow the systems of the most successful educational systems being Singapore and Finland.We need to follow the model of the IB Curriculum.We need to develop our students to become critical thinkers and not spoon fed.We need to enstil responsibility and independence into them.We must assist their social development in more meaningful ways and together with parents, we must encourage family time so that they may bong and experience the sense of togetherness which makes them less selfish and more caring.



What is IELTS?

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which is governed by the British Council, University of Cambridge and IDP: IELTS Australia. The test is to assess English language proficiency and conforms to the highest standards. The IELTS is taken by those who wish to live and work where English in the main language of communication. 



IELTS is made up of four components:  

Speaking, listening, reading and writing. Each has a band score of their own which is totaled at the end. A candidate is required to meet a specific total according to their desired countries requirements. IELTS is also separated into two different modules that candidates may choose from according to their needs. These two modules are the academic module and the general training module. The Speaking test may even take place a day or two later at some centers. 

IELTS Listening test lasts for about 30 minutes. It consists of four sections, played on a CD, in order of increasing difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or a monologue. The test is only played once, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening, Time is given for students to check their answers 

IELTS Reading test lasts for 60 minutes. Students are given an Academic Reading test, or a General Training Reading test. Both tests consist of three sections, and in both tests the sections are in order of increasing difficulty. 

IELTS Writing test also lasts for 60 minutes. Again, students take either an Academic Module, or a General Training Module. Students must perform two writing tasks, which require different styles of writing. There is no choice of question topics. 

IELTS Speaking test consists of a one-to-one interview with a specially trained examiner. The interview is recorded and has three separate parts: 

An introduction and interview, an individual long turn where the candidate speaks for one or two minutes on a particular topic, and a two-way discussion thematically linked to the individual long turn. This interview will last for approximately 11-14 minutes. 

How are IELTS band scores calculated?  

Each skill (listening, reading, writing and speaking) is awarded a band scores. These scores range from 0-9 and you can also score a .5 for example, 6.5 or 8.5. Aside from a band score for each skill, you will also receive an overall band score. 

Below is an example of how the scoring works:  
Listening: 8
Reading:  7.5
Writing: 7
Speaking 7.5
Overall: 7.5 

With band scores, your scores can also be rounded up or down to the nearest .5 or whole number, example:  

  • If you get an overall score of 5.25 you will the move to a 5.5 score 
  • If you get an overall score of 6.75 you will then move up to a score of 7 
  • If your overall score is 5.1 then you will receive a total of 5

Listening and reading scores:
In a listening and reading test with a total of 40 points you are only scored on what you have got correct. Wrong answers are not scored. 

Writing Assessment:
The two tasks of the written assessment are assessed on the following four criteria
Fluency, Lexical resource, Grammar range and accuracy,  

Speaking assessment:
Speaking, like writing is assessed on the following:
Fluency, Lexical resource, Grammar range and accuracy, pronunciation.

It is strongly advised that one reads through the band descriptors clearly and has a thorough understanding of them.

 IELTS Band Descriptor

Bandscore Skill level Description
Band 9 Expert user You have a full operational command of the language. Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and you show complete understanding.
Band 8 Very good user You have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. You may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. You handle complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7 Good user You have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally you handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
Band 6 Competent user Generally you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5 Modest user You have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.
Band 4 Limited user Your basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.
Band 3 Extremely limited user You convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
Band 2 Intermittent user You have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1 Non-user You have no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
Band 0 Did not attempt the test You did not answer the questions.

10 Misleading Claims By TEFL Course Providers

As in shopping and business generally, the things that you should be especially careful of when shopping for a TEFL course are the times when the course provider is not actually lying but is nonetheless playing the truth in a way that is only designed to deceive. This article should help you spot the most common such traps.

1. How happy their “graduates” are
It is a general rule in education that people are much more likely to complain about the air-conditioning and transport problems than they are about whoever is training them, and the same is true of TEFL courses. Course providers getting these basic things wrong would be a bad sign, but a lack of complaints says nothing about the actual standard of training. If it did, we wouldn’t need accreditation of any educational establishments or qualifications, would we?

2. Hours of instruction (for online courses)
A basic level TEFL certificate should have at least 100 hours of instruction. For a face-to-face course, the hours of instruction are the hours you spend with a trainer actually being trained. On top of this, you will do reading, lesson preparation, etc. Many online courses not only include reading as part of the hours of instruction, but seem to make up arbitrary lengths of time for how long it will take you to do things like reading and online questionnaires. More generally, you have to consider very carefully whether the things they are asking you to do online for 250 hours would have the value of the things you would do in a proper face-to-face course for 100 hours.

3. Links to universities
Some TEFL courses in universities are run by university staff who are well qualified and also have years of practical teaching experience. Some of those are Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL courses. Ones which aren’t might have problems with recognition, especially outside the country where they are based, but a genuine university course can be a good indication of the quality of instruction in some places, e.g. the USA. A link to a university, especially one that is loudly trumpeted on the course provider’s website, might not always be such a mark of quality. For example, some “university TEFL courses” have a tenuous link to the university whose name they are using. The trainers are often far less qualified than the proper university faculty, and it might even be that the TEFL course providers are simply renting premises in the university or paying to use the name without having any institutional or academic links to the university.

