Graduate Trainee 101

Graduate trainee is a nonspecific term for any employee with a higher degree in finance, management, human resources, social or other service, who is furthering his/her knowledge and experience through a formal programme of education.

Graduate Trainee responsibilities include shadowing various staff members, participating in learning experiences, attending meetings and workshops, and traveling to other working environments to gain practical experience.

Smart graduate trainees, however, keep accurate record of their time at the company and should work hard enough to pass a competency test at the end of the program.

To be successful as a Graduate Trainee, you should be willing to learn about aspects of the company that lie outside of your department. An outstanding Graduate Trainee should foster good relationships with staff members and leave a lasting imprint.

Graduate Trainee Responsibilities:

  • Gathering as much information on the company and participating in on-the-job training wherever possible.
  • Participating in meetings, workshops, and team-building events.
  • Taking notes on experiences and keeping a log of things learned.
  • Compiling reports and making presentations to other staff members.
  • Analyzing existing systems and offering new ideas for improvement.
  • Bringing positive energy into the company, and forming lasting professional relationships with staff.
  • Conducting research and assisting the Manager or Supervisor wherever possible.
  • Completing fieldwork or visiting different work sites when required.
  • Upholding the good name of the company at all times.
  • Writing a test or submitting to some other form of evaluation at the end of the graduate program.

Graduate Trainee Requirements:

  • Degree in the relevant field.
  • Previous work experience is not necessary, but may be advantageous.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent research abilities and a willingness to grow.
  • A positive attitude and a growth mindset.

How kids can continue learning during a lockdown

Most countries in the world have ordered all schools to close as a measure to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Many schools have also asked parents to ensure that learning continues at home. Online learning is an obvious way to keep lessons going; however, only a few schools have well-established online learning systems. Additional challenges for parents can include connectivity problems, limited data access, and power blackouts.

For many parents, taking on their children’s education is a daunting prospect. But there are resources online that can make home learning a bit easier and more fun. For those with limited data and connectivity, I am highlighting sites that are zero-rated for data – so, free to use. Parents could also consider buying night time bulk data options for off-peak downloads, which is often cheaper.

This is an unprecedented situation and no one really knows how long it will be before schools reopen. As an educator, mother and tech-sector professional, I don’t have all the answers. But I do recommend that parents try different approaches and websites and see what works for you. Be prepared to learn along with your kids, take a break when you need to – and have fun.

Digital options

Online libraries

Sadly, the good old physical library won’t be available because of the country’s strict lockdown, announced by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on 24 March.

There are some online alternatives, though. Amazon allows book rental as part of a premium monthly payment service. You can also access free audio books for children through Audible. The Kindle (with the Kindle unlimited option) application can also be used to download books to a phone. Parents can use the trial version of the app to access books for at least a month, enabling children to keep reading.

Online learning platforms and websites

South African telecommunication networks have zero-rated many learning sites, which means materials can be downloaded for free. This makes a huge difference to parents who may have limited data plans and are worried about running up online bills.

Telkom has zero-rated the websites of universities, technical and vocational training Colleges, and provides links to maths and science learning pages. The Khan Academy site is also zero-rated, providing massive online learning resources to a global audience.

MTN and Vodacom have also zero-rated many learning sites. Vodacom provides a comprehensive zero-rated e-school portal with extensive learning content for grades R to 12, running the gamut from very young children to those about to finish their secondary schooling. Vodacom has also zero-rated the Mindset learning platform of creative and inspiring videos to support learning in a range of subjects.

Siyavula is an education technology organisation providing high school maths and science practice questions and free online books for students. The site is further zero rated for MTN and Vodacom users.

UNESCO has a useful list of platforms that can provide online learning materials, free books, websites and learning applications for different subject areas.

If you want to assess your child in a fun way, applications such as Socrative and Kahoot are easy to use. Kahoot has opened up premium resources for free for teachers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kidzearch or “Wiki for kids” is a great source for children to research subjects such as History, Geography, Maths and Science. And for parents keen on free coding lessons, South Africa’s own Code Space will be running virtual classes in coding, though this is subject to a pre-application process.

Learning apps

The Android and iOs app stores have numerous learning applications that allow one-off downloads to support learning. South African examples include Sisanda Techs which supports science learning using augmented reality for children whose schools lack science labs. Parents can type the subject area to find a range of learning platforms.

Sharing materials with other parents

Parents who have access to open source school learning materials can exchange and share with others using Google Drive with Google suits applications on the free service. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Google Meets are also great platforms for live group learning or tutoring.

Both Microsoft and Google have announced free access to conferencing services which normally have an enterprise subscription rate during the coronavirus crisis. Parents can take advantage of this for individual or group learning as well.

