Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The French grading system is quite degrading.

I took my French test today. Man, I feel like I just took the SATs...again. Imagine taking them at the age you're at right now (Me...32.99 years old). Makes your head hurt just thinking about it, no? So, we started off with the listening portion of the exam. Twice during this section, I looked at my prof and politely asked her if the people on the cassette were actually speaking French because it sounded like the teacher from "Charlie Brown" to me. Whaa Whaa Whaa Whaa Whaa. After we completed the bulk of the test and as our heads were pounding, the prof passed back our grades for the listening portion. As she passed out each result, she would announce it to the entire class. I thought it was incredibly rude that she do this. Who would want an announcement to the entire class that one has just failed? The prof announced to the first student that she did very well. The second student did not do well as she did not complete the 2nd portion of the section. The third student also did not do well. The next student was the "champion". And then me...I did "assez bien" which means that I got a "Satisfactory". She continues to tell us what a passing grade consists of and luckily, I passed. Still waiting on the results for the rest of the exam...stay tuned. Then she starts to talk to my Korean classmate (in front of everyone, no less) that she should drop down to the lower class. I was astonished! Shouldn't this announcement be a private teacher-student one-on-one discussion? Not in France. Darin tells me that this is typical French culture. Now that I know this, I've been able to pick my lower jaw up off the floor.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Emily - Your experience reminds me of when I was a literacy tutor. My student, as well as many other students in the program, was learning English as a second language (in her case it was more like the fourth or fifth language she knew - she was Iranian and knew Farsi, Arabic, and some other local dialects). She would get flustered if I told her she was doing well. Apparently she found it easier for me to point out her areas for improvement. When I met some Japanese students at the annual literacy potluck, I found the same attitude. I complimented one student on how well she was doing, and her friend told me that was the wrong thing to say. Huh? The friend proceeded to tell me that in Japan, teachers point out the errors so that students will not get "lazy" or "big heads" from the praise. I'm with you though. Cultural practice or no, having your shortcomings announced to a roomful of people just seems cruel. Sounds like you are doing OK, so keep up the good work (I couldn't resist a little encouragement - I am, after all, American). :)