4. “Meets the criteria set by the British Council”
The British Council sets out some very basic criteria for something to be considered an introductory-level TEFL certificate (TEFL-I level, as against TEFL-Q for the Cambridge Delta etc). A course must have at least 100 hours of instruction and 6 hours of observed and graded teaching practice, and be accredited by a recognized exam board or university. This is often claimed by TEFL courses even when at least one of these, especially the final one, is missing. Even when that statement is true, that doesn’t mean that British Council inspected schools in the UK and British Council schools worldwide accept all certificates that meet those basic standards, let alone that employers would consider them equivalent to certificates from Cambridge, Trinity or SIT. It also certainly doesn’t mean that the British Council accredits or inspects all such courses. In fact, the British Council doesn’t even inspect or accredit teacher training courses in British Council accredited schools in the UK, as their school accreditation is strictly limited to the actual teaching of English. When British Council schools in their own worldwide chain offer TEFL certificate or diploma courses, they are always accredited by other organizations such as Cambridge.

5. The term “Diploma” or “Advanced course”
Although people can call their qualifications anything they like, the standard industry definition for a TEFL diploma is a course for people with basic training and at least two years’ (and very probably more) relevant full-time experience. Calling any other kind of course a “diploma” is misleading at best, and although “Advanced course” is not a term used by any well-respected certifying bodies it would probably mean something similar. Schools that ask for a TEFL diploma almost always mean the Cambridge Delta or Trinity DipTESOL. See TEFL Diploma FAQ for more details.

6. “All our graduates find jobs … Guaranteed job placement … Lifetime job placement service”
Any native English speaker with a degree can find a TEFL job. It is obviously true that the kinds of employers who accept twenty-three year old native English speakers with any old degree will not suddenly reject them because they have a weekend certificate, have done an online course, or have done some random four-week TEFL certificate in someone’s kitchen. However, those things are unlikely to get you the kinds of jobs that you could get with a well-known and well-respected TEFL certificate such as the Cambridge CELTA.

7. “TESOL / IATEFL institutional member”
This simply means that they send a cheque to said organization once a year and get a few magazines in return. Literally, anyone, including people with no connection to TEFL, can become an institutional member. No one has ever had an application for institutional membership (which is anyway just a form asking for your address and payment details) rejected, and it is therefore zero proof of standards. In fact, any mention of this is a pretty good reason to avoid a school. If the school has trainers who have been high up in the management of one of those organizations or regularly give major workshops at their events, that might well be something to be impressed by. Well-respected training organizations generally find no need to boast of such things even when true, however.

8. The use of logos
IATEFL has the simple policy that no one except themselves can use their logo, and any other organizations doing so are almost always trying to add some respectability that they do not have. The same is true of most organizations with half a page of logos of NGOs, big companies, organizations for teachers, etc, even when they are unaccompanied by actual lies like “accredited by”. The mixing up of accrediting agencies, business partners (whatever that means), schools that accept their teachers etc all on one page is a particularly bad sign.

9. Famous people
The same schools that turn once using the services of a company into a logo on their site tend to do the same thing with the names of people who are famous in the world of TEFL. Some of these people get used unwittingly when they give a workshop there once and are given a brief tour of the building, while others simply sell out and are willing to put their names to anything that pays well enough (the Beckhams of TEFL?) The other possibility is that the people mentioned might not actually be that famous – how, after all, are most people who haven’t yet entered the profession to know?

10. Cambridge exam centre / Cambridge exam centre number
This one is rarer than the bogus claims of special links to IATEFL and TESOL, but some organisations do try to use the fact that Cambridge is willing to use their premises for a KET test (a low-level test for learners of English) once a year as some kind of proof of standards of their teacher training courses. It is not.



Cambridge Home-school

A Cambridge home-school matric is one of the options for South African high school home-school students to get a matric certificate with university exemption.

Who is Cambridge?

CIE is part of Cambridge Assessment, Europe’s largest assessment agency and a department of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Assessment was established in 1858 as the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate

What qualification does your student get?

In South Africa most students do two courses:

IGCSE (International General Certificate of Education) takes 18 months – 2 years to complete and is for students from 14 – 16 years of age. This is the same as grades 10 and 11 in local schools although the subject content is different. Your student will take 7 subjects on this level.

Following this South African high school students do the AS Levels normally from about 16 – 19 years of age. This is also an 18 month – 2-year course and is the equivalent of Grade 12 in South Africa. Your student will take 5 subjects on this level.

NOTE: If your student does very well on a subject at IGCSE level (B or A) they can “carry” it over as an AS level subject. This means that they will only write for 4 subjects at the end of their AS course and one of their IGCSE subjects can count for the 5th.

To achieve the equivalents of “A Levels” the South African student needs to complete a Grade 13, but most students do not take this option as it is not necessary for matric exemption and university exemption.

What subjects must your student take?

According to the guidelines set by the exemptions board of South Africa, your student needs to choose subjects according to the groups laid out. For example:

Compulsory Subjects
Afrikaans (or another second language)
Maths or Maths literacy

Discretionary Subjects (two from the following list)
A third language or Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics;
Art, Economics, Geography, History, Music
Accounting, Business Studies, Computing, Design and Technology or Further Mathematics;

However, practical subjects are not available to some homeschoolers who prefer to do the Cambridge Homeschool Matric independently i.e. without the help of a private college. While Cambridge offers over 70 subjects at IGCSE and AS level, not all can be taken in South Africa.

Where does my student get their textbooks?

Once you have chosen your subjects you will refer to the list of resources for each subject on the Cambridge website. Take special note of resources with a check mark next to them. These are endorsed by Cambridge and should be your first choice. These books can be bought directly from the publishers but we have found that online stores are just as reasonably priced and quick to deliver.

Where and when does the student write exams?

Exams are written twice a year either through the chosen college or if you are an independent student at a Cambridge examination venue. Some private schools allow independent examinees to sit and write with their students or you can write at the British Council in your town.

Exams are written in May/June and November each year. Cambridge will charge a per subject exam fee of about R450 which you have to pay in advance. There may be other fees on top of this according to where you choose to write the exam.



