Jump to content

Education advice for our 12 year old


Patrick
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 62
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

[quote user="The Riff-Raff Element"][quote user="idun"]

RRE, college? lycee?

[/quote]

Two children at college, one in primaire.

I'm on the class council for college and I teach English at the primaire. My wife is treasurer of the OGEC for the primaire. We like to stick our oars in.

We don't get that many British students through the schools - this is not a particualrly fashionable area - but I've seen enough to have a pretty clear idea of the sort of problems they can have.

Incoming children can also have impacts on more established anglophone children who end up translating for them in class. For some of the translators this can be a benefit (consolidates learning); for others it can be really damaging to their own education.

Also, children more used to the relaxed attiudes of teachers in the British system can find the levels of deference expected in the French system difficult to adapt to.

Lots of reasons, in my view, not to move older children (ie older than six!) unless absolutely necessary.
[/quote]

 

Is it another country then? No one would have been able to tell mine were english if they didn't know. Lots of maghreban at the college and lycee though.

And some kids will do well no matter where they are. I have never denied that.

So what is said at the college council meetings about the kids who are not doing so well? what help are they given, how are they encouraged? I am very very interested in how 'problem' children are dealt with. So easy for the 'normal' ones, let's face it teachers used to train at the 'ecole normale'.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="idun"]

And some kids will do well no matter where they are. I have never denied that.

[/quote]

My eldest, yes - he would do just fine ............ he even got away with dreadlocks, a piercing and a tatto at his incredibly conservative, private Lycée - the other pupils just couldn't understand it, some of them were hauled over the coals for having a fringe too long!! He knows how to 'play the game'!

The youngest isn't that academic, (bright, but very lazy) but various teachers (in 3 different schools in 3 different towns) have put themselves out to try and help him - extra French in their own time, sourcing 'age-appropriate' English work to give him so that he maintains his written English level etc. There has also been Aide Personalisé available to all the pupils in both college and lycée, whatever nationality in French, Maths and English.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="idun"]

So what is said at the college council meetings about the kids who are not doing so well? what help are they given, how are they encouraged? I am very very interested in how 'problem' children are dealt with. So easy for the 'normal' ones, let's face it teachers used to train at the 'ecole normale'.

[/quote]

This is drifting a bit off topic you realise. We may be told off.

However... it all rather depends on the nature of the problem, but the emphasis is on dealing with the problem locally rather than trying to export it. This might be something to do with it being a collège privé - quite a few of the staff were once also pupils there, so there is a sort of family air about the place.

There is a greater willingness now than there was a few years ago (I am told by those who have been there longer) to call for the services of the pyschologue or orthophonist, to actually identify the nature of the problem. Yes we have SEGPA and ULIS classes: some of the courses for these are taught by the mainstream teachers, others by specialists. It depends on the child.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No Sprogster you are mistaken, my son is 9 and will go into CM1 after easter next year. He will have at least 4 terms in Primaire before going to College. If he was any older we wouldn't be moving, in fact we have brought the move forward (from what would have been the ideal for us professionally) to try to maximise the chances of him settling into the education system.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Chrisb"]

Going by the posts on here, we appear to be in the minority, but, in my opinion, it IS possible to move over here with older children, and still make it work.[/quote]

It is possible.

It can work.

It is a risk.

I hear what you're saying, and I've come across similar cases, but I still don't think I'd recommend to anyone they try it with a child already in school unless they absolutely had to.

Finger in the air, I'd reckon - based only on my experience, mind - that about 60% of children coming to France having started school in the UK fail to settle. Either they end up going back having had a thoroughly disruptive educational experience or they just stay here and wallow. I notice in these cases the parents are rather more quick to blame "the system" than to examine their own level of fault.

Anyway, your boys did OK, which is good, and they are happy, which is better. Are we likely to see them on X-Factor? I only ask because the 2011 series of X-Factor in France was won by a French-speaking Brit. [:D]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I doubt you would ever see them on x-factor - they are a heavy metal rock band, tempered by a female vocalist with a cracking voice, who wears little dresses and Doc Martins!!

