Saturday, May 11, 2013

What do you see in this picture?

  1. What country are they in?
  2. Who is the woman?
  3. Who is the boy?
  4. What activity are they engaged in?
  5. Where does this picture come from?

This picture comes from an article in aktuálně.cz, Reportáž z britské školy, kde excelují čeští Romové.

The answers to the five questions above: UK, Leicester to be precise. A muslim woman is teaching a Roma boy from Cz or Sl English pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.

It's difficult to even know where to start with this. ČR is not a multi-cultural country, and neither was England before WWII. If you click through this photo story (linked above), English school looks very very different from Czech schools. So do the teachers and students who show great involvement and commitment to what they are doing. I have accompanied groups of Italian and Spanish teachers on day visits through British schools and they were astounded, in ways that I am sure that Czech teachers would be. They were surprised by the physical classroom, its decoration, the self-directedness of the students, the individual help available, and the number of male teachers.

The attitudes of people towards Roma in society is reflected in their treatment in schools. One thing that fascinates me is that of the handful of languages that can be studied in Czech schools, the languages of the largest minorities, Roma and Vietnamese is not offered. Why is that? In Australia, which is supremely multi-cultural, there were until recently 42 foreign languages on the "maturita" menu, (school leaving exam syllabus). In these straightened times, this has been rationalised, as very few people studied Czech which was on this menu in Australia. I have sample papers for that exam.

See this article from the NY Times - also very enlightening.

I guess it's only a co-incidence that my previous blog entry here was about Czech people's wantonly negative attitude to foreigners.

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