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Various education and school issues in Poland. Opinions, stories, controversies.


mafketis 25 | 9,330
8 May 2021 #331
many history teachers are unable to fascinate their students with the subject

What about the middle ages? Cause apparently that's covered in detail....

What does the curriculum say about Lech Wałęsa? I think that's more of an issue.... there's no consensus about what happened...
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
8 May 2021 #332
What does the curriculum say about Lech Wałęsa?

He is described as the main leader of the 1980s strikes and Solidarity movement which toppled communism. In post communist coverage, his harmful role is also mentioned.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
11 May 2021 #333
A few days ago high school students sat an advanced English exam. This year the requirements have been lowered due to pandemic impact on education process. Check it out if you would still pass it. :):)

static2.cke.gov.pl/images/_EGZAMIN_MATURALNY_OD_2015/Arkusze_egzaminacyjne/2021/Jezyk_angielski/poziom_rozszerzony/EJAP-R0-100-2105.pdf

Below the screenhot of the last but one exercise

One of two topics to choose from in the last exercise: Write an essay presenting pros and cons of museums and art galleries sharing their collections online.250 words



Novichok 1 | 2,603
11 May 2021 #334
Write an essay presenting pros and cons of museums and art galleries sharing their collections online.

I would submit this as the second most boring subject that is likely to make students jump out of the widows and to their deaths.

The first: Describe how you would feel after eight hours of watching paint dry.

How about: Tell us in 250 words how you would ask a girl to go on a date with you in 10 minutes or less.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
12 May 2021 #335
the second most boring subject

Boring? No topic is boring when you write an essay - you need to find proper arguments, justify them in a plausible way and arrange your text into logically connected paragraphs. Students don`t have time for boredom no matter what the topic is. Simple.

how you would feel after eight hours of watching paint dry.

That is not a good topic for a high school essay, article or formal letter. It suits primary school level more. . :):)

how you would ask a girl to go on a date

That is also improper due to its discriminatory content. Why only a girl? :):)
But even if they added a boy to achieve the equality of sexes, , that would be still primary school level. High school students are expected to compose deeper productions.
Atch 16 | 3,276
12 May 2021 #336
No topic is boring

The perfect quote for the assertion that something is 'boring' is what G.K. Chesterton said 'There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.'
mafketis 25 | 9,330
12 May 2021 #337
my answers (given the test restriction and what I'd actually say)

have it checked ('get' is more idiomatic but have is okay)

are likely to ('are bound to' is more idiomatic)

crossed my father's mind

nothing we could do

Write an essay presenting pros and cons of museums and art galleries sharing their collections online.250 words

Culturally that's not.... great. Effective writing in English expresses strong opinions and is deliberately one-sided (presenting the other side is the other side's job). Balanced pro and con essays are kind of..... let's just say that if I were asked to read them... I'd have the same reaction as Peter when he was invited to join a book club...

book
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
12 May 2021 #338
the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.'

Yes, so true.

Besides, students are not expected to have fun at an exam, they are supposed to prove they are able to think and write logically using their rich knowledge about life and its matters. After all, the high school final exam is called MATURA.

Effective writing in English expresses strong opinions and is deliberately one-sided

No, maf, it is an aggressive American approach. :) We, British oriented teachers, try to adopt a more conciliatory and balanced attitude. Because that is the essence of British high culture - being aware of and remaining neutral about all sides of the problem and the rejection of blind fanatism. That`s what I have always liked in cultured Brits. :):) And Irish, too, of course.

But don`t worry - pro and con essay isn`t the only type possible at the exam. Students can also write an argumentative text in which they deliver a one sided opinion. It can be an article or a formal letter, too.

Last year`s topic

You recently watched a talent show finale. You consider the person who won not the best at all. Write an article where you justify why the winner's performance did not deserve to be awarded the first prize and propose another way to select a winner in such programs than the audience voting.

I already mentioned there are two topics to choose from so students are free to write what they prefer.

the same reaction as Peter when he was invited to join a book club...

I don`t understand it. Has Peter got a health problem? :):

my answers

Yes, of course, as a native, you can`t get it wrong. :):) But imagine some poor Polish students. Students who have chosen the advanced level deliberately didn`t have a problem with it, in contrast to others who took it accidentally as a last chance coz no other school subject suited them for an exam.
Atch 16 | 3,276
12 May 2021 #339
my answers

Agree with them all.

I took a quick look at the test and I thought the suggested headlines sounded as if they were written by a non-native speaker.

