Friday, February 13, 2009

Forskelle ... Differences

Siden min første dag hos Herning Gymnasium i december, har jeg skrevet en list af ting at er forskellig fra skoler i Texas. En gymnasium har elever som 17, 18, 19 år gammel---samme en skole i Texas med 11. og 12. klasser.

Since my first day at the Herning Gymnasium in December I have been writing a list of things that are difference from schools in Texas. A gymnasium has students that are from 17-19 years old--the same as an Texas senior high school with11th and 12th graders.

Mennesker som kender mig bedst (og har arbejdede med mig) ved hvad jeg synes om reglerne vi har i skoler. Jeg er sædvanligvis en "sort og hvid person"..... undtagen om skole. Jeg er ligeglad for regler om mobil telefoner eller hatte eller tøj eller hvor en elev sidde i lokalet. Til mig, forholdene og undervisning er 2 mest vigtig del af skole og sommetider jeg lavede min kollegaer TOSSET (Jeg håber at de elskede mig, alligevel!) fordi jeg kunne ikke have min fokus på regler at jeg syntes var unødvendige. Og jeg hadede altid vores første tre dage i skole fordi jeg altid ønskede at have "være bekendt med skolen og hinanden" aktiviteter men skolen havde en regl at hver lærer skulle læse reglebog til elever...

People who know me best (and have worked with me) know what I think about the rules we have in our schools. I am usually a very black and white person.....except about school. I do not care in the least about rules related to cell phones or baseball caps or dress code or seating charts. To me, relationships and learning are the 2 most important parts of a school and I know that sometimes I drove my colleagues CRAZY (I hope they loved me anyway!) because I just could not have my focus on rules that I saw as unnecessary. And I always hated our first three days of school because while I wanted our staff to be doing "get to know you" and teambuilding activities with their students, our district had a rule that every teacher read every line of the rule book to the students.

Jeg synes at dette er hvorfor jeg tror fuldstændigt i den danske filosofi af "Frihed under ansvar." Den danske system er ikke perfekt, men jeg synes at de har få rigtige gode ideer om hvordan en skole løber...... Jeg har set "frihed under ansvar" i mine elever hver dag siden jeg kom til H.G. så jeg ved at det arbejder!

I think this is why I completely believe in the Danish philosophy af "Freedom with responsibility." The Danish system is not perfect, but I think they have a few great ideas about how a school should run..... I have witnessed this idea of "freedom with responsibility" in my students everyday since I came to H.G. so I know it works.

Forskelle imellem dansk gymnasium og americansk højskole /
Differences between a Danish gymnasium and a Texas high school--

1.Elever kalder mig "Kelli" her og "Fru Nørgaard" i America.

Students call me "Kelli" here and "Mrs. Nørgaard" in America.


2. Mobil telefone bruges i skole men hvis elever har dem ud i klasse, siger vi "sæt i taske, tak." og de sætter mobil i tasken. I Texas, er mobiler taget fra elever og forældre skal hente fordi mobiler er forbydet!

Cell phones can be used in the school, but if the kids have them out in class, we say "please put it away" and they do. In Texas cell phones are taken up from the students and parents must pick them up because cell phones are prohibited!

3. Hvis en elev har brug for gå på toilet, går han og kommer tilbage med ingen afbrydelse men i Amerika, skal de have en "hall pass" med lærers underskrift.

If a student needs to go to the bathroom, he goes and comes back with no interuptions to the class, but in Texas, they must have a hall pass with a teacher´s signature/permission.

4. Elever kan holde hænder i Danmark men de kan ikke i Texas. "PDA" (PDA= public display of affection) er ulovlig og lærer må kigge for elever som laver PDA!

Students can hold hands in Denmark but they cannot in Texas. "PDA" (PDA= public display of affection) is illegal and it is the teachers´ job to watch out for it in the halls.

5. Danske gymnasiumer har ikke klokker men klokker ringer i Texas at fortælle hvornår du kan gå eller hvis du er sent.

Danish gymnasiums do not have bells that ring, but in Texas the bells ring to tell you when you can leave and if you are late.

6. Hvis du er sent til en klasse, kommer du i stille og siger "undskyld" og du er ansvarlig at finde ud hvad du har mistet men hvis du er sent til klasse i Texas, går du til kontor for "en sen papir" hvilken laver elev senere.

If you are late to a class, you come in quietly and say "excuse me/I am sorry" and it is your responsibility to find out what you missed, but if you are late in a Texas high school, you must go to the office for a "tardy pass" which ends up making you even later.

