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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 17:33 
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Noreen wrote:
The thing that's always bothered me most (even as a teenager) about the trilingual system is the text-books - the few that are mentioned are English. They surely can't have had three text books (one in each language) for each subject? But if not, you have the rather bizarre (and for many people disconcerting) situation of teaching (say) a lesson on History from an English text book while speaking in German. !


I recently went to an open evening at my daughters school as she's choosing her A levels - and one parent did ask about the difficulties if they go on to study the subject (it was chemistry I think, may have been biology or physics though as we went to all three scienes) at degree through English after studying it through Welsh medium up to 18,

Teacher pointed out there isn't a huge problem because a lot of the text books and resources they use (especially at higher levels) are in English - so they'll watch a video in English, article in English - yet discuss it in Welsh.

So that part of the CS doesn't seem far fetched


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 19:24 
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That's interesting, Claire - but I still think it would be far more awkward in the CS than it is now, because the lessons were so heavily reliant on textbooks and the written word. I think the first time we hear of anything outside of that are the 'synthetic maps'.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 20:36 
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Noreen wrote:
That's interesting, Claire - but I still think it would be far more awkward in the CS than it is now, because the lessons were so heavily reliant on textbooks and the written word. I think the first time we hear of anything outside of that are the 'synthetic maps'.


Please can someone more knowledgeable than me explain what synthetic maps are? I was at school in the CS Swiss era and I don't remember using them. Why did the pupils like using them? I always imagined them as layers of OHP transparencies. Am I right?

I agree that lessons would have been more reliant on textbooks at that stage as duplicating machines were not so wide-spread then. Yes, I know they existed but I'm not sure the CS had one. Surely if they had had one, it would have been easier for Rosalie to have sent a standard letter to all parents rather than the pupils all having to write a postcard home (half-term dates changed or similar)? :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 21:32 
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thefrau46 wrote:
Please can someone more knowledgeable than me explain what synthetic maps are? I was at school in the CS Swiss era and I don't remember using them. Why did the pupils like using them? I always imagined them as layers of OHP transparencies. Am I right?
Well, like you, I was at school then and don't remember anything like them, but they seem to contain information about separate aspects (such as population or climate) of a geographical area, and yes, I too had always assumed that each was some sort of transparency that could be superimposed on others to work out correlation between, say, climate and food production. They may well have been made of synthetic material, but I guess 'synthetic' here is in the sense of "pertaining to, consisting in, or involving synthesis, or combination of parts into a whole" (OED online). As to why the girls enjoyed them, probably because it was something they could do for themselves - the dreaded interactive! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 23:17 
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Noreen wrote:
thefrau46 wrote:
Please can someone more knowledgeable than me explain what synthetic maps are? I was at school in the CS Swiss era and I don't remember using them. Why did the pupils like using them? I always imagined them as layers of OHP transparencies. Am I right?
Well, like you, I was at school then and don't remember anything like them, but they seem to contain information about separate aspects (such as population or climate) of a geographical area, and yes, I too had always assumed that each was some sort of transparency that could be superimposed on others to work out correlation between, say, climate and food production. They may well have been made of synthetic material, but I guess 'synthetic' here is in the sense of "pertaining to, consisting in, or involving synthesis, or combination of parts into a whole" (OED online). As to why the girls enjoyed them, probably because it was something they could do for themselves - the dreaded interactive! :D

Thanks, Noreen. Interesting your definition of synthetic as I'd always thought it was in the sense of not natural, ie plastic which would fit in with the transparency idea. However I like yours too.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 03:37 
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I can see having particular subjects in particular languages. So Fourth form gets Science in German, Geography in French, History in English. The lectures, texts and assignments are all in the same language for a year, but they could cycle languages between years. Prep would need to be multi-lingual, so the student could ask questions about the appropriate subject in the appropriate language, but time outside of classes (plus maybe things like PT, sewing or art that were less textbook dependant) would be in the language of the day.

That would also get around the fact that they have three languages, but five instructional days, which means one language is always getting the short stick.

The other difficulty with the CS system, at least in the latter Swiss days, is that it's really structured for native English speakers, but they have students from a variety of language backgrounds. German class has books for translation, and vocabulary lists to measure, but English class is studying English literature and grammar as a native speaker would. So a native German speaker would be extra lost in English, but bored stiff in German.

So I think that either they would need to only accept students reasonably fluent in English, or they would need to consider both literature and language learning classes for the three main languages, particularly in lower forms - so English class as they have it, plus ESL training, and maybe separate German and French literature classes for native speakers.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 11:52 
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That's true about the five instructional days Jennifer, with English missing out. Two German, two French and one English. Saturday is the other English day and on Sundays they may speak as they please. I don't think the timetable would allow for them always to have Science in German though as surely they would have more than one lesson a week in some subjects so they might be taught Maths in one week in English, French and German. It's impossible really to know how it really worked. I wonder if EBD got letters from fans querying this? They didn't get published in the newsletter!


