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


OP pawian 221 | 24216
18 Feb 2023 #661
Fat Doughnut Thursday in Polish schools. All of them. :):):) Tradition!!!









Alien 22 | 5195
18 Feb 2023 #662
Fat Doughnut

Yum, yum.
OP pawian 221 | 24216
5 Mar 2023 #663
Another topic for an essay at the primary school Polish final exam

Do you agree with the statement that dreams have causal power? Write an essay justifying your position. Illustrate your arguments with examples from the literature.

Most students wrote about Little Prince etc.

Here is an example of a bad dream which is fulfilled due to horrible crimes:

[....]
To make your dream come true, you just need to be steadfast and not give up. You should strive for them at all costs and bravely face all adversities. However, it is important to remember that fulfilling some dreams can have serious consequences. A good example supporting my opinion is the book by Juliusz Słowacki entitled "Balladyna". In the play, the title character dreamed of marrying a rich man and having a perfect life. When the opportunity arose, the girl did everything to fulfill her plans/aspirations. Fearing that her plan would fail, she decided to kill her sister in order to become the prince's wife. However, the girl did not stop at one crime, she began to want more. She was determined enough to take the lives of innocent people. She killed her own sister husband and lover to become queen and have absolute power. In the end, she managed to make this dream come true, but she paid a very high price for it. The punishment for her way of achieving her goals was to be electrocuted by lightning.
jon357 73 | 22638
5 Mar 2023 #664
primary school

Szkoła podstawowa? At what age do they do that exam?
OP pawian 221 | 24216
5 Mar 2023 #665
At what age

15. Why?
OP pawian 221 | 24216
8 Mar 2023 #666
Today, when I did some individual testing on students, I gave them a little bonus due to the holiday of Women`s Day. So, if a student deserved 4+ for their written assignment or oral presentation, I gave them -5 or even full 5 (B)
OP pawian 221 | 24216
8 Mar 2023 #667
The 8th March - Women`s Day in all educational institutions - from kindergarten to uni.

Flowers, cards, other presents, snacks, theatricals, displays, speeches etc.









OP pawian 221 | 24216
8 Mar 2023 #668
Flowers, cards, other presents, snacks, theatricals, displays, speeches

I forgot concerts and games. Sorry.

Performances:









OP pawian 221 | 24216
8 Mar 2023 #669
I forgot concerts and games. Sorry.

And contests, too. Sorry.

Performances on 8th March are the funniest and most applauded when boys dress as girls, keeping up old traditions of cabaret and stand-up comedy. I did too when in high school - I borrowed female attire from my mum and sister and the effect was breath-taking. :):)









OP pawian 221 | 24216
18 Mar 2023 #670
When rightist PiS came to power in 2015, I naively hoped they would get rid of some leftist regulations which had been introduced by the previous government. Of course, they didn`t do it and if they changed anything, it was for worse, not better. it is amassing how those rightist morons copy idiotic stuff from leftist Europe when it comes to education. :(:(:(:(

What regulations I don`t like? E.g. in the past a student who didn`t bring his/her home assignment to class usually got an F ( students could avoid it by taking "unprepared" option whose number was limited). Today, it is illegal coz students can be assessed only through actual performance. The lack of performance is not a reason to give an F.

In practice it means that a lot of teachers stopped assigning any homework to avoid confrontation and arguments in class.
In my case, most students still do it but there are stubborn ones who don`t and then we waste a lot of time when they try to do it in class. Those brilliant ones usually do well but the example they set to the rest of the group is demoralising.

In practice it means that a lot of teachers stopped assigning any homework to avoid confrontation and arguments in class.