7. Hvis du er ikke i klasse, er det dit ansvar at tjekke på LECTIO (Danmarks elektronisk system for skoler at have alting lærer gøre i klasse). Lærer skriver planer på LECTIO og elever skal tjekke hver dag for opgave, dokumenter, og andre ting for klass FØR de kommer. LECTIO fortæller også hvilken lokale at klasse er i fordi det skifter daglig. Hvis elever er ikke i klasse, er de ansvarlig at skrive i LECTIO grunden hvorfor så kontoret har det.

If you are absent from class, it is your repsonsibility to check in LECTIO (Denmark´s electronic system that all gymnasiums use and it has everything that is done in class). Teachers write lesson plans in LECTIO and students are responsible for checking it daily for assignments, attached documents, handouts, and any other things for class BEFORE they actually come to class. LECTIO also tells them what rooms their classes are in because the switch daily (there is not a traditional 7 period day schedule). If the students are not in class, they are also responsible for writing in LECTIO their reason for the absence so the office has a record of it.

8. Vi har ingen ansat i kantin imens elever spiser. Da jeg fortalte mine elever om "kantin lærer" i Texas, troede de ikke mig.

We do not have employees who patrol the cafeteria while students eat. When I told the students about the cafeteria monitors in Texas, they did not believe me.

9. Elever sidder hvor de har lyst hver dag, men i Texas kræver mest skoleinspektør at lærer har "sidder planer" for hver klasse.

We do not use seating charts. Students sit where they would like to each day (and I have never had to ask someone to move), but in Texas, most princpals demand that teachers have seating charts for each class.

10. Pauser imellem klasser er 15 minutter. I Texas, er der fem minutter imellem klasser.

Breaks between classes are 15 minutes. In Texas there are five minutes between classes.

Selvfølgelig er der andre forskelle men disse er de "topti" at jeg har fundet og de er alle forbindet til den "daglig struktur"... men jeg tror at små ting at lave en stor forskel. Så måske jeg var ikke tosset eller forkert... måske jeg har arbejdet i det forkert slags af system! :o)

Of course there are other differences but these are the "top ten" that I have found and they are all connected to the daily operational types of things... but I believe these small things make a big difference. So maybe I was not crazy or wrong... maybe I was just working in the wrong kind of system! :o)

(PS: This post is not to get your opinions about my observations... so please do not comment how much you do not agree with me and what I see as important... my blog is about my observations of my life in Denmark...so I can share with my family and friends what I am learning...right, wrong or indifferent. TAK!)

20 comments:

Amy said...

I love how in America everything is initialized...PDA for example, instead of saying the whole thing, we shorten it to a few letters to hurry things along- what's wrong with using words? By the way, never had that rule when I was in school. I think it's hillarious how we managed to grow up "normal" without all the rules and limitations now put upon kids. The Scandinavian school system is as you say, not perfect, but a more natural way of being..love the responsibility through freedom slogan- it's a slogan I believe in to a degree. All kids need guidance, but when they have NO freedoms, their entire day is planned- wouldn't it seem natural that many rebel against such a system that goes against human nature?

Glad you are getting more out of your school experience in Denmark!!

Bluefish said...

Sounds pretty much like the high school I went to in Canada, except teachers won't go nuts on PDA. Students were even allowed to smoke on school property.

the writer said...

I think my schools in Indonesia have more or less the same rules as American schools.

KCLC said...

Its amazing the difference. I think I would have done wonderful in a Danish school...LOL. I hate to say this...but going to high school for me was like going to prison. I felt the majority of the faculty were just watching and waiting for the students to do something wrong. Are there many nationalities in your school? And do they have cliques and such there?

'Babs' said...

Thankyou for sharing your observations :)

I know that the Danish schooling system is pretty wonderful (in those terms) the older the children get.

My personal preference would be somewhere in the middle of the way Texas does it and the way DK does it.

I like a little formality in schools, the sort that give 'backbone' but I don't like silly rules. The most negative I can see is that Texan schools operate with a lot of silly rules and that Danish schools are way too lax.

But all in all, I'd rather be in a sociable friendly Danish school for 11th and 12th grade than anywhere else. I think the students have a lot of good fun too, and they feel trusted which must make a difference.

Regarding your warning about comments: erm, for the record, I agree with you ;)

Jennie said...

I always felt that my high school in Denton was taking its lead from the state prison and not from places of a higher education.

We couldn't even leave the friggin' parking lot without a note saying that it was legitimate!

Goo to see you're enjoying your paradigm shift!

PS: Also amazing that you are so consistent in writing both Danish and English. Kudos!

LadyFi said...

Interesting... never realized there were so many rules over there in Texas.. kind of like in the UK, I guess.

