It is a great learning process for me to observe and listen to the young people who come to the French course I take at the Alliance Francaise. The oldest of them is about 26 and the youngest is 12 ( seems so far back in the past for me).
Last week the teacher announced a mid-course test, the questions started from the group.
For how many marks?
What is the pattern?
What is the break-up between written and oral?
Will the test be only on Unite 8,9 and 10 or would concepts from previous lessons be included?

Neither the teacher ( who is closer to my age and from The Rishi Valley school) nor I understood the relevance or need for any of these questions. This is a foundation course in language where you either knew the concept or you did not. And the concepts from one lesson flow into the other - how does one use past tense if one didnt know how to make a sentence in the present tense?
As for marks the only relevant question according to me would have been, what is the mark required to pass? Does it matter whether one gets 70 or 100 as long as 50 lets you go to the next level?

I guess this has a lot to do with their experience with the educational system - so much premium has been placed on the marks that even the study of a language is not excluded from it.The students are careful to frame the sentences on a known pattern and re-use previously used sentences rather than try out new words or new sentence structures, so you are sure not to lose marks! Does n't this kill the whole joy of learning a language which is to learn the rules and the million deliteful exceptions and experiment with them and create your own style of expression? A paper in Language affords a kind of freedom and possibility for creative expression that is not possible in a science or a Math paper. Why should we bind ourselves in a chain of marks - and when this is not even a course that decides your career?

Wasnt it Shaw who said that he never let his schooling interfere with education! May be it is time our educational system stopped interfering with the joy of learning at least the languages.
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3 Responses
  1. Souvik Says:

    You are right in saying that the joy of learning is a lot more important. However, joy of learning, I think, is more manifest in how much you explore on your own. Ones awareness of marks is a different thing. Its a competitive world, & playing to win is a good thing. But whether the system could be changed to encourage learning & exploring as oppossed to scoring, even whether it should be, is a moot point.

  2. Souvik Says:

    Rather a nice template. I know what we write & how we write is our own free will, & indeed an extension of our superior persona, but do you think you could incorporate a title field for your posts? Just a manifestation of method & organization, if you think about it in a certain way!

    There is something about your blogs... I'll thread it all & tell you sometime

    Say hi to Saba!

  3. Once said " The way schools work i am surprised there is any imagination left when people come out of there" to my secondary school mathematics teacher Mom.

    She used to get mad at me for solving eqautions in less than "Required" number of steps.

    I REQUIRE only so many steps Ma