The Language of Molière

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dean.menezes
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The Language of Molière

Postby dean.menezes » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:35 am UTC

My high school is doing things which suggest that they are trying to phase out French classes. They have already phased out German classes, and counselors are trying to convince students that French is "useless", "élitist", and "inapplicable". The school appears to be replacing French classes with English classes in the French teacher's schedule (she double majored in French and English for her B.A.)

They may also be eliminating classes such as AP Chemistry due to "lack of demand", and they have already destroyed an independent study in the humanities based on the following contest: http://www.nhd.org/ The principal also threatened to cut Orchestra due to not having "enough" students as well.

At the same time, useful classes such as Floral Design and "College Algebra" (it is unclear which college this class qualifies one to attend) are being added.

What should I do about this educational stupidity?

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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby Ambermutt » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:39 am UTC

Floral design?!

Because obviously this has more real life applications than Chemistry.

I do get College Algebra, kinda. Are they still offering classes like Trig and Pre Calc?

As to what you can do: maybe not much. Is the student government willing to step up and do something, like petitions, letters to newspapers, some kind of (non-violent, well planned) protest? How about parents? Is there a parent/teacher organization that could complain and also get involved?

As a bilingual, interested in learning more languages, I'm a bit upset that anyone would qualify a foreign language as "useless", "inapplicable", and most of all, "elitist". Elitist is thinking that your own language is so important that you could never need any other. Elitist is insisting that other people conform to your limited worldview. Elitist is snubbing an entire goddamned country and culture because you can't/don't see that they matter to a significant portion of the world, even if not to you.

So that pisses me off a bit.
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aoeu
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby aoeu » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:57 am UTC

Ambermutt wrote:Elitist is thinking that your own language is so important that you could never need any other.


For most people it's true.

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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby Ambermutt » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:00 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:
For most people it's true.


Alright, that's sort of true, but no reason for a whole school to decide that NO ONE would need or like to learn another language.

Edited to correct: actually, for most people, worldwide, it's not true. Most have to learn English or some other languague to survive in a world that's Western-centric and now that languages like Mandarin are coming into higher demand, even less true.

For our context, though, you probably don't need a second languague, but it's a bit elitist to think that no other language is worth learning.
He has told us of the darkness,
He has shown us deepest night.
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Vangor
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby Vangor » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:18 am UTC

dean.menezes wrote:What should I do about this educational stupidity?


Would second the suggestion of involving the student government. Student governments are effective at engaging the student population by raising awareness, marketing, encouraging, and being representatives of the student population. The group should fight to maintain the arts, accelerated and challenging courses, and broadening courses by being vocal and aggressive in raising attendance, appreciation, and resources for those.

I understand the perspective of the school in closing courses due to lack of demand. The school has to justify the resources on a course because classroom, materials, and instructors are not cheap; either the cost per student needs to lower or the value per student needs to increase. More students attend or laud and produce (support, continue to university, etc..).

What is your position in this school, and with what curricular and extracurricular associations are you involved in?

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KestrelLowing
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:38 pm UTC

The year after I graduated, they threatened to stop AP physics because there wasn't enough demand. So we rallied people to take AP Physics. It basically became a peer-pressure thing. Perhaps that could work for some of the classes that really don't have enough students to justify the teacher/room.

I guess the next best thing would be to try to find statistics and studies showing the future success of students who take foreign language or AP Chem. Try to get this presented to the administrators of the school or the school board. Not only would this be helpful for the school, but it could be very helpful for you individually - taking on a project and starting it yourself. Try to become an activist, but make sure you support with facts and emotional reasons.

stolid
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby stolid » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:08 pm UTC

I can't say I'd miss them teaching French, but it's a sad day when any useful classes are removed. I took Spanish in high school (and a 2 year stint of French), and I was kind of annoyed to find out my school had taught German and Latin several years earlier but no longer did. I'd rather have taken German than French. The point being whether you like classes or not, having diversity is good, and it's a shame when that diversity is removed from the course offerings.

I was in a class of 5 people for AP Physics C. That's a class always threatened by a lack of people signed up where I went to school. It stayed because the initial number was like 8 and a few people dropped after the first day. Oddly enough the year before it had like 20 people. You could try convincing people to take threatened classes like the person above suggested. That's kind of how my Physics C class survived.
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cjmcjmcjmcjm
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

Back when I was in HS, they offered French, Spanish, and Latin. Most students taking a language took Spanish, with a few in French and Latin. The year I was in 8th grade was the last year they offered Japanese. One of my friends took that his freshman year, then never took another language because he couldn't stand his Spanish class and dropped it after the first day. He still got a scholarship to go to OSU. Even further back, my school offered German and Russian as well, the Russian class being cut when the teacher retired (b/c there were no HS Russian teachers)
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Jahoclave
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:42 am UTC

dean.menezes wrote:My high school is doing things which suggest that they are trying to phase out French classes. They have already phased out German classes, and counselors are trying to convince students that French is "useless", "élitist", and "inapplicable". The school appears to be replacing French classes with English classes in the French teacher's schedule (she double majored in French and English for her B.A.)

They may also be eliminating classes such as AP Chemistry due to "lack of demand", and they have already destroyed an independent study in the humanities based on the following contest: http://www.nhd.org/ The principal also threatened to cut Orchestra due to not having "enough" students as well.

At the same time, useful classes such as Floral Design and "College Algebra" (it is unclear which college this class qualifies one to attend) are being added.

What should I do about this educational stupidity?

Message me, that way when I have more than five minutes I can link you to some articles about the issue that might be useful. Though, they're more applicable to non-native English countries, but all the same there's elements in them. I happen to be working on a paper about English language hegemony.

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Cathode Ray Sunshine
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Re: The Language of Molière

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:19 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:I happen to be working on a paper about English language hegemony.


Unfortunately I don't have any advice for OP, but I just wanted to say that I'd like to read that paper once it's finished.


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