Sunday, 16 September 2007

Who needs basket weaving?!

I don't like the French education system, having been through it and been through public shamings for low grades.

Here is an example of why the US education system is so great. Besides the fact that you are taught to express yourself and be an independent thinker, I think this course at Georgetown (one of America's foremost universities) speaks for itself. Definitely would provide more food for thought and incite more interesting debates than I ever had at the French university since French students are taught to listen and not be heard unless they can regurgitate the answer word for word:

The Law of "24"
Professor W. Sharp
LL.M Course 853 (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The award winning Fox Television drama series 24 explores America’s fictional response to international terrorism through the eyes of Jack Bauer, a U.S. counter-terrorism agent. Oftentimes without remorse or regard for the law, Agent Bauer is willing to do what has to be done when faced with the threat of kidnappings, assassinations, nuclear detonations, and bioterrorism on U.S. soil – despite traitors in his family, his unit, and the White House; partisan politics; sleeper cells; and hidden agendas. This course provides a detailed understanding of a very wide-range of U.S. domestic and international legal issues concerning counterterrorism in the context of the utilitarian and sometimes desperate responses to terrorism raised by the plot of 24. Course requirements include active classroom discussion and a paper of approximately 25 pages.


Anonymous said...

the french humiliated you in class? how very strange. do they do it to everyone, or just aliens? if to everyone, how does this affect the national character? i should think it means no invention.

Elisabeth said...

The French educational system is sclerotic at best. I am one of its products but, of course, I got my Baccalaureat some 37 years ago. Public humiliation? Sure - what about teachers returning exams that they have sorted in ascending or descending order by grade, and making sure to announce everyone's grade loudly, and making disparaging comments to thos whose performance on said exam was far from brilliant.

What about the fact the results of the Baccalaureat are published in newspapers and also online, if I am not mistaken?

I had two years of post-secondary education in France, in the stiffling atmosphere of the Classes Preparatoires aux Grandes Ecoles, which nearly drove me to insanity. I finished my higher education in the U.S., first getting a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Delaware and, much later, a PhD in French literature at the University of Pittsburgh. Believe me, education at U.S. institutions of higher learning was a zillion times better than its French counterpart. American students may not always be as "well-rounded" as French ones, though, and I am not sure why.

frog4america said...

I cant really remember a public humiliation for low grades, though it might have some to do with me not giving a rat's behind about it at the time.

I do fondly remember a public shaming for going beyond what we had been taught, in fourth grade. So much for fostering intellectual or cultural curiosity.

But, quite frankly, the french school system only prepares kids to the larger society. Critical thinking in France ? About what ? The french society is like the Colbert Report in reverse : is George Bush a horrible president, or the worst president ever. That's about the intellectual range you have here on most issues. And quite frankly i dont expect to see any change any time soon. In fact i'm more worried about chilling reports of academic frenchification in the US. There's a movie i'm eagerly anticipating called IndoctrinateU that its makers are trying to find distributors for but it looks like an uphill battle. The director went Michael Moore on a few campuses, investigating an alarming trend of suppressing political and cultural sensitivities not aligned with these of liberal teachers and students. Google it, it's pretty intriguing.

Reb said...

PureJuice, I think you'll find the answers to your question in Elisabeth's comments.

I have been planning to write a real post about the education system here and why I'm reluctant about sending my children to school in France, but it's still in the reflection stage.

Elisabeth, thanks for your input. It's interesting to hear the perspective from a French person gone to the US.

Frog4america, really interesting comment. Whereas France prepares kids for the larger society, US education is definitely more focused on self-esteem, personal development and figuring it all out later.

Deb said...

I would so take that class! Love 24!

I do think that we have a lot more interesting classes back in the US. Though I'm sure the French do have some good things about their classes too.

I'm already getting scared about my little one wanting to go to the US for University or something. As much as I would like her to experience that, I don't want her to leave me! And she's only 8 months old! I know it's way too soon to think about that, but I can't help it!

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