Injustice through education

The South African education system has just had some changes made to it and while I may support one or two of these laws, I am still very shocked that they are not seeing the big picture. I still am obviously shocked that SACE is still active.

One of the many new changes to the system is that teachers will now have to deal with at least 60 students in a class. How does a teacher who is newly qualified, untrained, and with no experience deal with such numbers in a class? Has the minister lost it completely? She apparently holds a master’s degree in education, however, looking at the current system and its rankings globally I must question the legitimacy of her qualifications.

Are they not seeing that the global trend of education is that classes are getting smaller, classes are now comprised of two teachers rather than one, technology plays an important role and of course there is no homework?
The idea to nationalize education and get rid of governing bodies is utterly ridiculous! Every school needs a governing body, it needs active role players and one of the key role players are the parents.
To be a successful educational system both parents and students need to play an active role in education. Unfortunately, parents do not understand education because when authorities speak about education they speak in a language that sounds completely foreign to parents. It is vital that parents understand completely what is going on in education, it is important for parents to understand that while a school using technology is the way to go, they also need to understand how this technology is being used, because till today many schools still do not use technology in the correct way.

Parents need to understand why homework is a thing of the past and does not work anymore. Homework, as mentioned, is a thing of the past; it does not work because it takes away the social development aspect of the child. Today’s generation of kids is far different than the generations before. Kids today need social interaction in order to develop. Students are in school all day, from as early as 7 am and end school at latest 4pm.They need time to relax, to bond with their families and not still come home to do more school work. They are already going to school to do this work, why do they need to still come home and d more?
One of many changes to the new amendments is that of homeschooling, It is still a very unclear topic among everybody and while there are some respected organizations doing their best to assist those who want to get involved in homeschooling, the government itself is still unclear about it.According to the constitution, every child has the right to an education and how they receive this education be it at a school or at home is entirely up to the parent and should remain as such. There should be no intervention. Parents can choose to go the IEB route or perhaps an international route such as Cambridge. It has to be left up to the parent!

The biggest issue for me with these new changes is that the biggest picture is being ignored! Relevancy to in-class teaching! While policies are important and there for a specific reason. We must also understand that what happens in class is equally important. Teachers need to be trained according to international standards. We cannot and should not be happy with being ranked as 91/95 globally for general education.SACE has done absolutely nothing in developing teachers. The process to obtain a SACE license is a joke. There is no method to assess a teacher’s level of competency. The SACE teacher development workshops need to focus more on topics of relevance and what is assumed.

Classrooms need to be built to accommodate students and not stuff them all into one class, we are not dealing with sardines, we are dealing with our children, our future!
No school has the right to turn away any student, if a parent is criminalized for denying their child a right to an education, then a school turning away a student should also be criminalized.

We need people of competence to make the decision and unfortunately right now partitions will not work, what needs to happen is that parents need to be educated thoroughly on what’s going on and parents need to take the stand. Educators will not succeed because the system pins them down. It is parents through proper training and education about the system, its changes and what it should be, who can actually make the difference right now.


The 8 Biggest Mistakes Language Learners Make (And How to Fix Them!)

By Benny Lewis

If I asked you to name some language learning mistakes, what would you say?

Bad pronunciation? Not knowing the right words? Messing up grammar?

These are pretty common mistakes, and people make them all the time when learning a language.

But these aren’t the mistakes that will hold you back as a language learner.

In fact, these “mistakes” – having limited vocab, messing up grammar, having a thick accent – are a natural and necessary part of the learning process. So, they’re not really mistaken at all.

Today I’d like to share with you eight of the most common mistakes that will hold you back. I see language learners struggling with these issues every day. Don’t be one of them!

Luckily, although these mistakes will stall your language learning, they are easy to fix, just by making a few small changes in your mindset. Language hacking is all about mindset.

Language Learning Mistake #1: Freaking out about Making Mistakes

Mistakes are an essential part of learning languages (or learning anything, really). So don’t beat yourself up about them.

Think about it. There’s no way that you can reach fluency without making lots and lots (and lots) of mistakes. It’s utterly impossible. So why even try to avoid them? Instead, embrace being a beginner and accept that it means you’ll feel out of your comfort zone for a while.

The purpose of making mistakes it to learn from them. An excellent strategy is to learn your lesson as quickly as possible and move on, better and stronger than you were before.

If your experience of learning a language is filled with stressful emotions you’re much more likely to give up. By avoiding speaking until you can say things “perfectly”, you’ll silence yourself. Worrying too much about being perfect will paralyze you.

Always remember that mistakes are the gateway to improvement and are essential to our development. Without mistakes, your progress will stall.

The Language Hacker’s Fix for Making Mistakes

Learn to love your mistakes.

At the very least, learn to learn from your mistakes. At the end of each day take a few moments to write down the mistakes you made with your language learning. Then, next to each mistake write what you learned from the mistake and how you can improve your process the next time around. After a while, your mind will naturally start to shift from being stressed out about your mistakes to looking at them as an opportunity for improvement.

I have a very easy-going attitude with mistakes in language learning. They are so necessary that I have a goal to make at least 200 mistakes a day when I’m in my most intensive learning mode! By saying things wrong 200 times, I know I’m using the language, and I know I’m learning how to say them right as fast as possible.

Language Learning Mistake #2: Thinking You’ll Never Pronounce it Right

With hundreds of different sound units (phonemes) in the world’s languages – between 300 to 600, depending on who you ask – it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

It seems like an uphill battle when tackling the German “ch”, Chinese tones, or the long strings of consonants in Czech and Russian. Even when you look at a really familiar word like “radiation” in a language like French, it’s pronounced closer to “Hhah-dee-ah-see-ong”, which is very different from what you’d expect as an English speaker.

