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Polish or American Education?


patrick 6 | 113    
4 Aug 2011  #1
First of all, let's try to keep this from sinking into a hissy fit. Uspokój się!

My Polish wife, two kids (4 and 6) and I are living outside of Europe and the States, and have to return in a year to one of these places. Taking my kids' education into consideration, I choose the States.

Here comes the barrage of "Are you stupid?" and "Americans are rock heads!" and the like. Okay, okay, okay.

I agree that your average Polish high school graduate has much more information in his head than your average American graduate, but what's the value of knowing the capital city of every country in the world? Do Polish doctors, firemen or janitors carry out their duties in a far superior way? Are Poles more cosmopolitan or empathetic to the citizens of the world? I want my kids to enjoy their education and not have it rammed down their throats.

I would ask that this question be addressed within the confines of the Polish and American systems. I am not talking about European education. I consider Polish education different than the German, British, Swedish, etc. systems.

I taught at a Polish university for eight years, so I do have some insight about how Poles are taught.

Again, let's keep the pathology down to a minimum as I am genuinely curious about the pros of the Polish system, and am not saying that Poles are stupid or their system is useless.
LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431    
4 Aug 2011  #2
Taking my kids' education into consideration, I choose the States.

Well if you are wealthy you can take your kids to the US for an excellent education in private schools which will cost you until they go to college the price of several houses in Poland!

However if you go back to Poland your kids will benefit from an excellent education almost for free compared with what you ll have to pay for them to attend good schools in the US.
OP patrick 6 | 113    
4 Aug 2011  #3
if you go back to Poland your kids will benefit from an excellent education

That's my question LK; what's so great about it? I know my kids' heads would be packed with information in Poland, but what good is it? Again, is a Polish nurse so superior to an American one? Is a Polish cab driver so superior to an American one?

I know it's a feeling of accomplishment to work hard and see what you have, but what does it mean in the end? Is a Pole a better person? Does he have better sex? Does he make more money? Is he more willing to help people in need???
pip 10 | 1,661    
4 Aug 2011  #4
my kids go to a private school for 6th and 1st class. (2nd and 7th grade) we are a bilingual family with two citizenships--we want a bilingual education.

if we move back to Canada while the kids are still in school they will be on an equal level. I don't happen to think for our family that the Polish system is suitable. If we were to stay in Poland for the rest of our lives then ok- but because we are multinational then no.

at this moment our kids have books at home about canadian history. they don't teach this at the school they go to. they do european history and of course polish history.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,389    
4 Aug 2011  #5
I would ask that this question be addressed within the confines of the Polish and American systems.

u don't give us much of a chance to answer. i haven't much idea about american education, but many seem to be doing fine with it. half of my clan are being educated in germany where less is more. it's the style of teaching here that is fcuked up as well as the changes as to what is and should be taught. however, the thing that annoys me most is the list of good/bad schools and the various profiles they offer. forcing useless facts on a pupil is more about the schools standing than the child's education.

in Poland education doesn't do much to secure a job, but a few years down the line the 'extra bits' come into play. and it's when that person gets to 27-30 yrs old that he/she begins to shine.

but u are the one who worked at the top level of education here, so please say if u agree or not.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,292    
4 Aug 2011  #6
I want my kids to enjoy their education and not have it rammed down their throats.

The American system may unfortunately do the latter to your kids. Over the past several years "standards tests" have become a fixture in American public schools. Teachers are now forced to teach for these tests rather than freely explore the cirriculum with an eye towards sparking and/or accomodating the interests of their students.
southern 76 | 7,103    
4 Aug 2011  #7
Is a Pole a better person? Does he have better sex?

Although it may seem as a surprise they are educated for this too.
OP patrick 6 | 113    
4 Aug 2011  #8
but u are the one who worked at the top level of education here, so please say if u agree or not.