BTW, yes, I do know families who have come over here with older children who, like you say, have failed to settle, or who have gone back to the UK after a couple of years, or to Uni ........ I may be generalising, but many of them were in families where neither parent spoke French, and often used the children as their mouth pieces, expecting them to make phone calls, go with them to appointments etc to translate, thinking that they were 'fluent' after a very short space of time ........ giving them too much responsibility, and shifting the 'balance of power' within the family - not good.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="The Riff-Raff Element"]@ Idun - what can I say? Schools vary. Ours is so utterly different to what you describe that it might be in a completely different country. I'm a parent correspondent too and I've never yet encountered the attitudes of teachers you describe.

Having sat through several classes in different subjects (I asked - I wanted to see how it worked 'cos I hadn't been through the system) I've yet to quite understand what this business of everything being taught by rote is about, because I don't see it. I see things that look pretty much like the methods used on me - so perhaps a little outmoded - but endless rote? Nope.

[/quote]

oooohhh - I've been hovering and wondering if I should reply or not... but then Riff-Raff said it for me.   I guess just as there are good and bad schools in the UK, the same exists here?

I would however have to agree with others that 13 is quite late to bring a child over.  I have heard of success stories but it does seem a risk.  What about Interhigh?  Also there is a group near Eymet in the Dordogne that offer teaching and the possibility of doing GSCE's and A levels... so maybe a mixture of interhigh and these classes could be an option? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just written about four replies and deleted them. The saddest thing about this thread and it makes me feel sick and want to cry is that this is young lives that can be,  and sometimes are, damaged.

Rote, yes they do rote in France, I cannot remember ever saying much about that, if I ever said anything at all.

I know how it all works. I know how different it is to the UK. I know that good and bad schools doesn't quite work like that in France.

Do I know that some kids do well, yes I do.

Do I know that no one gives a xxxx about those that fall through the cracks, yes I know that too.

Am I cynical, yes, I am.  I have no reason what so ever to be other than cynical, in spite of the 'good' stories. Really the kids who do well would usually do well anywhere and that is great, it isn't that hard to teach a child who is bright enough and adaptable and compliant enough.

And actually that says it all,  in my experience the majority of french teachers I have ever met only want to teach normal or bright kids. Deviants unwelcome, maybe it should be on a sign above the school gates.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was idly wondering this morning how it is that some of the contribrutors to discussions about education in France on this forum and others imagine that France is able to have a population that can largely largely read, write and think for itself if the education is quite that bad here when I came across two articles on the net.

One is from the Daily Mail citing the World Economic Forum's report that says that the UK ranks 43rd in the world for the teaching of Maths and Science (Boznia & Herzogovenia is 41st and France 15th) and another UN orgaanisation has calculated that one fifth of Britons are functionally illiterate.  I've never claimed the French education system is brilliant, it has loads of faults as well as good points, but my children have come out the other end articulate, literate, funny, employable - it certainly doesn't seem from the WEF report that they'd necessarily have done any better in the UK.

The second was a blog article entitled 'Should I let my son go to university?' and the author was worrying about how his 16 year old son will be able to cope with the £51,000 of debt that is estimated will accrue for a university education for kids of his age.  A contributor said the loan which is supposed to pay for living expenses doesn't even cover half the cost of his child's rent.  Let's not argue about whether every student's debt will be as high as that or whether they can duck out of paying it etc, even the idea of debt like that is a huge millstone around your neck - here my children had the option of going to university for free.  And they got bourses.  Yes, fac here isn't as stimulating and there's a huge drop out rate but students don't end up with a debt that they can't hope to repay unless they get a job as a stockbroker or something.  And I am really, really grateful that my youngest is about to receive her diploma as an engineer (Bac + 5, so equivalent to a Master's degree) and she's is going to walk off that podium not owing a single euro to anyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Joanna, you should really look at the Money Saving Expert article about student fees - many students will actually pay less than before. The debt is not a millstone, it doesn't count on motgage applications etc and becomes payable at a later stage than at present. It is only payable when the student is working too. For comparison, add up the tax you pay in a lifetime !

