Welcome to Interview with… where on this occasion we are getting to know more about Sarah Brazenor, Learning Coach at Connective-Learning in Maidenhead, Berkshire. A learning coach is not an extra-curricular tutor, but instead a person who helps people understand their learning style so that they can thrive in any subject, once they have understood their natural way of absorbing information.
Tell us about your business
I believe that everyone can learn but not everyone understands their natural learning preferences and how to use them. My aim is to help every student discover how they learn and most importantly use this natural skill in an education system that doesn’t suit everyone. So put bluntly we teach students how to learn and study successfully.
What inspired you to do this work?
My dad and my son inspired me to start the business. My dad was dyslexic and spent his whole life believing he was stupid because school told him he was. My son is also dyslexic, but he left school feeling confident and successful. The difference being my son understood how he learns and how to use it. Read more about my WHY:
A learning coach is totally different to a tutor. How do parents/ students find out that what you are offering even exists?
Very good question! I think parents are beginning to realise that our education system does not work for many children and hence parents find me because they are looking for someone who will see the full potential in their child. They are looking for someone who doesn’t have a teaching background but has great knowledge of the system and how to help their child navigate their learning journey.
What are the different learning styles a person could have?
There are four main learning styles that I work with. It’s important to understand that these are preferences that we subconsciously are drawn too. Understanding what they you prefer means you can tap into your natural learning ability.
Visual learning – where the brain likes to receive the information in image form. The most catered for in schools.
Tonal learning – where the brain likes to receive the information by sound. So the words used, how they are delivered and the pace of delivery is very important.
Kinaesthetic learning – where the brain learns by activity and association. So the body likes to move and actively learn. Learning new things is harder if the brain cannot associate it with something it already knows.
Audio Digital learning – where the brain likes to make sense of information. It generally likes lots of data and if something doesn’t make sense will either try and find out the answer or give up.
What does the journey with a teenager on your programme look like?
The first step for a teenager working with me is a discovery session. In this session we discover their learning style and identify the next steps.
Every child is treated as an individual but below is an example journey.
Year8/9 – Discovery Session followed by enrolment on the Study Success Programme. The programme will support them through their option choices and have them perfecting their study skills before GCSE’s commence.
Year 10 – Can enrol on the Study Success Programme and the science success programme.
Year 11 – If new to Connective-Learning then the best route is usually 121 coaching as there may not be time to use the programme. However, advice will be given as to the right path for them.
Can you give us some examples of your success stories?
It’s so lovely working with students and below are a few examples of the successes we have had.
Year 10 student enrolled in the Study Success Programme and completed it through the summer. He perfected his study skills and finished his GCSE year with 9 GCSE’s all grade 8 and above. His predicted grades were 5/6. He’s now studying A levels and has his study skills perfected already.
Year 13 student came to us after disappointing mock results. He didn’t really know how he learnt, but once this was identified he was able to perfect his study skills. His A level results were even higher than he needed, which gave him even more choices.
Year 9 student was so anxious they were refusing to attend school. The pressure of exams and hitting targets were too much to handle. Working steadily on a 121 basis, her exam fear disappeared, and she passed all her GCSE’s. She has gone onto college confident and happy to be there.
The Covid lockdowns have had a massive impact on schooling? How has this affected the teenagers that you are helping?
Well, where do I start! Pressure has increased, work has been missed and there is so much uncertainty. Every year group has been affected in different ways and parents are looking for support earlier and earlier.
I hear that you are about to launch a new programme, tell us about that?
I have bought together my love of science and my love of learning to produce the Science Success Programme. Science is now a core subject and so many students struggle with it. The programme covers the AQA combined science syllabus but is delivered in a way that allows for all the different learning styles. In addition to this, there are pre-written flash cards, videos and exam tips and subject links. Something that sadly is not covered in schools.
How do you promote your business?
Because my business is so niche, I spend a lot of time educating people about what I do. I do a lot of networking meetings and have an active presence on social media.
What lessons have you learned as a small business owner?
You need to invest in the business to grow the business. In the last two years I have employed a VA, Business Coach, Website Designer and numerous resources that makes my life easier and helps the business grow.
Upon reflection, is there is anything that you would do differently? If so, what would that be?
To be honest, I think the journey I’ve been on has taught me so much that to do anything differently would mean I wouldn’t be where I am now. However, perhaps employing a VA a year earlier would have eased my workload.
What are your ambitions for the next 5 years?
I would love to build the business to be in a place where I can franchise the model to other educators who share my passion. I would like to expand the programmes I offer to include A level students too.
If you want to be connected with Connective Learning, here are their social handles and website:
Do you run a business and would like to share your journey?
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