Grade 8 and Grade 9: Preparing for the FET Phase

Grade 8

Wonderfully, Grade 8 is a chance to wipe the slate clean and to start afresh.  Many young people consider approaching high school with a new persona and plan to engage more in extra-mural activities, be more confident or assertive and be better behaved to ensure better relationships with authority figures.

Grade 8 is a chance for learners to decide who they want to be and to choose friends who will support them and their personal development.

Grade 8 learners are not ready to choose subjects and, in all probability, not ready to choose their career.  They need to remain open to experience and to learn by watching and listening.

Grade 8s may benefit from consulting a psychologist for assistance with handling aspects of adjustments such as inter-personal relationships, intra-personal issues, bullying, study skills and time management, as these issues if left unaddressed, may impact a learner throughout their high school years.

Grade 9

Interestingly, Grade 9 can be a turbulent year for learners as they begin the transition to the next high school phase (FET Phase). They often lack maturity and self-discipline to stay focused. Around mid-way through the year they are required to choose their matric subjects. They need to engage with a range of subjects in order to explore the subjects that are likely to provide them with the greatest satisfaction. On occasion, a learner’s immaturity leads to choosing a subject because they like the teacher!

So, what are the questions that need to be answered when selecting subjects:

  1. What subjects keep as many doors open as possible?
  2. Can I keep at least one science (physical science and / or life science)?
  3. What subject do I want to do because I just love it? (Note: not every subject has to count towards a career)
  4. What subject am I good at that is likely to raise my overall aggregate?

Generally, we suggest that a learner continues with core Mathematics if they are coping with maths in Grade 9. It can be re-evaluated at a later stage.

Physical Sciences: With the best intentions in the world, many parents insist that their teenagers do physical science for matric, because it opens so many doors. However, if they are already struggling with it in Grade 9, taking Physical Sciences can be counter-productive, as it often results in their matric aggregate being too low to gain entrance for either a science or non-science related course at a university or university of technology.

Our advice is that when a learner is unsure of a subject choice, continue with the subject for Grade 10 and then re-evaluate it and make changes for Grade 11.

We offer subject choice assessments, which help learners and their parents to negotiate the factors that need to be addressed to make wise and informed subject choices (