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1 hour ago, Terah said:

So is the British school system more similar to the US system than? 

 

Not really. We start nursery at 3 and proper school from 5. It's primary school until you're 11, then secondary until you're 16, by which point you will have finished your GCSEs which have to include English, maths, science and a foreign language, and what other choices you get depend on which school you go to but you generally do 10 - 12 subjects dependent on how studious you are (I did 12, I was a right swot). From age 16 - 18 you can do your A levels but these are entirely optional - you can leave school at 16 if you wish and many do. For A Levels you pick 3-5 subjects to really focus in on. I picked English, philosophy, film studies, psychology and critical thinking. Then at 18 you go to university where you pick one subject to study in depth for three years and all lectures will be in this subject - we don't have majors here. Then you can go on to do a post grad like a masters degree or phd but it's not government funded and it's crazy expensive (we're talking £9,000+ a year, with no student loans available for it). I think the latter part of this needs to change, I much prefer how other European countries do it where it is all funded through taxation, but let's not get too political about this :)

 

Of course I wish I could go back and re-do it all because my A Levels would be totally different if I were to choose them today. 16 is way too young to be making those kinds of decisions. 

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Sweden We get a very broad education in Sweden. Annoyingly so! I knew what I wanted to do pretty early and never understood why I had to learn all the other things that were totally unrelated to what I wanted to do. To this day I still don't understand why I had to learn about some dead Swedish authors... If I could have spent that time learning about something in the field I wanted to pursuit I would have had the possibility to be even better at what I do! 

 

If you do want to know a little bit about everything, that's great! But if you, like me, want to spend your time getting more specialized knowledge in a specific area I don't think the school system should stop you from doing just that! 

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4 minutes ago, deftona said:

16 is way too young to be making those kinds of decisions. 

 

Not for everyone. I knew I wanted to be a computer geek from the day we got our first computer at home. I was 10 at the time!

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9 minutes ago, Tobbe said:

If you do want to know a little bit about everything, that's great! But if you, like me, want to spend your time getting more specialized knowledge in a specific area I don't think the school system should stop you from doing just that! 

 

It doesn't though does it? All countries have a point where the general education drops off and more specialised study comes into play. You always have the option of self study alongside whatever the prescribed curriculum is. But you have to be exposed to a topic before you can know you have no interest in it. 

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20 minutes ago, deftona said:

It doesn't though does it? All countries have a point where the general education drops off and more specialised study comes into play. You always have the option of self study alongside whatever the prescribed curriculum is. But you have to be exposed to a topic before you can know you have no interest in it. 

 

Sure, but instead of having to take three years of classes about Swedish literature, history, politics and other things I had/have no interest in I could have taken classes about computer languages/programming/algorithms and stuff I actually wanted to learn about, and that would have been useful in my profession.

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In the US even university education is more broad. We often have what are called "General Education" requirements and then our majors are where we specialize. It isn't till grad school (masters and doctoral degrees) that you really begin to specialize. Apparently the college [we tend to use college and university interchangeably, though there are subtle differences in the terms]catalog from when I started my degree is available online. You can see the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree (what I obtained).

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46516/m1/79/

A bit of clarification. At this level credits are earned in hours, which correspond roughly to the number of hours per week you attend a class. Typical classes are 3 hours, though I also had 1, 2, and 4 hour courses during my time. In the US, grad schools also operate on the credit hour system. The Bible courses are not typical of all universities, I went to a Christian college. I actually got more than the required number of hours, and as such I had two majors (Called a double major) and almost had enough hours for a minor on top of that.

 

The other typical degree is a Bachelor of Science Degree.

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46516/m1/80/

The main difference is a Bachelor of Science degree does not require a language other than English (Called Foreign language in those days).

 

I'm sure my university's requirements have changed in 20 years, and other schools will tweak their degree plans in unique ways.

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7 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

The other typical degree is a Bachelor of Science Degree.

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46516/m1/80/

The main difference is a Bachelor of Science degree does not require a language other than English (Called Foreign language in those days).