'Fisherman falls victim to a shark attack' should be 'Fisherman falls victim to shark attack'. Headlines frequently omit articles.

'Boat owner alarms police about a huge shark' is completely wrong. You notify the police, or raise the alarm. You could have, 'Boat owner alerts police to presence of huge shark.' If he alarms the police, it means he frightens them. In that case you could say 'Police alarmed by boat owner's sighting of huge shark.' or something similar.
mafketis 25 | 9,330
12 May 2021 #340
a more conciliatory and balanced attitude. Because that is the essence of British high culture

Like this?

independent.co.uk/voices/comment/thatcherism-was-national-catastrophe-still-poisons-us-8564858.html

should be 'Fisherman falls victim to shark attack'

in the US 'Fisherman in shark attack' or 'Shark attacks fisherman' (active voice!) or in the NY Post "Fish bites man? Shark turns the tables on angler!"

'Boat owner alarms police about a huge shark'

Calcque attack!

alarmować kogoś o czymś (to warn smn about sth)
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
12 May 2021 #341
as if they were written by a non-native speaker.

Quite possible. It must be a result of PiS rule in the Ministry of Education - those rightists think they are the best and know everything so they don`t need to have the sheet proofread by professionals or natives. .

voices/comment/thatcherism-was-national-catastrophe-still-poisons-us

Yes, a good example of the lack of British high culture of balanced views. Besides, it is a private comment published on the paper`s site. Anybody can write such a comment.

in the US 'Fisherman in shark attack' or 'Shark attacks fisherman'

Maf, it is an exam, not a real US paper. :):) They inserted fall a victim to on purpose - to check it students know this expression.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,433
12 May 2021 #342
I remember Radek Sikorski once asking Mrs Thatcer this question on Polish TV:
- Mrs. Thatcher, what is thatcherism for you exactly? [Czym właściwie jest dla Pani taczeryzm?]
She couldn't tell precisely what it was.
jon357 67 | 16,657
12 May 2021 #343
She couldn't tell precisely what it was.

Nor could anyone really. We just remember all the factories closing.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
15 May 2021 #344
Classes on the premises next week! Wow. I almost forgot how to run a traditional lesson. :):)

I am not going to administer any tests or revisions. We shall sing, dance and have fun in general. hahaha
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
21 May 2021 #345
Maf and Atch, do you remember our little discussion on teaching kids a foreign language? As far as I remember, Atch advocated waiting until the child is ready to swallow such education. I was against and supported the option of starting as early as possible, even if it collided with child`s preferences.

I didn`t have time to reply that the competitive system that has always prevailed in Polish education requires the adoption of my approach. If we waited too long, then we would risk some deficiencies which could lead to worse results at final exams. The truth is that if you do well at the exams, you may opt for better quality education at the next stage. So, if you get good results at a primary school leaving exams, you can go to an elite high school. If you excell at high school exams, you can enroll at a prestigious university and study a high ranking course for free etc etc.

I had to take a lot of exams and struggle for quality education in my life - all for free. I knew the system has remained the same, that is why I started teaching my kids when they were 3 or 4. Yes, once I waited 2 years longer until one kid got mature enough to take it in - he was 5. One day I decided it was getting too long and I was losing too much time. And I said: Basta! yes, there were tears and resistance but I was relentless. :):)

As a high school graduate, that "delayed" son achieved 100% at an advanced exam. :):)

It is obvious to me that Helen Doro`s "patient" approach is not very useful in Poland.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
22 May 2021 #346
achieved 100% at an advanced exam.

Why should a high school graduate aim at 100% result in advanced English? Coz it is a gateway to many courses which allow you to hope for a good career in life.

Some of them, apart from various foreign language philologies, of course, are: law, economics, international relations, IT, engineering etc etc.

Decades ago, as a high school student, I was keen on marine life and biology in general, so my parents took me to Gdynia to check out Marine University there. We found out they required a foreign language and maths exam results. The requirements are still the same today. Amazing!!

umg.edu.pl/kryteria-rekrutacji-na-studia-i-stopnia
mafketis 25 | 9,330
22 May 2021 #347
starting as early as possible, even if it collided with child`s preferences.

Nothing like making childhood a struggle for status rather than... fun...

The Polish education system is all goal-oriented and not process-oriented at all. Goal orientation is geared around high stakes exams rather than actually.... learning material.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
22 May 2021 #348
a struggle for status rather than... fun...

