One thing I find truly bizarre and often even a little annoying in France is the constant direction needed by the children. I know you’re probably thinking “they’re children, of course they need direction” but here direction is taken to a completely different level. If you were to have a piece of work for a class to copy out you couldn’t just go into the room and say “copy this piece into your work book” and if you did you would get absolutely bombarded with questions. It’s necessary to say “take your English book, take your green pen and your ruler, underline the last piece of work, take your blue pen, write the date and title, take your red pen, underline it, take your blue pen, copy the text” – so okay, that’s a little exaggerated but to be truly honest, not by too much.
Even after saying all of those things there’s about an 8 out of 10 possibility that there will be a raised hand somewhere in the class asking a mundane question that, as a child, I would probably have just made my own decision about. For example, I’ve underlined my piece of work but there are only 3 lines left of the page – now do I continue writing there or do I start on the next page. Personally I feel that it doesn’t really matter so long as the work is being done – but a situation like this can send a French child into panic mode and they have to be directed. “It will probably be better to start it on the next page where there is more room” “Oh, d’accord”.
I’m not ranting or complaining at all about this, I think it actually shows that the French kids are more ready to listen and to take into consideration what they are being asked to do. I just find it un peu bizzare!