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Re: American Jingoism

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 19, 2002, 8:46
En réponse à nicole perrin <nicole_eap@...>:

> > I'll delurk for this one a bit. I don't know that 1,750 > would be considered a small high school in the US, my own > high school (one of three in the city) consisted of four > grades (9-12) and had about 1,200 students, and was > definitely considered average. In less densely populated > areas schools can be quite small and are also often > regional to make up a more reasonable number of students. >
When I think that my 900-students high school was considered over-crowded... :)) As for language studies, in France we have always one mandatory language (taken from the first year of junior high school), and one optional language (begun two years after) taken only in non-technical studies. In my Junior High, for first language we had the choice between English and German. And for the second language, students of German first language were obliged to take English as second language, while students of English first language had the choice between German and Spanish (I had English as first language and Spanish as second). My Junior High also offered a course in Latin, but that was not considered a language class, and it was a mandatory course, as much as maths or history (and it began in the second year of Junior High). In High School though, it was only an option, part of a set of options among which you were obliged to choose one. Of course, offered courses depend on the school teachers available. My Junior High was small, and thus offered only a limited amount of languages and the only classical language available was Latin. But depending on the school, you could have also Italian and/or Portuguese (other languages are normally not available in Junior High. Modern Greek is exceedingly rare, you won't find Japanese at all, and regional languages are still frowned upon. Our previous minister of Education even said: "I prefer making informaticians mastering French and English than sheperds speaking Corsican and Occitan", showing the prejudice regional languages suffer in France... :(( ), and as classical language you can also have Ancient Greek (or have the choice between Latin and Ancient Greek. In Junior High, you can have only one classical language. In literary studies in High School, you can have both). At least one language is always required to graduate from High School, and in non-technical studies the optional second language is mandatory (yeah, I know that a mandatory option sounds strange, but it's actually the term used by the educational system :)) ). In some literary courses, you even have three living languages mandatory, as well as Latin and Ancient Greek. Among all those languages, one at least has to be English (but it needn't be the first one you take. Some schools offer German or Spanish as first language). After High School though, language courses often disappear, except in Grandes Ecoles, like the one I attended (where you had mandatory courses of English, and could also have optional courses of Spanish or German, as well as an introduction to Japanese. But those courses nearly had to be organised by the student s who wanted to participate it. We had to organise the schedule ourselves to get a room to study with the teacher for Japanese for instance). And despite all the attention I gave to language courses in France, I must emphasize the fact that those courses are considered by most teachers and students like a loss of time and energy. Even English courses are considered futile and useless. As I said in another post, a French person is not supposed to speak any other language. A French person is not supposed to leave France anyway, and if the person does, it will be in one-week holidays where the person will take for granted that wherever s/he goes, they will make the effort to talk to him/her in French. Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.