I know a French teacher (she is French and has taught in France) and an American who has also taught in France and they both agree with iduns view. If kids are fairly bright they will be fine, but if there are problems, support, and actually the will to give that support is patchy.

In addition we are not talking about French children here, but British chldren who are changing systems, some at a late stage. You have to compare eggs with eggs !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joanna, I am in the same boat. First child got her Licence at Uni (BAC+4 including a BTS and a mention Assez bien for the licence) and the other child currently BAC +4 just starting 2nd year of Masters) and all free, paid by the french government too. Had we stayed in the UK then I don't think either of them would have bothered with Uni at all but here, its the norm to go after Lycée even though a lot do drop out one or two years into a course. The problem for many british kids who come here too late and into their teenage years already is the fact they have not grown up in the french style and system and the culture is very alien to them; especially the social life which is non existant here until Uni because the kids are kept busy with studies and family life.These latecomers to French education often rebel too against their parents and the strict system and just simply give up which in turn means it is very hard to get employment without a good grounding in french first. I have also known french kids with no intention of being academics do well for themselves in lesser qualifications but then, they did not have to learn to speak and write the language as much as a foreign child does. Uni is different to the rest of the french education system, its upto the student to make the effort, the teachers just do their job and whether you attend or not is noted but not punished.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate it when someone asks questions about schools and education and the same old replies (normally the same people) are brought out.  The only reason I reply is to try and bring some balance.

I think there are two issues here - one is the original question...  it too late to bring a 13 year old to France... regardless of how good or bad the system is, there are big risks for the child (I think it's too late but I dont know the child)... perhaps it is best to wait until she has finished her education in the UK or move her to an international school where she can complete her education in her mother tongue.  This seems fairly clear - it has no bearing on what either the French or the UK system is like... I feel it's just common sense?

The second is some folks have a bad opinion of French schools and others don't.  Before we moved I read these posts and some of the things said terrified me... and we almost called it all off.  I am so glad common sense took over. There are good and bad schools and teachers in France... just as there are in the UK.  The french system isn't perfect but lets be honest neither is the system in the UK... the French systems lets kids fall through the net... well so does the system in the UK.

I worked within the education system in the UK and I have seem it's faults and there are quite a few... We've had two children go through the system in the UK and again can give testament to it's good and bad points... I have seen my son finish primary and he's now in secondary here in France and whilst it's not perfect he is getting a good education and he is happy... and to me this is what matters.

I don't doubt that for some children the move is too much (and for some parents).  I don't doubt that some folks have not had good experiences from schools here. As a parent you have to decide what is right for your child and take steps if it's not working... and that applies to whatever country you live in. 

For us, not only is our child happy, not only have we found the schools well equiped and the teachers supportive... we also now have a bilingual child who, having moved country at 8,  will be able to face most things life throws at him, has a wealth of knowledge gained from this experience and overall is well rounded, funny, kind, clever happy young man.  He's not unique, we have lots of friends here with children at school who all seem to be happy, normal kids... problem is normal doesn't get discussed often... it's usually bad that you hear about.  So, any prospective parents out there thinking of bringing young children to France... please take a rounded view on the situation. 

And on a final note... my sons old UK primary school headmaster came to visit us for a couple of days this summer - he's retired now and we always said he should visit if passing... he hadn't seen our son for 4 years and wrote to us afterwards and told us that he had grown into a fine young man, the move had brought out the very best in him and that he felt in his opinion that it has been the making of him.... he wrote that we were very brave to do what we did, but in his humble opinon we absolutely did the right thing and we should be very proud of all our son has acheived. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just written four replies and deleted.

I suppose you are asking if I think, well actually I do.

I could write pages and pages.

 

I know about the debts that can be run up in the UK.

 

This boils down to why we teach anyone in the first place and how, the acquired knowledge and how it is used and how it is assessed and tested.

