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  #61  
Old 14.09.2013, 17:28
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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Yep, I am not a morning person. Good on you for picking up on that. Now let me clarify-these cream of the crop Swiss students generally write very poorly in English, even though Susan57 claims that the schools here teach them to write perfectly.

Because they are at the ETH in the basic sciences, they've been taught in English since year three of University. They have written a Master's thesis in English. They absolutely need to use English "in practice," as in daily.

Basically, I think it is ridiculous to assume or even expect that a student who is taught primarily in German will have perfect English skills, as Susan57 suggests, just as the International schools can't be expected to teach primarily in English and pump out fluent German speakers with excellent German writing skills.
How many schools in the Uk, US and english speaking countries produce perfect english students either - not many as most english people have nfi about the grammar of their own language.

This argument that being in a certain school system produces better language skills etc, when at the end it doesnt matter. When I went through school the teachers had no idea what they were teaching so pity help the students

At the end of the day its about fully rounded education and everyone should be able to chose where they send their kids. Those swiss that are sending there kids to international schools do it for a reason usually because they are not happy with the local schools
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Old 14.09.2013, 18:52
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

If you go back, I wasn't the one claiming that any school produced perfect English speakers/writers. Or is Switzerland confusing us both today?

Aain, merely questioning that any school, Swiss or otherwise, consistently produces students "perfectly" able to read and speak three languages, as Susan57 claims.
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Old 14.09.2013, 19:31
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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How many schools in the Uk, US and english speaking countries produce perfect english students either - not many as most english people have nfi about the grammar of their own language.
Personally I couldn't give two hoots about my English grandma, it's my German grandma that worries me the most.
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  #64  
Old 15.09.2013, 13:30
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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I hear about 3 AND 3 = a total of 6 . And so find it difficult to believe in the teachers being the reason. I believe however that the teachers in public school have to accept realities of life, while the ones in the "international" schools can celebrate "English". What can be read above explains why German speaking Swiss abroad often prefer, if having the choice, the German schools over the "international" schools.
Yes trust me the teacher CAN be a reason. I teach music and piano and I have received many students who were about to "quit" the piano forever. I could write many stories about the inappropriate approach and destroying the gift or a "little treasure" inside the child. Sometimes I wonder why the person studied to "become a teacher".... If you love teaching you do it from the heart but if you do it for "monthly income" only then the child can suffer.... Sorry to say it but this is the reality in many cases...
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  #65  
Old 15.09.2013, 13:39
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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Because they are at the ETH in the basic sciences, they've been taught in English since year three of University.
When did this start?

Everyone I've ever worked with from ETHZ (and that means most people I've ever worked with) did their studies, and thesis, in German.

Tom
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Old 15.09.2013, 15:04
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

It is current policy for D-Biol, at least since 2006 (link below). That's my department, so I am most familiar with that. However, I also know some physics lecturers and profs who teach starting from the upper bachelors courses, and they also lecture in English.

As mentioned, many upper level courses for bachelors students are in English (though some are also in German and sometimes an option is given, depending on the proficiency of the lecturer) (Link below).

I have read a good number of recent masters and PhD theses from D-BIOL, and they've always been in English (even from German and Swiss students). However, I couldn't find anything that specified the language either way.
The PhD thesis has a duplicate abstract in German, from the examples I have seen. I can ask some of the students about the rules, if you like-it is probably in the material they get after admission.

What is clear is that the language of instruction at masters level is listed as English, not German/English. Also, the web site for the PhD program, Life Science Zurich, states that the language of instruction is "English throughout."

Chemistry, math, physics, mechanical engineering are also listed as having English instruction at the masters level, but architecture, for example, is in German. Presumably this is also true at the PhD level, but I can ask over at physics and chemistry, if you're really curious.

As an aside, this makes sense, because the major journals for these subjects are also almost universally in English. Obviously, for other subjects, this may not be true (architecture, medicine, etc.)

http://www.biol.ethz.ch/education/ms...tions_2006.pdf
http://www.biol.ethz.ch/education/ms...Master1112.pdf
http://www.biol.ethz.ch/education/bs...block/index_EN
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  #67  
Old 15.09.2013, 15:11
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

Alas, don't know anybody in biology from ETHZ, just engineering.

Tom
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Old 15.09.2013, 15:46
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

I don't consider engineering a basic science, but rather an applied science. And I say that with respect...

However, mechanical, environmental, process, micro and nanosystems, nuclear, robotics, biomedical, energy science, neural systems, biotechnology, computer science, computational biology and computer science are all engineering programs listed as having English as the instruction language at the masters level.

I don't know the thesis languages for these, though. Nor do I have any idea about the history of these departments.

http://www.ethz.ch/prospectives/programmes/index_EN
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Old 15.09.2013, 15:50
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

http://www.rektorat.ethz.ch/students...guage/index_EN

Above link is quite interesting. First they write that for enrollement you need a C1 level in the language of instruction.

On the bottom they write that they consider a Swiss Matura as a proof of C1 in both English and German ... right
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Old 15.09.2013, 15:51
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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Perhaps those three children are exceptionally gifted or things are changing now. In my experience at the ETH, I have rarely worked with a Swiss student whose English proficiency was even close to fluent, especially in writing. I can't judge their French, but they generally switch to English when speaking with French colleagues, so I suspect they are more comfortable in English.

The three children, in my example, are the results of an English speaking Canadian mom, French ETH professor father and a Swiss education. They arrived to Switzerland, in 2001, at the same time as us. They were about 9, 11 and 13 years old. Their parents did not consider the international school and they were simply placed in Swiss schools. Personally, I thought they were crazy and unkind, at the moment. Yet, the years have disproved me.

