is the age when the children of all six countries can start kindergarden. It is not compulsory but it is regarded as a major step toward socialisation and good preparation for primary school.
The educational systems in a few figures School becomes compulsory at six in France, Poland and Spain whereas in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, children start a year later. It takes most pupils two years to master their alphabet and read simple texts. The grades that correspond to the first step in the orientation of pupils. Depending on their results, their skills and their interests, they will continue studying in a vocational school, a technical school or a senior high school. The differences between the six countries are minor ones. The final grades of secondary education when pupils take their final exam. They are between 18 & 19 in the six countries then.
The following subjects are compulsory in all countries until the end of junior high school, when music and art tend to disappear .
Religion : it appears in Polish and Romanian time-tables. In Turkey, the class is called ‘Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge’. In Spain, the subject seems to be an elective whereas it is not mentioned at all in Bulgarian and French curricula . Traffic & First Aid : It seems to be a specificity of Turkey .Wouldn’t it make sense to expand it to all countries ? We all need to be taught in this field, don’t we ? IT : Surprisingly, the subject only appears in the Bulgarian time-table. We all have a long way to go !
Our short holidays at a glance Republic Festival 14th Teachers’Day* * Schools are open but there are no classes 1st All Saints’Day 11th Independence Day Armistice Day WWI 16th to 19th Feast of the Sacrifice or Victims’ Festival* *The date changes like Ramadan’s 1st National Day 6th Constitution Day 1st 15th Teachers & Students’Day 19th Atatürk Teenage & Sport Festival 23rd St George’s Day 1st 3rd 8th 24th 21st 30th Labour Day National Day Constitution Day Armistice Day WW II Ascension Day St John’s Day White Monday 3rd Corpuss Christi 30th Palm or Victory Festival New Year’s Day 3rd Liberation from Ottoman domination National day 22nd Independence Day Enlightenment & Culture Day September 9th/11th Ramadan* 29th *Ten days earlier every year, following the moon calendar . October November December January February March April May June July August
Getting up time A day at school * For the pupils of the morning shift.
In France: coffee or milk or chocolate , « croissant » or have fruit juice, « pain au chocolat »: it’s delicious!!!!!
In Spain : Churros, orange juice & coffee with milk In Poland & Bulgaria: Ham or salami, cheese, tomatoes, Bread. Very similar ! In Turkey : « Kahvaltisi » i.e. cheese, boiled eggs, olives, pickles, tomatoes & bread.
aren’t free.They stay in classrooms and study lessons .
Other students are …
If I were a Spanish student… by Kinka and Ana, from Poland.
Tests Tests play an important part in pupils’ daily lives. Most of them are written. Some are oral. Written tests usually include a text with questions of comprehension, some grammatical exercises and an essay. It was very difficult for us to compare tests from one country to another because we did not know how much English the students had had when they took them. Oral tests are not as common as written ones and some students graduate without ever taking an oral test in English.
Grades in the partner schools In Bulgaria, pupils are graded from 2 to 6 : 6- Otlichen, i.e excellent, 5- Mnogodobar, i.e. very good, 4-Dobar, i.e. good, 3-Sreden, i.e. poor. It means failure . In Poland, grades go from 1 to 6 : 1-Niedostateczny , i.e.the worst grade 2-Dopuszczajacy, i.e. passing 3-Dostateczny, i.e. correct 4-Dobry, i.e. good 5-Bardzo Dobry, i.e. very good 6- Celujący, i.e. excellent In France, there are 20 grades : 18 to 20 is excellent 16 to 17 is very good 12 to 15 is good 10 & 11 are average, passing 8 & 9 are not satisfactory 5 to 7 is low and often means failure 0 to 4 is very low and always means failure There are also ½ points ! In Romania, pupils are graded from 1 to 10 : 5 is required to pass. In Spain, if students fail in 3 subjects, they must repeat the year. In Turkey, they do so when their general level is not satisfactory.
Rewards and ceremonies Terrific ! Nice going ! Good job ! Super ! Excellent ! Great ! Keep it up ! Rewards and ceremonies do not exist in all the partners countries. Turkey rewards the pupils at the end of the year with reading books and appreciation certificates. So does Poland. In Spain, such ceremonies exist up to grade 4, that is the end of primary education. In France, they disappeared many years ago and today’s pupils have never known them.
