As shown by the big differences between school in the USA and school in France, the school system is not the same everywhere in the world (surpriiiiiiiise, I hope you were sitting well while reading these words). And then, as Yannick Jadot said on March 17, 2022, askip the French have too many school holidays in the summer and we should take inspiration from other countries to become beautiful kids at the multiplication tables. Let’s see right away what it is to know where to move and redo our entire schooling.
How can I tell you that I had a hard time writing this point to you properly as the rules on school holidays are completely disparate in Europe. The galley, I’m not telling you. In France, pupils benefit on average from 16.5 weeks of leave, of which approximately 9 during the summer. Whereas in Germany, pupils have only 13.5 weeks of vacation, of which 6 are in the summer.
But this is explained by their work rhythm which is very different (this will be the subject of another point, I am not going to start telling you everything now). The least lucky are the Swiss with only 10 weeks of vacation, and the luckiest, the Irish with 19 weeks of vacation (la chaaaaatte).
2. Course pace
As I told you a little earlier if you have been paying attention, schools in Europe do not have the same pace of study at all. In France, we shoot 24 hours of lessons per week, spread over 4 to 4.5 days, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In Germany, the courses are rather divided between 5 and 6 days because the students work from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m./1:30 p.m. Which means that, in effect, they have their afternoon free, which is way too cool (even if they don’t really have a vacation, the losers). In Spain too, the afternoon is reserved for extra-curricular activities with 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
3. The outfit
If you have taken a little tour of the public in France, you must have seen that everyone was more or less free to dress as they wanted (within the limit of a republican outfit according to the old reactions of France). Overall, the uniform is not very worn in Europe, but it is very popular in Anglo-Saxon countries such as Ireland, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. You can also see students in uniforms in Japan or Turkey. And then if you are in need of exoticism but you don’t have enough money to travel, you can always go to a Catholic high school. Nothing for the pipe.
In France, students are evaluated from kindergarten with colored stickers (or smileys for the real ones), then with letters evaluating the success and acquisition of learning, and finally, with numbers from college. . In Finland, assessments do not exist until the age of 13 (or very occasionally being unquantified). Then from this age, students can be evaluated between 4 and 10, because zero does not exist to avoid discouraging students. Very deconstructed people in Finland.
5. The school program
Unfortunately in France, students do not really have the opportunity to choose their subjects. With the new baccalaureate reform, things got a little better in high school, you might say. But that’s not really it yet, since the French school program is very precise and school education is well supervised.
In the Nordic countries, it is the teachers who choose what they want to teach (in accordance with values and objectives defined by the government). They can choose their textbooks and the way they want to teach. In English-speaking countries, students can choose their courses from among many available options (kind of cooking, sports, manual activities, etc.), even if they have a common base to respect. It’s crazy !
In France, homework is an institution (unfortunately for me and all those who have done math exercises while crying with their darons). But in several European countries, homework is not compulsory. In Finland, for example, pupils have no or very little homework. In other countries like Belgium, they are regulated: in primary, they are prohibited during the first two years, then must last 20 minutes for the 3rd and 4th years and 30 minutes for the 5th and 6th years. Stopwatch in hand.
That said, imagine that in reality in France homework is prohibited according to a law passed on December 29, 1956. No, it’s not a joke.
7. The student-teacher relationship
In France, we often call our teacher “Maître”/Maîtresse or Monsieur/Madame, which creates a certain distance. We are so happy when we learn that they have a guy or a girl and life changes when we meet them doing their shopping at the local supermarket.
In other countries, the student-teacher relationship is much deeper. In the United States, for example, teachers don’t hesitate to tell their life story in great detail, to invite their students to come and have dinner with them, to be called by their first name and to give their personal number to anyone who wants to. Said like that, it may sound weird, but in truth, it creates a more balanced relationship of trust than in France since the students have a little more sense of equality vis-à-vis their teacher.
8. Educational objectives
French education is based on the Latin model, i.e. it focuses on learning and the acquisition of knowledge which are sanctioned by examinations, whereas the systems of the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries prefer focus on student autonomy and continuity of learning. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but both are interesting to compare.