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Shocking! Test standards in Polish schools.


OP Stu 12 | 522
26 Jan 2012 #31
@Foreigner4, pawian
I respectfully disagree - if i run around Wroclaw and say things like "byc holender, zyc Wroclaw", one could argue that I can communicate. But that's not really the point, is it? I am not asking for perfection (everybody makes some mistakes), but a little proficiency kind of adds to people's understanding of what one is trying to convey.

@a.k.
Of course I've had languages in school. Everybody has to start somewhere. But still, if I look at the level of teaching here and I compare it to the countries where I went to school (and by the way, my wife is an English teacher here in Wroclaw - so I think I actually CAN compare), then the level is less than adequate (and then I am being polite). As far as I know, students here don't have to read foreign literature for example (here are three pages of English literature, you have to read 7 in the Netherlands, per language - here is French and here is German) or get lessons in literary history.

Dutch/German/English belong to one language family. You never had to bust your ass like most students do to learn a language with mediocre teachers, limited real life contact and lessons at most only a few hours a week. What a child.

Obviously you don't have a clue what you are talking about. If you move from England to France and your father just puts you in the local school, believe me you HAVE to bust your ass. And in case you don't know, French belongs to a different family, but obviously you do know cause you conveniently forgot to mention edit Yes, I swear, cause I refuse to be called Hitler when I have an opinion that is contrary to yours. It says a lot about your intellectual qualities when you can't have it when people disagree with you.

No name calling .
Lyzko
26 Jan 2012 #32
Right again, Stu! While noone would argue that you can communicate, clearly they would be amused at your vain attempts to speak proper Polish, no matter how sincere your efforts. If the shoe were on the other foot now, and a Pole landed in Amsterdam, saying 'Ik Hollander, leven in huis in stadt', the identical argument might be made; by gosh golly, the chaps "communicating" in Dutch, but I'd hope the Dutch interlocutor would pray for a bit better than that, right? You see my point? Linguistic standards, for English as well, are far from universal!
pawian 181 | 17,079
26 Jan 2012 #33
I respectfully disagree - if i run around Wroclaw and say things like "byc holender, zyc Wroclaw", one could argue that I can communicate. But that's not really the point, is it? I am not asking for perfection (everybody makes some mistakes), but a little proficiency kind of adds to people's understanding of what one is trying to convey.

Let me cheer you up. The requirements of high school English final exam are still much higher. Those 16 year olds who scored 7 or 9 points for that writing task in junior high school won`t pass the matura exam unless they get down to hard work. :):):):):):)

Or I may be wrong as we are still unaware of what the new written final exam of 2015 might be like.
a.k.
27 Jan 2012 #34
've heard people using the argument that the guy is still there, because there are people who can't read or write.

What? Who have told you those rubbish? No illiteracy in Poland. It's not Africa (pardon me African people :)
People are just lazy.

It says a lot about your intellectual qualities when you can't have it when people disagree with you.

What about you Stu? Why such dramatic tone and pointing fingers on others? Be glad that your homeland has better schools and you got better education :)
OP Stu 12 | 522
27 Jan 2012 #35
No illiteracy in Poland

Come on a.k. ... EVERY country has its share of (either complete or functional) analphabetics. Poland is no exception (pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/12/46643496.pdf).
a.k.
27 Jan 2012 #36
Come on a.k. ... EVERY country has its share

a fraction of a percentage.

Or I may be wrong as we are still unaware of what the new written final exam of 2015 might be like.

Stu should know that standards were better in the past but then on the other hand most were learning Russian. :)
Pawian if you are an English teacher don't you think that those textbooks for languages are bit verbose and not very efficient? I've been always hated them.

then the level is less than adequate

Ok, I give you right. The punctation is too high. But you must know the reality, that Polish society has many social problems and kids from every walk of life attend the same schools. What do you expect? That a teacher has a good conditions to teach smart Ania when in class he has Brajanek and Alanek too who has learning difficulties and additionally make commotion in the class?
Lyzko
27 Jan 2012 #37
General standards for English worldwide, I'd say, would be improved, if other countries hired native-born and educated English teachers. It's expensive, but worth it in the long run. I, for instance, learned Dutch from a Dutchman, German from my German relatives, French from a Parisan etc.... and I wouldn't have had it any other way!!
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
27 Jan 2012 #38
"Hi. In Saturday I was in new cinema! This cinema is great because it is near the aqua park. I was on movie - "The Pirates of Caraibes", you must go at this movie, because it has interesting music and costiums. When I came at home the car was crash the black cat. I'm not surtitious, but this was very odd history".