The philosphy of education is dear to my heart. I am not interested in tables comparing countries. I don't know of many teachers in either country who are happy to do simple sums without the benefit of a calculator, not talking about maths here.  Maths for me was a joy and interesting, but for many, as difficult as I find decorticating language. And most people will never need more than 'sums' in their lives.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Know what Rose? you're a breath of fresh air on this subject.

I know people mostly "take as they find", but honestly the negativism expressed here would put anyone off moving to France at all. There is good advice too, eg, finding a way of allowing an older child to continue to his/her education within the system they're used to, preparing for a move by engaging in a course of intensive French lessons. That's common sense.

Yes, there is always a risk, life is a risk. But it's also an adventure. And as quite a large number of people who write on this forum could testify, you deal with the effects of your decisions. If you are prepared to do that, make the choice that seems right for your family at the time.

That is all we can do. 

Idun, I do not understand your last post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was answering Joanna's post asking if anyone had thought about various things.

French education is as it is and just criticising would be malicious and foolhardy and I am not  either. Sadly I have good reason to make the comments I made. EVEN if it had been a breeze for us, then I would still have reason to make the comments I make, as when there are problems the  system not only cannot cope with these pupils with difficultes, but isn't equipped and often simply does not want to.

It isn't as if I am a lone voice, and I don't understand why people don't just look up l'echec scolaire and see how french kids are really doing. This is a link I have, I have lots of links. I read  and  read.

http://www.cafepedagogique.net/lexpresso/Pages/2008/09/EchecscolaireDeVecchi.aspx 

I also used to talk to people, people all over France  and many were well placed professional people, and as it happened as desparate as I was, as children with problems come from all echelons of society. 

 

And 'my' child has done well, great, good, where would we be if a system didn't work for any children at all, but if that is all people think of, well, good for them, I never have had such 'insulated'  thoughts, I was helping other parents at school well before our situation went to pot.

 

AND from La Bouture web page Teachers working against l'echec scolaire.

 

En 1996, Mme Bloch et Mr Gerde décident de créer l’association La Bouture. En effet, ils sont enseignants et font le constat que beaucoup de jeunes sortent du système scolaire sans diplôme. Ils rencontrent le recteur de l’époque afin de mettre en lumière cette problématique récurrente, et dans l’ombre, au sein de l’Education Nationale. Celui-ci leur donne alors une année de décharge pour réaliser une étude lui prouvant que le phénomène de décrochage scolaire existe bien au sein de l’institution et que beaucoup de ces jeunes ont la volonté de retourner à l’école.

Grâce à La Bouture ils fédérent, sensibilisent et étudient le phénomène du décrochage scolaire.

Ils réalisent de nombreuses monographies de jeunes qui ont décroché et décident d’imprimer sur la pellicule des « Paroles des décrocheurs » grâce à J-P Pénard, réalisateur et père d’une jeune fille qui a décroché. Ce film, illustrant le phénomène mal connu du décrochage scolaire et ses causes, est sorti en 1998.

MM Meirieu, Berger et Glasman ainsi que d’autres membres du conseil scientifique de la Bouture les aident à comprendre la détresse de ces jeunes et à analyser, à partir de leurs expériences, en quoi le système produit du décrochage scolaire.

Ils se battent alors pour monter le projet d’un établissement accueillant des jeunes qui ont décroché afin de leur permettre de raccrocher le système scolaire et de retrouver une identité scolaire par une offre alternative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="idun"]

And 'my' child has done well, great, good, where would we be if a system didn't work for any children at all, but if that is all people think of, well, good for them, I never have had such 'insulated'  thoughts, I was helping other parents at school well before our situation went to pot.

[/quote]

Idum, you're clearly passionate about your thoughts and I respect this a great deal.  I may not agree with you in this instance but I do understand your passion.... Which is why I feel your comment above doesn't do you justice.  I am simply trying to offer some balance to a debate by sharing some of our first hand experiences... I think you're shrewd enough to realise that... which is why your comment was so unnessesary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="idun"]

I know how it all works. I know how different it is to the UK. I know that good and bad schools doesn't quite work like that in France.

Do I know that some kids do well, yes I do.

