Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Form over Function

OK - I feel like my posts have been without personality for a while. Part of that due to being so busy I can hardly hear myself think half the time. The other part due to my struggle with being a people-pleaser.

I've been a people-pleaser all my life. I will admit it affects my writing too. I don't want to be offensive, derogatory, prejudicial, etc... as the readers of our family blog are kind of spread out now. I will attempt to start putting my personality back into the blog. The intent of this was to share personal trips and experiences as we live a different life in Switzerland than we had at home. It will have our 'slant' on life. Recording both good days and bad. I'm not going to apologize.

We love living here and have been greatly blessed by the experience. There are days when, no matter how beautiful the view and how delicious the "AbigBroetchen" is, we miss home.

And there are days you scratch your head and go Hmmmmmm?????!!!!!

Form over Function:

So the friends we visited in Lugano are Italian (w/ some Belgium thrown in) and have lived in Italy, Belgium and both German/Italian parts of Switzerland. Due to circumstance, their kids are going (again) to the local Swiss school. The Swiss school is set up quite differently than most countries and by 12 years old, you pretty much know if you are on track for going to University or not. There's not a lot of room for late-bloomers unless you have the $$$ to grease the tracks - per Swiss neighbors (rich and poor).

So their kids will be 'inspected' after a few months to make sure they've been placed correctly. These inspections/testing are done whether a child has been in Swiss schools or Private - anytime a child switches schools here.

My friend's frustration = Her 4th grade boy excells in Math. He did the times tables test in half the time of the next fastest student (2 min. vs 4 min.) and didn't miss a single problem. She was called in for a meeting with the teacher. She was expecting to hear how well he had done and perhaps could be more challenged.

Instead, the teacher asked her to please look at his numbers and how poorly they are written. The mom acknowledges this and says well, yes, he is left handed and sometimes finds writing neatly difficult.

She went away with the knowledge that they may put him back to 3rd grade because his 'form' isn't up to speed. Regardless of the content.

There is no discussion of tutoring or extra help.

I know of one Swiss family planning to send their son to the USA for University while their daughter goes to Uni. in Zurich. He is not eligible for HochSchule/University because he is dyslexic - even though he's considered highly intelligent. I have a friend with a daughter(British) in HochSchule in Zurich who is doing well but as German is her 2nd language, the vocabulary in subjects such as Biology or Ancient History can be difficult. The mom was told they would not be given subject matters ahead of time - for vocabulary purposes - as that would be an unfair advantage to other students. They were also warned that outside tutoring was not allowed and if found, there could be disciplinary measures.

This boggles.My.Mind.

So today - I would like to give thanks for my children's School and their teachers. For a system that is creative and still academic. That recognizes strengths and helps weaknesses. That promotes independence, encourages individual risk and provides a secure environment to gain the self confidence they need for the first two items.

Thank You ZIS. And Thank You God for creating us as individuals.


LadyFi said...

Goodness - ignoring how good someone is at maths and criticizing him for having messy writing? This kind of thing boils my blood!

Susan said...

I'm catching up on blog reading this a.m. - loved the latest post about the "U.N." at school yesterday - great photos and how nice that Kendra was featured. Even nicer that you got the urge to be there!

I'm glad you are going to let your personality and opinions shine in this blog! Let 'er rip!

As always, thanks for blogging.