Which is really bad coz it has been scientifically proven that students need additional contact with the taught material out of class. It is especially important in case of English which is not only crucial in job hunting etc but also is chosen by most students as a foreign language at final exams at the age of 15 and 19.
Kashub1410 6 | 649
21 Mar 2023 #671
@pawian
How about assigning a homework to do: "watch an English speaking movie once a month, make personal review that can be used if wanted to during a presentation of the movie for the class (strictly verbally as to practise English and for it not to last for too long)"

It would spark interest in the English language (as it would be linked with entertainment) for the pupil, and a reason to practice not only English verbally but, also public speaking and giving room to be brave
jon357 73 | 22638
21 Mar 2023 #672
watch an English speaking movie once a month, make personal review that can be used if wanted to

Things like that are harder to set up than you'd think, however they are possible. The key is finding what interests the individual personally. Hard enough with some adults, harder yet with sullen teens.

Once you've got it though, you can do a lot with it. The better private schools are good at this.
Kashub1410 6 | 649
21 Mar 2023 #673
@jon357
Due to material wealth it can be, I remember being tasked by my school in 1990's to pick a book and read it, make a review and present it to class in elementary school. School had a library so it was possible to do for every pupil.

So a school movie "library" would help out, or a movie channel subscription or something I guess.
Atch 21 | 4158
21 Mar 2023 #674
students can be assessed only through actual performance.

those rightist morons copy idiotic stuff from leftist Europe when it comes to education

The problem with educational reform is that you can't cherrypick bits and pieces from different countries/systems and apply them randomly to existing systems or apply a modified version. Poland probably looked at Finland which has one of the best education systems in the world. They get no homework and there is no standardised testing. So PIS thinks that they can emulate Finland's success by doing something not quite the same but vaguely inspired by it. So now Polish students still have to do homework but it doesn't affect their grades if they don't. A pointless piece of reform. PIS could have gained a few Brownie points by consulting with teachers and asking them what changes, if any, they would like to see. But that would be a consultative process and that's not PIS style.
jon357 73 | 22638
21 Mar 2023 #675
School had a library so it was possible to do for every pupil.

There are degrees of possibility here. Schools have had libraries for many decades. They have had a huge impact on some kids. Not on others.

Like adults (and perhaps more so) they all have very different circumstances and personalities that are being shaped in different ways. You have to find what motivates each one; and this is tricky since so many end up not motivated at all

consulting with teach

This is key to any reform.
mafketis 37 | 10776
21 Mar 2023 #676
problem with educational reform is that you can't cherrypick bits and pieces

All very true.

There's also the cultural factor. According to Poland's cultural profile (as in the work of Hofstede) you would expect Polish education to work best as teacher-centered, rule centered and results oriented (Finland has a very different cultural profile in which you'd expect more student-centered and process-oriented approaches with lax rules to work better).

You can try to ameliorate some of the harsher aspects of the Polish system but that's the culture the kids are coming from and will be functioning in after school and trying to made the system student-centered will just irritate both student and teacher and produce graduates who don't function well.

Work with the culture not against it (and if you do want to work against it, do so in small, barely perceptible baby steps, incrementalism, not revolution)
OP pawian 221 | 24216
22 Mar 2023 #677
How about assigning a homework to do: "watch an English speaking movie once a month

If that was so easy.... :):):)

Unfortunately, students at final exams, both primary school and high school leaving exams, have to deal with serious stuff like Reported Speech or 3rd Conditional. You can get the knack of them from films only on condition you are a brilliant person. Less intelligent ones won`t grasp such problems unless they are formally educated at school. :):):)
Atch 21 | 4158
23 Mar 2023 #678
According to Poland's cultural profile (as in the work of Hofstede)

Hofstede is not the best indicator if you look at how and when the basis of his research was put together but it's still reasonably accurate in the broadest sense.