Who helps the pupils ? Their teachers, of course! They provide individual help and guidance. In Bulgarian elementary school s and sometimes in presecondary school s, there exists an option called zanimalnya (extended care) for students to spend the other half of the day in school working on their lessons under the control of a teacher. Then in France,career advisors are present in the schools one or two days a week. And parents come to school to discuss their chidren’s results during parents’ meetings. The frequency of these meetings vary a lot according to the countries: In Bulgaria and France, there are two of them per year. I Romania and Turkey, two per semester and in Poland, one every month.
A lot of special need schools and special homes available throughout the country,
Special Ed Teachers care for disabled students 24hr a day,
Hearing-impaired students learn the « touch system »,
Unfortunately a lot of other disabled people are left on their own still, which is a pity.
Students with disabilities are now mixed with other students in class,i.e. hearing-impaired pupils can attend school along with a special Ed teacher who helps them in class with their work,
Information is first given to teachers who receive those children in their classes in order to teach them what to do & not do (i.e how to enunciate clearly facing those pupils),
In our school, on the Day of the Handicap, we try to raise people’s awareness by offering them to put themselves in the shoes of a handicapped person.
In France :
Uniforms : for or against ? I think we should wear school uniforms because it will stop all of the snobbish remarks made by kids that think they’re better than others because of what they wear. Some people may not agree because they are one of these people but if you go to a big school, I know it happens a lot. If you do agree, then I think you’re thinking about other people and how they feel. NOBODY should ever be judged on what they wear, where they come from, their culture or anything like that. I know that some of you are getting tired of the rude remarks that people say. If you are tired of this stand up for it, and please, before you criticize people walk a mile in their shoes and see where they've been. This hurts you too, not just the people that you judge. Please think about what you say to other people because I know what it's like. Uniforms can help in so many ways. by Desi, from Bulgaria. I’m neutral because uniforms are good and bad. Drawback: the people don't know their own personality and style. Advantage : there isn’t competition with brands. The students are equal. by Ghislaine, France. I’m against uniforms and I think all the students are against them. Our normal clothes are more comfortable and look better. When uniforms are dirty, we have to wash them and It takes a long time to dry in Turkey. So we need to buy several uniforms and it is very expensive. by a student from Turkey. I'm not against uniforms. We can make different combinations. by Milena, from Bulgaria. I think uniforms are useful for students because you don’t need to think what you are going to wear tomorrow and everybody wears the same clothes, poor and rich students alike... by Göksu In Poland we don't have uniforms - but we must have an identifier- and I think that is good. I don't want uniforms and I think that most of students think the same. by Kiki, from Poland.
'MY IDEAL SCHOOL' by Anton, a student of 11A, in Stara Zagora,Bulgaria Some people may argue that school is a place to learn skills such as socialising,but this is not how I perceive it. For me,school is an education institution that increases your intellectual powers,not to fraternise with others. School time is precious, as only 5 hours the whole day are spent there and the rest of the time is to enjoy and to be free . No one can afford to waste it with petty conversations such as ‘do you want to have a party tonight?’ or ‘did you hear about what happened with Britney Spears?’. You can guarantee that the high expectations placed upon the students will never fail to be met. An ideal school should be based on interest and satisfaction publicly confirming the students ’ talents and intelligence. One of my cardinal aims in life is to personify a progressive school which would focus on developing in students a passion for living, for the knowledge of science, medic ine , engineering and self knowledge. School nowadays ha s a one-size-fits-all curriculum,which is conducive to learning for only a small percentage of students. My ideal school would be communication-based, blending aspects of social work, conflict resolution, team building,high quality on technology and traditional learning. Classes would be limited to twenty students, a medium size to allow individual attention but large enough to furnish the feeling of belonging to a group. Creative projects would be the cornerstone of the curriculum, incorporating all the life skills that make this method of education unique. The class would be presented with some brilliant ideas at the beginning o f each project and would also have the option of coming up with their ideas too. Some examples are raising money to donate to a charity, make a magazine every year about school, starting a website to make it easier to know about school, writing and recording an original song and make a special medium book to write about each student of the school. So, the se ideas would inevitably spring up along the way, giving the students a meaningful experience of what it is like to work on a real-world project. The teacher would have an important role,psychologically coaching the students through the highs and lows of the project and faciliting discussions to make them work better together and motivate themselves. In my ideal school, each school day would begin with 45 minutes of discussions of the project that the class is currently pursuing. At 8 o’clock, the class will begin and be over at 1 o’clock . An hour would be spent on learning about engineering. Before that, each of the students must sit for a diagnostic test to decidewhether they are in ‘low standard’ or ‘high standard’ class. The students who stay in high standard class, will be given a special air- conditioned class.