My university students were sharp, and generally speaking Polish lecturers were very qualified. When I started teaching in Poland, native speakers got more money at the university but I was glad when that changed because my Polish colleagues were good and deserved better.

if you go back to Poland your kids will benefit from an excellent education almost for free compared with what you ll have to pay for them to attend good schools in the US.

Don't be so sure. See the following link. Higher tuition fees are coming to universities in Britain. It's only a matter of time til this hits other places in Europe.

guardian.co.uk/education/2011/aug/04/fewer-students-expected

Does he have better sex?

No surprise; my wife gets an A in sex. :)
plgrl    
4 Aug 2011  #9
what's the value of knowing the capital city of every country in the world?

There is a problem with a conception what's the major aim of education: is it to create an erudite or prepare a person for a profession? In Poland people haven't decided yet. They still have in front of their eyes a pre-war inteligensia member who you might have an inteligent chat with on every subject.

In my school years I wondered what for the knowledge of history is important. The knowledge of it won't give me any skills to make more money in fact (unless I'd bacome an historican). Also the knowledge of literature won't. But one must notice that there is something more than practical skills which are needed to gain a profession... I mean who do you like more: people who you may talk with on many subject or a specialist who knows little besides his own profession?

On a geography lesson at my high school we were learning such useless stuff like 5 countries which are the biggest producers of...(insert name of a fruit, cattle, diary etc)... Many pupils were frustrated and asked what for we're learning that? And the teacher answer was... to exercise your memory skills! ;D

Unfotuately the facts have little to do with beliefs and no one will create an erudite forcibly. The knowledge of graduatees is almost next to nothing after few years... however my parents still remember quite well what they were learning at school... maybe that's just that we are a dumb generation, who can't benefit from all-round education, who knows? ;)

where less is more.

That's the common anxiety in Poland that if you demand less knowledge then the kids will know even far less. For me it happened to be a true statement because I was attending school after the scholar reform and the programme in all subject was diminished (at least at the middle school education level). And now my generation is indeed worse educated.
OP patrick 6 | 113    
4 Aug 2011  #10
a pre-war inteligensia member who you might have an inteligent chat with on every subject.

I think this just may be a reason.
Monia    
4 Aug 2011  #11
am not saying that Poles are stupid or their system is useless.

Useless ,stupid ? Will a person become more stupid if he /she knows and learns more ?
Man is more powerful when his knowledge is vast, and his mind is inquisitive . He can then look from different angles at the problem he faces, has the ability to use more diverse solutions, helps him in his ability to transfer solutions from one field to another

Through learning we discover our talents . It is good to develop our ability to be able to take advantage of talents , because if not, unfortunately, our talents may not be sufficient to achieve our success.

Through learning we can deal constructively with stress, and any such experience, we undergo successfully immunizes us from stress that affects us. .

Learning improves matching capabilities, better ability to draw conclusions from different situations which are important to us.

Learning improves memory, is a kind of gymnastics for the brain. Learning develops our skills which is what allows us to function healthy.. Our environment is constantly changing and more and more requiring from us. We want to fulfill our dreams. To be able to meet the demands of the environment in which we live and we can not stand still, we need to ensure continuous development of our skills .

Otherwise our life becomes unmeaningful , dull and pointless .
southern 76 | 7,103    
4 Aug 2011  #12
No surprise; my wife gets an A in sex. :)

She must be Polish.
plgrl    
5 Aug 2011  #13
Man is more powerful when his knowledge is vast, and his mind is inquisitive . He can then look from different angles at the problem he faces, has the ability to use more diverse solutions, helps him in his ability to transfer solutions from one field to another

The question is do Polish schools really teach that?
This is your belief but facts are:
- effciency of teaching is low (if there are only 3 tests during semester which check the knowledge for 5 lessons, just because a teacher has to have at least 3 grates for the final semester grate and doesn't want to create himself too much work of checking more tests, then how the students are motivated to learn rest of the material?)

