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How to help your students find the right subjects to study

helping students choose subjects
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Certainly, every single child is talented in their own way. But teachers in schools play a pivotal role in helping them identify that skill, to develop it and empower them to achieve.

The 2011Education Act puts more emphasis on the responsibility of schools in this area. It states:

“The responsible authorities for a school in England must ensure that all registered pupils at the school are provided with independent careers guidance during the relevant phase of their education.”

Agreed, a large part of the decision-making on choosing which subjects to study depends on the pupil – ultimately, only they can draw a clear picture about the kind of life they would like to lead in the future. However, most of them choose their subjects based on the advice and guidance they get from teachers.

Therefore, it is important for schools and teachers to guide their pupils to take the first step on the path of their potential future career.

How can schools be prepared?

A survey conducted by the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England revealed that a fifth of students were unable to choose one or more subjects that they wished to study. In most cases the school did not offer those subjects.

Here are some tips for teachers to help pupils choose their secondary school subjects:

  1. Research online to learn more about the career paths of people your children admire, and also look for resources and other opportunities for finding more information about their careers.
  1. Every teacher should encourage students to talk about their subject choices and career path. You could also talk to parents/carers, friends and neighbours that will help give you a better understanding of your students’ interests.
  2. Organise talks and discussions by inviting ex-pupils to the school, and ask them to share their experiences about making subject choices.
  1. Although you want your students to choose subjects that will help them have a successful career, they should also consider what they really enjoy and are passionate about.

Things your students need to know before making their A-level subject choices

Making the right A-level choices can be a nail biting task for students.  Some already know what career path they want to take, and if your student is one of these, then here are some common careers with suggestions for related A level subjects:

  • Medicine, Nursing, Veterinary or Dentistry pathway: Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Psychology.
  • Engineering Pathway: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Product Design, Engineering
  • Public administration pathway: English Literature, History, Politics, Sociology.
  • Business and Accountancy pathway: Business/Accounting, Economics, Law, MFL
  • Journalism pathway: English Language, English Literature, Politics, Psychology
  • Teaching, police, social work pathway: English, Sociology, Psychology, Health & Social Care
  • Expressive arts pathway: Art, Drama and Theatre Studies, Film Studies, English Literature.
  • Environmental pathway: Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Studies, Geography.

Which subjects do your students enjoy the most?

Rarely is there a student who jumps out of bed every morning desperate to get to school. But it’s almost impossible to come across a student who has never really enjoyed that “one” subject or class in school. So, whichever subject your students like the most, encourage them to pursue it further. For the simple reason that they enjoy studying it, which also encourages them to work harder, and ultimately achieve better grades.

The Internet today provides access to a growing pool of research and insight sources – it certainly helps the students to choose their favorite subjects to study. However, you might also want to ensure that they don’t land up on an offensive or an illegal site. We have a solution for you – follow us on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn to find out  more about how to safeguard your students online.



Summer Holiday ideas to make the best of the next 3 weeks

summer holidays
Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

Summer holiday is a time for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation – or at least that’s what most people assume it’s for. Like most teachers, you probably approach the summer break with anticipation, excitement and a bunch of activities and trips that you might not have time for from September to June.

To help ensure you make the most of the remaining three weeks of your summer break, we’ve put together some ‘to-dos’ to check off your list.

Keep the learning alive

There are loads of interesting and engaging teacher wellness courses to help you take on the next year with gusto. From lesson planning and grading to classroom and behaviour management, teachers can become mentally and physically overwhelmed. Developing new skills and techniques that support a healthy work-life balance is essential for teachers. Your summer holiday is an ideal time to reflect on where you need help and how you can become more balanced in your personal and professional life.

Make a list – but be flexible

Although most people assume the summer holidays are all about kicking off your shoes and having a good time, teachers everywhere will agree that it is the one time in the year they get time to plan and prepare. Start with a list of things that you would like to accomplish over the summer and then break it down into personal and professional goals. You can schedule tasks on a daily or weekly basis – but remember, it’s the HOLIDAYS, so don’t overburden yourself and be willing to re-schedule tasks or change timelines if necessary.