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

It isn’t that these words are hard to pronounce, but that English pronunciation and spelling rules are so weird.

Think about it. Why is the “ough” spelling pronounced so differently in though, through, plough and cough? As an English speaker, you have an advantage of already being comfortable in a language filled to bursting point with complicated phonetic rules. If you can learn English pronunciation then it’s a safe bet you can learn to pronounce any language.

The Language Hacker’s Fix for Pronunciation

Identify the phonetic rules in your target language that give you the most trouble.

Then take a list of words (ideally relevant to you, such as where you’re from, your hobbies, your work, or studies) and try to say them yourself. You can check your pronunciation from home by searching for the words on Forvo.com to see how native speakers pronounce them. After a while you’ll start to internalize the patterns.

Repeat the words again and again, and muscle memory will eventually take over. Your mouth and tongue will have a bit of work to do at first to learn how to make these new sounds. But with repetition, you’ll eventually be pronouncing even the toughest words with ease.

Language Learning Mistake #3: Getting Tangled up with Grammar

Yes, the language you are studying has grammar. And yes, some of the grammar might be “hard”. But guess what? Every language also has aspects of grammar which are easy!

There are two related mistakes people make with grammar. The first is ignoring those aspects of the grammar that make the language much easier. For example, you’ll never need to conjugate verbs in Chinese or know noun cases in Italian. Don’t forget to embrace the parts of grammar that make things easy!

The second grammar mistake is to focus on the details of “hard” grammar without stepping back to see how things can be simplified. Genders in languages like French are much easier when you realize it isn’t about the word, but about the last letter(s) of the word! Even truly tough aspects like the rules of plurals in German have clever shortcuts you can use.

Every language has these “hacks” that can simplify the grammar and make learning much easier.

The Language Hacker’s Fix for Grammar

Enjoy the grammar points in your target language that are easy – they all have them – and find rules to simplify the parts that are “hard”.

Take a step back to see where you can identify those parts of the language that can be simplified into easy-to-understand rules.

Language Learning Mistake #4: Focusing on the Wrong Vocabulary

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with vocabulary is failing to choose the right words for you.

Vocabulary serves you best when it’s relevant to you and your life. After all, you’re much more likely to talk about your hobbies, family or hometown than you are about the top kiwifruit producing country in the world (Italy, believe it or not).

By focusing on words that are specific to you, it allows you to quickly build a list of vocabulary that you can use in conversations right away. Not only that but since the words you’ve learned are relevant to you, you will find them much easier to remember.

The Language Hacker’s Fix: Vocabulary

Don’t grab a generic list of “1000 most common words” in your language! Many of those words probably won’t be relevant to you as a beginner.

Before you start studying your language, write up a one-page document introducing yourself and your life. Talk about your family, hobbies, school, work or anything else that might come up in conversation. Then identify the most relevant words and focus on learning those first, as well as any words that complement them. For example, if I”m learning the word for “vegetarian” then it is also useful to learn the words for “vegetables”, “eat”, “food”, “meat” and the names of a few of my favorite dishes.

Language Learning Mistake #5: Believing Immersion is All About Living Abroad

If you believe that you can only be immersed in a language by living abroad, then you’re not alone. I’m constantly amazed at how many people have never taken the plunge to get spoken practice online.

Unfortunately, this is a big mistake. The Internet makes it really simple to immerse yourself in a new language, wherever you live.

Immersion has less to do with your location than your environment. Build a lifestyle where exposure to your target language is around every corner — through music, TV shows, movies, software and the people you see regularly. For example, if you’re learning French, watch a great French movie like Amélie to help prepare yourself for chatting with native French speakers.

Infuse your day with exposure to the language and your skills will develop at a much higher rate.

It’s so much easier than you might think.

The Language Hacker’s Fix: Immersion

There are three easy things you can do right away to create a language immersion environment. First, and foremost, set up a Skype conversation exchange or language lesson on italki.

Don’t be intimidated to get started. Most people say their biggest regret is not starting sooner!

Second, load up foreign language files (music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.) on your audio player so that you have natives speaking (or singing) to you wherever you go. TuneIn is a great site to get free streaming radio in your target language.

Third, change the language on all your digital interfaces (smartphone, Facebook, computer, web browser) to give yourself full virtual immersion.

Language Learning Mistake #6: Getting Frustrated When Listening to Natives

One of the first things you’ll notice when learning a language is the speed at which natives speak. Even if you understand words written on the page, when you hear them spoken at full speed by a native speaker you can feel like you’re listening to a confusing collection of random sounds. This is especially true if you’re learning Spanish, as native Spanish speakers typically speak at lightning speeds (but there are ways around even that).

Instead of becoming frustrated, realize that this challenge can be overcome by training your ears to associate the sounds of the language with the written form.

With a few weeks of consistent practice, you can train yourself to listen as well as you can read. Once you reach that point, it just becomes a matter of improving your vocabulary and grammar.

The Language Hacker’s Fix: Listening

While there are many great methods for developing your ear, just a few you can test out include checking out a TV show or movie you are familiar with (with dubbing and subtitles in your target language) watching it, listening in your target language, all while following along with the subtitles. After a while, test your improved listening skills by watching it again, this time with the subtitles turned off.

There are also tools that allow you to listen to content (video and audio) that is slowed down for learners, depending on the language. I especially love using podcasts to hear full-speed sentences broken down piece by piece.

Language Learning Mistake #7: Having a Study-Heavy Approach

If you want to improve your language skills, I recommend studying less, not more.

Unless you are studying for a specific exam, burying your head in a book will actually slow down your language learning progress.

