Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Family matters/health  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 13.09.2011, 16:15
Mel07's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 756
Groaned at 14 Times in 11 Posts
Thanked 949 Times in 371 Posts
Mel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond repute
Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

My daughter is in her third year at "big school" and things are getting serious for her now. She is learning to read and write and also basic maths.

As a parent, I want to be able to help her as much as possible and give her confidence so that she can do well in school, but as the majority of her schooling is in french, I am at a loss to personally add anything meaningful to her formal education.

Last year she started getting small reading assignments for homework and I quickly realised that I needed a native french speaker to help her as pronunciation and reading comprehension were not going to thrive under her english-mother-tongue, still-learning-french parents. So I organised for a 13 year old neighbourhood girl to come read with her and help with homework 3 times a week. This has been working out great so far. I also invite lots of french speaking friends over to play and I encourage her to play with the french-speaking kids in the neighbourhood. None of this however seems to make up for the massive gap that a parent fills when your child is being educated in your home-country environment.

I'd love to hear other parents' experiences with coping with these issues. Any tips for helping my child, dealing with her teacher and generally overcoming some of the hurdles that expat parents face from those of you who have been here and done it already.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Mel07 for this useful post:
  #2  
Old 13.09.2011, 16:48
NotAllThere's Avatar
Modulo 2
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baselland
Posts: 14,471
Groaned at 276 Times in 237 Posts
Thanked 21,672 Times in 8,790 Posts
NotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

I don't speak German particularly well, nor does my wife. What helped our kids when they started in Swiss school, was that they could already read (English) and do arithmetic. What we did eventually, and probably should have done earlier, was get them extra tuition. They're all doing very well now.

( Be aware that there may be rules about the way children are treated educationally, if neither parent is a fluent cantonal language speaker. In BL, for example, German ability is to be disregarded in the early years, and can also be disregarded later, at teachers' discretion. )

There are many ways to help your children even if you dont' speak the local language. You can help them plan what they're going to write, get them to talk about the task, and help them to learn vocabulary in 2nd language lessons.
__________________
Down with racism. Long live miscegenation!
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank NotAllThere for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 13.09.2011, 16:59
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 32,212
Groaned at 2,453 Times in 1,775 Posts
Thanked 39,294 Times in 18,520 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Language isn't the only problem, even the way they do math here is totally different than what I learned (especially long division, even compared to colleagues of my generation), and since I don't do it the way they are taught, they don't want my help.

Tom
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 13.09.2011, 18:31
Mel07's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 756
Groaned at 14 Times in 11 Posts
Thanked 949 Times in 371 Posts
Mel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
View Post
Language isn't the only problem, even the way they do math here is totally different than what I learned (especially long division, even compared to colleagues of my generation), and since I don't do it the way they are taught, they don't want my help.

Tom
Yeah, that's not just a cultural problem. I remember getting frustrated with my parents when they tried to help me with maths but didn't do it exactly like I was taught.

I appreciate hearing your experiences. The whole issue is fraught for me. While I feel like I am giving my kids a fantastic opportunity to be bilingual (which I wish I'd had) I also fear they'll fall behind their classmates due to the extra hurdles they have to overcome due to not having parents fluent in the local lingo. I know my oldest is having difficulties and it is hard to know whether she'd be having the same if we weren't in a foreign country. I guess what I really want is to hear it will all turn out OK. But having read kodokan's thread on her experiences my fears are only getting greater.

This parenting lark is hard going, isn't it?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 13.09.2011, 18:46
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
View Post
Yeah, that's not just a cultural problem. I remember getting frustrated with my parents when they tried to help me with maths but didn't do it exactly like I was taught.

I appreciate hearing your experiences. The whole issue is fraught for me. While I feel like I am giving my kids a fantastic opportunity to be bilingual (which I wish I'd had) I also fear they'll fall behind their classmates due to the extra hurdles they have to overcome due to not having parents fluent in the local lingo. I know my oldest is having difficulties and it is hard to know whether she'd be having the same if we weren't in a foreign country. I guess what I really want is to hear it will all turn out OK. But having read kodokan's thread on her experiences my fears are only getting greater.

This parenting lark is hard going, isn't it?
Our gemeinde / commune has got little adverts up in the local gemeinde building offering the services of teenagers to help coach kids with their homework. They do it for a bit of pocket money.

Considering they are probably fresher on the solutions of long division and the pitfalls of grammar, I'll be tempted to give them an occasional go when the time comes for my son to bring home assignments.