- the programme is badly constructed. For example there are too little hours in high school to provide lessons for such a big material of every subject. The effect is that teachers don't explain but lecture. Math in liceum doesn't teach thinking - there is no time for that. Instead of that teachers teach algorythm of solving the math tasks. Of course you can learn by heard all steps how to solve tasks of differential calculus but does it make you understand the subject? This is how math is teach today (or at least I was taught like that)

- Polish schools don't teach debating and don't encorage drawining own conclusion. I was good on drawing conclusions but most of my schoolmates were not. And that applied also to the top students...

Through learning we discover our talents .

what if someone already discovered his talent and it's definitely not biology? On some stage it's better to focus on several key subjects than to be distracted by learning everything.
tygrys 2 | 294    
5 Aug 2011  #14
American education is far better than Polish. For many reasons.
First of all, it's in English, not Polish. Poles who don't pass the "matura" exam don't get accepted into college and don't further their education. Polish teachers are unfair. They will pass you if they like your eyes. Or something else. In the US everyone has a chance to get accepted into college. When in college, you study thoroughly towards your major. Depending on what that is, it takes 4-6 years or more. Then you continue with your masters degree. Then you work as an intern.

Teachers in Poland are mean and unfair. In the US cheating is a crime, where in Poland it gets passed by.
Polish schools teach you how to cheat, how to be a teachers pet to get good grades and how to lie your way towards your goal.

Stick with education in the US. It's a longer process but it's more pleasant and at the end you learn more in your profession than you ever would in Poland.
plgrl    
5 Aug 2011  #15
don't further their education.

Not true. You can apply for szkoła policealna.

Polish teachers are unfair.

Was you attending Polish school?

They will pass you if they like your eyes.

They cannot.
Marynka11 4 | 675    
5 Aug 2011  #16
When it comes to acquiring knowledge that will be useful later in life, American education is superior. It's based on problem solving, it includes very little memorizing, the kids learn how to research very early and do a lot of projects simulating later professional life.
plgrl    
5 Aug 2011  #17
That's very interesting issue. Could you give an example of such project?
Marynka11 4 | 675    
5 Aug 2011  #18
Here is an example from the high school that I know very well. It is a public high school, which ranked in the top 100 in the state. The school obtained a software that could simulate stock trading. The students operated with real data but invested fake money. Then in the classes they discussed with the teacher what influenced their high or low scores.

Also, they did a lot of interdisciplinary projects, like for example in the art class they designed a logo for their company, they wrote a text for their company's brochure in the language art class, made some simple business plan in some other classes. Also they had a wide array of classes that taught them a particular practical skill, like public speaking, home economics, cooking, etc.
grubas 12 | 1,392    
5 Aug 2011  #19
The school obtained a software that could simulate stock trading.

You are kidding or what?Have you ever traded any financial instruments?Give me a break.No simulation will ever prepare you for a stress in a situation where YOUR MONEY is at stake.Anybody can SIMULATE trading where no money is involved but try it with REAL, YOUR MONEY and you will quickly see the difference.
Marynka11 4 | 675    
5 Aug 2011  #20
No, I've never traded any financial instruments excluding the black hole that my money seems to fall into. And I'm so hopeless with money because I was never taught how to handle it. Most of the kids from the school will not become stock traders anyway. But they will understand how the stock market works and how to invest in case they decide to use something like eTrade.
OP patrick 6 | 113    
5 Aug 2011  #21
My crappy Saudi interent just swallowed my rather extensive response. :(
pawian 150 | 7,966    
5 Aug 2011  #22
they do european history and of course polish history.

It is natural, isn`t it? :):):)
plgrl    
5 Aug 2011  #23
The school obtained a software that could simulate stock trading.

I must admit that sounds great.

made some simple business plan

I also had to write a business plan at first year of my high school. It was very simplified and far-fetched. I didn't feel I learnt much doing that project.

art class they designed a logo for their company, they wrote a text for their company's brochure in the language art class

Ok but what are the practical skills kids learn doing that project? I can also paint a logotype and prepare a brochure.
convex 20 | 3,980    
5 Aug 2011  #24
For one it seems to put people in the mindset that you don't have to go to school for 6 years to design a logo. On the other hand, the doing is just half of it, teaching how to do it right is the other. Seems like you get the first a lot in the US, the second needs a bit of work.
gumishu 11 | 4,899    
5 Aug 2011  #25
I know it's a feeling of accomplishment to work hard and see what you have, but what does it mean in the end?