Variety and flexibility

Finally, and importantly, you should look to mix it up with physical and creative learning. Home learning can be challenging and parents do need to take a holistic approach. Don’t rely on the computer for everything, and make sure to include lots of play and physical exercises as part of the learning day to help stimulate your childrens’ minds and keep them interested.

While parents may think they need to run a set timetable, you will need to be flexible to deal with things like blackouts, slow data speeds or a child who is simply not interested in learning today.

The process of home learning can also feel isolating, especially with children who are not usually home schooled and are used to being surrounded by other children. Be prepared to play traditional physical games, outside if you can, or play board games as alternatives to online activities.

Universal Design for Learning: 5 examples you need to know

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching aimed at meeting the needs of every student in a classroom. It can be helpful for all kids, including kids with learning and attention issues. But UDL takes careful planning by teachers.

Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom:

Posted lesson goals

Having goals helps students know what they’re working to achieve. That’s why goals are always made apparent in a UDL classroom. One example of this is posting goals for specific lessons in the classroom. Students might also write down or insert lesson goals in their notebooks. The teacher refers to lesson goals during the lesson itself.

Assignment options

In a traditional classroom, there may be only one way for a student to complete an assignment. This might be an essay or a worksheet. With UDL, there are multiple options. For instance, students may be able to create a podcast or a video to show what they know. They may even be allowed to draw a comic strip. There are tons of possibilities for completing assignments, as long as students meet the lesson goals.

Flexible work spaces

UDL promotes flexibility in the learning environment. That’s why in a UDL classroom, there are flexible work spaces for students. This includes spaces for quiet individual work, small and large group work, and group instruction. If students need to tune out noise, they can choose to wear earbuds or headphones during independent work.

Regular feedback

With UDL, students get feedback — often every day — on how they’re doing. At the end of a lesson, teachers may talk with individual students about lesson goals. Students are encouraged to reflect on the choices they made in class and whether they met the goals. If they didn’t meet the goals, they’re encouraged to think about what might have helped them do so.

Digital and audio text

UDL recognizes that if students can’t access information, they can’t learn it. So in a UDL classroom, materials are accessible for all types of learners. Students have many options for reading, including print, digital, text-to-speech and audiobooks. For digital text, there are also options for text enlargement, along with choices for screen color and contrast. Videos have captions, and there are transcripts for audio.

Montessori Education: Everything you need to know

All parents hope to find the best educational program for their children. And they recognize the lasting impact that early learning experiences have on a child’s development and future learning. What is it about the Montessori philosophy and practice that is so appealing to parents?

For more than a century, Montessori has been thriving around the globe, and contemporary research validates the effectiveness of the Montessori Method.  Several key elements of the approach meet the educational goals today’s parents have for their children, including growing into capable people who will be have a strong sense of self, the ability to connect with others, and the potential to be productive throughout their lives. With Montessori, that growth starts early. The early years (birth through age 6) are a critical time to set a strong foundation for who a child will become and the role she or he will play in the future.

A Montessori education develops students who are capable, accountable, knowledgeable people who have the strong sense of self they will need to thrive in the real world.


A Montessori classroom is thoughtfully designed to offer children opportunities to develop their own capabilities, whether it is learning how to dress themselves independently, multiply a multi-digit equation, communicate their needs effectively, or problem solve with others. Each classroom is filled with developmentally appropriate activities that encourage children to interact with specific learning materials, as well as to work cooperatively with others.

The classroom is intentionally prepared with only one of each activity. Students are free to choose the activity they wish to work with, so they learn to make choices based on what they are interested in and what is available. While some children will naturally choose to work with others, often the youngest students focus on solo activities. As children mature, the curriculum intentionally provides small group instruction and collaborative activities. The combination of independent, partner, small-group, and whole-group lessons and activities introduces children to different learning relationships and interpersonal dynamics—valuable skills for their interactions outside the classroom!

Allowing children to make their own choices based on internal motivation rather than adult direction sets a strong foundation for developing capable children.


In a child-centered classroom where learning activities are presented individually to children, students progress at their own pace. They are given opportunities to practice, review, or move forward based on their own interests and capabilities. They take charge of their own learning and become accountable for their own knowledge.

In a Montessori classroom, teachers assess students on a daily basis, using their observations of each child’s interactions in the environment and with peers.  They use their knowledge of child development and academic outcomes to prepare an environment that is simultaneously stimulating and academically, physically, socially, and emotionally accessible. They develop an individualized learning plan for each child, based on his or her unique interests and abilities. The teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions and learn how to seek out new knowledge themselves.

Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori classroom approach. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognizing, correcting, and learning from their errors.


The Montessori Method nurtures order, coordination, concentration, and independence in children from the moment they enter the classroom. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the student’s emerging self-regulation—the ability to educate oneself, and to think about what one is learning—from toddlers through adolescents. The sequence of Montessori lessons aligns well, and in many cases exceeds, state learning standards, ensuring that children are introduced to complex learning concepts through hands-on experiences that leads to deep understanding.

The Montessori curriculum is intentionally grouped into 3-year cycles, rather than broken out into year-by-year expectations for student learning. This respects the fact that children develop and master academic topics at different speeds, and that in reality, children often work in particular content areas in spurts. The teacher supports the child’s growth through all areas of the curriculum to ensure that he or she is exposed to the full sequence of lessons in each area and to provide support and new challenge as needed.

Sense of Self

A Montessori class is composed of students whose ages typically span 3 years. Ideally, students stay with the class, and teacher, for the entire cycle, forging a stable community and meaningful bonds.

It is common to see students of different ages working together. Older students enjoy mentoring their younger classmates—sometimes the best teacher is someone who has recently mastered the task at hand. Younger students look up to their big “brothers” and “sisters,” and get a preview of the alluring work to come.

As children mature in the Montessori classroom over the 3-year period, they understand that they are a part of a community where everyone has their own individual needs, but also contributes to the community. Children exercise independence, but are also given opportunities to work with their peers and to support others when they are in need.

Developing independence and pursuing one’s own interests in the context of a caring community fosters a strong sense of self in each student, and encourages pride in one’s own a unique individuality.

Dr. Maria Montessori, the Italian pediatrician and visionary educator who founded the Method, believed that when children are given the freedom to choose their own learning activities a self-confident, inquisitive, creative child emerges. As it turns out, this approach, which is over 100 years old, is exactly what parents are looking for today.

Why teaching is more effective with visual imagery

Since the turn of the 21st century, significant progress has been made in our understanding of the human brain. Neuroscientists’ research helps us now recognize the role of the right and left hemisphere, how males develop more slowly than females in adolescence, the importance of the pre-frontal cortex, and what causes us to both remember and forget ideas. Some of the most profound discoveries inform us of the importance of imagery within our thoughts and actions. These insights we now possess should stimulate leaders and educators toward the use of images and metaphors in their communication. These are few explanations on why teaching with images is more effective:

1. The majority of people are visual learners.

According to Mind Tools, 65% of the human population love to learn with visual imagery. That’s two out of every three people you will communicate with today. An even greater percentage thinks using pictures. If I were to say the word “elephant” to a crowd of listeners, most would picture a big gray animal, not the letters “E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T.” Approximately nine out of ten brains work this way. This is a simple reminder that people think using imagery. So, if our message is to penetrate, this is how we must communicate. Teaching this way is organic.

Aristotle said it best: “The soul does not think without a picture.”

2. Pictures stick.

3M reports that visual aids in the classroom improve learning by 400%. We like to see a picture, not just hear a word. We remember pictures long after words have left us. We retain the stories in speeches more than the words. We remember scenarios. Faces. Colors. Why? They paint a picture in a crowded world of content. Post-modern society is a world saturated with data. People process approximately 1,000 messages a day, digitally and personally. The only hope we have of our message sticking is to insure it contains pictures.

3. Metaphors can provide a language for people.

When an image represents a truth or a principle, it can furnish a taxonomy for understanding a topic or even how to approach a project, or a situation. The pictures make concepts memorable and employable. When someone views the image, they rapidly associate it with the principle. This enables imagery to play a primary role in creating culture in an organization because every culture speaks a language. A set of images can quite literally represent an entire value system or set of behaviors an organization desires team members to embrace.

4. Pictures can accelerate understanding.

As I’ve said, when an instructor uses an image to represent a timeless principle, comprehension deepens and accelerates. There is significant impact on the learner when a visual aid is connected to a verbal explanation. It actually speeds up the learning process.

According to the 3M corporation, the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. People comprehend (in their head) faster when they form a picture in their heart. The entire brain is engaged. This means images can accelerate both learning important concepts and applying them to life.

How you can help children with autism learn better

While most educators agree that no recipe exists for teaching any individual student or group of students, there are certainly some guidelines that can be helpful for supporting students with certain labels. Students with autism may have unique needs with learning, social skills, and communication, therefore, teachers will need strategies to address each one of these areas.

These ten simple ideas will help teachers address some of the aforementioned needs and provide guidance for bringing out the best in learners with autism labels.