One of the biggest mistakes I see language learners make is believing that studying languages is about acquiring knowledge. Newsflash: it’s not! Learning a new language is about building a communication skill. Like any skill, you have to use it to improve it. Don’t get so mired in the study of a language that you forget the whole reason you’re doing this — to communicate with people around the world!

The Language Hacker’s Fix: Studying

Put down your book!

Schedule time to meet up and practice with native speakers. It is the fastest way to build up your skill in a new language. You can use your spoken sessions as a basis for your studies and as an opportunity to practice what you learn. This way you’re building that important muscle memory early on.

Language Learning Mistake #8: Believing it has to be Hard

While language learning is many things, believing that it is intrinsically “hard” is one of the biggest mistakes I see with language learners.

Does it take time and focused commitment? Absolutely! Can it be scary and intimidating? Sure! But is it “hard”? Not necessarily.

Your attitude towards language learning is the biggest factor in how difficult or easy a language will be to learn.

The truth is, the difficulty doesn’t lie within the language itself, but in the study methods and materials you use, and your attitude towards the language. Adapt your approach to be like a scientist testing out new theorems. Find the methods that work best for you instead of committing yourself to one that is familiar, but ineffective.

The Language Hacker’s Fix: Difficulty

The biggest fix here is in changing your mindset.

Don’t aim for perfection or use excuses such as bad luck or “bad genes”. Focus on short-term tangible goals and seek out language learning methods and hacks that can cut hours off your study time and make language learning easy.

There are also lots of fun ways to learn languages. I love learning through music and through gamified social systems like memrise.

Why Learning Languages is Easy

Mistakes are a necessary and valuable part of the language learning process, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow yourself to keep making the same ones over and over.

Focus on the big picture and always look for ways to “hack” your language learning with new approaches, systems and techniques. You’ll soon find that learning a new language is actually easy.


Discipline in schools today

DisciplineAccording to new research, common school discipline practices such as telling students of in front of the entire class, or punishing the whole class for just a few and detention whereby a student would miss their break or even stay in after school as a means of punishing bad behaviour has proved to be an ineffective forms of punishment.
What studies have shown is that instead of changing behavior, these forms of punishment can create a rebellious student and even damage the relationship between a teacher and student.

Being spoken to in front of the whole class is seen as demeaning.Recent methods that were found to have been more successful are verbal warnings, communicating with parents or even politely and away from everybody else speaking to the students. Of course, the whole point of punishment is so that it becomes unpleasant for the student and makes him/her feel some sort of guilt for the wrong that they have done,

Studies show that students distinguished between rewards, which were related to school work, and punishments which were related to behavior. Punishments given out for not doing their work are perceived as behavior.
Behaviour policies have no real theoretical basis at all, It is based on an approach which is not found in any other area of teaching. Rather than being based on evidence, discipline policies rely on a behaviorist approach: that if a behavior is reinforced it will continue and if it is not reinforced it will stop. That may be great if you are training animals but not when you are dealing with students. If we don’t take that approach in other areas of education then I don’t see why we should have it in a behavior policy. Students may learn that bad behavior has consequences, but they are not learning how to behave better.

Sometimes I think that teachers feel good about themselves to put someone in detention, but children aren’t being taught to behave. What teachers need to do is to find the reason for the bad behavior and understand it first, because every kind of behavior has a reason and when we understand the reason we will be able to correct the behavior and teach students the appropriate way to behave.

Schools need to start building better teacher-parent relationships. They need to show more compassion towards the student because at the end of the day education is all about touch the mind, the heart and soul of our students and as long as we do not show compassion, we will not be able to correctly rectify and teach appropriate behavior.

Inquiry- Based Learning

Students learn more due to the fact that they take action and apply the skills that they learn.IBL is a fancy word for curiosity, every child is curious. Teachers need to allow this curiosity within a controlled environment. The best way to learn is to question. Human nature is to question therefore questions by students should always be welcomed by the teacher. IBL is about igniting passion and relevance and not just about finishing the routine. We need to assess knowledge and understanding and not memory and speed. IBL is about student exploration.

The basics of IBL are to come up with rich questions for students. Questions that don’t already have the answers in it. This enables thinking. The student will begin to do things related to passion and excitement, they become inspired and motivated, they struggle at times but this is the meaning of a true education. The IBL method allows for students and teachers to go far and beyond the expectations of the curriculum. Students become invested in their learning and are able to transfer what they learn in school to the real world.


How does an IBL lesson begin?

A teacher begins with the idea of where they would want to end in mind but gives the students the opportunity to drive it to that point.

Guided Inquiry – Teachers guide the students through the curriculum and gradually shifts the focus to a student based inquiry.

Student-based Inquiry– Students use what was guided by prior knowledge and begin to build their own inquiries, thus making them critical thinkers.

Teachers develop the guided inquiry based on the curriculum, however, students shape how and where they want to go with it.


Incorporating IBL into the classroom

The incorporation of IBL into a classroom may seem expensive, too open-ended and time-consuming but there are ways of avoiding this. IBL is a very good method as research has shown that it increases motivation and deepens a student’s understanding. Many ask the question of what if a teacher hasn’t ever been introduced to IBL or rarely incorporates it into his/her classroom, what steps can be taken to fully integrate IBL into classes so that it becomes a normal routine?

Firstly teachers need to be familiar with their content and topic for the lesson by looking through the curriculum which will help their understanding of what the students need to learn and also what is not part of the curriculum.

Teachers, as we know, have limited time so to brush up on content understanding teachers could use resources such as textbooks which are useful but in the age of technology sites such as YouTube, Google and Wikipedia saves time and is very effective. Teachers do need to be careful of sites such as Wikipedia as Wikipedia may have information that may be too intense and not relevant to that particular grade. Colleagues also can be helpful as a form of resource.

