A comparative look at secondary school life in the czech republic and the united states
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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

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A comparative look at secondary school life in the czech republic and the united states l.jpg

A Comparative Look at Secondary School Life in the Czech Republic and the United States

by Wendy M. Ehnert

Fulbright High School Teacher


Slide2 l.jpg

Kids are basically the same all over,

but there are several differences

in the way they are educated

in the Czech Republic and the U.S.

The schools l.jpg


City inthe Czech Republic

(population 100,000)

1000+ students

Ages 12-20

Student population homogeneous

Students come from all over the surrounding area

100+ teachers

High School

City in the USA

(population 65,000)

1300+ students

Ages 14-18

Student population diverse

Students come from the neighborhood around the school

90-100 teachers

The Schools

Curriculum l.jpg

4, 6 and 8-year programs

Students study 10-12 subjects

45-minute lessons

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

80-minute lessons

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.


Expectations of students l.jpg

Take notes from each lecture, work on practice problems during practice sessions.

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

Expectations of teachers l.jpg

Be prepared for each lesson. during practice sessions.

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 politically

Expectations of Teachers

Life at school l.jpg

Students spend their entire time at school with the same class.

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

Student behavior l.jpg

Students stand when the teacher enters the room to start class.

Lots of talking

Cell phones

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 contact

Student Behavior

Strengths l.jpg

Students have broad-based education class.

Students become fluent in a second language

Students of equal abilities

Bonding of classmates

Form teacher

Individualized education plan

Opportunities to work with students of differing abilities and backgrounds

Availability of technology

Able to explore/expand non-academic talents


Challenges l.jpg

Lack of funding for supplies class.

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!

Many meetings

Students of widely different abilities in one class

Parental issues

Priority issues (academics, clubs, sports)

Competition for grades regarding scholarships, etc.

High drop-out rate

Hard to track individual students