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


10iwonka10 - | 401
31 Mar 2019  #91
I think that the only way to asses it would be checking test results for certain group of students. For instance there are 2 groups of students at school and 2 math teachers. It can be compared which group has better results.... They only risk is that in one group there are more clever students that in other :-)
mafketis 17 | 6,897
31 Mar 2019  #92
Also, many weaker teachers will simply teach to the test - which might help short term test results but hurt their longer term problem solving skills...
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
31 Mar 2019  #93
I've found though that many teachers teach for the test simply because many students only study in order to pass their exams and little else!
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
31 Mar 2019  #94
That's the difference between a good teacher and a bad one.

One of my favourite tests involved giving kids a song to translate. They had to translate it into Polish, but what they didn't know was that a few weeks later, they had to translate it from their own original translation back into English. When they were translating the song into Polish, they had access to the original source text - because we had worked with it in previous lessons, but when translating back into English, they were doing it based on their knowledge of English. They had never been asked to memorise the original text, so it was a very good way to see if they'd actually taken anything in.

Of course, there was no 'wrong' translation. They were actually encouraged to be creative with it, and then in the next lesson, we discussed their translations and different interpretations, as well as the problems caused by such translations.

Another thing I try to do is to introduce them to word play - for instance,

Now you get to watch her leave,
Out the window, guess that's why they call it window pane

One fun test I gave involved this sort of thing - they had five song lyrics, and they had to go home and figure out where the double meaning was, and then explain it. They had a week to figure it out, but the important thing was that they had to actually study the texts. Of course, there was one complaint from a parent who was upset because it wasn't a 'learn by heart' type test, but they were swiftly dismissed when I pointed out that everything had been covered in previous materials (in this case, 'window pane' and 'pain').
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
1 Apr 2019  #95
I'd tend to agree with your premise, Delph, only sometimes it's also a mater of student expectations, even before they ever come to school.
10iwonka10 - | 401
1 Apr 2019  #96
Also, many weaker teachers will simply teach to the test - which might help short term test results but hurt their longer term problem solving skills...

Theoretically ,yes but unfortunately education system is based on tests/exams/certificates.

The important question is only how these tests are designed , I think some of them can teach you initiative and logical, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
jon357 64 | 14,382
1 Apr 2019  #97
Theoretically ,yes but unfortunately education system is based on tests/exams/certificates.

This is true. He also didn't distinguish between education and training.

A good teacher teaches the subject, and also to the test.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,823
1 Apr 2019  #98
I think some of them can teach you initiative and logical, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

I try my hardest to do such tests. For instance, kids in the 2nd/3rd grade - I teach them dictionary skills, so for instance, they have creative tests where they need to hunt for words in the corridors, and then use the dictionary to find the translation of what it is. Then, as they get older and their reading skills get better, they then have to read some clues in English, then look for the word in Polish to find the correct English word.
Jaskier
1 Apr 2019  #99
Half of the teachers don't think about the tests and design them poorly.
If you check if the kids know multiplication any kind of creativity and ope books is waste of time. One may want to however change the objects of multiplicarion and do exercises with narrative (zadania z trescia) to check if the kids understand it

Language is much trickier and even harder to prepare a test that would actually check what we want to check (especially since many techers use pre-prepared tests).

While in early years it's more important to show kids the fun side of learning language at some point one has to start learning some stuff by heart. And test it...
OP pawian 153 | 8,419
30 Apr 2019  #100
So naturally he need even more money and more time off!

Yes, I could certainly do with more money, as everybody. :):) It is always better to have more than less, will you disagree? :)

As for time off, I don`t complain. Quite a lot of it during the year. Let`s see the 2019 schoolyear

September, October, November, December - very busy except for 1-2 November - All Saints` Day and 11 November - Independence Day..

Christmas and New Year- 11 days off.

January - Epiphany on 6th is a bank holiday.

In mid January - 2 weeks of winter holidays (changeable each year)

February, March - very busy, Easter came in April - 6 days off.

In May there are bank holidays on 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Corpus Christi on Thursday (moveable) and Friday after it is off too.

The school year always ends on Friday around 20th June and begins on 1st September (mostly).

In theory, it is a lot of free time. In practice, teachers are often employed to deal with various organisational tasks, eg recruitment procedures during summer holidays. I proved several times to my colleagues and head teacher that I am a lousy paper pusher so they usually leave me alone and I can enjoy off time in full. It is good to be a teacher. :):)
OP pawian 153 | 8,419
9 May 2019  #101
On Wednesday high school students took a foreign language exam. Over 90% choose English. Additionally, students are required to choose one subject at an advanced level - it can be anything but 60% choose English as well.

