Wednesday, 15 June 2011

You say "turbine", I say "turban".

After work, Stevie was telling me a little story about what they had been talking about in his German class last night.

"You know... that pain in the ass woman I was talking about, the one who has already completed A2 level but is re-doing it because she thinks she missed the grammar, but really all she's doing is taking up the teacher's time speaking German that we can't understand? Well, she was talking about the high school system and the teacher said that her mother says that it's crazy that UK kids go to high school at age 12. She says it's too late."

"Uh-huh...." (I am busy trying not to chop my fingers off while attempting to finely slice onions, so please excuse my lack of intellectual contribution)

"But surely to have your school path mapped out at 10 years old is far too soon?"

(In Germany, you are put into one of three 'streams' - based on your academic ability and I think your parents get a bit of say-so too. Hauptschule, Realschule, or Gymnasium. The Hauptschule follow the same subjects as the other 2 types of school but at a slower pace and they also teach some vocational courses too. Realschule strikes me as the middle ground, where some people go on towards vocational training afterwards and some people go on to further academic study. If you want to go to University after attending Realschule, I think you have to go to Gymnasium and study for the Abitur which is a diploma which can allow you to follow a path into university. Don't quote me though, this is just my very basic understanding that I picked up in German class.) Anyway, where was he...?

"I mean, what would have been the outcome for me in a system like that?"

"Well, I reckon they can probably tell how brainy you are by 10 years old. You'd probably have been fine."

"But when I was young I had a really crap English teacher. I was stuck with her, and maybe she would have held me back and that would determine what school I went to and my whole future at age 10!"

"Well, you went to a crap school anyway, and did really well, so...."

"Yes, but the people in the 'credit' stream got the best English teachers, and the people like me in 'foundation/general' level got the crap teachers...." (lost in thought)

"Yes, maybe, but that's not universal. In my school I know that there were equally good teachers teaching foundation level English as were teaching credit level English."

".... I'm sure I should have been in a higher English class. Man, she really was just crap. She was this old Indian woman and she wore a wig and stuff, and it kept falling off her head, and she never noticed..."

"What? The wig?"

"No! Her turbine!!"

"Case closed. I think you can stop worrying about being put in the wrong stream."


[Incidentally, Google searchers, turbine is pronounced with the same 'i' sound as in 'twine' or 'lime' or 'time'. You're welcome!]

1 comment:

  1. I must admit that I don't like the German system at all. British schools are far from perfect but the kind of tests that kids have to go through at such an early age here are just too intense for me. It's basically the old British grammar system. If you get your kid into a bilingual school however they can bypass alot of the crap.


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