This student needs to study English Prepositions. It's not perfect, but it has potential. Verb tense and placement needs work, too. With work, this student could be proficient in English.
RoughFlavors 1 | 100
27 Jan 2012 #39
kids from every walk of life attend the same schools

pretty much the case of every other country

the issue is not whether the kid uses proper grammar at 15, but that the low standards would give him high marks for bad grammar. a teacher's job is hard, so what? we all know that. no reason to lower the standards. it's been done in this country and for the sake of kids moving on to the next grade, parents not having to pay attention, and teachers not having to exert themselves, we give high school diplomas to kids who can barely read!

native speakers are important, but the queen of England couldn't teach a kid who is used to getting all As for properly saying Hello.
cjj - | 281
27 Jan 2012 #40
Now, according to OFFICIAL standards (and I kid you not), this student should get 9 points out of 10.

9/10 ?
A result like this could encourage me to try harder, or train me that the details didn't matter.
I could work hard, learn well and turn out a perfect piece of text ... to get 1 more point. Be still, my beating heart.
a.k.
27 Jan 2012 #41
pretty much the case of every other country

I have a feeling that Stu was attending only private or top schools that's why he is shocked with the level.
OP Stu 12 | 522
27 Jan 2012 #42
Ohh come on ... how do you know where I went to school? I attended normal schools in Amsterdam (NL), Cheltenham (GB), Saintes (F), Keerbergen (B) and Nieuwegein (NL). Nothing fancy, just normal schools.
a.k.
27 Jan 2012 #43
Nothing fancy, just normal schools.

Just out of interest, what procentage of these schools in your eyes were problematic kids?
OP Stu 12 | 522
27 Jan 2012 #44
Jee ... I was a pupil. How should I know? I guess I wasn't one of the easiest myself, judging by the amount of detention I got (by the way, a good idea to introduce this in PL as well instead of these wimps winging about their human rights and all that - if you don't behave get out of the classroom and stay after hours)

And I remember a couple of my fellow-pupils with some behavioural issues as well. Two committed suicide. I got into a couple of fights ... you know, a normal, run-of-the-mill school period.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
27 Jan 2012 #45
I'm not a fan of detention, but the idiotic way that schools can't even suspend them from school is mindblowingly stupid. Actually, the list of problems that schools have are immense - I'll reply properly later, but a lot of it is down to the way that teachers hands are utterly tied. The way that 13-16 year old kids need to be supervised in the corridor is just one example of where resources are needlessly wasted. Then there's the whole rubbish with teachers allegedly being paid "hourly" - so you get the situation where they work their 20 hours and refuse to do a thing more.

Don't get me wrong, there are many fantastic teachers - but most of them are tied up with the lunacy of the system here. You should ask her about "the programme" and how it must be obeyed at all cost.

Stu, beer soon? I'll be in your neck of the woods again in a couple of weeks
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
27 Jan 2012 #46
In the past the books for English language were devided into below levels:

That looks great, but doesn't transfer to reality when the level of teaching is incoinsistent.

Do they teach you latin in middles school? May I ask what for?

Me too. As an academic discipline and because of the insight it gives into how languages work.

BTW: there should be two years of 2x90 mins per week between FCE, CAE and CPE

As a minimum.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,768
27 Jan 2012 #47
@Foreigner4, pawianI respectfully disagree - if i run around Wroclaw and say things like "byc holender, zyc Wroclaw", one could argue that I can communicate. But that's not really the point, is it? I am not asking for perfection (everybody makes some mistakes), but a little proficiency kind of adds to people's understanding of what one is trying to convey.

No. One could not argue you'd be communicating under such circumstances as the Polish language requires conjugation (as well as declination) and you'd have provided none of it nor would you have provided a context.