I have noticed this small thing - more knowledge allows you for more confidence in what you are doing - this affects attitudes to work - I have seen this in Polish nurses employed as caretakers in England compared to exotic staff (people from India or Africa)- maybe different things come to play here, too (of course plenty of knowledge and little practice is not the best mix you can think of - that's why vocational education was much better in Poland back in the times of communism (plenty of practical skills could have been learnt)
pip 10 | 1,661    
5 Aug 2011  #26
generally speaking, I think that the school systems world wide could do with an overhaul.
I don't particularly think learning how to trade stocks is useful, but planning and preparing a monthly or weekly budget is.
learning how to cook and clean is--along with a knowledge of germs and hygene.
discussing the weather, the environment, pollution and the world around us is useful and the effects of garbage and pollution in our world.
geography, history, biology, maths, social studies, computers are all useful in creating a base for higher learning.
learning about politics and how countries are organized and run is useful. what voting actually does.

there should be a base of knowledge and then based on a persons strengths or weaknesses the next logical steps will follow.
I also think that in elementary and high school -there should be greater emphasis placed on a persons career choice and set a student up for success that way. What I mean is that if a student doesn't show an aptitude for computers or biology, perhaps they should be directed to something like carpentry or plumbing. In North America trades people make good money- why not teach them from the beginning- set them up for success, not for failure. And then add to the education -how to run your own business.

I don't think that it can be determined which system is better- they both have their strength and weaknesses--but memorizing poems or dates in history doesn't help a student do a lot.
plgrl    
5 Aug 2011  #27
perhaps they should be directed to something like carpentry or plumbing.

They are. In Poland after graduating gimnazjum (in the past after graduating szkoła podstawowa - elementary school) a kid can decide between 4 types of school: liceum ogólnokształcące, liceum profilowane, technikum or szkoła zawodowa (vocational school). I believe most countries have similar system.
gumishu 11 | 4,899    
5 Aug 2011  #28
I don't think that it can be determined which system is better- they both have their strength and weaknesses--but memorizing poems or dates in history doesn't help a student do a lot.

it is true - I think history courses should not be obligatory (except some basic perhaps) - as for native language (the subject of język polski here)- yes memorizing poems is a real waste of time, so is most of the books they want you to read - we get people who can't write a couple of sentences in proper Polish after gymnasium but they have meticoulously gone through all the 'lektury' (well both teachers and pupils pretend to)
Monia    
5 Aug 2011  #29
When it comes to acquiring knowledge that will be useful later in life, American education is superior

What you think is not exactly, what the reality is , maybe it`s just your wishful thinking ....?
The recent competitions prove that polish students are better than USA students.

June 5, 2011
Polish Mars rover - MAGMA2 won in international competitions- University Rover Challenge in the United States. The team defeated York University, Canadians and Americans from Oregon State University, who build their design benefited from the help of NASA.

Other Polish works, SCORPIO Wroclaw University of Technology and COPERNICUS from NCU in Torun, occupied respectively the fourth and sixth place.

The huge success of the Polish work is largely thanks to the ingenuity of its builders . For the first time in the history of URC competitions, rover appeared with the so-called rover. heksacopters, which allowed the observation of additional land from the air and increase the chances of winning MAGMY2. Additional advantages are simplicity of design MAGMY2, the use of lightweight materials, and excellent, experienced team .


  • Polish students
JonnyM 11 | 2,622    
5 Aug 2011  #30
The recent competitions prove that polish students are better than USA students.

The issue isn't the brainiest ones who will thrive in any environment - it's the general level of educaion. Which in Poland is extremely poor.


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