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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 28th, 2005, 09:18 am
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Talking Hello from Norway!

I'm an "old" grey-topped geezer who did lots of other things (broadcasting/PR/gov. management) for some 25-odd years before I settled down on teaching 4 years ago.(I've been a certified teacher since 1974...)

Main subject is English, of course, which I'm NOT certified at, but spent a couple of years in Africa as a young boy in the late 60's and got the knack of the language there, I guess.

Hoping this site may give me some good tips on things to do in the class-room... if I get the time to participate properly...
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Unread Apr 28th, 2005, 10:17 pm
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Welcome to the site, tblien! Good to have you as part of the community and i hope you find it helpful.

By the way, where are you teaching now?

You should be able to find some ideas here: http://eslhq.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=15

Eric
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Unread Apr 29th, 2005, 01:14 am
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tblien, Nice to have you on the site!

I'd like to hear more about what teaching in Norway is like!

Cheers,
Karen
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Unread Apr 30th, 2005, 03:26 am
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Thank you for the reply - good to know someone is "out there"! I'm teaching in Norway - upper primary school (ages 13 - 15) - main subjects being English, Social Sciences, some Music and some Drama.

I'll check out your tip! Thanks!
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Unread Apr 30th, 2005, 03:33 am
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Hmmm - what to say? Norwegian pupils are famous for being undiciplined, noisy, lazy and very creative. I find this to be untrue for the most part - excpt the creativity. We do not have the dicipline in the classroom that most countries seem to want, but on the other hand - I find our pupils to be very self-reliant and able to do things by themselves - mostly. I find teaching very rewarding in the sense that in a fairly short time you can see whether you're doing a job that has an impact on people. I've never previously had a job that "touched" people - made a concrete difference in people's lives - in the same way that teaching does.

Does that answer your question in any sensible way?.... I wonder...
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Unread May 1st, 2005, 02:06 am
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Yes, it does.

The creativity you mention in Norwegian students makes me feel a little jealous. Let me explain.

I am an ESL teacher from Canada, but working in Korea. Korean society is very enthusiastic about education and most families have their kids learning to read Korean by age 3-4. The love of their native language is really inspiring. There is even a national language day, "Hangeul Day". But generally, Korean parents go overboard and put kids in so many extra classes (often starting at the age of 4!) -English, music, art, computers, sports, science...) that the kids become exhausted.

Any naturally occuring creativity is both exhausted out of the children by the sheer volume of lessons they have, and stifled out of them by an education system that mainly demands the memorization of facts. I'm sure you've heard about this before.

Sorry to make this post so long, but I have one more story to share. Once I was working for an English kindergarten here, preparing students for a Christmas pageant. They had memorized some English songs and were working on coordinating some dance moves. One creative little 5 year old girl insisted on adding a few moves of her own. My Korean co-teacher in charge of the class yelled at her and put her in the corner for the rest of the lesson. Why? She wasn't doing what the group was doing.

I'm aware of the importance of "group think" in Korean culture, but I find it hard to accomodate in my ESL classes. I have, for the most part, found it really hard to encourage my Korean students to think, or write, or speak creatively. It has been one of my biggest struggles as a teacher in Korea.

I wish I could do more to encourage the self-reliance and creativity you talk about in Norwegian students.

By the way, what is the school system like in Norway? How many hours a week to kids study and what do they do after class?

Karen
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Unread May 1st, 2005, 04:56 pm
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Default Re: Norwegian school system

Hi Karen - well - you're of course aware you're asking a "big" question! Formally - we have 9 yrs of compulsory school, with an additional 3 years with common rights - that is; you are entitled to twelve years of school - up to university level - broad-based or vocational training.

The system encourages self-reliancy as of today. That means - even quite young children are encouraged to make their own plans as to what they need to emphazise in order to get the grades they need to get into whatever studies they want to in the future. The choice of subjects is increasing throughout the system - beginning at ages 13 -14. Until that age - all pupils have the same level of the same subjects. Specializing does not occur until age 15-16. The belief in the Norwegian system is that you need a broad-based education as a base for "anything" you might want to specialize in...

This means that the emphasis on "general" subjects like our native language, English, math and social sciences including music, PE and religion is quite heavy until the age af 15-16, which is quite difficult for those with vocational abilities, but we're working heavily on differentitiation...

Sounds complicated...? well it IS! we're supposed to care for the individual needs in a big way! With classes of up to 30 pupils, thats quite a challenge!

I CAN understand that the Korean way seems a bit "uni-directional". Our "way" is QUITE different, it seems. Scandinavian pupils in general are internationally recognised for having fairly poor dicipline, but are creative and very good at cooperating and making "their own way", whilst formal ability in maths and sciences is quite poor. (WELL below Korean standards...)

At the moment, there is quite a strong "drive" from the present government at changing this into stronger emphasis on formal abilities. The opinion seems to be that the "richest" education system in the world should be better at formalities than it actually is....

Does this answer your question a bit? I hope so!( even though this was quite long...!)

Oops - I forgot to tell you that there are 30x 45 minutes of lessons each week from the age of 10 - and approximately an hour of expected homework every day -5 days a week. After that -there is no pressure at all from school - you may do whatever you want... School generally starts at 0830 and lasts until 1400. and that's it, for the most part....

