Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The greatest lessons are learnt when life enters the classroom.

Firstly, I am very sorry for being late for my review about the movie.
Last week before the autumn break, we watched a movie about a class which is full of racially mixed students. This movie is an interesting and useful one for all teachers. I think every teacher should watch this movie and think once more about being a teacher. The most important thing for me while watching this movie is to be able to put myself in Mr. Marin’s place. I will be a teacher in Turkey, so what would I do if I teach a classroom which consists of diverse ethnicities as this situation is also possible in Turkey. You can be teacher in a classroom in which students are Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic and even sometimes Armenian. As a result this movie made me see the difficulties that a teacher of multicultural class can come across.
So let’s start with a short plot of movie. The movie takes place in a secondary school in Paris. In the beginning of the movie, teacher François Marin who is one of the most important figures in the movie is getting prepared for a new school year with his colleagues. François plays a language and literature teacher who tries to create a friendly and respectful atmosphere in his classroom which consists of multiethnic teenagers. All in all, the story is about the teacher and his relationship with the students coming from different ethnicity.
Now I want to write about some students and I want to begin with Souleyman who was one of the most problematic students in the class. I think he had many problems about being a teenager, adapting to French culture, and also being from different ethnicity. He was always reserved and rebellious against the questions related to the lesson asked by Mr. Marin. He refused to talk or study in the classroom. What could be problem with him??? As I said before he had many problems in his self world. One was that he couldn’t strike a balance between street culture and school culture. Fighting, rebelling, refusing to talk can mean being cool in street culture while these behaviors are unacceptable and disapproving in school culture. Therefore he took the things that he learned in the street into the classroom. Another problem was related to his ethnicity and religion. For example, when somebody said sth about Quran, he easily went mad and he couldn’t control his reactions. Moreover, I think another problem can be related to his family. His mother didn’t know French, so she couldn’t give any assistance on his homework. Hence, the reason why he was academically limited in writing could be resulted his family. Also when the teacher asks her how souleyman is at home, she says that souleyman does his homework, studies and behaves respectfully at home. I think how she can be so sure that he does his homework because she cannot check him due to her not knowing French.
Except for the problems related to souleymane, I want to talk about his assignment, self-portrait. At first he was embarrassed to show pictures of his family and his neighborhood. However, MR Motivated him by saying that “your work is very good” and hanging it on the wall for demonstration to all students. I think Mr. Marin really thought that souleyman was interested in something and he could do something related to this. However, two gossipy girls (Esmeralda and Louise) who participated in classroom meeting to represent the class in which teachers evaluate students’ behaviors and grades mentioned all the details of the meeting to the class. So this started a fight between teacher and souleymane as the teacher said in the meeting that souleymane is limited in writing.
In my opinion, Mr. Marin was always understanding and thoughtful for souleyman from the beginning of the movie. He even defended him against other teachers who have the general consensus of giving him disciplinary punishment. Therefore, all the efforts Mr. Marin made led to unexpected results because of a nonsense argument that was triggered by two representative girls.
So, students’ being allowed to participate in such kinds of meetings is another issue needed to be discussed. In my opinion they shouldn’t be given this freedom as they won’t think in the same way with teachers in this age. Because representative students are also a part of the class and they will share everything with their friends and this will just make things worse.
Besides these, it was sometimes teacher who failed to get control over the class. He wants to be seen more as a friend rather than as an authority figure but that is not always a good idea. He should have created an atmosphere based on mutual understanding and respect, but instead of this he sometimes kept on having long and heated arguments with students. First, as a teacher you shouldn’t let them control your feelings. For example, he gets angry with some students and he shows his anger by insulting them. Whatever students do, a teacher should be able to keep his/her calmness in a way. Because being a teacher requires being patient at the same time. To some extent, the teacher was very right there were moments that any teacher cannot take it easy.
I also liked Mr. Marin’s ideas about “punishment” because it is not useful to keep the class in order. In the movie Mr. Marin always objected to punishments as he thought that they would create a tense atmosphere in the school. I agree with him because punishment will both create an unfriendly atmosphere and students will get used to punishments in time. The first time a student punished he or she will be ashamed of what they do but when the punishments increases they will just get used to it. Also in the movie one of the students is said to get out and he gets happy for this. This is just a simple example from the movie.
As a teacher you cannot be expected to speak the same language with students but at least being understanding to them will help you in process of teaching. As Thomas Ziehe said, a teacher should be someone who gives pushes, gives directions like a tour guide showing ways and connections and has to give forms to situations in classroom.
To sum up, I have observed many things in the movie. First of all, popular culture is an inevitable fact among teenagers. We can see the effects of popular culture from their clothing to language. As teachers, our duty is to decline effects of popular culture as much as possible in school. They cannot strike a balance between popular culture and school culture alone, so they need a guide, that is to say they need understanding and open-minded teachers. Secondly, a teacher shouldn’t let students get control over the class.
The greatest lessons are learnt when life enters the classroom.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nykøbing :)

This week we were off on friday and nazlı and me was so bored that we decided to go to somewhere and we chose Nykøbing as it is close to Vordingborg. Then we arrived at Nykøbing  in the afternoon and we went to some shopping centers. We both liked shopping centers and cafes there. In fact it is a small city like Vordingborg but it seems a bit different than Vordingborg.  We especially liked the houses there and we took some photos of them.  All in all, it was a really enjoyable trip.

As for yesterday, we didnt do anything special but we took a walk around Vordingborg with uğur, müslüm, nazlı and me and took some photos with uğur's new camera which can take panaromic pictures :):)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finally we are in Vordinborg:):)

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     I am really excited about my first entry to my blog. Anyway, today I will mention the first day in Denmark. Our plane landed at half past one to Copenhagen. We ( nazlı, uğur, sevim and me) were so tired that we couldn't do anything but just waited for the first train to come and had some rest in the airport. We also didn't have any DK Kroner with us because we didn't exchange our money before we came here. And some people said that we were supposed to buy tickets for the train with Kroner. So we thought that we would wait for the exchange office to open at nine o'clock. Suddenly we decided that we couldnt wait in the airport for a long time because we were tired, cold, and hungry ,so we asked someone and learnt that we can pay the money for tickets on the train as Euro. Then finally we were on the train and we arrived at Vordingborg. This time we started to wait for our tutors ( Martin and Trine). But they didn't show up for a long time and feeling of loneliness in a small train station overwhelmed us. Not knowing what to do we asked a woman whether there is a dormitory or college hereabouts and we showed the phone number of our tutors and she called them and she asked them to pick us. After calling them, ın a few minutes they showed up and they apologised to us as they were late because they didnt know our exact arrival time. Then we took a short trip to the school and our dormitories and the best side of seeing our rooms was leaving our very HEAVY luggages in the room. By the way Martin and Trine were so kind because they prepared a breakfast for us and after breakfast they showed us around and some shopping places. We all surprised when we saw what a small city Vordingborg was. Because it didnt take too much time to see every places in Vordinborg. The city seemed quite quiet and peaceful. At the end of the day we were happy after we had a rest in our comfortable rooms. This is my first day in Vordingborg.
The happy end...
Special Thanks to Martin, Trine and the woman in the train station who called Martin and Trine.

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