Someone already pointed out the obvious that the samples you provided had (at least the first one) mainly prepositional errors. Overall, the chronology of events and where they took place as well as the writer's feelings (however basic) were communicated. If you want to disagree with that then please tell me what is factually incorrect about what we've argued.
a.k.
27 Jan 2012 #48
I got into a couple of fights ... you know, a normal, run-of-the-mill school period.

It was nothing serious then. I'm asking about real pathologies and hooliganism.

schools can't even suspend them from school is mindblowingly stupid.

Suspention? That would be a reward!

It comes down to priorities. When Poland sees it as a bigger priority to learn English, they'll do it.

I'm just waiting for the times when French productions will be rulling tv channels all over the world, I hope they would be subtitled in the USA ;)

That looks great, but doesn't transfer to reality when the level of teaching is incoinsistent.

Great? Those books are completely slow. I had smallpocket book for grammar I bought for myself and reading that book made me overjumped 2 levels ahead!

The lessons in school could be carried better if teachers were not too lazy to give a task for kids of learning 30 new words for each lesson and then checking it with a small test at the beginning of every lesson. But no, they are too lazy and don't want any additional work for themself! Too bad, given that this is the only efficient way to make pupils study.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
27 Jan 2012 #49
The lessons in school could be carried better if teachers were not too lazy to give a task for kids of learning 30 new words for each lesson

Actually 8 is a better number if you want them to actually understand what they're remembering. More than that and it's just meaningless rote-learning. Especially since the English language has a lexis that is richer and more subtle than most with a whole variety of meanings for some words depending on how and when they are used.
OP Stu 12 | 522
27 Jan 2012 #50
Suspention? That would be a reward!

No, it is not. It means that you are not allowed to enter the school for up to a week. In other words, you are missing the lessons which will probably get you into trouble when it is exam-time. That in turn might mean that you have to redo the year. And you also get extra homework which you will have to present after school hours.

A school is also allowed to remove a pupil from school (for example because of behavioural issues or low results) and then it is pretty much up to the parents to find a school which wants to accept their brad.

Absolutely no problem with either of them. Nor with detention, by the way.
Lyzko
27 Jan 2012 #51
Again, I'm not so sure that lack of English subtitling, especially dubbing, in Denmark or Norway for example, is the reason that many from those countries seem to have such a blessedly easy time communicating in (nearly) effortless English, compared with the Poles, French, Russians, Germans, Spanish even a majority of the Dutch. One argument that Danish is closely related to English doesn't really pass muster, since Dutch is even closer, for that matter Frisian perhaps the closest, yet such affinity alone is no guarantee of English competence.

No, the reason that Scandinavians have the reputation for an eviable level of Englsh, might be that, as minority language speakers, not many outside that minority have bothered to learn these languages, ergo, there's little to no competition from foreigners, particularly from the Anglo-Saxon countries interestingly enough. Hence, a Dane, a Swede, and a Norwegian are used to practically walzing into any unfamiliar environment outside their homeland and speaking English without either shame or even the hint of possibly encountering "correction" (horrors!!) from the natives, i..e from other Europeans, Asians, above all the uncouth Americans..... This therefore has given Nordics a considerable edge over the rest of us learning foreign languages, not to mention the rest of Europe learning English; propelled by unflappable self-confidence, they continue unabated, unstoppable in their desire to speak English with the rest of the world (but also amongst THEMSELVES), merrily, indeed blissfully, unaware and unconcerned that just MAYBE, there might be, heven forbid, a chink or two in their armor, that perhaps, just perhaps, the Emperor's clothes are in need of mending occasionally. Why? Because who's going to say something? We're all cowed by their English and so people are afraid the challenge the shibboleth of their perfection.

Honesty cuts both ways and double standards don't help anybody, including linguistic ones!
gumishu 11 | 5,857
27 Jan 2012 #52
I think countries like Denmark got it all figured out. In Poland, you got that silly lector over absolutely everything.

pal you conveniently omit the issue of how Danish (Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch) are similar to English - Danish grammar is I guess 70 per cent consistent with English grammar - then you get similarity of basic words (Vi er Vikinger - We are vikings) - now compare that with Polish which resembles the English language grammar wise in that that it has nouns, verbs, prepositions and tenses and that's mostly it
mafketis 29 | 10,321
27 Jan 2012 #53
The high level of English of Danes, Norwegians, Swedes and the Dutch is mainly due to the combination of massive exposure and linguistic similarity. Dutch is the most closely related national language to English and there's a large amount of Scandinavian influence historically. Finnish speakers have as much exposure but the results are less impressive (impressive but not to the same degree).