Maf, my brother in law is a taxi driver. He had a lot of fun in his childhood, now he looks for benefits and loans to make both end meet. Thank you very much for such fun. :):)

PS. In 2007 I lent him 1500 PLN and he hasn`t paid it back since then.

Goal orientation is geared around high stakes exams rather than actually.... learning material.

So, do you suggest that a person who passes an advanced exam with max score hasn`t actually learnt too much??? All these points are just sheer pretence??? :):):)
mafketis 25 | 9,330
22 May 2021 #349
he hasn`t paid it back

not that you're keeping track...

a person who passes an advanced exam with max score hasn`t actually learnt too much?

Knowing how thinks have traditionally worked I'm liable to think there were ściągawki involved... high stakes testing tends to lead to a culture of cheating, the higher the stakes the more likely the cheating (I'm sure not in the case of your son but we both now how much cheating has been pursued and tolerated in tests).
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
22 May 2021 #350
cheating.

maf, cheating has been reduced to minimum at high school exams- it is practically impossible due to several measures. One of them is the mixed order of choices in exercises.
mafketis 25 | 9,330
22 May 2021 #351
it is practically impossible due to several measures

the best measure against cheating is to make it irrelevant. That's why I prefer open book tests - those who don't know the material are shown up a lot more than with Stasi-monitored style testing.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
22 May 2021 #352
(I'm sure not in the case of your son

Exactly, that`s not the case. They are simply above it. They know they are good enough to score max points: Besides, they don`t care so much about the rat race. I am sometimes really worried they are so relaxed. :):)

That's why I prefer open book tests

Nope, you can`t be serious. To have proper knowledge, you need to memorise things. Looking them up during an open book test is a joke. Do you imagine a doctor who goes through hundreds of pages during a patient examination?
mafketis 25 | 9,330
23 May 2021 #353
proper knowledge, you need to memorise things

But too often in Poland the memorization is treated as just a way to pass exams.... too much memorization not enough synthesis and students terrified of making educated guesses (absolutely crucial in real mastery of anything).
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
23 May 2021 #354
But too often in Poland the memorization is treated as just a way to pass exams.

But you have to memorise phrasal verbs and idioms and Great Grammar issues to be able to pass an English exam. The same with biology - you have to memorise info about cells, birds, apes, etc. The same with history - you have to memorise events. And so on. This is all memory work.

too much memorization not enough synthesis

After memorisation there comes synthesis when you are able to freely and without consulting books combine various pieces into the puzzle.
mafketis 25 | 9,330
23 May 2021 #355
After memorisation there comes synthesis

WHEN???????? My colleagues mostly seem to believe that they can't do anything requiring synthesis until the students have memorized every possible word and structure.... so students are tortured with awful (mostly British) textbooks for years after they should graduate to real world materials....

I'm also remembering a student who was bemoaning his group's lack of creativity "We aren't taught that..." as if creativity is something that can be taught (as opposed to nurtured).
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
23 May 2021 #356
can't do anything requiring synthesis until the students have memorized every possible word

No, it is not possible to memorise all words and phrases coz every day a dozen new ones are created. :) Therefore, the best option is to intermingle memorisation with synthesis as early as possible.

with awful (mostly British) textbooks

You are visibly biased. :):) There are lousy ones, yes, but most British textbooks are very useful, practical and simply fun to work with.

as if creativity is something that can be taught

Yes, partly it can. You show your students a few examples of being creative and then they know what to do and how. Simple. That is why I have never had a problem with it in class.
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
26 May 2021 #357
The final year of primary school, aged 15, sat their maths exam today. See the exercises in this link
rmf24.pl/raporty/raport-egzamin-osmoklasisty/2021/news-egzamin-osmoklasisty-2021-arkusze-cke-i-odpowiedzi-z-matemat,nId,5256755#crp_state=1

I'm liable to think there were ściągawki involved.

Maf, look at the photo from the exam room and the photos of some exercises and understand that cheating is nearly impossible.









Strzelec35 28 | 860
26 May 2021 #358
Looks tough. I know I couldnt do it. No wonder the age of consent is 15 in poland and girls are so smart and know what or who they want already.
mafketis 25 | 9,330
26 May 2021 #359
cheating is nearly impossible.

Yeah there's no way on earth the girl in glasses with long hair is pointing at the test and getting some 'help' from a colleague....
OP pawian 178 | 15,562
26 May 2021 #360
:):):) How can she do it if exam sheets come in two or even three versions, with the mixed order of answers in closed exercises? In open exercises, how can she get extensive help if teachers sit around students and watch them all the time?


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