Before we start – this is not a better then/worse than post. This is a post by a foreign national trying to come to grips with a school system that is totally alien to everything I know. I can learn how to eat, drink, play, work Italian – I can do all those things now. I can never recover a lost Italian education system that I have never been through. And over above the system, there are just some words that do my head in. In no particular order therefore we have …
I know 30/40/50 year olds who meet someone at a dinner or business event who they were at school with, and explain their friendship with “eravamo compagni di banco ai superiori” (we sat next to each other at senior school). You sat next to the same person in the same classroom for five years? Coming from a system where our “forms” were simply to take the attendance register and hear school notices, where after every single lesson was streamed (according to ability level, not via a webcam), I never sat next to the same person for more than 80 minutes in a row, and spent much of my school years charging from one room to another in the two minutes travel time that we allocated.
The teachers (always assumed to be female, which they nearly always are, but what about that glass ceiling for blokes?) will grumble and moan at you (if you don’t do your homework, if you don’t take an appropriate snack, if you wear your hair weird …). Does one not assume in 2014 that moaning and grumbling are a parent’s prerogative and that trained teachers have a more appropriate range of arms from which to choose? More useful and effective ones?
“Tomorrow you will be interrogated in maths, so you had better study hard”. The students are not required to think, but simply to regurgitate previously digested texts under questioning from the teacher. Simply the word interrogation makes me imagine 12 year olds with bright lights shining in their faces, instruments of torture in a darkened background and the sighs and laments of previously wasted students who failed in the endeavour, as their leather-masked teacher handling a leather whip asks them to name the principle rivers of Denmark in alphabetical order.
Children as young as three learn to be wary of being punished. I am being so very naive if I don’t think that punishment should be part of a modern day school curricula? Consequences yes, punishment ….? I don’t actually know what the punishments are, they might be very meek and mild and non-painful. But do we want our children to learn via fear of punishment, or through learning to make good choices and living with the consequences of bad ones?
#perplexed and I know I am never ever going to get it, so just in case you were thinking of trying to explain, give me up as a lost expat cause!