Welcome to my world behind the scenes as I attempt to run a business with no idea what I am doing. I Love comments/ advice/opinions or just a quick G'day so please talk to me. I adore hearing/learning/chatting with you all so every comment is most welcome.!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trash talk

I want to ask the question "Do our kids need to learn German and Indonesian in school?"
What do you guys think?
I say NO and see it as a waste of money, paper to make the books and bad use of time a child could use learning something necessary.
I did 4 years of German. WHY? I dunno. Mandarin would have been way more beneficial or Japanese but German.......?

Now my kids are learning Indo half the year (compulsory with books being very pricey) and German for the other half. Thats over $100 worth of books that will be tossed and never ever remembered. The cost to the trees MURDERED for this, priceless!

My 2 high school kids before this one loathed the classes and learned nothing but more dislike for school. What they really needed was more English or Maths. A lot of kids loathe these subject but the more they do it the better off they are. It is never wasted.

Have they done surveys on the benefits of learning German or Indo? Isn't it unsafe for us to go to Indonesia at the moment or is that just my paranoid US husband talking?

Printing books for the sake of filling school hours with subjects that seem to have no benefit seems wasteful and also leads me to ask why are we still using so many text books anyway.
I have had to throw away quite a few because they bring out new editions and I don't even get to hand them down. How many times must they revise a maths book? If you spent more time in math than German you could answer that.

My son is being pestered to get a German text book and I am refusing to buy it.
If my dear friend Elsie reads this I know she will speak calm words of common sense to me before I go running off to rebel against the education department...again. I am not sure it will stop me as I am already at that "How dare you" stage with the Dept of Ed lol.

I wonder how everyone else feels about such wastage. Has anyone ever thought about the cost of resources to teach a subject that is so brief and unnecessary? Maybe there are other areas you know of that I have missed. If so you must tell me just in case I have a quiet week and nothing to rebel against:)

P.S i have just tried to google "the cost of text books on our environment" and nothing came up.
People have time to find out how many boofheads you can pile into a mini cooper but not to find important answers...

Have a triffic night all!


CurlyPops February 17, 2009 at 7:58 PM  

I did German and Indonesian in Year 7 (around 1986). All I remember is "Ich habe une bruder & zwei schwestern" which means "I have 1 brother and 2 sisters".... extremely useful hey!

I have never been to Indonesia or Germany nor am I planning to either.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2009 at 9:38 PM  

ummmmmm. interesting dilemma. well, i homeschool my kids and would never really run into that problem. if htey wantedto learn a certain language i'd probably get a computer software program and if it didn't work out i could recycle it one way or another. hmmm. maybe you could just take your kids out of school. teach them at home. it'd probably be much cheaper and create less waste :) i'm sort of half serious here. it's always an option.

Baino February 18, 2009 at 6:57 AM  

I must admit, I can't see the sense in German, especially when most Germans speak English so well anyway. Indonesian . .meh maybe. My daughter did Japanese which entailed a very expensive exchange trip when she was in year 10. I wonder why they don't do 'texts' online like they did for her HSC Biology text . .it was free!

littlechrissy February 18, 2009 at 2:19 PM  

Given that most kids get to high school and can't string a sentence together in English, I think perhaps more time should be spent on the basics.
However I can definitely see an advantage in learning another language. But I think this could definitely be done on internet or outside of normal school hours.

Anonymous,  February 18, 2009 at 2:50 PM  

That 6th paragraph really broke me up, Melanie. Now that I've stopped laughing I am searching for something calming to say but I've got to agree with you. Books you can pass down to the next child are the most common sense thing I can think of. An extra language might look good on a CV but is most unlikely to be used (unless you're Kevin Rudd) Maybe Japanese would be useful if you live in Queensland. Perhaps the learning builds extra brain cells or something. Who knows? You're not really going to be mean enough to ask bureaucracy to put some logical thought into its behaviour are you? Elsie

Mary February 21, 2009 at 12:57 AM  

I don't know about the language thing, but my daughter's music teacher keeps telling her that she needs a new oboe and private lessons because she is good but she could be great...yeah, well as soon as she wants to send me the check for $4,000 for the oboe and additional funds for the private lessons I will be more than happy to see that it happens! Teachers-oh so helpful! makes me nuts. And thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to say hello! It's nice to meet you.

Bea February 25, 2009 at 1:31 AM  

Children should be learning Spanish with English from the moment they enter the school system. German? Why? What's the school's reasoning about this? Indonesian? Same thing.Children today need to be able to communicate in English not text language...be able to write in script and not print.
They need to know what a contract is, how to manage their money, feed their children and keep a roof over their heads. In this day and age it's getting harder and harder to do any of that.

Beth February 25, 2009 at 1:45 PM  

I certainly think it's beneficial to learn LOTE in schools, but it's not taken seriously in Australia. There are countless times when my knowledge of foreign languages has helped me through at work and in my local community which has a large migrant population. Particularly at work in public hospitals, if I can acknowledge to the other person "Oh, you natively speak Spanish/Greek/German/Japanese/Cantonese?", even if I don't actually speak the language, they immediately relax rather than get frustrated with me or with themselves for their lack of English. I don't know what it is, but it definitely helps!

I can understand learning French, as it's the other official international language after English. Indonesia are one of our closest neighbours after all, and we have a substantial Indonesian population in Australia. How can we build bridges between our communities if we can't talk to each other first? Although, I never understood why we would learn German. I had to learn it in primary school and the only thing it was useful for was seeing the development of the English language (there's lots of German in English!).

One of the other benefits I've found in learning languages is that it forces you to think about word and sentence structure and grammar, the real mechanics of language. By understanding why language is structured the way it is, it really helped me understand the structure of the English language, something which is often overlooked in schools. I often think that's one of the reasons why Australia has such terrible LOTE programmes: if kids don't understand the mechanics behind the English language (how to spell, what grammar is, why grammatical rules even exist), then how are they going to even start to understand another language? That, and they do half-baked programmes like what your kids have: half a year of one language, half a year of another, so they never learn either language well! ;-)

messyfish March 5, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

I silently protested about learning Indonesian in high school, and then wonderfully failed! and I am still proud. I think learning languages in school, that we are forced to learn is absurd. I wish i had learned cantonese, japanese or mandarin...sigh...

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