Once the teacher is confident about his/her research of the topic, the teacher should then come up with a rich inquiry-based activity for their students, again the internet is a great place to find activities and ideas. A teacher may want to change the activity a bit to fit the level of the students and of course one that fits the curriculum as well as links the activity to society.

Find activities that don’t require materials of a big budget, the important thing to understand here and implement is the concept of making do with what you already have before looking elsewhere.

Spreading the class into groups of not more than 6 groups allows for collaboration. Choose activates that are comfortable for both the teacher and students to do in class. Make sure that any activity done ensures the safety of students which is of paramount importance.

The teacher should begin the lesson by laying down the foundation with the basic content. This means that the teacher is going to teach.Teaching the BASIC CONTENT to develop the interest early on. Once the basic fundamental concepts have been presented the teacher may move onto some STRUCTURED INQUIRY.

Structured Inquiry

With structured inquiry the teacher provides students with a question to answer or a problem to solve and also gives the students a procedure to follow in order to arrive at a solution, the teacher does not provide students with a solution. The solution is what students have to figure out.

Structured inquiry helps students go over the content they had learned during the basic content phase of the lesson. Using groups allows for all students in the group to become active members. Every student in the group has an important role to play thus teaching responsibility. Teachers should then challenge students with a guided inquiry activity.


Guided inquiry

With guided inquiry, the teacher asks a question to the class presenting what they have learned thus far.It is now up to the students to figure out the procedure and come to a solution. Guided inquiry gives the opportunity for students to be creative and inquisitive therefore allowing them to ask the many questions they would develop. To stimulate this, the teacher can come up with creative scenarios.

Guided inquiry can be very rewarding as it ignites emotion when students arrive at the solution through the procedures they have created.Guided learning gives the balance of freedom and constraint. Meaning that they should solve a specific problem with specific resources but are given the freedom to use their own strategies. The end result is that they take ownership of their work and arrive at the conclusions without being overwhelmed by too many options and going off track.


Open inquiry

During the guided inquiry, students ask questions which would lead to open inquiry. Open inquiry is the bi-product of the other forms of inquiry.

In open inquiry, the teacher does not provide the solution, procedure or question. Students come up with the question, the teacher at the start of the lesson had already provided the foundation and guided them through as well as scaffold questions to them, students have the ability and confidence to answer questions from their peers. They do this by experimenting and making predictions with some teacher assistance.

Because questions come from the students there is a level of motivation to reach a solution, Open inquiry leads to powerful, teachable moments and is satisfying for both the teacher and students who can both take the opportunity to learn something new.


How to get your students to become critical thinkers?

Critical thinking has always been an important issue in education. All students will need an exercise critical thinking well beyond their school years. Experts agree that in keeping up with the ever-changing technological advances, students will need to obtain, understand, and analyze information on a much more efficient scale. It is our job as educators to equip our students with the strategies and skills they need to think critically in order to cope with these tech problems and obstacles they face elsewhere.

Fortunately, teachers can use a number of techniques that can help students learn critical thinking, even for children enrolled in kindergarten. Here are some teaching strategies that may prove immediately effective:

To Encourage Creativity

Traditionally, elementary teachers prepare templates for art projects before they give it to their students. By doing so, it levels the creative playing field and can, in some ways, help the classroom run more smoothly if every child’s snowflake looks the same.

I know it may be a bit unnerving to relinquish a bit of control, but rest assured that not having everything prepped in advance is a good thing. Instead, give students all of the supplies needed to create a snowflake, and let them do it on their own. This will allow students to become critical thinkers because they will have to use their prior knowledge to consider what a snowflake looks like, how big it is, what color it is, etc.

Do Not Always Jump in to Help

It’s too easy to always find a solution for a student who needs your help. Kindergarteners especially will get very upset when they can’t find their crayons or scissors. The easy way for a teacher to answer is “It’s OK, you can borrow a pair of scissors from me.” Instead of always readily finding a solution for your students, try responding with “Let’s think about how we can find them.” Then, you can assist the student in figuring out the best possible solution for finding their lost item.

Brainstorm before Everything You Do

One of the easiest and most effective ways to get young children to think critically is to brainstorm. Regardless of the subject, have students think about what they’ll be doing, learning, or reading— before actually starting each activity.  Ask a lot of questions, like “What do you think this book will be about?” Or “Tell me three things you think you will be learning in this lesson about space?” Give students every opportunity you can to be critical thinkers.

Classify and Categorize

Classification plays an important role in critical thinking because it requires students to understand and apply a set of rules. Give students a variety of objects and ask them to identify each object, then sort it into a category. This is a great activity to help students think and self-question what object should go where, and why.

Compare and Contrast

Much like classifying, students will need to look closely at each topic or object they are comparing and really think about the significance of each one. You can have students compare and contrast just about anything—try this out with the book your class is reading now. Compare and contrast the weather forecast for today and yesterday. Compare the shape and color of a pumpkin to another vegetable. Compare and contrast today’s math lesson with last week’s—the ideas are endless.

Make Connections

Encouraging students to make connections to a real-life situation and identify patterns is a great way to practice their critical thinking skills. Ask students to always be on the look for these connections, and when they find one to make sure they tell you.

Provide Group Opportunities

Group settings are the perfect way to get your kids thinking. When children are around their classmates working together, they get exposed to the thought processes of their peers. They learn how to understand how other people think and that their way is not the only route to explore.

When this valuable skill is introduced to students early on in the education process, students will be capable of having complex thoughts and become better problem solvers when presented with difficulty. It’s important for students to possess a variety of skills, but it’s just as important for them to understand the skills and how, and when to use them.

A humble question is an indispensable tool: the spade that helps us dig for the truth, or the flashlight that illuminates the surrounding darkness. Questioning helps us learn, explore the unknown, and adapt to change.

