From Little soldiers to large monsters...

28th February 2003 at 00:00
EVENif English primary pupils are more amenable than their French counterparts, as the Newcastle survey shows, the situation would appear to be reversed in secondary schools, if the experience of this French teacher in a secondary school is representative.

"An English teacher in France told me that if you are able to teach in England you can teach anywhere in the world. It is easier to get a position here, but harder to keep a job.

"I am really taken aback by the shocking behaviour of students. They push you, they use their mobile phones, they use badlanguage.

"The English act very superior. They think they don't have to learn any languages. If the English government wants French teachers here, it will have to learn that English culture is completely different.

"In England people don't say openly what they want. I am very forthright, I tell the kids to sit down and shut up. The English teachers say please do this or please do that.

"The pupils come to school as if it is a leisure centre but education is not entertainment, they are here to learn. In France, I don't have to invent a game for students to learn the days of the week. I write them down, students learn them and the next day I give them a test.

"I don't have to do jumbled-up words, or fill in the blanks. Here, even if the pupils get it all wrong, it seems it is always the teacher's fault.

"However, France is not a paradise. Some inner-city schools in Paris have problems, particularly in the lycee technologique.

"If there is chatting in classes in France and students are unable to understand what is being said, the student representative, who is elected by the class, will tell me.

"It is the children who do not like that kind of thing, they do the duty themselves."

The teacher, who does not want to be identified, spoke to Helen Ward

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