My ideal school w ould have 3 floors and be equipped with some lifts. Each floor would have 2 classes. So, the low standard would have 3 classes and high standard 3 classes too. It w ould be easier for students as a long the time, the classes would be divided between various subjects. For low standard class, the first hour would be on developing a passion for living. During t he second hour, the class would acquire some scien tific knowledge. Then the third hour w ould be on medication . Then, engineering knowledge and the last hours w ould be self knowledge in students. Those are for low standard class es . For high standard class es, there would be a slightly different time table. The first hour will be spent on studying self knowledge in students and the second hour science knowledge. The third hour would be on developing a passion for living and the last they would not have to climb stairs. At my ideal school, each of the students would have a lap top. So, they could surf on the I nternet,collecting data and sav ing information anytime. It w ould be easier for them . Everyday, from 3 o’clock till 5 o’clock in the afternoon, curriculum activities w ould be held such as badminton, volleyball, football for boys, futsal for girls, netball, basketball, softball, hockey and tennis or indoor games like chess, puzzle, scrabble and others.It w ould be enjoy able . Once a week, students would spend the entire afternoon in “Talking Time,” where they could openly discuss their feelings about any issue, personal or school-related. These sessions would help to build relationships, foster discussion o n difficult issues, and
congeal the class as a team. I n the larger picture, ’ Talking Time ’ would help students to become communicative rather than sharing their issues, helping them to become happier adults in the future . At 6 o’clock, all students w ould go back home. If these ideas could be successfully implemented, t he learning environment in my school would be a fascinating self-journey, as useful for building emotional and physical knowledge as it would be for sharpening academic skills. Learning would be a fulfilling, exciting experience, and students wouldn’t have to dread school, as they do now. Furthermore, when they have graduated, they would have a firmly-instated sense of purpose that would make them ready to face the life in university. This is all my hope about my ideal school. The end
A Dream School, by Svetlin, a Bulgarian student from 8A. I think that in Bulgaria, whether dream schools exist or not, the children will go to school with pleasure. We want beautiful classrooms, fresh furniture and a big canteen. Everyone of us wants a nice school to go to : coloured walls , new desks and everywhere a cool smell. How good it would be to have a place where we ‘d be happy, for example: a Game Room. After doing sport in the gym, we need to take a shower, but in Bulgaria, this is impossible. My dream school is very big. It has a swimming pool and a football pitch and a basketball court. When we are in the first shift*, we must get up at 6.00 o`clock, in order not to be late, but it would be more suitable to begin studying around 8:30 – 9:00 o`clock. In school we'd like to have a pretty canteen, where we can eat our lunch with friends. Of course, the best school should have good teachers. Thereby we would never be stressed by some strict teacher. The perfect school master for us must be young, good, clever, have a sense of humour and a cheerful smile. She must give us little homework. Many children want the teachers not to write marks under 6, because the students go in fear of their parents and they drift apart from there. I like many subjects, but the teachers who give us lessons are nervous and they cannot explain well. Sport is very important too. But I have only two lessons in the week, that is bad. Finally I want to say that in spite of all, my dream could be realized. That’s why I want to call on all children to care more about the school and the school property. I believe that one day my school could turn into my dream school if we are making something for it and if we don’t destroy it. *In Bulgaria, from grade 1 to grade 12, children spend only half a day at school, mainly for lack of buildings. So there is a morning shift and an afternoon shift. At the elementary level, Zanimalnija enables pupils to stay longer and get teachers’ help.