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 12:31 
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I think they would have at least some lessons on Saturdays - it was usually an instruction day in boarding schools at the period EBD was writing - at least in the mornings.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 12:37 
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I think on Saturdays they had Guides, mending and unfinished prep and in the Swiss years no Guides but often had rambles or expeditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 12:41 
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Yes, we had lessons until lunchtime on Saturdays. We greatly resented having to trek down to the school buildings which were a ten to fifteen minute walk away for some of the boarding houses.

We had to do the walk twice on some weekdays as well since we always went back to the houses for lunch and twice a week had to go back for lessons again in the afternoons.

On the other afternoons we had hockey in the autumn term, lacrosse in the spring, and cricket, tennis and swimming in the summer. On the days we had lessons, we had a reduced amount of prep.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 15:27 
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My daughter and family are moving to Switzerland for three years with hubby's job, living near Lausanne. The children, aged 7 and 10, will of course be going to school there, so it will be interesting to see what happens with text books, as it's an international school, but lessons in French as well as English, it being the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 19:24 
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MaryR wrote:
My daughter and family are moving to Switzerland for three years with hubby's job, living near Lausanne. The children, aged 7 and 10, will of course be going to school there, so it will be interesting to see what happens with text books, as it's an international school, but lessons in French as well as English, it being the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

Keep us posted, Mary. You are right - it will be interesting, especially as the children are of primary age.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2017, 23:37 
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Probably worksheets - it's what my kids primary school used all the time, in either language - didn't get into text books till comp


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2017, 19:48 
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cestina wrote:
We had to do the walk twice on some weekdays as well since we always went back to the houses for lunch and twice a week had to go back for lessons again in the afternoons.

On the other afternoons we had hockey in the autumn term, lacrosse in the spring, and cricket, tennis and swimming in the summer. On the days we had lessons, we had a reduced amount of prep.


Good grief - ten years later, and at a different school, we had to walk back and forth from the boarding-houses (cycle, when we were in the senior houses, from what is now Year 9 upwards) four times a day, as we went back to the house for lunch. If it was wet, they would lay on coaches, which was rather nice as it was less rushed. When I was in about Year 10, I think, new kitchens were built and new dining-rooms, and after that we had lunch at school, and supper was sent down to the houses from the central kitchen, rather than cooked in-house, as it were, with predictable impact on the quality of the food. They could produce decent food when parents were around, but most of the time... not so much!

We had lessons every afternoon, although ghastly lacrosse happened at least three times a week, known as "Fields". But one might have, for instance, Latin or German in the afternoon as well. We didn't have lessons on Saturday mornings, just hours of prep (I think it may have been 2 hours, as opposed to the 90 minutes that were the norm on weekdays, often interrupted by one's bath).


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 11 Mar 2017, 22:09 
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Interesting hearing about real life boarding school experiences.

MaryR, I envy your daughter going to live in Switzerland.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 09:22 
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I often wondered how long it took to get through a lesson when we are told the mistress would say something in French/German, then have to translate half if not all of it back to English.

Or they go round the room asking if anyone knows what she just said. It just seems like most of the 40 minute lesson could be spent translating a few phrases. No wonder they got so much prep to do.

And the number of times we are told the girls have to repeat phrases over and over until the accent is correct. And if your classmate very officiously told you the correct French/German for what you just said, wouldn't you get just a tad annoyed at them?

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 13:39 
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Joyce wrote:


And the number of times we are told the girls have to repeat phrases over and over until the accent is correct. And if your classmate very officiously told you the correct French/German for what you just said, wouldn't you get just a tad annoyed at them?

Cheers,
Joyce


At one of the first dinner parties we went to in France, one of the guests corrected just about everything my husband and I said - if not the grammar then the accent. I was just about to keep quiet for the rest of the evening when the hostess said quite crossly, "we understand what they are saying, it doesn't matter if it isn't quite right, this is a party not a French lesson". She's been one of my favourite people ever since.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 15:24 
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I can't imagine such rudeness, Lizco! :shock: In all my years of visiting or living in France I've never, ever, experienced being corrected like that, not by my penfriend's parents, nor she herself in the fifty years I've known her, nor by the directrice of the children's home I worked in for six months as a student. Mind, the children used to laugh at me sometimes!! :P

Joyce, I have to say I would love to have had someone make me repeat my French sayings over and over again when at school, as then I wouldn't have sounded so English the first time I visited my penfriend. I was a schoolgirl in the days when language lessons focused on teaching from books, whereas my daughter's lessons in the 90s focused on the girls actually speaking French or German to each other. What a difference! It meant she was never scared to open her mouth in France, unlike me until I worked there.

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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 16:17 
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I hated having my pronounciation corrected by teachers. Every time I said something in Irish or French, I would have to repeat it several times before she was satisfied. I was not a very confident teenager and this did not help.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a Chalet School mistress
PostPosted: 12 Mar 2017, 17:45 
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That's funny Lizco and Mary - it irritates me no end that, apart from one cousin who I don't see very often, barely anyone corrects my mistakes in Czech, whether it is grammar or pronunciation....

Without correction, how am I supposed to learn? Although I can see that constant interruptions during a dinner party would inhibit the flow of conversation. I do think there are ways of sliding corrections in without it being too obvious though.

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