Can you check locally with you if the kids offer such assistance?
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 14.09.2011, 11:00
Mel07's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 756
Groaned at 14 Times in 11 Posts
Thanked 949 Times in 371 Posts
Mel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
Our gemeinde / commune has got little adverts up in the local gemeinde building offering the services of teenagers to help coach kids with their homework. They do it for a bit of pocket money.

Considering they are probably fresher on the solutions of long division and the pitfalls of grammar, I'll be tempted to give them an occasional go when the time comes for my son to bring home assignments.

Can you check locally with you if the kids offer such assistance?
Thanks Sandgrounder. I have found a young girl in the neighbourhood who comes three times a week and my daughter thinks she is "totally cool". That has helped a lot, I'd really recommend it. It's the accent she can get which I am shocking at.

I met with the teacher and we talked through the issues and since then I have been getting reports from both my daughter and the teacher on how well things are going recently. I guess it never hurts to stress to the teacher how much you want to be involved and how much your kid responds to positive reinforcement (something this teacher didn't seem particularly good at). So today I am feeling a bit more positive.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Mel07 for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 14.09.2011, 14:23
NotAllThere's Avatar
Modulo 2
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Baselland
Posts: 14,471
Groaned at 276 Times in 237 Posts
Thanked 21,672 Times in 8,790 Posts
NotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond reputeNotAllThere has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
View Post
... But having read kodokan's thread on her experiences my fears are only getting greater...
Here's my success story then. My son arrived in Switzerland age 10, with no German. He went from primary to pro-gym, then to gym. He's now a student at Basel University, studying physics.

He was constantly told by some teachers that with his level of German (which to me seems fluent, but apparently isn't ) he'd never make it to pro-gym, gym, university... Shows how much they knew, hey?
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank NotAllThere for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 15.09.2011, 10:52
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: la cote
Posts: 3,607
Groaned at 21 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 3,256 Times in 1,711 Posts
runningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Check with your school or commune (or perhaps parents association) if they offer French classes to parents. Many schools have already recognised this phenonmen, ie. parents cannot help with the required homework if don't know French themselves. I know Nyon and Geneva schools offer this, and assume somewhere in Lausanne they must as well.

I would try to get help sooner rather than later, as I am afraid it will only get more difficult when she gets into all the french verb conjugastions and tenses. Not to mention the german homework which will come as well.

There is at least one family I know of that put their children in an english school because they couldn't help with the French homework at home.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank runningdeer for this useful post:
  #9  
Old 16.09.2011, 13:59
Mel07's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 756
Groaned at 14 Times in 11 Posts
Thanked 949 Times in 371 Posts
Mel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
View Post
Here's my success story then. My son arrived in Switzerland age 10, with no German. He went from primary to pro-gym, then to gym. He's now a student at Basel University, studying physics.

He was constantly told by some teachers that with his level of German (which to me seems fluent, but apparently isn't ) he'd never make it to pro-gym, gym, university... Shows how much they knew, hey?
That is amazing. Congratulations.

Quote:
View Post
Check with your school or commune (or perhaps parents association) if they offer French classes to parents. Many schools have already recognised this phenonmen, ie. parents cannot help with the required homework if don't know French themselves. I know Nyon and Geneva schools offer this, and assume somewhere in Lausanne they must as well.

I would try to get help sooner rather than later, as I am afraid it will only get more difficult when she gets into all the french verb conjugastions and tenses. Not to mention the german homework which will come as well.

There is at least one family I know of that put their children in an english school because they couldn't help with the French homework at home.
Good tip runningdeer. I'll look into the lessons. It seems such a shame to have to put your kids in english school here, just a few ago I would have thought it a ridiculous thing to do, but I really understand why a parent would do it now. I'm going to try and stick it out with the french system for now but I'd never say never.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 16.09.2011, 14:22
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Zurich
Posts: 65
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 20 Times in 15 Posts
Snowy Albus has no particular reputation at present
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
View Post
Here's my success story then. My son arrived in Switzerland age 10, with no German. He went from primary to pro-gym, then to gym. He's now a student at Basel University, studying physics.

He was constantly told by some teachers that with his level of German (which to me seems fluent, but apparently isn't ) he'd never make it to pro-gym, gym, university... Shows how much they knew, hey?
Your son is good. His story really makes me feel encouraged. Hope my 8-month daughter will not in the future give up her dream in the pursuit of her study as your son did while confronting any difficulties.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 23.09.2011, 14:15
Mel07's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lausanne
Posts: 756
Groaned at 14 Times in 11 Posts
Thanked 949 Times in 371 Posts
Mel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond reputeMel07 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

So, things have evolved on the school front for my six year old. Turns out the teacher is not only on a different page to me in terms of approach to educating kids, we're in different libraries, on different continents.