My sister is still shocked that all Swedish students - even at kindergarten - call the teachers by their first name. Much better in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

So what does a cafeteria monitor do? Checking that people don't throw food at each other?


In Denmark I have never called anybody by their lastname unless there was two persons present with the same firstnsme. And never called someone Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. etc. People don't introduce themselves by their lastname either, ususally they only tell thier firstname when they introduce themselves. 50 years ago people in Denmark were more formal though.
I know in Germany they are much more formal than Denmark and often calls people by their lastname and say Mr. and Mrs. etc.

C and H Romenesko said...

Interesting observations. I love to read others' observations. I had to chuckle with the PS...

GutsyWriter said...

I found your post very interesting, especially as my best friend in Copenhagem is a school teacher and my kids go to high school in California. The one thing she brought up recently was the inconsistency among teachers, for example, one teacher won't allow cell phones in the class (because of texting) whereas another one will. She mentioned she wished the school Principal would be more firm about the rules on that. She also teaches mostly Muslim kids in Copenhagen and has a tough time dealing with the kids' behavior and cultural differences, and their parents who don't speak Danish.
I didn't realize you were a high school teacher, and now I see why your Danish is excellent. Thanks for sharing. I like to learn about differences between nationalities and cultures. P.S. I finished "Petite Anglaise," and you asked me to review it, which I shall in my next post.

Caution Flag said...

Those rules surely aren't limited to Texas. I've been told that I cannot hold my students accountable for anything not governed by a rule in the course syllabus. What???!

PiNG aka Patti said...

As I see it, the Danish system is allowing teenagers to grow into becoming adults - insisting that they take responsibility for themselves. Unfortunately, in the US, we've gone to the extreme in instituting so many rules that we've stunted the growth of our teens. What is frightening about that is that when those teens suddenly go off to college and have no idea what personal responsibility actually entails.

Mads and Kelli said...

Patti-- I totally agree. Not that our system is perfect but at least when Danish kids turn 18, they are not shocked into adult hood.. I worry about our American kids who are TOLD what they cannot do for so long that when they are able to decide on their own, they freak.. and often make WRONG choices.

And Anonymous..
a cafeteria monitor makes sure that kids do not throw food, of course, but even more... that they do not break all those other rules...PDA, cell phones, etc ... oh and at my old school, they broke up fights on a regular basis... And yes, these are DEGREED PROFESSIONALS who are the cafeteria monitors....

Bluefish said...

By the way, in elementary school we called the teachers by their first names. But in high school we had to call them 'sir' or 'madame'.

SH said...

LOVING that whole "LECTIO" system. I'd dig having something similar at school.

US public education is a big old nightmare, for many of the reasons you listed. An overdependence on rules and an unwillingness to alter rules or eliminate them when they are not effective or practical is part of the reason we're in the academic toilet.

Love you!!

Archaeogoddess said...

This was a fantastic post! I've always wondered about Danish schools, but it's hard to get a good description from Danes because they don't know what's different from the US system.

PDA's in my highschool were okay as long as it didn't get into "heavy petting." Which is a very vague term that seemed to be applied differently depending on the authority figure and the couples involved. I remember one time sneaking off campus (economics was SO DULL) and running smack into several English teachers in the parking lot who had snuck out to smoke. HAH! By my senior year we'd learned that if we wanted to break the rules, we just did it, flagrantly. We could cut class by laying out on the lawn. If someone asked "are you going to go to class?" we'd say "no." And people just assumed we had permission. How did I ever make it into college?

I have seen what happens to kids who never learned personal responsibility - the drop out rate for freshmen at the college I went to is INSANE. First years were suddenly presented with alcohol and they learned the hard way what happens when you drink too much of it. The freshmen dorms often smelled of vomit and pee. Nice.

Stephen J McGinnis said...

Well its seams like in Denmark they are getting there kids ready for the real life of collage and the real world and leaving all the responsibility to the student and not holding there had through it all and then they have a higher chance of failing... but yet in the danish system they are use to all the responsibility so nothing goes wrong... i think texas and the US should be like the danes

Lisa said...

It seems like both Denmark and the US are getting their students ready for life as an adult in their respected countries. I myself have been an HR manager for a big telephone company. My job was basically the same as the teachers in the school. IE. making sure everyone knew the rules. Had the slip of paper to excuse their being late, progressive steps of dicipline. Micro managing was expected of us. Arghh!

nettielouise said...

Funny, one time my students asked me what my first name was. When I told them it was "Nettie" they started laughing and said, "No, really...what's your first name."

Maybe that's why Texas teachers don't tell students their first names. *grins*

Kevin said...

Love the Danish rules. Sounds like SH should maybe contemplate teaching over there!!!