Terje
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Last edited by tblien : May 1st, 2005 at 05:03 pm. Reason: forgot something....
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Unread May 5th, 2005, 02:45 am
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Hi Terje,

Sorry this reply is so late. I had a busy week. Today (May 5th) is Children's Day! Yippee! Another holiday Time to catch up on posting.

Thanks for the detailed post about your school system. I can see where it hinges on having dedicated and patient teachers!

If I told kids here that in some countries school lets out at 2pm, they don't go to extra private schools or lessons afterwards and don't attend classes on Saturdays, they would likely faint with jealousy. I know I complain a lot but many Koreans do also complain about their high-stress system which in no way teaches self-reliance.

I wonder if there are any student exchange programs I can read about between "Western" countries and Korea, and how the kids would handle a system that seems polar opposite to their own. Though I see the benefits for Korean students, I know Canadian students could stand to learn a thing or two about discipline, too.

Very interesting. Thanks again for sharing this information.

Karen
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread May 5th, 2005, 04:02 pm
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Wink Hi Karen

I can quite see your point about little people fainting with jelousy!

I'm afraid I'm blank about exchange programmes with Korea. All such systems I know about are connected to the EU or Euro-American programmes. But I'm fairly certain that the Ministry of Education in Korea most likely would be able to assist you. Try, anyways! And good luck!

Terje
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Unread May 5th, 2005, 06:12 pm
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Yes, I did a search but only came up with university level exchanges. My internet search skills are ridiculously poor. I should check with the Ministry of Education. Thanks!
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Unread May 6th, 2005, 09:53 pm
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Default Hello from Marielle

Hi,

I am a Canadian in China and spent this past "Golden Week" searching for new jobs on the web. Came across this forum and it is a first-time experience for me. Is refreshing to exchange ideas with people from other countries. Just read the thread and was interested to learn that your school system in Norway is very much like the one in Canada. Before I "fell" into ESL teaching, I had taught high school students. Burned out too many times -- discipline is a big problem so teachers need to be policemen and social workers as well. I decided life is too short. Teaching ESL has been so much more rewarding. Before I came to China, I spent two years teaching English for Business in Germany -- loved Europe, traveled around but didn't get to Norway. I guess I decided it would be too much like Canada -- cold, all those winter sports and all....

Teaching in China is an adventure but in some ways it imitates the Korean experience Karen spoke of. Pushy parents deciding their children's future even when their "children" are 20 or older; too much emphasis on academics and cheating strategies; too little emphasis on being an individual and too much on being one of a group. I plan to stay only another year. Again, life is short!

I agree with you that teaching really allows you to feel you are making a difference with your life. Just one positive response from one student makes the whole day worthwhile. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been able to work with hundreds of students during my career. I can't imagine having a job pushing a pencil somwhere. You sound like you have had quite a career history as well. Broadcasting? PR?

Marielle
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Unread May 6th, 2005, 09:55 pm
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Default Hello from Marielle

Hi,

I am a Canadian in China and spent this past "Golden Week" searching for new jobs on the web. Came across this forum and it is a first-time experience for me. Is refreshing to exchange ideas with people from other countries. Just read the thread and was interested to learn that your school system in Norway is very much like the one in Canada. Before I "fell" into ESL teaching, I had taught high school students. Burned out too many times -- discipline is a big problem so teachers need to be policemen and social workers as well. I decided life is too short. Teaching ESL has been so much more rewarding. Before I came to China, I spent two years teaching English for Business in Germany -- loved Europe, traveled around but didn't get to Norway. I guess I decided it would be too much like Canada -- cold, all those winter sports and all....

Teaching in China is an adventure but in some ways it imitates the Korean experience Karen spoke of. Pushy parents deciding their children's future even when their "children" are 20 or older; too much emphasis on academics and cheating strategies; too little emphasis on being an individual and too much on being one of a group. I plan to stay only another year. Again, life is short!

I agree with you that teaching really allows you to feel you are making a difference with your life. Just one positive response from one student makes the whole day worthwhile. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have been able to work with hundreds of students during my career. I can't imagine having a job pushing a pencil somwhere. You sound like you have had quite a career history as well. Broadcasting? PR?

Marielle
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 21st, 2008, 01:47 am
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Default Re: Hello from Norway!

Terje,


Hello! My name is Jeffery Ridenour and I'm a Sophomore in college at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas. I've been doing some research on teaching ESL, and I can't quite place why, but I've been very compelled to try and teach somewhere in Scandinavia - Norway being one of my first choices.

I was wondering if you could tell me of any programs or exchanges you might know of that would be open to me as an Undergraduate? Anything to steer me in the right direction.

I loved reading about the Norwegian student work ethic. It's identical to my own, I'd love to teach kids with a similar disposition to the one that I've had. Steer them in the right direction, if you will.

Thank you so much!

Jeffery Ridenour
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 24th, 2008, 09:15 pm
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Default Re: Hello from Norway!

Jeffery - Welcome to the site!

Sorry, I can't help on the Norway front, but hopefully someone else can. Good luck!
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