Obviously, it was not the Swiss education which made them fluent, in all three languages, as they had the benefit of their educated parents. Although I agree there are amazing teachers at the International Schools ( Janko is certainly one of them), I believe the nomadic lifestyle of children (following their parents) can leave the children within an English bubble.

In my opinion, it would behoove the International Schools to make more effort to integrate / expose their students to locals cultures/ languages. Our children attended five int'l schools, in four countries, which were ( more or less) small ghettos of English speaking students.

Unless you know your children shall return to an English speaking country, for their university studies or adult lives, they are at a disadvantage to the students of multilingial educations.

In my humble opinion...of course...
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Old 15.09.2013, 15:56
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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The three children, in my example, are the results of an English speaking Canadian mom, French ETH professor father and a Swiss education. They arrived to Switzerland, in 2001, at the same time as us. They were about 9, 11 and 13 years old. Their parents did not consider the international school and they were simply placed in Swiss schools. Personally, I thought they were crazy and unkind, at the moment. Yet, the years have disproved me.

Obviously, it was not the Swiss education which made them fluent, in all three languages, as they had the benefit of their educated parents. Although I agree there are amazing teachers at the International Schools ( Janko is certainly one of them), I believe the nomadic lifestyle of children (following their parents) can leave the children within an English bubble.

In my opinion, it would behoove the International Schools to make more effort to integrate / expose their students to locals cultures/ languages. Our children attended five int'l schools, in four countries, which were ( more or less) small ghettos of English speaking students.

Unless you know your children shall return to an English speaking country, for their university studies or adult lives, they are at a disadvantage to the students of multilingial educations.

In my humble opinion...of course...
Okay, that makes more sense. I am hoping that my kids are fluent in English (father and mother both fluent) and German (father fluent in German) but am prepared to spend a lot of time working on their English skills at home while sending them to the local school. I also hope that they return to the US for college, mostly because I had a really good experience there and like the liberal arts approach to education. Of course, that will be their choice.

Last edited by swiss_in_training; 15.09.2013 at 16:10.
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Old 15.09.2013, 16:07
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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I believe the nomadic lifestyle of children (following their parents) can leave the children within an English bubble.
This is true, but I don't think it's a fault of school. Any school. If local integration is a primary priority for parents, kids even in international schools will always find a way to: learn local languages, immerse in culture, find their ways to communities and participate. Schools can only do so much, and if they are supposed to cater to nomadic careers to put kids on their feet, internationally, then loading kids with yet another task (albeit important, it certainly is for me, so I get you, I have only considered a private school for my child, never an international one). I do think international schools do well, for what their aim seems to be. Trying to play a role between, a mediator, between nomadic parents and local life, would be too much to ask. The int. schools that are in the area are already participating quite a lot, offer kids some fab extra curriculars, for example, to have them spread around a local terrain. They will stick to their academic priorities, if a local language is not one of them, it's up to the parents provide the back up, and not let kids exist in an enclave, not sensitive to what is happening around them in a local setting.

I do agree and have made the same choice, that unless one plans to return to an anglophone environment or have kids move onto an international university, then the local schools seems to be the best way to push local language. But, that might be simply just by more immersing and survival push. The other languages that kids pick up, while in public schools might be again because their parents are smart and foster interest, or arrange opportunities. It's hard to draw some general statements.

On top, not all parents do know exactly what the future holds though. Quite a few of them will come here and hope for the best, not wanting to move after 2-3 years but not knowing if job will last, so they put their kids into an international school, work pays, and then if the they are able to stay longer they do not feel like uprooting kids and putting in local schools, since the kids are already comfortable. I understand them. I also believe comfort is not the best motive for life.

I am a teacher but, or maybe because of that, I do not wait for school to initiate. If one wants a multilingual child, then home schooling after regular school is the norm, or hiring a tutor to support, or having other strategies that are discussed in our multilingual kids threads.
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Old 03.10.2013, 10:26
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

This is a recurring theme with Zurich education officials and they have their fair share of motives to issue this restrictions, however, every child should be treated based on the unique circumstances of his/her particular life context. Local schools are doing a great job with the integration and offer a full array of services and extra curricular activities that will help foreign kids to quickly integrate, make friends and lead happy, healthy lives here in Switzerland. Swiss teachers are very well trained, very balanced and love their jobs. If foreign parents would be aware of all the advantages that local schools offer the battle for places in International schools will be over! The Kantons are doing a great job with the education but they might have a PR problem
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Old 04.10.2013, 10:09
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Re: Canton Zurich cuts access to international schools

thank you for your info useful
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Old 05.10.2013, 12:06
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Re: Zurich cuts access to international schools

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How many schools in the Uk, US and english speaking countries produce perfect english students either - not many as most english people have nfi about the grammar of their own language.

This argument that being in a certain school system produces better language skills etc, when at the end it doesnt matter. When I went through school the teachers had no idea what they were teaching so pity help the students

At the end of the day its about fully rounded education and everyone should be able to chose where they send their kids. Those swiss that are sending there kids to international schools do it for a reason usually because they are not happy with the local schools
The teachers differ. The first secondary school teacher in charge with languages taught us a rather theoretical French, the language he had learnt when studying at the Sorbonne Paris, which gave a good basis but could not be used in practice. The next one DISliked French and so in French was rather mediocre, but was an excellent and inspiring English teacher. In KV commercial school, the French teacher was superb. The English teacher was a boring person, but a competent teacher.

The Canton of Zürich, within less than 3 decades, has invested millions to upgrade the linguistical capabilities of the teachers and now feared that they, exactly the better ones of course, might follow students to the international schools. THIS was the reason why they so harshly went through.
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