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A Comparative Look at Secondary School Life in the Czech Republic and the United States. by Wendy M. Ehnert Fulbright High School Teacher 2001/02. Kids are basically the same all over, but there are several differences in the way they are educated
by Wendy M. Ehnert
Fulbright High School Teacher
but there are several differences
in the way they are educated
in the Czech Republic and the U.S.
City inthe Czech Republic
Student population homogeneous
Students come from all over the surrounding area
City in the USA
Student population diverse
Students come from the neighborhood around the school
90-100 teachersThe Schools
Students study 10-12 subjects
A 2 or 3 foreign languages (German, French, Spanish, Russian)
All study biology, chemistry, physics
Focus on 2-3 subjects (in addition to Czech and English) in final 2 years
Grand Finale- Maturita exams in 5 subjects.
4-year program, all in English
Students study 4-6 subjects
Foreign language (German, Spanish, French, Japanese) is available and encouraged
At least 3 years of science
AP classes available
Grand Finale-- Pass graduation qualifying exam in reading, writing, and math and successfully complete 22 credits of coursework.Curriculum
Little written homework and few projects
Study notes each night in preparation for oral examination
Science labs and activities are very limited due to time, space, equipment and financial restraints.
Marks are determined based on oral examinations and 2-3 written examinations each semester.
Take notes from lectures, participate in class discussions and activities.
Written homework nightly
No oral examinations given that count towards student’s grade
Science labs and activities are an integral part of the lesson and are done weekly.
Most of a student’s grade will be calculated based on homework, lab reports, written quizzes and tests.Expectations of Students
Mark students orally.
Number of student marks/semester must equal or exceed number of days/week the class meets.
“Dozor”-Hall duty (4-6 times/wk.)
Mark student absences and lesson topic in class register each day.
Be at school when you are scheduled to teach or have duty.
No substitute teachers
Teachers’ union is mostly a social group.
Be prepared for each lesson.
Assign homework, give tests, and prepare information sheet on grading strategy for students.
No hall or lunch duty required.
Take attendance; submit weekly lesson plans to department head.
Be at school from 7:15 until 2:45.
Planning for substitutes!
Teachers’ union very active politicallyExpectations of Teachers
Class cohesion and support; tough if you don’t fit in
Most lessons are taught in the students’ classroom-- the teacher travels throughout the day.
Few electives are offered-- the students of one class all study the same subjects.
Very few clubs and no school-sponsored after-school sports
One well-known chorus group performs musical productions
Composition of each class varies
No class cohesion, but peer groups for kids of different interests
The teacher has a room--students travel throughout the day.
Many electives (or choices for required subjects) are available.
After-school clubs and sports teams are a large part of life at Lathrop.
Sporting competitions, concerts, and plays are a source of school spirit and community participation in the school.Life at School
Lots of talking
Cheating on tests
No blatantly disruptive behavior
Students are mostly on time to the lesson.
Many students have multiple absences.
Students enjoy dance lessons!
Talking can be a problem
Some students can be disruptive
Many students come late to class.
Consequences for absences and tardies
Hall passes required
Parent contactStudent Behavior
Students become fluent in a second language
Students of equal abilities
Bonding of classmates
Individualized education plan
Opportunities to work with students of differing abilities and backgrounds
Availability of technology
Able to explore/expand non-academic talentsStrengths
Short lesson periods
Subjects meet only 2-3 times/wk.
Students have to learn many subjects at once.
Students are learning in a second language.
Lack of available technology
Most talented students not challenged to their ability level
Lots of paperwork!
Students of widely different abilities in one class
Priority issues (academics, clubs, sports)
Competition for grades regarding scholarships, etc.
High drop-out rate
Hard to track individual studentsChallenges