 

It's very different here. I have a Bachelor of Science degree but that's simply because my degree subject was a science. To get a degree here you also need credits but they are made up of modules you have to pass. Modules run for a semester and you do around 6 modules per year. You can generally choose between a few different modules but they have to be in your degree subject. For example my choice of modules were in the fields of  developmental psychology, educational psychology, biological psychology, social psychology, critical social psychology etc. As I did counselling psychology I did two modules every year in counselling psychology on top of this, and in my first year I took electives in philosophy but it's only because I had a couple of free modules. There is nothing in the name of my degree to suggest I did any philosophy, it's my little secret :D There are psychology degrees that are Bachelor of Arts degrees, but I did the science route. Lots of experiments and lots of statistics. For my sins. This is the brochure for my degree - page 6 is the module list. Undergrad degrees are between 3 and 5 years learning a single subject so they are highly specialised. 

 

I was told by a lecturer that our undergraduate degrees are more like your postgrads, and our A levels are like the US equivalent of undergraduate degrees. It makes sense from what you have said too. 

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I love reading about the differences! 

@Tobbe sounds like you would have benefitted greatly from the Dutch system :D

 

I have a Batchelor in ICT (although I was promised a Batchelor degree in Management when I started. But they reevaluated. Truth is that my study was between ict and management). Sounds like the system was similar to the brittish one, only we had 4 modules each year, that corresponded with the semesters. I could have gone on with getting my masters, but I was done with school and it wouldn't increase my chances of getting hired. A masters degree would have been equal to a university degree (as you get a masters degree after finishing university). 

10 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

In the US even university education is more broad. We often have what are called "General Education" requirements and then our majors are where we specialize. It isn't till grad school (masters and doctoral degrees) that you really begin to specialize

I got bits and pieces from the US educational system from the movies and shows that I watch (Dutch movies and shows suck). Doesn't it get boring to have to learn stuff you know you will never use again? 

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Actually I think the dutch system wouldn't be enjoyable for Tobbe either, I think it doesn't allow for enough specialisation and pursuing of interests. (It didn't for me.)

If your personality type is of the obsessive kind then it would be best to spend a couple of hours/days/weeks immersed in one subject and then when you resurface take a little break and see what's next. Changing the class/topic every hour is simply hell. I spend most of my school days either skipping classes or secretly reading something else. 

 

Assuming my kid is anything like me she's going to hate the school system too.. I think a lot of kids do, either because they're introverted, interested in different subjects, they think differently, learn differently.. It's why I'm thinking about homeschooling. It would provide all the freedom to chase whatever subject she'd like. I think a general education would naturally happen just from every day life and being interested in things and needing different subjects to understand your main subjects better...  and not learning to hate learning.  

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21 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

It's why I'm thinking about homeschooling. It would provide all the freedom to chase whatever subject she'd like. 

I have been thinking about that too, but to be honest I don't think I would do a very good job teaching. And professional life won't be much different in regards to having to work with others and sometimes doing stuff you're not really interested in. Besides that: you still need to teach her the required stuff ot she will be forced to go to school anyway (in the Netherlands at least) 

I do however teach them to swim myself as I don't like the big groups and I want them to know more than the basics. 

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Just now, Terah said:

I have been thinking about that too, but to be honest I don't think I would do a very good job teaching. And professional life won't be much different in regards to having to work with others and sometimes doing stuff you're not really interested in. Besides that: you still need to teach her the required stuff ot she will be forced to go to school anyway (in the Netherlands at least) 

I do however teach them to swim myself as I don't like the big groups and I want them to know more than the basics. 

There isn't any supervision for homeschoolers in NL, so you wouldn't HAVE to do anything.. I'm not sure whether it wouldn't be a good idea regardless, but that's why I like discussing the idea. 

I think with following your interests and passions you also have to do stuff you're not really interested in.. but you know WHY you're doing those things, it's because you choose too and have it support something you really want.. instead of having to do it because someone else said so and you have to get a pass grade. I wouldn't really want to teach either.. but have more of a supporting role in them teaching themselves through projects and such? and get them enrolled in specialty classes. 

 

It's so cool that you can teach your kids how to swim! How do you do it? 

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10 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

but have more of a supporting role in them teaching themselves through projects and such? and get them enrolled in specialty classes. 

That actually sounds really cool! You would still have to explain things and put them to work though... 

 

12 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

It's so cool that you can teach your kids how to swim! How do you do it? 