Do I know that no one gives a xxxx about those that fall through the cracks, yes I know that too.

[/quote]

Since you "know" all these things, why bother asking me how children with difficulties are handled in our school? You've clearly no real interest in hearing the answer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not everyone's experience with the French system has worked for them.  Our experience was horrifying.  I don't come here and offer our story because it is very clear I would be attacked.  That is very sad.  A forum should allow all posters to offer all experiences without feeling they will be attacked.

I'm happy the system works for many students, but there are also a great many that it has failed - miserably.  I am not saying ALL French schools have this problem, but the ones we were assigned to did and still do.  Some of the students are extremely intelligent and the system's failure to 'accept' them and/or encourage any sort of free thinking is a huge blemish.  I know so many young people who left school because of these problems.  Smart kids who should be making a difference in the future of France, but were made to feel unaccepted, stupid, unwanted and were pretty much told - 'here's the door.'

I thank God my child is now in an extraordinary school with teachers who go beyond the call of duty and don't give up or shun any of their students.  Daughter has a 4.25 GPA with A+ grades achieved from Univ. (AP) classes from last year (Jr. High School) and a 1950 SAT score - taking it again next month to try to improve on that !  We are so happy now.  Our education shapes our lives and impacts the future of our countries.  Flaws should be pointed out and addressed.  There is always room for progress and change, but only if there is open communication and both sides are heard.

I think all experiences should be welcomed here. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can only write from personal experience.  Some of us have had bad experiences in the UK and in France, some of us good.  But it is good to share them so that others can make informed decisions about their own children.

From my part, I have educated a number of children initially in the UK, in France and at home, depending on what suited them best or where we were living.  All my children are now bilingual and some of them are starting to emerge into the world of work.  All are finding employment because they are bilingual.

As for the original posted wanting to know about bring an older child to France.  Two of my children were adolescents upon arrival and have done well.  You have to remember that many children have a deep desire to speak another language and that desire sees them through the tough times.  My advice is to take as much time as you are able to and do a sabbatical, rent a house (rents in the winter/spring are surprisingly low in France) and place your child into a French school for one or two terms.  That's how I started out and how our family could then make the more permanent step of living in France.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joanna, I'd be more inclined to look at the PISA reports which give a much better indication of achievement. For example, in Science the UK has 1.9% of students achieving level 6 compared to 0.8% in France, while at the opposite end, the UK has 3.8% below level 1 while France has 7.1%. The UK has higher percentages at each level.

My son was top of his class in Science in France. When we moved back to the UK he was put in the 4th set as he was way behind. Maths results are largely similar with France having slightly higher percentage at level 6 but also a higher percentage at Level 1.

France and the UK both have 99 percent literacy according to the United Nations Development Program in 2009. Both are beaten by countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia however you have to bear in mind that each country publishes its own stats and defines its own baseline so the whole matter is entirely subjective.

The WEF literacy report does not actually look at how well children do in tests. It asks the question (on p 445) 'how would you assess maths and science teaching in your country's schools' with 1 being poor and 7 being excellent so what it actually ranks what people think about the quality of education. Not the same thing at all but judging by the misleading garbage printed in the UK press and especially the Daily Mail, it's hardly surprising. It took you in so it probably took in thousands of others who didn't look any further than than the newspaper article. I don't rate British railways very highly, but they're probably better than Albanian railways. But maybe an Albanian would say his railways were good so he would rate them higher. Does it mean Albanian railways are better? No. Does it mean that Albania rates higher in Maths and Science? No again.

As someone else has pointed out, these figures for student loans are wildly exaggerated. Most students will never pay them back. To be honest, I'd rather my children ended up with a degree from a decent university and a student debt than a degree from a French university, which fare very poorly compared to the UK in all the international surveys into graduate education. You get what you pay for in this world. Just my opinion though. A French education is perfect for someone intending to stay in France but in the global marketplace it isn't that highly rated.

And as for thinking for themselves, international graduate recruiters often comment that French educated students have very little capacity to do this compared to those from some other nations, the UK included.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...