Here is last year`s advanced written exam sheet paper.
cke.gov.pl/images/_EGZAMIN_MATURALNY_OD_2015/Arkusze_egzaminacyjne/2018/formula_od_2015/jezyk_angielski/MJA-R1_1P-182.pdf

A standard exam always starts with listening tasks. Then text comprehension, vocabulary and grammar exercises and essay writing. Actually , it can be an article, essay or a formal letter.

See a part of the grammar task

9.1.
The demolition company has destroyed the bridge.
PULLED
The bridge __________________________________________by the demolition company.

9.3.
I'm sure the Browns considered their decision to adopt the dog very carefully.
MUST
The Browns ________________________________________ their decision to adopt the dog very carefully.

And an essay - two topics to choose from:

Banning cars from city centres is getting more and more popular. Write an essay about advantages and disadvantages of such a ban.

More and more people take up jogging for health reasons. Write an article about the reasons behind its popularity and relate an interesting joggin event in which you participated.
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
9 May 2019  #102
Seems a straightforward enough test. Didn't notice any typos, if that's what you meant.
OP pawian 153 | 8,419
9 May 2019  #103
No, I just wanted to share it with you, that`s all.
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
9 May 2019  #104
Thanks, pawian:-)

My Polish students typically struggle with modal verbs, since, as you know being a native Polish speaker, our modals work a little differently.
mafketis 17 | 6,897
10 May 2019  #105
Polish students typically struggle with modal verbs

Well Polish doesn't have Germanic style modal verbs... móc, chcieć, musieć are just normal verbs that can combine with infinitives.
It does have some impersonal modals like trzeba, można and one oddball semi-modal pseudo-verb 'powinien'
OP pawian 153 | 8,419
10 May 2019  #106
Maf, are you a linguist by profession? Because you are always able to provide very professional explanation on grammar, as if you had studied it thoroughly.
mafketis 17 | 6,897
10 May 2019  #107
When learning back before the internet and during the cold war so materials were scarce... I was dissatisfied with textbook explanations, which seemed to be based on the kind of things that Polonists learn... which won't be that helpful for learners. So I applied my linguistic training and made my own analyses...

I've had the chance to be involved in teaching Polish a bit to learners and they invariably find my explanations of aspect, cases etc far more comprehensible and useful than textbook or Polish class explanations... Polish is a language where good explanations can speed up the learning process immeasurably...
Lyzko 20 | 6,340
10 May 2019  #108
Maf is correct regarding Polish modals. Indeed, often when Polish uses such verbs as "musiec", roughly "must" in English, we would probably use "should" or "ought to" instead.

As an applied linguist by training, I've found that (successful) language learning usually requires that the learner abandon preconceived notions of WHY something is, but rather accept WHAT that something is, and then attempt to internalize it.

Obviously, much more easily said than done:-)
OP pawian 153 | 8,419
9 Jun 2019  #109
figure out ways to get them more involved in education

That quote comes from another thread where the topic of people with low education, low income, low prospects, low everything is being discussed.

It is nice and easy to say: get them more involved in education. But in a democratic system you can`t force people against their will . There are some students who don`t want to get involved by any means. They simply don`t care and teachers are helpless because in the past such students were threatened with repeating the year (and it often happened, even in elementary schools, I remember my final grade consisted of 15% repeat students ), today it is considered a very radical move. Once it was a shame to have most Es on your school certificate, today it is absolutely normal for some guys. Parents don`t care either when they learn about thier kids` negligence and absences, fortunately such parents are still rare.

What is sad is that girls surpassed boys with ambition and determination to have decent education. I remember reading a text about education issues in Great Britain about 15 years ago. It read about the phenomenon of ambitious school girls who care more than boys. I see the same thing in my school today - not only less boys come to high school classes which end with a final exam but they are also less hardworking. They are satisfied with Ds and Es although if they studied harder, they could get As and Bs because most of those rascals are talented and quite brilliant. But they don`t want to be better because they don`t care. 15 years ago I taught in maths-physics classes where most students were boys because sciences were traditionally considered a male interest. Do you know what the proportion is today? You can easily guess - reversed. When I drive next to the Polytechnic College in the morning, I see students going to classes. Most of them are females.

Later on such easy going boys grow into adults who see that their education is too low to get best paid jobs. However, it is mostly too late and they are too lazy to improve their plight so in result they become frustrated and vote parties which promise to abolish the current system, e..g, nationalists or parties which promise and actually offer benefits, e.g, PIS.


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