I found a free method called "uswim" (it's not free anymore though) and supplemented it with YouTube videos. I started doing it when my oldest was 4/5 years old and began teaching my youngest wheb he was 3. It's a slower process as we go once a week at most and I want them to really know one technique before going on to the next. But both of them swim better than kids that went to the regular swim classes :)

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15 hours ago, deftona said:

It doesn't though does it? All countries have a point where the general education drops off and more specialised study comes into play. You always have the option of self study alongside whatever the prescribed curriculum is. But you have to be exposed to a topic before you can know you have no interest in it. 

I think so, and preferably by more than teacher. Get the wrong teacher and they'll make you hate a subject for life, but get the right one and it can transform someone's experience.

 

15 hours ago, Tobbe said:

Sure, but instead of having to take three years of classes about Swedish literature, history, politics and other things I had/have no interest in I could have taken classes about computer languages/programming/algorithms and stuff I actually wanted to learn about, and that would have been useful in my profession.

Even if it felt stupid at the time, I do think that a basic understanding of the social sciences is important. And even if the contents is not that interesting or useful, it takes a different kind of learning and researching and conclusion drawing than programming and that in itself I think can be useful. Perhaps not always in a direct sense but for the exposure and the brain challenge.

 

I do agree that Swedish lit was about the most pointless subject ever and I hated it most of the time (except when I was in an argumentative mood). :P But sometimes a subject takes time to grow on you. And if you get rid of it too early then you might never get the opportunity to learn to love a subject. 

 

I do wish there was more time to dig deeper into the interesting subjects though, and that it was more flexible in general. And in Sweden I hated the "no child left behind" policy which for me meant that I was really, really bored most of the time as the classes were too slow and too basic. 

 

15 hours ago, Tobbe said:

Not for everyone. I knew I wanted to be a computer geek from the day we got our first computer at home. I was 10 at the time!

I think that's so rare though! I was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I was "good" at so many things and was overwhelmed by choices. This was the case when I picked high school, subjects in high school (I did the IB), university... And then I still changed my subjects, added extra ones, changed degree... :D

 

Even if you're absolutely sure of your career path at 10, at 11, 12, 15, 17 those might be completely different. And if you've already chosen, or even worse been placed in the "dumb" kid group it might be really hard to move out.

 

2 hours ago, Terah said:

I got bits and pieces from the US educational system from the movies and shows that I watch (Dutch movies and shows suck). Doesn't it get boring to have to learn stuff you know you will never use again? 

I learnt LOADS of super interesting stuff at uni, 99% of which I don't remember or have not used since. :P I really think that argument only applies if you compare a vocational degree vs more academic subjects. But if you want to go down that path you need to know what you want to do in life...

 

53 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

 I think with following your interests and passions you also have to do stuff you're not really interested in.. but you know WHY you're doing those things, it's because you choose too and have it support something you really want.. instead of having to do it because someone else said so and you have to get a pass grade. 

This. And also I think at that age it's SO important to encourage kids to find their path and to spark a joy in learning. And forcing them to learn stupid stuff to pass a grade can really kill that. Or if the classes simply don't suit their learning style. I was lucky that I did very well in a traditional school system, but I still think it's completely flawed in that respect and you lose out on  a lot of talent simply because the kids won't respond well to the teaching or do well in tests.

 

And yes I realise I'm just contradicting myself in believing in exposure and a general education but also don't forcing kids too much. :P And this is even without the grade talk. Hey I never said I had good solutions!

 

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This is all so interesting. My middle daughter knew what she wanted to do by the time she was 16, but my son is 16 and trying to decide between psychology and business which aren't even closely related. I'm glad he had the opportunity to study a variety of things more before going to college.

Kids here have the option to go to preschool starting at 3 but most go at 4 and a majority of them are private. Then depending on your age they can do young fives or kindergarten. Each school district sets up their buildings differently and ours goes k-4, 5-6, 7-8, & 9-12. Then college as Tank explained. We also have Catholic and Christian schools which are private and paid by the parents plus charter schools which are for profit but are funded by local government and another mess in themselves.

My son is currently a junior in 11th grade and is dual enrolled in college taking a communications class. He's also in AP (advance placement) classes where as long as the student passes the end of year exam, those can be converted to college credits, but not all universities accept them. Potentially my son will graduate high school with enough credits to have one year of college already done.