From drip fed comments from my daughter about what is going on in class, to actual comments written by the teacher into my daughter's homework book, I can only say she is absolutely in the wrong profession teaching small children. For example, in the 4 weeks since school started we have had nothing but negative comments on our daughters performance and behaviour "X did not do good work today", "X took 1h35 to complete a simple task". Apparently, some other children are also receiving a lot of negative comments about their performance and behaviour.

Now, I am not against disciplining children or think only lovely, smiley things should be said about and to them, but in face to face meetings and in writing we are getting nothing but a barrage of negative comments with no constructive solutions for us to work on.

Anyway, this is just the tip of the iceberg and the situation prompted me to get in contact with the head of section and discuss the issue in-depth (I insisted this meeting be in english so that we could completely understand what was going on - and the school agreed). A few meetings later and I am very happy with the way the head of section has dealt with things. She acted immediately, sitting in on my child's class and observing the lesson (this happened on the same day as our meeting) and met with me again the following day to report back (she had two pages of notes). She has neither defended nor condemned the teacher in question but when I told her that we had lost confidence in our child's teacher, she asked if we wanted to move our child into another class. I said yes. She hasn't agreed or disagreed to this but asked that we give it a bit more time, and continue to meet on a weekly basis to see how it goes.

The head teacher has obviously spoken with my child's teacher because yesterday my daughter told me the teacher had praised her on a number of occasions for things she did well. She also said, excitedly, that she had got to go out and play with the other kids at recess rather than being kept back in class. This morning I went in and the classroom had been re-arranged and kids moved around. So I really get the feeling this teacher is being put under pressure.

The question is, should I continue to push for my child to be moved? A few people who know the situation have rather dramatically told me to GET HER OUT OF THERE as soon as possible. Many of these people had bad experiences with teachers in their childhood and still have the scars. I had some crappy teachers too, but I never had anyone describe me in such constantly negative terms.

Please weigh in with your thoughts. Should I keep pushing to move her or should I give the head teacher a chance to fix it?
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Mel07 for this useful post:
  #12  
Old 23.09.2011, 14:44
Textoch's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Texas, USA (formerly Vaud, CH)
Posts: 1,201
Groaned at 25 Times in 23 Posts
Thanked 3,058 Times in 937 Posts
Textoch has a reputation beyond reputeTextoch has a reputation beyond reputeTextoch has a reputation beyond reputeTextoch has a reputation beyond reputeTextoch has a reputation beyond reputeTextoch has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Perhaps you could schedule another meeting with the head teacher in order to let her know that you have noted some improvement as well as remind her of any issues that have not been addressed or resolved as of yet. Would it be possiblt to agree on a "trial period" during which your daughter will continue to stay in her current teacher's class, followed by another meeting? You could be sure to make the head teacher aware that your request for transfer is not being withdrawn; you are just allowing time for needed changes to be made. If those changes are not complete or in-process by the end of the period, request the transfer again.

In this way, you are giving credit where credit is due for the positive changes that have been made thus far; you are being flexible and allowing a period of time for further improvements to take place, but you are not discarding your initial wish for a transfer, only deferring it.

Hopefully the fact that you have already seen positive changes means that the current trajectory will continue!
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Textoch for this useful post:
  #13  
Old 23.09.2011, 14:44
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: la cote
Posts: 3,607
Groaned at 21 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 3,256 Times in 1,711 Posts
runningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond reputerunningdeer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Tips for helping your child in a foreign school environment

Quote:
View Post
Please weigh in with your thoughts. Should I keep pushing to move her or should I give the head teacher a chance to fix it?
Not a direct answer, but when facing a similar situation at a school last year I think two things are key--age of the child, i.e if young and impressionable will this put her off learning or if older can it be used as a life experience; and personality of the child, is she sensitive and things like this effect her beyond the school grounds, or is she more robust and easily bounces back from adversity. I think the answer to these two questions should guide you, but it is only you who can make the informed parental decision.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank runningdeer for this useful post:
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
School for foreign kids - international/private/public? A Friend Family matters/health 84 06.12.2012 16:25
school and child care in corseax naama Family matters/health 0 16.04.2011 08:29
Foreign mother sueing for child support from broke father Alreadyinuse Family matters/health 158 07.08.2009 11:22
Child in school fight - possible injury to other child swisscath Family matters/health 16 29.05.2008 13:08


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 13:20.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0