Always factor in time with family and friends and ensure that you’re being realistic about what you can get done. You don’t want to end up feeling disappointed or more overwhelmed than when you started your break

Take some time off

This might sound like obvious advice, but in the rush to get things done and catch up on errands, trips and tasks, it’s easy to forget to simply take some time off. This includes turning off your phone, laptop and any other digital devices that keep you constantly connected with everyone around you.

Do the things you never have time for

Throughout the year, there are a hundred different things you might like to get done, for example, take a French class, go on a hiking trip, visit an old friend – use this time to check some activities off that list. Summer holidays are the much awaited break from a long hectic year and it’s up to you to make the most of it.

Happy Summer!


Classroom management techniques to help you deal with your next tough day at school

Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

Most teachers who have been in the profession for a while have a few brilliant tricks up their sleeves – techniques they have mastered over the years to keep classes engaged, attentive and for the most part well-behaved throughout the school day. Despite their expertise in handling classrooms, every teacher has moments when they are at their wits’ end about how to handle a challenging pupil, or how to overcome a particularly difficult situation.

We have put together a list of some new and old techniques for effective classroom management to help you tackle your next tough day at school:

Giving children a choice to behave differently

Amidst the buzz of a regular work day at school, teachers often run out of ways to reprimand the same student again and again. One interesting option we have come across is giving children the choice to behave differently. For example, if you see two kids fighting over a book or toy, you might say, “Charles and Sam, please make a different choice”. This technique gives the child a chance to change his behaviour and impress his teacher. Most kids know when they are doing something wrong and expect to be yelled at or punished, however if you give them a chance to change their behaviour and fall into your good graces, you might just be one step ahead of them.

Reprimand children in private, briefly and immediately                                        

If you choose to correct or admonish a child, it is always best to do so when no one else is around. It is common knowledge that children will get defensive if they are scolded in front of others – even as adults, we would rather have someone correct us in private and not in the presence of our peers and colleagues. The rationale for keeping it brief is to get to the point quickly and avoid turning the situation into a ‘reward’ for inappropriate behaviour. The sooner you reprimand a child’s behaviour, the less likely they will feel that you condone his or her conduct.

Involve parents from the start

To really know your students and understand why they behave the way they do, it is helpful to have a positive relationship with their parents. It is a well-known fact that children often misbehave at school when they are undergoing difficulties at home. Also, some children have particular temperaments that result from emotional or learning difficulties, which need special attention. Standard rules and discipline techniques do not help in these cases and often exacerbate the issue. It helps to have an ongoing relationship with the parents to address issues, as and when they come up.

Develop a Positive Relationship with the class as a whole

As a teacher you already know that some children will test your patience and misbehave even after having been reprimanded several times. Often the result is that the child is treated differently, singled out or labelled as a ‘problem child’, even if only in the teacher’s mind. While much of this happens without the teacher meaning to isolate the student, it can have detrimental effects in the long term. Instead, a more helpful approach may be to isolate the problem behaviour rather than the child. This requires a conscious effort to establish a positive relationship with all the students in the class and treat each one of them with the same amount of enthusiasm and interest – even when it becomes challenging to do so.

Let your students have a say: welcome feedback

While this may not necessarily apply to younger age groups, it can be very effective with older students. Asking for feedback can involve a simple question like “How was the homework yesterday? Alternatively, you could conduct a brief survey and pose questions such as, “What do you like most about our classes together?” and “What would you want me to know about you, so I can teach you better?”

This technique not only helps you grow as a teacher, but reinforces the belief that you care what your students think. In the long run, this encourages them to appreciate the classroom environment more and leads to less disruptive behaviour.

Securus is dedicated to helping schools and teachers improve the learning environment for children; our e-Safety software is a tried and tested method for safeguarding children and helping schools make children’s safety a priority.

We love to connect with teachers and educational professionals to learn more about what is working for their school and what they can do to improve. Connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter or leave us a message in the comments section, to let us know your views about the latest trends in classroom behaviour management.

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