My oldest daughter graduated high school and then went to a trade school to become a licensed massage therapist and works in a chiropractor's office making $30 an hour. We had to pay for it. My middle daughter went to college and dual majored in pre physical therapy which she has to go 3 more years to earn her doctorate in pt before being able to practice and athletic training where she needs to take the national board certification before getting a job. She received some academic scholarships and also athletic to play soccer but we still paid a lot. College is so expensive here and students are graduating with thousands of dollars of college loans. Our whole system is so messed up from the lower grades to college.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Mad Hatter said:

believing in exposure and a general education but also don't forcing kids too much.

The school my boys go to are working really hard to get this balance. Kids who need more help get extra instructions from the teacher, and the kids who can do more get enrichment exercises on top of the normal ones. Most follow the regular lessons. Both my boys get the enrichedment exercises for a few subjects. My oldest doesn't work fast so he can skip the regular exercises and go straight to the enrichedment ones. This keeps him interested so he's not staring out the window the entire time like I did :p

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13 minutes ago, jmk said:

My middle daughter knew what she wanted to do by the time she was 16, but my son is 16 and trying to decide between psychology and business which aren't even closely related. I'm glad he had the opportunity to study a variety of things more before going to college.

We got all kinds of tests at school to help us determine what to choose based on our personality. Choosing was still hard though

 

13 minutes ago, jmk said:

Kids here have the option to go to preschool starting at 3 but most go at 4 and a majority of them are private.

Preschool here starts at 2, and primary school at 4, but kids aren't obligated to go to school until they are 5. 

Do the kids at preschool learn to read and do math and such? Or is it just learning the colors and the difference between a butcher and a baker? 

 

13 minutes ago, jmk said:

We also have Catholic and Christian schools

We do to, but at the end of the day all schools must answer to the same authority and prove the kids learned the things they are obligated to teach them. Once a year people of the government come by each school to check them. If they failed multiple years in a row they get shut down. 

13 minutes ago, jmk said:

College is so expensive here and students are graduating with thousands of dollars of college loans.

That sucks :(

We still have to pay for our equivalent if college, but it is heavily subsidized and you can get a student loan for 0% interest and you can take 30 to pay it off. And students travel public transportation for free. In my days that is, I believe they don't want to do that anymore. 

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6 hours ago, jmk said:

psychology and business which aren't even closely related

 

There probably isn't much closeness in the academic studies leading to one or the other but in practice, I feel like both are closely intertwined: human beings aren't machines, business is all about psychology, understanding other people's expectations and needs and then balancing the costs so as to sell them what they want and make a profit out of it (or manipulate them to want what you sell, for which psychology helps a lot too, but that's not a field I recommand to anybody).

 

On the other side of the specter, you can go through life without any business knowledge as a psychologist if you stay employed for your whole career but it's a profession that often leads to self-employment, or a desire of it, so business knowledge is also deeply needed (and is often neglected, so that people wanting to start their own business often hesitate, afraid of taking the jump).

 

Both are really useful skills in life in general too. As are history, physics, politics, foreign languages and so many others. What I like in the system we have in Switzerland nowadays (it's not always been this way) is that it's made easy to switch from one field to another, provided you have the skills for it and are willing to work to learn what you lack and potentially sacrifice a year in the endeavour. The teenagers who don't want to go to the university still have to choose basically their entire profession (not only the field) by the time they hit 15. That's pretty tough if you ask me, especially since you know next to nothing of most of the options that are open before you.

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14 hours ago, Terah said:

 

I got bits and pieces from the US educational system from the movies and shows that I watch (Dutch movies and shows suck). Doesn't it get boring to have to learn stuff you know you will never use again? 

