Sunday, November 25, 2007

please explain the pedagogy behind the practice

My son has the same French teacher he had last year.

All they seem to do is memorize short stories and put them on as plays. Each time, a significant portion of their mark is based on their costume. Exactly how does it evaluate a child's progress in French, when you mark them on the quality of the costume that their parents are able to put together?

What's more, a classmate of my son's was assigned the role of a girl in one of the plays from last year (there are more boys than girls in my son's class). Since the girl in question was a contemporary eight year old, the boy playing the role told the teacher he would wear a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. He was informed that if he did this, he would be given a failing grade; he needed more of a 'girl costume.'

I went to the presentation. We saw the same short story presented several times. The boy who had wanted to wear a t-shirt and jeans was wearing a poncho and a headband. The other boys playing girls wore frilly dresses, ridiculous wigs and hats, spoke in high-pitched voices and flounced around like the worst possible 'girly' stereotype.

If the message that this teacher, a woman, had wanted to convey was that being a girl is to be the object of ridicule, then she succeeded.

There are four girls in the class. I wonder how all this made them feel.

And, how exactly is all this helping these children to become bilingual?

Tonight we scrambled to pull together an opera singer's costume. Don't opera singers perform in the costume of the opera in which they are performing?

We just tied a silk scarf around his neck and grabbed a flouncy velvet jacket from the dress-up box.

It will have to do.


Anonymous said...

Gawd, what is this? Project Runway a la Francais?
Have you talked to the headmaster/principal/ department head?

laurie said...

I plan on raising the issue during parent-teacher interviews.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Oh, this is just the kind of ridiculous "educational" exercise that drives me crazy. I am constantly asking my son's teachers what the goal of the goal of a particular lesson is. They hate it, because, guess what, they don't know!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurie,

I felt my blood pressure rising to dangerous heights whilst I read the foregoing material. One of the happiest days of my life was our youngest's graduation from the school system.

Do you know how impossible it is, today, for young, gifted, brilliant and wonderful young folks to get into Teachers' College? I guess the chosen ones are able to come up with ideas like having kids dress up in shmatas from home. Don't get me wrong; I'm not prejudiced against teachers.:)

Anyway, as someone once told me, your children are MOSTLY taught by you; outside of school time. If parents left their children's education to the school system, they'd be screwed. This is clearly a shame for parents who had a terrible school experience themselves or are too tired, busy, unconfident, etc. etc. to feel they have a role in this part of life.

If you think about it that way, every wonderful teacher and learning experience is icing on the cake and an unexpected delight.


B in T

Anonymous said...

Definitely ridiculous. Teaching children to bully others is not the way to go.