That makes it a most precious “app” today, in a world where everything is changing and so much is unknown. And yet, we don’t seem to value questioning as much as we should. For the most part, in our workplaces as well as our classrooms, it is the answers we reward — while the questions are barely tolerated.

To change that is easier said than done. Working within an answers-based education system, and in a culture where questioning may be seen as a sign of weakness, teachers must go out of their way to create conditions conducive to inquiry. Here are some suggestions (based on input from question-friendly teachers, schools, programs, and organizations) on how to encourage more questioning in the classroom and hopefully, beyond it.


How to Encourage Questioning

  1. Make It Safe

Asking a question can be a scary step into the void. It’s also an admission to the world (and more terrifyingly, to classmates) that one doesn’t know the answer. So teachers must somehow “flip the script” by creating an environment where questioning becomes a strength; where it is welcomed and desired. The Right Question Institute, a nonprofit group that teaches inquiry skills in low-income schools, encourages teachers to run group exercises dedicated entirely to formulating questions (no answers allowed!) — with clear rules and guidelines to ensure that students’ questions aren’t judged or edited, and that all questions are written down and respected. There are many variations on this type of exercise. The second-grade teacher Julie Grimm uses a “10 by 10” exercise, in which kids are encouraged to come up with 10 great questions about a topic during a 10-minute span. But the bottom line is, designate some kind of safe haven in the classroom where all students can freely exercise the “questioning muscle.”


  1. Make It “Cool”

This is a tough one. Among many kids, it’s cool to already know — or to not care. But what if we could help students understand that the people who ask questions happen to be some of the coolest people on the planet? As I discovered in the research for my book on inquiry, questioners thought of many of those whiz-bang gadgets we now love. They’re the ones breaking new ground in music, movies, the arts. They’re the explorers, the mavericks, the rebels, making the world a more interesting place — and having a heck of a time themselves. How cool is that?

  1. Make It Fun

Part of the appeal of “questions-only” exercises is that there’s an element of play involved, as in: Can you turn that answer/statement into a question? Can you open your closed questions, and close your open ones? There are countless ways to inject a “game” element into questioning, but here’s an example borrowed from the business world: Some companies use a practice called “the 5 whys,” which involves formulating a series of “why” questions to try to get to the root of a problem. Kids were practically born asking “why” questions, so why not allow them to use that innate talent within a structured challenge? Or, show them how to use the “Why/What if/How” sequence of questioning as a fun way to tackle just about any problem. Whatever the approach, let kids tap into their imaginations and innate question-asking skills in ways that make inquiry an engaging part of a larger challenge.

  1. Make It Rewarding

Obviously, we must praise and celebrate the questions that are asked — and not only the on-target, penetrating ones, but also the more expansive, sometimes-offbeat ones (I found that seemingly “crazy questions” sometimes result in the biggest breakthroughs). Help create a path for students to get from a question to a meaningful result. A great question can be the basis of an on-going project, a report, an original creation of some kind. The point is to show that if one is willing to spend time on a question — to not just Google it but grapple with it, share it with others, and build on it — that question can ultimately lead to something rewarding and worthwhile.

  1. Make It Stick

If the long-term goal is to create lifelong questioners, then the challenge is to make questioning a habit — a part of the way one thinks. RQI’s Dan Rothstein says it’s important to include a metacognitive stage in question-training exercises wherein kids can reflect on how they’ve used questioning and articulate what they’ve learned about it, so they can “pave a new neural pathway” for lifelong inquiry.

CV for the 21st century

Keep your CV short

Keeping your CV short is the important part of writing a CV, Recruiters and HR managers do not have the time to go through a 10 page CV.An ideal length of the CV should be minimum 2 pages and max being  3 pages.It has been statistically proven that it takes a recruiter 30 seconds to scan through your CV. So think to yourself, if you only have 30 seconds to present, what do you want to get across quickly?

Make your CV look good

Your CV should be well structured, professional and error-free.Going the extra mile to make your CV visually presentable is always good, however, if it is not up to scratch it just will not work.

Take into consideration that in certain industries – usually creative, visual or advertising – your CV will form part of a broader portfolio, so presenting it to the best of your creative abilities will show that you know what you are doing.Add a profile picture!recuiters and HR managers want to see who they are dealing with.

Don’t count on the recruiter to read your cover letter

Recruiters are in the business of comparing CVs with CVs. Although it’s a good idea to have a polite cover letter, keep the useful information – where you highlight relevant skills and experience – for the CV itself rather than expecting the recruiter to use two documents to get the full picture.

While many companies still request covering letters, work on the assumption that the letter may not get read due to the volumes that recruiters have to deal with.

Adapt your CV to the job you are applying for

Recruiters expect you to have done the work to tell them why you are the ideal candidate for the job on offer – not for just any job.

List only the experience you have for the job you are applying for.If you are a teacher, and applying for a teaching post, just state your teaching experience.There is no need to list down voluntary work or that time you worked at a restaurant.

Don’t overdo the biography section

In the past, people used to include everything from their age and health to their religion and marital status in the biography section of their CVs. Now, it’s advisable to include as little of this kind of information as possible, especially if it could be used for discriminatory purposes.Information such as your passport number on a CV is not needed, add your D.O.B, but the passport number will be handed in when needed to make the visa.

Repeat the job’s skills requirements in your CV

If you are applying online, your CV could be processed by a computer before any human lays eyes on it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to list the set of skills you have using the same wording as the job ad’s skills required because the computer will select your application based on how well you match the requirements.

This isn’t a bad approach even if you know that you are dealing with a human being because it will help them to see what a good match you are without having to dig for information.

