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Cyprus Eastern Forum Index » Schools » How do you reach your opinions about schools?
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How do you reach your opinions about schools? 
Post: #1   PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:11 am Reply with quote
Keith Sheffield
Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 301
Pictures: 2
Location: Protaras

 
How do you evaluate how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a school is? Many parents have opinions about schools, in general and in particular, both in the UK and here in Cyprus.

Of course, for many parents, if their children are happy in school and there appear to be no major learning difficulties, then the school is regarded well. However, what other indicators do you take into account, other than the general reaction of your child, when coming to conclusions about schools?

I ask this because a number of parents I meet seem to have come to the view that schools in Cyprus are, in general, better than schools in the UK.

How are these judgements arrived at, particularly in the absence of objective reports (like HMI or Ofsted reports) on schools in Cyprus and, I presume, a lack of knowledge about curricular demand and examination results?

Moreover, these positive views of schools in Cyprus are in the context of the added difficulties that arise, for some, out of the problems of learning in Greek.

As someone who has worked for long periods in teaching in both the UK and Cyprus, I’d be very grateful for your thoughts on this. What are the key factors for you in building impressions about the range and quality of school provision?

Thanks in advance for your reflections and responses.
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Re: How do you reach your opinions about schools? 
Post: #2   PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:00 pm Reply with quote
don
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Keith

I think the reason schools may be better in Cyprus is the fact that children are bought up to respect and hold teachers with high regard in Cyprus, not like the uk.

Having said that though I have started to read reports of children causing trouble in schools now, and parents complaining that their kids have been delt with by teachers and why should their kids be punished, all that Lib/Dem nonsense which has ruined discipline in the UK.

I remember when I was at school in the UK when following the invasion of 1974 there were refuges from Cyprus who came to the UK, some of who came to our school.

All were in higher groups than us in Maths/English etc and did better than us who were born and bred in the UK. Their spoken English was far better than ours? so I can only put this down to the kids of that era taking note of their teachers and learning rather then disturbing the class which gives the teacher more time to teach rather than keep order.

I think Cyprus state schools are going the way of the UK state schools with more troublesome kids and parents complaining, I think one old man I was speaking to about this in Cyprus back in Sep this year put it this way, " Its the begining of the end when kids answer teachers and parents back"

Don


Keith Sheffield wrote:
How do you evaluate how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ a school is? Many parents have opinions about schools, in general and in particular, both in the UK and here in Cyprus.

Of course, for many parents, if their children are happy in school and there appear to be no major learning difficulties, then the school is regarded well. However, what other indicators do you take into account, other than the general reaction of your child, when coming to conclusions about schools?

I ask this because a number of parents I meet seem to have come to the view that schools in Cyprus are, in general, better than schools in the UK.

How are these judgements arrived at, particularly in the absence of objective reports (like HMI or Ofsted reports) on schools in Cyprus and, I presume, a lack of knowledge about curricular demand and examination results?

Moreover, these positive views of schools in Cyprus are in the context of the added difficulties that arise, for some, out of the problems of learning in Greek.

As someone who has worked for long periods in teaching in both the UK and Cyprus, I’d be very grateful for your thoughts on this. What are the key factors for you in building impressions about the range and quality of school provision?

Thanks in advance for your reflections and responses.
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Post: #3   PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:55 pm Reply with quote
Keith Sheffield
Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 301
Pictures: 2
Location: Protaras

 
Thanks for your comments Don. In my own experience, Cyprus has its own fair share of adolescents who will answer back given half the chance (in private schools). I do agree, however, that teachers can generally expect the full backing of parents over disciplinary matters - the teacher is always right, even if they're wrong!

It is my impression, in fact, that there is a cultural diference between Cyprus and the UK and that children in Cyprus are spoiled from an early age and allowed to get away with talking back more frequently.

It is much more difficult to supress constant chatter in Cyprus - with the children taking their lead from the adults, who tend to talk through every event where people are gathered. Many teachers resort to shouting over the noise and constantly punctuating their words with 'shhhhh...'

In the UK, you can expect a proportion of parents to be quick to jump to the defence of their offspring and undermine the school. Given this lead by their parents, more youngsters become barrack-room lawyers very quickly.

There is a confidence in Cyprus that you would never encounter seriously aggressive behaviour from students, Although I never experienced anything remotely seriously aggressive in the UK, there are incidents which tend to get quite a wide press when they do happen.

Thanks again Don for offering your views.
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Post: #4   PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:16 am Reply with quote
Aase
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 50
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Having just made the decision to remove our children from a private English speaking school in Limassol after less than a term, I find this topic very interesting. Having had our son in a local state school in London with a high percentage of immigrants and / or children from families on benefits, we found the level at the school here in Limassol much lower than what we were used to in London. Our son went from doing creative writing to copy writing and from working out 'complicated' additions and subtractions to counting in 10's and is bored, resulting in him playing up. Whereas in London the teachers were able to give challenging work to children working at different level, our impression from the school here is that the teacher tries to get everybody up to a certain level and that's it. With a large number of non-English speakers in the class, we feel that she is spending much more time trying to support those who don't speak English than to give the native speakers of English work that is of their level. Our son was never in trouble in England but here he has been sent to the headmaster's office on several occasions, normally for minor things that the teacher should have been able to deal with herself. We have been very disappointed at the standard of teaching and the teacher has said very inappropriate things to our son and other children. Our impression is that the teachers in the school use shouting and intimidation as a form of discipline and this really does not work with our children.

Last week they did two trial days at a different school and were both delighted. When asked why the new school was better, our five year old daughter said 'because the teachers don't shout at you and we played lots'. Our nearly 8 year old son said 'it is better in every possible way' and he did more work in two days than he has done in a week at the other school, thoroughly enjoying the classes and the work he had to do.

Quote:
Of course, for many parents, if their children are happy in school and there appear to be no major learning difficulties, then the school is regarded well.


I think this is so true, certainly for the parents at the above mentioned school. Before we moved here we heard very positive reviews of the school and the first impression was good. Other families who also moved over this summer are very happy and often speak of their children being average at home and now they are top of the class. For me that is not an indication that they school is good, quite the opposite!!! Our regard for the school has dropped massively to feeling that it's a money making business that pays the teachers so badly that they only attract incompetent staff who end up feeling miserable and take it out on the children. Last week our son's teacher asked him why he is playing up and he said that he doesn't like school (this is a boy who used to love school and who was top in his class). The teacher then goes on to say 'well, I don't enjoy school much either at the moment because you are causing trouble'. The teacher told me this herself, not my son...

I could go on but will stop. We are so pleased that we have found another school where we feel that our children will learn and thrive.
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How do you reach your opinions about schools? 
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