Also said countries have little cultural self-confidence and an unwanted by product of their English ability is difficulty in convincing resident non-locals, including permanent residents to learn and use their languages.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161
27 Jan 2012 #54
Now, according to OFFICIAL standards (and I kid you not), this student should get 9 points out of 10.

Foreign language teaching in Poland is far behind low and nordic countries, however they are leading in this area... In Poland it's pretty much on typical European level I think... and I doubt a kid would get 9/10 for that crap... please prove it... when I was at school the teaching was crap the way that it took many years to reach intermediate level, not that they were giving good marks for ****** texts...

No wonder I am getting applicants who don't speak any English at all.

You are recruting people ? Which sectors/positions ?
Lyzko
27 Jan 2012 #55
Again though, gumishu, as an American native who managed to learn each of the Scandinavian languages, and several fluently, I respectfully disagree. As I tried to point out previously, that very closeness is NEVER a guarantee, if anything, i've found it often works against higher level English skills, since English then looks so easy, i.e. so close, that many Danes don't bother to work as hard on it, as perhaps a Japanese would, a speaker of a totally unrelated language!! Too often with the Danes, it's an annoying "Look ma, no hands!" approach to English (yet NOT to Geman, thankfully); "See look at us! We can talk English soooo easily while the rest of you suckers out there sound ridiculous even attempting to speak our language!"

Grzegorz, according to the PISA studies from Germany quite a number of years back, the countries with the lowest level of foreign language instruction were Spain and Italy. Poland fell more towards to middle:-))
gumishu 11 | 5,857
27 Jan 2012 #56
Italy

ha, no surprise - i was in Italy back in 1998 - in a small place (like 2000 people) - not a single person there could speak any communicative English - even the young library worker - he could speak French but not English - I would guess you would find a couple of older people who knew some German (former gastarbeiter) but sorry no English - even back then knowledge of English was much better in Poland (but perahps things have changed since in Italy)

btw I don't think Dutch language is the closest relative of English - grammar-wise Scanadinavian languages seem closer to English for me than the Dutch language (even Danish I 'jeg' sounds more English then Dutch 'ik') - if there is a language Dutch is closest it is German in my eyes (and ears) ( Gemeente Emden - Gemeinde Emden)
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
27 Jan 2012 #57
I don't think Dutch language is the closest relative of English - grammar-wise Scanadinavian languages seem closer to English

Dutch is much easier for a British person to learn and to read without learning.
OP Stu 12 | 522
27 Jan 2012 #58
No, the reason that Scandinavians have the reputation for an eviable level of Englsh, might be that, as minority language speakers, not many outside that minority have bothered to learn these languages,

Wouldn't the same have to apply to Polish people then, Lyzko?

please prove it

Prove it? How can I prove something here when my better half comes home from this course, with a lot of materials and instructions how to mark something. You just have to take my word for it.

You are recruting people ? Which sectors/positions ?

I didn't say I did. I said I get applicants (who unfortunately are hired without any proper test of their English, because the people in HR don't speak proper English themselves). It's in IT. In various positions, from 1st liner to PM's. Suffice to say that it's sometimes beyond me why they hired some of them. It's like hiring me for a Polish helpdesk.
JonnyM 11 | 2,620
27 Jan 2012 #59
Both languages have evolved over the years - English further from Dutch and Dutch closer to German. The closest language to English is probably West Frisian.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,849
27 Jan 2012 #60
btw I don't think Dutch language is the closest relative of English -

well I don't know about the grammar, but as an English person, if I hear Dutch people chatting away in the background, to me it just sounds like English,

and I really have to 'tune in' to realize they are speaking a different language.
een kopje koffie - for example - meaning is obvious even for us linguistically challenged British!
What cracks me up is the way the Dutch act REALLY surprised that a simple Brit could understand even that much!
Wheras Scandi languages sound quite different, all snoggi goggi ikea etc


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