Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why NCEA ?

When you are a secondary teacher it is now NCEA time. It means that your students are setting their final exams of the year .

While I was quite happy with the exam of my Year 12- for once no French words have been invented and the texts actually made sense- I was thinking “what am I doing??” as I was reading the text for the listening activity.

What is the point of the exam???

The texts in the exam are made to trap the students, not actually to see how much they actually know. It seems that the person who writes the exam looks at a vocabulary list and thinks “ well now what are the most difficult words?”, then, try to make a plausible story using those words.

why? what is the aim of a such activity?

Certainly not to encourage kids carry on with a language ! I could understand if it was a test to reward their learning, to show them how much they have learned this year and/or for the last 5 years , but why trying to make them fail ????

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rosa rosa rosam ......

When I say to people I am a French teacher I hear a lot of different comments, including the one “ I didn’t like French when I was at school, I was very bad at it! And it was very boring, we had to conjugate verbs”.

I usually try to tell people that the teaching has changed since the time they went to school and that I do not ask my students to conjugate verbs.

How surprise was I during my last lesson with my Year 12 when I asked them what I could do to be a better teacher, what I could have done better this year !! Unanimously they answered that they would like to do more conjugation in class and for homework.

I could not believe what I heard. I thought they were going to tell me that they should do some more fun stuff, or watch some more movies or do some more ICT activities. But No !!!! They want to take a verb and conjugate it in different tenses.

I have been teaching those students since Year 9 and I have never done conjugation with them. So they do not want to do conjugation because their previous teacher used to do this type of activity with them. I have to admit I am not sure why they would want to do some conjugation !!!! It is not even a requirement for NCEA, so the excuse of getting a better grade at exam is not even a valid argument.