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  #41  
Old 16.12.2010, 23:21
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Re: Backward Step

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Very, very rare here.
Swiss French/ Swiss German thing again, perhaps - lots of expat friends here seem to feel the same way. Perhaps we're all just in denial about things over which we have no control.
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  #42  
Old 16.12.2010, 23:23
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Re: Backward Step

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Swiss French/ Swiss German thing again, perhaps - lots of expat friends here seem to feel the same way. Perhaps we're all just in denial about things over which we have no control.

Exactly. You won't have any control over how your kids are being taught here.
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  #43  
Old 16.12.2010, 23:25
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Re: Backward Step

Why should you 'get your way' Phos - if the teachers do not genuinely feel that 'your way' is the right way either for your child or for the class as a whole, or to the detriment of some, in their professional opinion?
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  #44  
Old 16.12.2010, 23:26
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Re: Backward Step

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Exactly. You won't have any control over how your kids are being taught here.
Is that the case in any country, though? I don't expect a mass education system on a national scale to change in any way to please little old me. If I wanted control, I'd be home educating.
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Old 16.12.2010, 23:31
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Re: Backward Step

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Why should you 'get your way' Phos - if the teachers do not genuinely feel that 'your way' is the right way either for your child or for the class as a whole, or to the detriment of some, in their professional opinion?
Well, the public school teachers in Switzerland aren't really into developing the potential of their students. They've already have predefined concepts on which kids fit in which molds. And if a kid does not fit a particular Swiss mode, yet demonstrates talent and potential, that kid will not be developing very well in Swiss schools. I've seen and heard this over and over from many parents.
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  #46  
Old 16.12.2010, 23:37
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Re: Backward Step

I wouldn't say I was taking advice, just seeking it...

Anyways, I would like to thank everyone who has responded, it has certainly made me realise it was well worth joining this forum.

We will just let him continue - learning German, bell ringing, and ski-ing etc and I will try to fill any gaps, that way he should have the best of both worlds. (well once I get my Sky sorted, but that is a different thread).
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  #47  
Old 16.12.2010, 23:47
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Re: Backward Step

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And if a kid does not fit a particular Swiss mode, yet demonstrates talent and potential, that kid will not be developing very well in Swiss schools.
The only thing I don't agree with so far here is that the streaming at the end of 6th grade is heavily dependent on grades and performance in French, Maths and German. Which sucks if you're the sort of kid with no real aptitude for languages but is terrific at science-y, engineering-y things.

I hugely agree with teaching to ability groups, but would rather it was by subject to allow the kids who are amazing at Maths and Science but middle-to-useless at French and Geography to have a clear run at uni without faffing around with redoubling and whatnots necessary in later years to bump their 'technical' (and therefore second rate) qualifications up to a Matura.

I don't expect I'll get any control over this issue, though.
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  #48  
Old 17.12.2010, 00:08
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Re: Backward Step

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The only thing I don't agree with so far here is that the streaming at the end of 6th grade is heavily dependent on grades and performance in French, Maths and German. Which sucks if you're the sort of kid with no real aptitude for languages but is terrific at science-y, engineering-y things.

I hugely agree with teaching to ability groups, but would rather it was by subject to allow the kids who are amazing at Maths and Science but middle-to-useless at French and Geography to have a clear run at uni without faffing around with redoubling and whatnots necessary in later years to bump their 'technical' (and therefore second rate) qualifications up to a Matura.

I don't expect I'll get any control over this issue, though.

I think the education system is fine for kids who will grow up and live in Switzerland. The system is for Switzerland. But I don't think it is exactly compatible with the rest of the world. Take a student making a transition midway through from here to another place, or vice-versa. An excellent student in either case can fall through, and I've seen it happen to a couple of bright expat kids.

In my opinion, it is fine for Switzerland, but not very well prepared for a globalized world, and the kind of skills that may be needed in the future.

The only control a parent really has is to put them in a private school where the parent can know what to expect from their teachers. In Swiss public schools, they can change the approaches and curriculum at their whim.

Last edited by Phos; 17.12.2010 at 10:34.
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  #49  
Old 17.12.2010, 03:05
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Re: Backward Step

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... or, for that matter, German, Canadian, American public schools.
I disagree. My son is finishing 5th grade at a completely run-of-the-mill, (lower) middle class U.S. school. He is apparently going to be the only not brilliant expat child, as he has difficulty learning some things (long, long story). Schools in the U.S. are locally funded, and you can easily take your child and move him/her to a different town, either by moving to another house or by using the various systems that are in place to change from one district to another. If you are somewhat savvy, you have a lot of leverage because you can choose to take your child, and the $8-10k the school is getting from the state for his warm body in the classroom, to a different district. The communication with teachers is generally VERY good, unless you are in a famously "bad" district or have a bad teacher, which does happen. Teachers do get tenure in some states, so it can be very difficult to fire them.