Not really, because I was so used to it. The idea is to produce well-rounded individuals who know a little about everything before they specialize. I also suspect that professors of general education classes fight to keep the system the way it is because it creates artificial demand. If their intro courses weren't required they'd need a lot less personnel and it's hard enough as it is to get a job in higher education (college and beyond). I don't use much of what I even learned in high school in daily life. However, the things I learned learning them are useful. I rarely use algebra in everyday life, to say nothing of calculus, but the problem solving skills I learned in them are helpful. A lot of what I learned in Science or history are helpful for understanding news articles and give me a perspective on current events. As much as I disliked the at the time, literature classes helped develop critical thinking skills and laid a framework for interpretive theory, something that was very helpful in my theological education. I'm positively biased in regards to the US education system. It came easy to me and my mother is a retired Elementary school teacher (ages 5-10 or 11) and my wife is a High school Spanish teacher. There are positives and negatives about the US education system. 

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16 hours ago, Jean said:

What I like in the system we have in Switzerland nowadays (it's not always been this way) is that it's made easy to switch from one field to another, provided you have the skills for it and are willing to work to learn what you lack and potentially sacrifice a year in the endeavour. The teenagers who don't want to go to the university still have to choose basically their entire profession (not only the field) by the time they hit 15. That's pretty tough if you ask me, especially since you know next to nothing of most of the options that are open before you.

Interesting! 

It's a good thing switching is easy when you have to choose at 15 :)

 

12 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

my mother is a retired Elementary school teacher (ages 5-10 or 11)

Mine is still an elementary school teacher (she usually teaches 4/5 year olds). 

 

12 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

There are positives and negatives about the US education system

I think that's true for every system. I also think that the way kids are educated is very reflective of how a country sees itself and the culture there. 

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2 hours ago, Terah said:

Interesting! 

It's a good thing switching is easy when you have to choose at 15 :)

 

The system is pretty much geared toward papers. Education revolves around generic knowledge (your main language, either French or German as first foreign language depending on whether you are a native French, German, Italian or Rumantsch speaker, English as a late foreign language, maths, sciences, geography, history and some arts (drawing and/or music depending on the year and studies). No matter what you do, you carry these until you've got your profession (at the end of your apprenticeship) or go to university. Specialisation starts to happen in either apprenticeship (where you learn a specific trade) or high school (where you can choose a focus but still have to learn a bit of everything else). ETA: University is specialised (in a specific field, like Geology at Bachelor's level and then further specialised, like Paleontology at Master's Level). Then you have several ways:

 

Basically:

 

At 15, you have to choose between:

  • Apprenticeship (a specific trade that you learn both in a company and at school, for example plumber, hairdresser or mechanic) ;
  • Specific school (trade, agriculture) or middle generic school (leading mainly to health jobs like nurse) ;
  • High School/College.

 

Then you have another level.

  • Apprenticeship and middle generic schools lead to a job but can be followed by a technical high school (engineering, nursing, etc.) ;
  • High school leads to university and state engineering schools.

BUT:

You can get a year of practice in a specific trade and still go to a technical high school if you've gone to high school.

You can go to university and state engineering schools if you pass the proper exams even after an apprenticeship or another type of school.

 

All the switches usually take one year (or more, depending on how fast a learner you are), so you can do an apprenticeship, work for a few years, decide you want to go further, join a technical high school and end up as an engineer. Or work as a landscaper, decide you'd rather be a psychologist, study on your own, pass the exams and enter university (for five years, until you get your Master's Degree (there are precious few things that one can do with a Bachelor's Degree around here).

 

Most of it is paid for by the state (tuition, not your own expenses though there are programs to help those who lack the money), the real limitation being your ability to pass the proper exams or not (fail two or three times, depending on the university, and you can't study anymore in that faculty in any university (so, if you fail at Philosophy, you can't decide to go for History or Litterature - but you'd be able to try your hand at Mathematics or Law (for example)).

 

It's pretty well designed but it's hard on the people who don't like school (or some specific topic) and if you don't intend to go further (which not everybody does because it takes time and isn't all that easy), when you pick your apprenticeship, you basically pick your trade.

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, jmk said:

This had been an interesting discussion! How's your challenge going@terah?

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

O right, I was doing a challenge here, wasn't I? :D

 

I've done two workouts from the NF academy this week. They didn't wear me down as the hour long workouts I had been trying, but they didn't leave me feeling awesome amd strong either (don't get me wrong: I do feel like I worked my muscles, just not to the extent that I was doing it). Buy I do still have energy for the rest of my day. 

So I will continue this and build up my strength and stamina so I can graduate towards the longer workouts. 

 

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