The thing about education is that to be truly successful it requires two elements. One, it has to encourage development of individual's different talents, skills etc. Not easy to achieve that. Secondly, it has to produce people who can actually think for themselves. If a government doesn't want that, then you have a problem. The present Polish government doesn't really want independent thinkers.

small, barely perceptible baby steps, incrementalism, not revolution)

True educational reform is a process and it takes about a generation to get near achieving it. You have to start at the pre-school level. When you see unsatisfactory students in their teens, the roots lie in early childhood. In Poland you have too many children spending the crucial years between three and six, wandering around the place aimlessly, being infantilized by babcias and fussed over by mothers, having every blessed thing done for them. Some go to pre-schools of course but the quality of early childhood education there is just not what it should be. Countries like Finland where kids also start primary school at seven, have outstanding early childhood education programs.

Another issue of course in Poland is the urban/rural divide. Very difficult to address the quality in education issue when you have a big gap like that. How does one bridge it? None of this is discussed at government level in Poland with any real depth so things won't improve much in the foreseeable future.

Just to add, it's not just the students that are the issue in educational reform. It also requires big changes in methods and philosophy for the teachers. That's why it takes a generation to have any impact. You will meet with some resistance from teachers who have already been teaching for many years (not all, but a significant number) and you need teachers coming into the system who are trained with the new approach.
mafketis 37 | 10776
23 Mar 2023 #679
infantilized by babcias and fussed over by mothers, having every blessed thing done for them

Basically what Hofstede's model predicts! High uncertainty avoidance cultures tend to shelter small children more to an extent that bothers people form low uncertainty cultures (like Ireland...)

But what are you going to do, start a babcia police to keep them in their place?

Solutions that work in Finland or Ireland are mostly non-starters here and attempts to turn Poland into Ireland or Finland are doomed to failure.

And there are advantages to high uncertainty avoidance as well.

the urban/rural divide. Very difficult to address the quality in education issue

One of the things that, in some ways, the PRL did better (at least for the brightest kids). One of my best friends born in the PRL is from a tiny village but because his abilities were recognized early that didn't hold him back in the way it would now... it had a cost (basically living away from home from the age of 12 or so) but overall worth it.

present Polish government doesn't really want independent thinkers

Agree wholeheartedly, but Poland is far from unique there. Nothing I see about education in most western countries is much better. Broadly, governments in lots of countries want out of the education business and do all sorts of things to sabotage schools.....
Atch 21 | 4158
23 Mar 2023 #680
But what are you going to do, start a babcia police to keep them in their place?

You need to send them to a proper Montessori school of course :) It is really frustrating though. When I was teaching Maf, kids of about three and a half would come into my classroom screaming and crying on day one (not all but a few) or looking totally shell shocked and within two days they were settled, within two weeks they were hanging up their own coats, tidying the shelves, setting up the painting area when they wanted to do art, mopping up spills, sweeping the floor, watering the plants - managing themselves and the environment, basically.

Years later, one of the teachers from the senior end of the school who had the ten year olds said to me 'I can always tell the ones who went through your class because they're the ones who stack their books in order of size, arrange their pens according to length and keep their desks tidy.' He also noticed that they all picked up their pens the same way because of course I started them on writing so I taught them how to pick up the pencil with the point facing towards them and then the upward flick where it flips over into the correct position. Pick and flick :))

It's about instilling self awareness, independence and a sense of order as soon as consciousness kicks in. That feeling of 'I can take care of myself' is what builds true confidence and self-esteem in children, not all that 'hey, good job, you're amazing just because you exist' rubbish.
Lenka 5 | 3521
23 Mar 2023 #681
who stack their books in order of size, arrange their pens according to length

That is border OCD and doesn't bring any real value IMO.

The settling and independence is a great job and a weight off the parents shoulders.
Atch 21 | 4158
23 Mar 2023 #682
doesn't bring any real value IMO.

How many children have you taught Lenka? Ordering things in size or length is part of early maths. Giving a concrete representation of volume, length etc is essential. It's basically a form of sequencing amongst other things. It's something very young children often do naturally when you give them building blocks for example. They try to arrange them in order of size. Encouraging the natural sense of order when it emerges is highly effective for future learning.

