Wednesday, May 19, 2010
For the last week, my Year 10 and I have been studying French school system.
After the first “I want to go to school in France coz they don’t have uniform”, we actually start to look a bit deeper. We looked at the value of education here and in France, chances given and respect that teachers have or do not have. The usual thing.
The class I teach is mainly made out of students coming from an accelerate class. They are very nice, clever and mature students....but very lazy.
I told them that when I was in high school ( I am French you see, nothing is perfect !!!), I was working very hard every night although homework was not compulsory. And here came their surprising comments. Students told me that if they were lazy it was our fault (teachers’ faults of course) because we were not asking enough of them. Kids said that in one hour lesson, they only actually work 15 minutes max. As for homework, they cannot be bothered because it is too easy and they can do it in 20 minutes, so it is not the point to waste time.
My reactions to those comments are first that as teachers we obviously need to cater for those kids, and be sure that the work which is set is challenging enough to be rewarding and engaging and second I find very strange that we still haven’t managed to teach our students to be independent.
I remember that when I was 17 (3 year sago !!!) my German teacher was crap. It didn’t matter to me because I knew how to work independently, and so I worked every night in order to speak German very well.
In conclusion, we are not doing a very good job: not only we don’t manage to engage students but also we are not capable of teaching our kids how to be independent learners.