Talking to kids about subject choices

2017-07-31 14:00
“Choosing subjects for Grade 10 and beyond requires a lot of introspection, research and asking the right questions,” said Claudia Swartzberg, CEO of Top Dog Education.

“Choosing subjects for Grade 10 and beyond requires a lot of introspection, research and asking the right questions,” said Claudia Swartzberg, CEO of Top Dog Education. (File)

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Over the next few months, Grade 9s will have to choose the subjects they want to pursue from Grade 10 to their final matric exams.

This can be an easy exercise for some, but for those who aren’t sure what they want to study after school, having to commit to certain subjects can be daunting.

“Choosing subjects for Grade 10 and beyond requires a lot of introspection, research and asking the right questions,” said Claudia Swartzberg, CEO of Top Dog Education.

“Even though their tertiary education is years away, choosing the right subjects now can steer their future, and can to a large extent determine their careers. Pupils and their parents should ask the right questions and follow some guidelines to make the best decisions.”

• Consult an educational psychologist who can explain what the working world expects, and how to make informed decisions based on what will be expected of them one day.

• Speak to tertiary advisers or research university or college websites. In this way, pupils can get a sense of what courses are available and what the entrance requir-ements are.

• Encourage your children not to choose subjects based on what their peers are choosing, and rather on what could open doors to their future careers.

• While choosing subjects based on a future career is important, so too is studying what makes pupils happy, which can ultimately lead to a career choice that is sustainable and brings joy.

• Since admission to tertiary institutions will be based on performance, it might be better for your children to choose subjects that they might do better in — even two subjects they’re strong in could boost their average.

• Pupils shouldn’t choose subjects based on who is teaching them as teachers come and go, and might not be teaching your child in Grade 11 or Grade 12.

• Since pupils’ interests and what they want to study may change over the years, it’s important to ensure their choices don’t limit their options in future or close any doors. Maths specifically is a requirement for many popular courses, such as commerce, engineering and science degrees, and would be a good choice to ensure they have these opportunities available in future.

Other subjects such as computer science will not only provide pupils with skills they can use in the workplace, but also expose them to other career avenues they may not have considered.

• Try to stay calm and approach the decision-making as level-headed as possible.

Swartzberg said that it’s worth thinking about subject choices sooner rather than later. “It’s advisable for pupils to start considering their choices from the beginning of Grade 9, and even better, from Grade 8 too.” — Supplied.

Read more on:    education  |  pietermaritzburg  |  subject choices

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