Regarding the OCD thing if the kid is trained to develop their natural sense of order when they're very young, then by the time they get to ten years old, they don't even think about it anymore. They're not fussing over their pens and books OCD style.
Kashub1410 6 | 649
23 Mar 2023 #683
@Lenka
My first thoughts as well, one has to distinguish orderly behaviour from OCD tho.

It's when an orderly person is met an un orderly situation that one can notice OCD happening (not being able to cope with it and performing the worst possible behaviour even to return back to the excactly same order).

Germany might be one of the most OCD nations on earth, it is still functioning tho and is branded as German culture.

Some people have high needs of order, others have high needs of mobility (chaos) others have not much of both needs, but needs traditions and behaviour that builds up resistance to the lack of both depending on situation etc
Atch 21 | 4158
23 Mar 2023 #684
The great strength of the Montessori system of education in which I was trained, is that it is not based on theories of how children should learn or behave, but on how they actually DO learn and behave :) It's based on observation not on theories. That's why it works.
Lenka 5 | 3521
23 Mar 2023 #685
Ordering things in size or length is part of early maths

True, doesn't mean they have to put everything in order according to that. You weren't talking how well they could order things but that they follow certain order you ingained in them.

natural sense of order when they're very young, then by the time they get to ten years old, they don't even think about it anymore

It's their nature? That the whole class orders things the same way and noone finds it more usefull to order things e.g. by the frequency of use?

one has to distinguish orderly behaviour from OCD tho.

That is why I wrote border.

Generally I believe Atch was a good teacher it's just that bit that made me react.
Atch 21 | 4158
23 Mar 2023 #686
Generally I believe Atch was a good teacher

Lol! Thanks for the bouquet.

they follow certain order you ingained in them.

No. They follow a natural order.

noone finds it more usefull to order things e.g. by the frequency of use?

You're talking about two different things here. There's a difference between how materials are ordered within a Montessori classroom and how an individual child orders their own things within the classroom, but all confirm to a principle of logic.

Btw I never 'teach' children to stack books in order. They do it spontaneously if their sense of order has been properly educated. So the child of ten will organize their materials on their desk in such a way that the books don't topple over and fall to the floor but may also incorporate having the things most used in the most easily accessible position.

And having a well developed sense of order and method is very liberating.
jon357 73 | 22638
23 Mar 2023 #687
how an individual child orders their own things within the classroom,

Key I think to the Montessori method

I use some Montessori techniques with adults, particularly them finding autonomy as learners, giving them a choice of activities, finding their own path and their strengths, a particularly comfortable and ordered learning environment and helping them develop problem-solving skills. This has worked.
Atch 21 | 4158
23 Mar 2023 #688
Key I think to the Montessori method

Yes, it's basically freedom of choice supported by a structure of order and method.
johnny reb 47 | 7260
24 Mar 2023 #689
@Atch

Yes, it's basically freedom of choice supported by a structure of order and method.

Indoctrinating these little Deeksters in such a structured manor hampers them from being creative individuals and thinking for themselves.
Do you teach them not to squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle too ?
Children should not be groomed to grow up to be expected by their spouse not to leave the house without buttoning their top button on their shirt.

Conforming to such a structured controlled life reminds me of the Stepford Wives.

having a well developed sense of order and method is very liberating.

Maybe for a nit-picking mother/wife/schoolteacher but certainly not for a creative individual that prefers to color outside the lines of somebody else's expectations.
OP pawian 221 | 24216
25 Mar 2023 #690
Another issue of course in Poland is the urban/rural divide. a big gap like that.

You probably meant that countryside education is worse than urban one.

Paradoxically, it is changing now. Due to all failed PiS deforms in education, urban teachers are first to quit their jobs coz they have plenty of other opportunities in cities. While rural teachers stay coz they don`t have too many options.

As a result, urban education is going to the dogs due to the lack of teachers.

A pointless piece of reform. that's not PIS style.

Exactly. Those rightists are complete morons, unable to introduce anything innovative which could really solve immense problems which have been accumulating for years.


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