Every year we have thought that the next year would be the year to place him in private school, and then he would have another great year with another open-minded teacher. Maybe his education hasn't been perfect, but I can't complain that the teaching staff isn't receptive. I continue to be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 17.12.2010, 13:58
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Re: Backward Step

Just that you know: When there is problems with a teacher in Swiss school, that matter is taken to school boss. That can come from parents, students, school management or even colleagues. The goal is to fix the problem, not playing the game for blaming and play court of law in the director's office. Either the problem get fixed locally, or it does not.
In the latter case, the problem is handled one level higher. Especially when a teacher repeatedly has shown weaknesses in the eyes of the competent people of his school disctrict (that would be the canton here). In case of professional mistakes and incompetence, the canton will give a green light to fire the teacher. That supposes one or more rounds of professional help to fix the problem. But when failing, teacher do loose their job.

But I admit one thing very openly about that topic: Swiss schools do not consider parents as competent to judge professional abilities of teachers. That's a fact, get over it. Parent however are considered a precious and serious source of information to help diagnosticize the problem. Teachers are judged professionally by their school authority, their pairs at a higher level of authority.

Opinions about teachers are all right, we all are entitled to an opionion. I repeat the word: opinion.

EDIT: I also repeat my unanswered question: Backward Step
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  #51  
Old 17.12.2010, 17:58
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Re: Backward Step

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Well, the public school teachers in Switzerland aren't really into developing the potential of their students. They've already have predefined concepts on which kids fit in which molds. And if a kid does not fit a particular Swiss mode, yet demonstrates talent and potential, that kid will not be developing very well in Swiss schools. I've seen and heard this over and over from many parents.
Many of my friends here are excellent teachers, at all levels, and they are all totally dedicated to nurture the potential of each child - but with the whole of the children in mind, rather than the few who have influential parents. On their behalf, I must object to the sweeping statement above. There are great differences between the UK (and the French/German and Italian systems too)- advantages and disadvantages (the idea of setting for individual subjects and students in the UK being a major one, compared to the class as a 'lump' in CH + of course the huge difference between A'Levels and Bac/Matu). Having taught in the UK all my life, I can tell you there are excellent, good, bad and very bad teachers in all countries.( In my personal experience- most of the teachers who were bad or unable to cope in the UK, ended up teaching in private schools.)

Last edited by Odile; 17.12.2010 at 18:26. Reason: typo
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Old 17.12.2010, 19:22
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Re: Backward Step

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I disagree.
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you can easily ... move him/her to a different town, either by moving to another house ... The communication with teachers is generally VERY good, unless you are in a famously "bad" district or have a bad teacher, which does happen. Teachers do get tenure in some states, so it can be very difficult to fire them.
Thanks for disagreeing. You made my point better than I did.
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Old 17.12.2010, 20:32
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Re: Backward Step

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Many of my friends here are excellent teachers, at all levels, and they are all totally dedicated to nurture the potential of each child - but with the whole of the children in mind, rather than the few who have influential parents. On their behalf, I must object to the sweeping statement above. There are great differences between the UK (and the French/German and Italian systems too)- advantages and disadvantages (the idea of setting for individual subjects and students in the UK being a major one, compared to the class as a 'lump' in CH + of course the huge difference between A'Levels and Bac/Matu). Having taught in the UK all my life, I can tell you there are excellent, good, bad and very bad teachers in all countries.( In my personal experience- most of the teachers who were bad or unable to cope in the UK, ended up teaching in private schools.)

Yeah, sure. I'm not saying the teachers are bad per se. But they work within a framework of a "system" that is for the sake of the "system" rather the potential of the student.

I know this kid who had a passion for electronics. He has been soldering at an early age, and was starting to come out with more and more intricate boards. He had it in his heart to pursue higher education in this. But the school persuaded him and his parents that there isn't a career in such things in Switzerland, but there were plenty of jobs as a "Sanitiermonteur". Sounds to me like it has something to do with installing bathrooms and plumbing. So he ended up going to a vocation school and is not working as such. In my opinion, the poor kid lost his dream, thanks to the Swiss school system. That is tragic.

Last edited by Phos; 18.12.2010 at 04:37.
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Old 17.12.2010, 20:42
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Re: Backward Step

Tragic indeed, and there are sad stories like that everywhere, not just CH. There are some good vocational schools in CH for electronics - and it is such a shame the parents did not stick to their guns in this case, or/and made more research to find out the options. It is never too late - so why not find out NOW what he can do next in this chosen field. You are not going to accept that he has now 'failed' for life, are you?

One of the big problems here, is what happens to students who are very good at art, music or even languages, but have great difficulties in maths/physics, chemistry. The UK A'Level system allows students to choose 4 subjects for AS then 3 for A'Level - so can pursue a Uni education in Arts, design, music, etc. One of our friends' daughter here is a brilliant singer and violinist, and wanted to join the Conservatoire- but the BAC was a pre-requisite. She failed for .5 in maths - and had to re-take the whole year (in all subjects, not as in UK), and next time scraped in maths with a bit of help, and failed by .5 in German = NO conservatoire, and totally gave up on everything. And I agree, in this case it was the system - but not necessarily the teachers.
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Old 17.12.2010, 21:01
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Re: Backward Step

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Tragic indeed, and there are sad stories like that everywhere, not just CH. There are some good vocational schools in CH for electronics - and it is such a shame the parents did not stick to their guns in this case, or/and made more research to find out the options. It is never too late - so why not find out NOW what he can do next in this chosen field. You are not going to accept that he has now 'failed' for life, are you?