1: Learn about the learner from the learner

Oftentimes, educators needing information about a student will study the individual’s educational records. While these documents are certainly one source of information, they are seldom the most helpful source of information. Teachers wanting to know more about a student with autism should ask that student to provide information. Some students will be quite wiling and able to share information while others may need coaxing or support from family members. Teachers might ask for this information in a myriad of ways. For instance, they might ask the student to take a short survey or sit for an informal interview. One teacher asked his student with autism, to create a list of teaching tips that might help kids with learning differences. The teacher then published the guide and gave it out to all educators in the school.

If the student with autism is unable to communicate in a reliable way, teachers can go to families for help. Parents can share the teaching tips they have found most useful in the home or provide video of the learner engaged in different family and community activities. These types of materials tend to give educators ideas that are more useful and concrete than do traditional educational reports and assessments.

2: Teach to fascinations

Whenever possible, educators should use interests, strengths, skills, areas of expertise, and gifts as tools for teaching. Can a passion for GPS be used to inspire more reading (operations manuals), new math skills (be a “human GPS”-calculate shortest route between two places), or fun social studies questions (“How would the world be different today if Christopher Columbus had GPS?”) .

3: Get them talking

In some classrooms, a handful of students dominate small-group conversations and whole-class discussions. While it is important for these verbal and outgoing students to have a voice in the classroom, it is equally important for other students — including shy and quiet students, students using English as a second language, and students with disabilities — to have opportunities to share and challenge ideas, ask and answer questions, and exchange thoughts. To ensure that all students have opportunities to communicate, teachers need to put structures and activities in place that allow for interaction.

In one classroom, students were asked to “turn and talk” to each other at various points in the day. A high school history teacher used this strategy throughout the year to break up his lectures and to give students time to teach the material to each other. After giving mini-lectures of fifteen minutes, he asked students to turn to a partner and answer a specific question or re-explain a concept he had taught. For instance, after giving a short lecture on the Presidency, he asked students to discuss, “What qualities do Americans seem to want in a President?; and “How has this list of desired qualities changed over time?” A student with Asperger’s syndrome who needed practice with skills such as staying on topic and turn taking was able to practice them daily.

Teachers can also provide opportunities for communication by giving all students “airtime” during whole-class discussion. One way to do this is to ask for physical whole-class responses to certain prompts. For instance, instead of asking, “Who can tell me a fraction that equals one half?”, the teacher might say, “Stand up if you think you can name a fraction that equals one half”. This strategy not only gives all learners a chance to give an answer, but it allows for some teacher-sanctioned movement, something often welcomed by students with autism. Whole-class physical responses are also appropriate for students who are non-verbal, making it a perfect choice for the diverse, inclusive classroom.

4: Give choices

Choice may not only give students a feeling of control in their lives, but an opportunity to learn about themselves as workers and learners. Choice may be especially helpful for students with autism who have special needs when it comes to learning environment, lesson materials, and communication. Choice can be built into almost any part of the school day. Students can choose which assessments to complete, which role to take in a cooperative group, and how to receive personal assistance and supports. Examples of choices that can be offered in classrooms include:

  • Solve five of the ten problems assigned
  • Work alone or with a small group
  • Read quietly or with a friend
  • Use a pencil, pen, or the computer
  • Conduct your research in the library or in the resource room
  • Take notes using words or pictures

5: Consider handwriting alternatives

Writing can be a major source of tension and struggle for students with autism. Some students cannot write at all and others who can write, may have a difficult time doing so. In order to support a student struggling with writing, a teacher may try to give the child gentle encouragement as he or she attempts to do some writing- a word, a sentence, or a few lines. Teachers might also allow the student to use a computer, word processor, or even an old typewriter for some or for all lessons. For some learners, being able to use a word processor when writing helps them focus on the task at hand (content) instead of on their motor skills (process).

6: Help with organizing

While some students with autism are ultra-organized, others need support to find materials, keep their locker and desk areas neat, and remember to bring their assignments home at the end of the day. Consider implementing support strategies that all students might find useful. For instance, teachers can have all students copy down assignments, pack book bags, put materials away, and clean work spaces together. Structuring this time daily will give all learners the opportunity to be organized and thoughtful about how they prepare to transition from school to home. Specific skills can even be taught during this time (e.g., creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks).

7: Support transitions

Some students with autism struggle with transitions. Some are uncomfortable changing from environment to environment, while others have problems moving from activity to activity. Individuals with autism report that changes can be extremely difficult causing stress and feelings of disorientation. Teachers can minimize the discomfort students may feel when transitioning by:

Use a visual timer so students can manage time on their own throughout an activity.

