Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open.
From the first day I arrived at my placement school in Carmona, Spain I was struck by a completely different way of doing things; one that, in my opinion, was quite ineffective most of the time. Students are placed into one mixed level class like in American elementary schools and are with the same kids all day long, year after year.
This cuts back on bullying a lot; in fact, I rarely observed true bullying in any of the Spanish schools I taught in. These kids are so used to one another that they really are like one big family, which is probably conducive to a positive learning environment. In math class the kids who could be starting algebra are still learning about fractions.
This system punishes bright children to an extreme. There is no honors level, AP level, or even extra work for smarter or quicker learners. Students stay put, teachers change classes.
Hypothetically, this system should be much quicker and save on space needs. Since some teachers teach more than one subject, two classrooms are never necessary as they often are in the US.
Ideally, the bell would ring, and teachers would scurry from one class to the next within 5 minutes. First of all, when the teacher left the room there was a rule that the children must also leave and wait outside in the hall.
So everyone would go out and the children would immediately begin to scream, run, push and make-out… is that really better than leaving them unattended for 5 minutes in a classroom?
Also, the teachers would rarely go straight to their next class. Some of the teachers I assisted were always minutes late for class. Lastly, the shared classroom system makes for boring, white walls and absolutely no comforts or creativity in classrooms.
White walls in an elementary school are just sad! But what surprised me at the schools I worked at here, was how accepted this is and how lazily students do it. I know for a fact that many teachers knew their students were cheating and preferred to look the other way.
In the US I think that students are much more innovative in their attempts to work the system. I remember how strict teachers were about copying and plagiarism. These types of arrangements were overall undetectable by teachers and usually effective.
Teachers blend in with students, losing some of the respect business clothing provide. Some teachers also take this fact to an extreme, dressing borderline inappropriately, and giving students a poor example of what to wear in the professional world.
No School Lunches It actually really depends on the school and the region of Spain. In Andalusia, middle school and high school stopped at 3 p. In Madrid, many schools have split session days, from and for example.
During that two hour break students can either stay at school and eat the official school lunch bringing your own is not permittedor they can go home and eat at home. Less cruel American cafeteria culture think Mean Girls.
Split sessions make the day super long and exhausting for students, although they are helpful for working parents. There are countless more differences I observed during my time spent teaching in Spain, but these are some of the most obvious.
Did you observe the same differences in your school and region? Any other big differences you want to share?Schools in Madrid don’t necessarily follow the rule of kids staying with the same group all day. Some of the kids I tutored (middle-school aged) switched for certain “leveled” classes, like English and Math, into low, medium, and high groups.
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