The transition from 9th to 10th grade marks an important and eventful stage in a student’s educational journey.

One of the critical aspects of this transition is characterized by the selection of subject streams – coming for all ninth graders in the coming weeks – which essentially determine future studies and career options, as well as the performance of a matric student.

But unlike previous years, the factors influencing this decision have evolved post-pandemic. So says education expert, Philip Hlatshwayo of the Independent Institute of Education.

Think like a project manager:

“Self-management is the attribute or skill that has always been essential in a student’s educational journey. However, the need for this attribute has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, triggered by the sudden need for increased independence in academic work. The skills you learned during this time can now be leveraged when choosing topics,” Hlatshwayo said.

Similar to a business project, topic selection should be treated as a project, he notes.

“A project usually requires the development of a project management plan to ensure the success of the project. The critical aspects considered in any project are the skills required, the knowledge required and the strategies/techniques. The subjects are no different and work in a similar pattern. That is to say, for each subject, a student must ask himself: “What skills should I have for this subject?” The skills required to study physical science will be different from the skills required to study history. Self-introspection will therefore help you understand the skills you have and can potentially develop,” Hlatshwayo added.

What prior knowledge is essential for this topic?

“There have been cases where students choose a subject, such as mathematics, for which they lack the basic knowledge and understanding that was supposed to be developed in the previous phases. This leads to frustrations due to the demands placed on students once they get to grade 10.

Hlatshwayo continued, “Critically reflecting on past grades and how you handled the demands of a subject similar to your chosen one will save you a lot of time and stressful moments. But it’s also worth remembering that there’s still time to build skills in a core subject – with focus and hard work – if you’re determined.

What study strategies and techniques are needed for this subject and do these strategies complement my learning abilities?

Hlatshwayo said students need to consider the strategies and techniques needed to be successful in studying a particular subject.

“For one student, thinking about various algebraic strategies in a math subject may be easy, for another reading copious amounts of history material may be preferred. There are areas where we can excel and unleash our full potential if we think about them carefully,” Hlatshwayo continued.

Answering the questions above will be the first step in understanding your starting point in this project of choosing the right topics to support your future dreams.

Academic support:

Academic support involves various actors such as your teacher, peers, family members, tutors and student support services from higher education institutions, who can help you on your way.

“Even though your teacher can help you solve critical subject-related issues, sometimes you may need your mentor to help you establish the value of pursuing certain things in your academic journey and see the big picture. Student advisers at higher education institutions can also help you match your potential subject choices to fields of study and career prospects. They are also able to guide you on how the world of work has changed and what skills will be in high demand by the time you complete your qualification. Using this information, you can backtrack to see which topics you need to select now,” he said.

High performance strategy:

“Your subject choice should allow for gateway subjects such as math and basic science which will help keep your options open. If you have difficulty in these subjects, remember at least one of them and concentrate your efforts. Even if you’re not confident yet, remember you have three years to work hard and build a solid foundation – it’s not too late to take on the challenge,” he shared.

Students should also think about what makes them happy.

“Select one or two subjects that interest you and embark on the pursuit of mastery. If you are able to find your bearings and enjoyment in a particular area, it bodes well for your future career and personal fulfillment,” he advised.

And finally, students should choose subjects that will help them improve their final results.

“Admission to higher education is performance-based, so having subjects in the bag where you know you can turn off the lights if you work hard will most likely improve your chances of success when applying for higher education. pushed after the matric,” Hlatshwayo concluded. .

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