The clubs at Tocqueville High School, Grasse, France. There are several clubs that students can join according to their tastes and interests. Follow us…
The Sustainable Development Club The Music Club The students are dedicated to making our school environment better, saving energy and raising everyone’s awareness of the necessity of acting for the planet. Their motto is « Think global, act local ! » They meet to play, compose, practise…
The Sports Association The Creative Writing Club The School Magazine Club Every Wednesday afternoon,pupils can practise their favourite sport: Athletics, badminton, rugby, dance, triathlon , skiing… If you like writing poetry, short stories… this club is for you ! You can also learn how to speak in public. They are the memory of the school ! News, gossips … and much more ! The Theatre Club They rehearse every Wednesday afternoon and give a big performance at the end of the school year. They are really talented !
and the Comenius club… which we don’t need to introduce, do we ?!?! September 2009 : First Comenius Day October 2009 : a Bulgarian lesson The club at work
for Absentee : In France when we are often absent, when we play truant, we can get one or two hours of detention on Wednesday afternoons. At the end of the last two years, we can get a red stamp for the exam, which means that we will not get the clemency of the jury. for Baccalaureat : The passport for university, but also an argument used by teachers to make us work. for Clubs : There are the Sustainable Development Club, the Theatre Club, the Robotics Club, the Writing Club, the Newspaper Club, the Music Club, and last but not least the Comenius Club! for Detention : When we are too late or too often late, when we chat too much in class, when we use our mobile phone in class, under the desk, when we cheat in a test, when we answer back , we can get one or two or more hours of detention. for Essay: For the exam, we must write a long essay in History, Geography, Economics, Philosophy, and French Literature. It's very hard! for Fun : When a teacher is absent, we can have fun. for Graffiti: It's forbidden , of course , but, because it's forbidden, you can easily see beautiful drawings on the tables! for History , High school, homework, holidays, Handicap Day...let's talk about homework : Every day , we have a lot of it and very little time to do it. for International : We can learn French , English , German, Spanish , Italian. So me forms have pen friends in other countries. In our high-school, we have an international section. Our school alphabet, by the French Comenius team.
for July : It's the month when the holidays start and it's time for exams for Kindergarden : It's a school for children from three to five years old. for Lunch time : The canteen is open from 11:30 to 01:30. We have a full meal but some students prefer to go to Mc Donald's or buy pizza from the school cafeteria. for Mathematics : It gets more and more difficult every year. for Nature : The Sustainable Development Club has started a botanical garden to grow aromatic plants and create our own perfume. for Open Day : It's a day when we open the doors of the school and future pupils and their families can come and visit. for Philosophy : We study philosophy in the last year of High School. for Queue : To avoid queuing at the cafeteria, we sometimes ask the teacher to lat us go early but it's forbidden. So me say yes and others say no. for Rules : We are against them but we must respect them. For example, we are not allowed to play cards, it's a stupid rule. for Sport : We do athletics (track, high jump, long jump ....), team sport (basketball, handball, football, volleyball), swimming, badminton, gymnastics. In the week, we have two hours.
for Test : We have all sorts of tests. The teachers love them and the pupils hate them. Do you want to know how many sorts of tests we have ? We have pop quizzes or surprise quizzes which are always unexpected. Then, we have the big tests at the end of the chapters. We have a type of test that all the pupils of one given level take together : it's call ed"Devoir Commun". for Uniforms : We don't have uniforms but there are groups of students who are dressed in the same style. for Violence : There is much less violence in Senior High than in Junior High. for Weekend : Our school is closed on Saturday but others are open. Let's hope it will last ! for Xtra ! : we can get Xtra help when we have a problem in Math and French. for Yoghourt and Yellow Buses : the former is on the menu every day of the year and the latter takes us to school every morning. for ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz : Have you ever felt like sleeping in class ? We have !
Thank you to all our partners from Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey for their help and more particularly to Katarina, Hakan, Natalia, Eric, Frank, Desi, Kiki, Svetlin, Anton, Lidia, Ari, Sandra, Darek, Emili, Kinga, Ania, Paulina, Milena , Wizardjoker, Zamorscab and Kriszke . The French Comenius Team. The End