One of the big problems here, is what happens to students who are very good at art, music or even languages, but have great difficulties in maths/physics, chemistry. The UK A'Level system allows students to choose 4 subjects for AS then 3 for A'Level - so can pursue a Uni education in Arts, design, music, etc. One of our friends' daughter here is a brilliant singer and violinist, and wanted to join the Conservatoire- but the BAC was a pre-requisite. She failed for .5 in maths - and had to re-take the whole year (in all subjects, not as in UK), and next time scraped in maths with a bit of help, and failed by .5 in German = NO conservatoire, and totally gave up on everything. And I agree, in this case it was the system - but not necessarily the teachers.

Well, the impression I get and the stories I hear is that teachers have a lot of influence over the future career path of a child. I believe teachers should simply teach, not decide the path their students should live out. It's not their role.
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Old 17.12.2010, 21:09
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Re: Backward Step

As a form tutor in the UK, I was expected to discuss possibilities and discuss future options and eventually career with my students. I once had a complaint made against me by a local doctor. His son had substantial learning difficulties, and was in remedial classes in most subjects, including maths and science. His life's dream was to become a Vet. One day, when he was 14, I mentioned that he may have to change his plans. I was very careful, and explained to him that I just would not be able to become a vet myself, as I found maths and physics difficult. I discussed the options of becoming a vet's assistant (although I think most vets would turn him down because of his lack of social skills, and poor speech) - father turned up at school and wanted me sacked.

I hope this kid will get all the help he needs to make the transition to make his dream come true. It's not too late. However, you can't judge all the teachers and a whole system on one example, however tragic it is.
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Old 17.12.2010, 21:25
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Re: Backward Step

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I hope this kid will get all the help he needs to make the transition to make his dream come true. It's not too late. However, you can't judge all the teachers and a whole system on one example, however tragic it is.
You don't think a person can learn to be good at math/science? People develop at varying years in their lives. And a developing child is in transition, and how they are as a child is not the best indication of how they will be when they grow. That is what the process of learning and teaching is about. I wonder how much of this is the failure of a child, and how much is the failure of the teacher to teach.

Like I said, this may work for some of the Swiss living in Switzerland. But it does not appear to be able to keep up with the rate of change in the world.

The effectiveness of the system will judge itself. As it is, we have many job openings at work, yet no Swiss candidates to fill them. They aren't educated for this kind of work, so we have to bring in people from all over the world. This may seem fine for now, with unemployment low. But this will be more pronounced when unemployment is high.

Last edited by Phos; 17.12.2010 at 21:42.
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Old 17.12.2010, 21:41
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Re: Backward Step

In the UK, we have a dearth of media studies, design and It candidates who are unemployed, and almost unemployable. Some turn to be exceptional. We do have a lack of plumbers, electricians and good artisans. So I'd agree with you that the UK and CH do display the extremes here. Agree too that the 2 systems are vastly different, and suit different kids and fails others. I do disagree though that teachers in CH, in general, do not work hard to develop potential.

What do you, or the parents, plan to do to help this kid who was poorly advised. Surely, with modern washing machines, etc, there is a big electronics element. Again, hope you find a solution and that the kid finds his dream.
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Old 17.12.2010, 21:44
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Re: Backward Step

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In the UK, we have a dearth of media studies, design and It candidates who are unemployed, and almost unemployable. Some turn to be exceptional. We do have a lack of plumbers, electricians and good artisans. So I'd agree with you that the UK and CH do display the extremes here. Agree too that the 2 systems are vastly different, and suit different kids and fails others. I do disagree though that teachers in CH, in general, do not work hard to develop potential.

What do you, or the parents, plan to do to help this kid who was poorly advised. Surely, with modern washing machines, etc, there is a big electronics element. Again, hope you find a solution and that the kid finds his dream.

So what I do not understand is why are teachers in Switzerland are playing the role of social and economic planners. It's not their role.
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Old 17.12.2010, 21:59
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Re: Backward Step

No we are not. We are asked to give an opinion based on academic achievement. If I could say "I don't know and I don't care, the kiddo should decide himself and accept that he may fail doing so", I would love to do so. But I am asked to be more pricise... it comes from the school management, not from me. And in my years in CH, it was the parents who were asking. Begging to reveale them the secret of life for their children. For your info: I am OBLIGED by school management to provide this advise. And I take great pride to have contributed that some student did not become doctors (sarcasm, please read this sentence with a dictionnary open).

But I am all right in high school, it is even worse for middle school and primary school teachers. I have no doubt that some teachers take this role far to seriously and overdo it, though. But if the cantonal school administration considers that it is teacher's job to give these carreer advises, then it is.
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