Include a career summary 

Personal descriptions or self-praise must be avoided as they are outdated. like saying you’re motivated or a team player – are dead and gone.

Reverse chronology still stands

Always show your latest job FIRST. List your most recent experience first, rather than showing them your first job first. give a description of your duties at the jobs.Be specific and make sure you state the time frame of which you worked at the listed jobs.

Don’t go overboard with online CVs

While it’s great to have an online CV – especially if you work in an industry that’s technologically focused – you should still apply for jobs by attaching or uploading a document-based CV. Recruiters may have specific processes for reading through or filing CVs, and you don’t want to make them go to the extra effort of clicking on a link, and copying and pasting your information into a document format.

Clean up your social media profiles 

Although this isn’t strictly a point for your CV, chances are that anyone considering you for a job in this day and age will google your name, and check out any social media profiles you have. Beat them to it and make sure that there isn’t any questionable content out there to turn them right off you.Professionals these days should have a LinkedIn profile.

Understand your industry

While there are certain standards that every applicant should be aware of,  it’s important to know how the recruitment models in your specific industry work.Try to adjust your energies and efforts to what you think will yield the best results. If networking is the most common way of getting a job in your industry, don’t spend all your time on online applications. Act in the way that’s most likely to get results.


What is TEFL

Many individuals seek to travel overseas to find work for various reasons. Most but not all have the required qualifications to easily find work in a new country, whilst others may not have what is needed which is when they would decide on a new career path. The desire to change careers prompted the huge business known as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Schools and companies in countries English is not the first language needed to now train their people to be able to have an acceptable level of English language.

English being the lingua franca in the world of business soon found many colleges and course providers offering courses known as the TEFL.The university of Cambridge has their own which is regarded as the “Gold standard” known as the CELTA course.

Cambridge is already a well-established university in the UK and has for years been the go-to for development as they have well-assured standards. Therefore a course done by Cambridge is well respected in the industry.The CELTA is an extensive course that would train candidates both practically and theoretically about teaching English. Many language centers around the globe offer CELTA, TEFL and TESOL courses, however, language centers or course providers who do offer the CELTA must be accredited by Cambridge as Cambridge would be the external moderators and will officially issue the final statement of results as well as the certificate.

The three acronyms within the industry commonly used are TEFL- Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TESOL- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and CELTA – Certificate in English Language to Teaching to Adults. These acronyms are used very often and we find that the TEFL and TESOL both can be used interchangeably as they both may have different letters but can be achieved in the same way.Both the TEFL and TESOL can be done online or can be done in class; they can also have a combined course where a part is done in class and part online.

The CELTA course used to just be an extensive in-class 4-week program focusing on theory and practice, but in recent times even the CELTA now can be done with an online component.CELTA is geared more for those who wish to turn teaching into a lifelong career, it is more expensive and often has very many requirements needed before actually doing the course such as formal qualifications and being of a minimum age of 20.whereas with the TEFL and TESOL there are minimum requirements of age 16 and a native-level of English.

TEFL refers to the industry, many providers will offer a TEFL certificate and many course providers give the various options of the different type of TEFL courses. For example, you could do a TEFL course worth 20 hours, there’s an option of 60 hours and so on. The industry required amount of hours is a minimum of 120 hours. This ensures that the applicant has had the relevant training to ensure that they can handle themselves comfortably within a classroom. The 120 hours TEFL/TESOL course would include a practical component.

The common issue today with these courses is the accreditation. You will find course providers of TEFL or TESOL who when they market their courses would often state that their course is ‘internationally recognized” and on their certificates, you would see logos of accrediting companies who when doing a Google search do exist. The issue with these companies is that they often have a membership fee. What this means is that as long as you pay their fee you have permission to use their logo. These companies also are mainly based in the Uk and don’t accredit course providers who are based outside the UK.

Some of the providers of four-week equivalent courses also administer their own cross-checks, which help to ensure consistency. Others, however, in the attempt to come up with similar forms of approval and accreditation, make use of varyingly trustworthy yardsticks. Some of these will be genuinely reliable, others more spurious. One example of something being misleadingly used as proof of quality as mentioned above is corporate membership of teaching and training associations. While membership of these is beneficial, it’s a red herring in terms of any guarantee of quality.Beyond the pedagogical arguments for taking a quality course, most would-be teachers’ prime concern is the question: “Will my course land me a Tefl job in my chosen country?”

Employers will always look first for prior teaching experience. In the absence of this, the importance placed on a good Tefl course will depend on the employer’s general awareness of the courses available and his or her previous experience of teachers with such qualifications. Other factors besides qualifications and experience which are also taken into account in the selection process include personality, presentation, other work experience, and academic qualifications.



Guidelines for writing a CV  


  • Personal information (name, address, contact nos, email, skype id)
  • D.O.B required for visa purposes
  • Educational qualifications (secondary school/tertiary education) Specify the degree obtained and when
  • Employment history(previous and current) Include the exact dates
  • Ensure that the most recent employment is put first dating backward with no gaps in employment. If you have taken gaps to travel, stay-at-home or were unemployed, please state this clearly
  • Include the details and contact email addresses of at least two professional referees who are contactable – References from colleagues are NOT acceptable
  • TWO written references are required from different previous employers stating the dates of employment and position you held and this must be signed and on the school/company letterhead
  • NB!!!Employers want to know who they are dealing with and see what you look like. Ensure that you have a professional looking color jpeg photograph of yourself on the front page (women must have their shoulders covered) No tilted head and shoulder shots-please wear something professional and smile looking straight into the camera like you would when applying for a passport
  • The CV must be no longer than 2-3 pages long. If your CV is not concise and easy to read, professional and short it will be discarded by hiring managers without hesitation.
  • Check margins and that font sizes match