  • Giving reminders to the whole class before any transition.
  • Providing the student or entire class with a transitional activity such as writing in a homework notebook or for younger students, singing a short song about “cleaning up”.
  • Asking peers to help in supporting transition time. In elementary classrooms, teachers can ask all students to move from place to place with a partner. In middle and high school classrooms, students might choose a peer to walk with during passing time.
  • Provide a transition aid (a toy, object, or picture).

8: Create a comfortable classroom

Sometimes students are unsuccessful because they are uncomfortable or feel unsafe or even afraid in their educational environment. Providing an appropriate learning environment can be as central to a student’s success as any teaching strategy or educational tool. Students with autism will be the most prepared to learn in places where they can relax and feel secure. Ideas for making the classroom more comfortable include providing seating options (e.g., beanbag chairs, rocking chairs); reducing direct light when possible (e.g., using upward projecting light, providing a visor to a student who is especially sensitive); and minimizing distracting noises (e.g., providing earplugs or headphones during certain activities).

9: Take a break

Some students work best when they can pause between tasks and take a break of some kind (walk around, stretch, or simply stop working). Some learners will need walking breaks — these breaks can last anywhere from a few seconds to fifteen or twenty minutes. Some students will need to walk up and down a hallway once or twice, others will be fine if allowed to wander around in the classroom.

A teacher who realized the importance of these instructional pauses decided to offer them to all learners. He regularly gave students a prompt to discuss (e.g., What do you know about probability?) and then directed them to “talk and walk” with a partner.

10: Include

If students are to learn appropriate behaviors, they will need to be in the inclusive environment to see and hear how their peers talk and act. If students are to learn social skills, they will need to be in a space where they can listen to and learn from others who are socializing. If students will need specialized supports to succeed academically, then teachers need to see the learner functioning in the inclusive classroom to know what types of supports will be needed.

If it is true that we learn by doing, then the best way to learn about supporting students with autism in inclusive schools is to include them.

Top 3 innovations in teaching and learning

Today we live in the media age and this markedly affects us and our lifestyle. It also makes a great impact on teaching process as well. Students take a new look at lectures as the optional way to expand informational basis and gain some new knowledge, but not as the general one.

However, students need professors to teach them how to interpret what they have already learned and explain how to gain new knowledge. In traditional teaching professors usually were spending most of their time and efforts for delivering information to students instead of using their creativity, which is more efficient way of cooperation.

Of course, professors do their work and share information with students, but professors’ guidance is not the only way to find the most relevant information and get knowledge nowadays, as there are some innovations in the teaching process:

  • Educational Video Influences Better Memorizing. Educational video stimulates students to pay more attention during classes and enhance their learning abilities. Besides that, some lectures in Universities and Colleges contain learning games (not only computer games) which are much more interesting than listening to the professor. This style of learning successfully enhances students’ motivation due to the strong connection between visual contact and better memorizing. Furthermore, watching videos helps students to create associations that help them remember learning material.
  • Social Media Simplify Cooperation with Educators. With appearance of the Internet and media age, most schools, colleges, and universities started to renew teaching methods. Social media allow students, parents, and teachers keep in touch and inform each other about assignments or events. Using such technologies, students can do more exercises for self-learning and save their time;
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction Makes Individual Study Possible. This technology allows teachers to help individual students who have some difficulties during their study. This can be a great extension for the traditional schoolhouse. Using computer-assisted instruction helps improve students’ skills and solve study-related problems in a group. This is a convenient tool for individual study. Besides that, computer-assisted instruction includes some programs for writing and studying certain subjects.

How to develop your mental capacity


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Learning could be harder as one grows older but Gabriel Wyner, an opera singer and author of Fluent Forever, says the best way to learn and retain anything in our memories is to challenge ourselves at remembering it instead of reading and re-reading, for example, a list of vocabulary words.

You should read just once and test yourself repeatedly, Gabriel advised.

While there is a growing body of research going on to prove this method of developing one’s mental capacity, psychologists say “the testing effect” works.

In a 2003 study, cited in Henry L. Roediger III and Jeffrey D. Karpicke’s meta-analysis, the power of testing human brains’ ability to retain information was analysed using participants who were asked to review a list of 40 words five times or review it once before taking four recall tests. The different groups also took recall tests either a week later or within 5 minutes.

Findings showed that those who read their word lists five times earned high marks from tests conducted within 5 minutes whereas those who read just once and took their recall tests a week later, scored even higher.

These results highlight the effectiveness of testing one’s memory to boost long-term retention of information.

Nonetheless, recent research on the study approach suggests that users should combine testing with immediate feedback, for example, checking for the right and wrong answers right after the exercise. This procedure makes learning more effective, helps sharpen the memory, and is better than cramming for longer hours.

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