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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Over the past few weeks I have been watching the street decorations appear slowly. First the overhead lights on each of the streets around the square, then the sapin branch archways dotted along the streets, the construction of the patinoire (ice rink) in place carnot, the luge (toboggan slide) for the little children on the square near the train station and the fair on place gambetta. Yesterday was the opening ceremony, I’ve recently discovered that there was a traditional march and would have loved to have seen it but wasn’t informed about it so didn’t get to, which is a little sad. I did my own little march today though. Christmas fair on Square Gambetta

This morning, after I lay in bed for a while sleeping off the previous night’s Dutch Sinterklaas soirée, I got ready, cleaned my apartment and then headed out for a wander around Christmassy Carcassonne. As I entered the square I could smell, hear and see Christmas (and many children!). The queue for the patinoire was long and there were many many faces wooshing around the rink, I even spotted some of my students. I weaved in and out of all the people and huts selling various things and I headed towards Pont Vieux – Cité bound. I leisurely strolled up the hill to the beautiful castle, found a bench and alternated between reading my book and watching the world go by, it was a really nice relaxing afternoon! I strolled back down after about an hour and a half, weaved back in and out of the huts and people. Now I’m home, I’m relaxed and I’m about to eat a samosa I bought from one of the huts. It’s 2 weeks today until I return for Christmas, and whilst I absolutely cannot wait to be home I know I will miss this little town for the 2 weeks that I’m not occupying it.

The view from my book-reading bench.

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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!

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