Days 19-22 : Catch up and a rant about the French Education System

by Parismadridfun September. 30, 2014 1256 views

I have failed in my photo taking over the past few days! Saturday was a lazy day, with nothing planned I organised my work and typed up all my notes before enjoying a meal in with a DVD whilst curled up in my duvet. Sunday was much the same, with the addition of the fact that the internet hardly worked. Come Monday I was relieved to return to uni and civilisation (or at least I thought I was). Yesterday was my first Spanish class, which was in effect a GCSE class…at uni. I sat through an hour and a half of “my daily routine” and “conjugate this infinitive into the (wait for it…) present tense”. Safe to say, I will not be returning to that class - much as I enjoyed GCSE at the time, I have no intention of doing it again 5 years later after 5 years speaking better and more complicated Spanish. Today has been an interesting day. First I had to get to Clignancourt (one of my two uni sites) for 9am for my second Spanish lecture (which is basically 15th century history of Spain…in French not Spanish) and was rushed off my feet because my first alarm didn't go off (admittedly my fault, must have forgotten to turn it on last night). Then, after returning home for an hour and a half or so, headed back out to Malesherbes (the other of my two uni sites) for a lecture replacing yesterday's Spanish shambles. Unfortunately, the lecturer failed to let anyone know that he wasn't going to turn up, and so 80 odd students sat in the biggest lecture theatre for an hour, with nothing to do. Safe to say I was getting pretty annoyed by this point. A second lecture ensued, which went smoothly, and things seemed to perk up a little. However, my final “seminar” of the day, just pushed me over the edge on how much I detest the French education system. After having studied it at uni and been told that it was truly behind the times, I didn't quite believe it until I came here. The past week and a half have shown that it is, in fact, completely true that France is about 100 years behind the rest of the world as concerns education. Take today's “seminar” for example (seminar in England being described as the more participative class, in which the teacher doesn't just talk at you). My friend and I walked into the classroom, to find a room full of old wooden chairs, desks and a green chalkboard (yes, this apparently is the Dark Ages). Further to the set up, the “seminar” consisted only of a dictation from the teacher read (dully) from a sheet in front of her. There was no participation, no interaction, nothing but this lady's voice reading out what was in front of her, and expecting us to scribe every word perfectly. I understand the French have this “dictée” thing, and that they've done it from the start of primary school, but that does not make it a sensible form of teaching. What took an hour and a half for the teacher to read out for us to write down, could have taken 10 minutes reading on a handout (projectors, printers, photocopiers etc apparently aren't a thing in France - or at least not in the universities) followed by discussion, exercises etc. But no, the French powers are happy for their people to live out their educational years in the Victorian era, despite the fact that everyone (including themselves) know that their system is rubbish and achieves very bad results (see PISA for verification). However, the one perk from today's educational failures is that I have been inspired to write my essay for my uni back home on these failings, with a little more research as to why it is so bad, and how they should improve it, after first-hand experience.
I was due to meet my family for my au pairing job this evening, but unfortunately, they have had to cancel as they now need someone for a different day which I can not do. So back to square one with that - but it means I have a chance of having just one family and spending more time with them, rather that multiple families with whom I only spend a couple of hours per week!
Apologies for the rant! Life isn't so bad - just the education system!
On a happier note, I've found the perfect map of Paris that I've been looking for, so now I can find absolutely anywhere in Paris, with ease!

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