We were talking at the dinner table this evening about accents and the fact that the French find it difficult to pronounce the sound ‘th’. I asked my 9 year old son if his teacher ever got him to speak during their English lessons to help the others know how to pronounce the words properly.
'No, the teacher tells us what to say.'
‘Well at least when you repeat it they’ll hear how to say it properly.’ I reasoned.
‘No, I say it with the same accent as the teacher.’
I found this quite funny, well really funny actually. Sorry but imagining him ‘speeeking like zis’ in class just tickled me. When I stopped laughing I asked ‘Why on earth do you do that?’
‘Because that’s the way they teach us to speak English.’
Although I did find it funny, there is a more serious side. This simple answer speaks volumes about a fundamental flaw with teaching practices in many French schools. Children generally are not encouraged to think for themselves or question what they are taught. It explains a lot about some attitudes in France. Many times I’ve been frustrated when confronted by situations where functionaries seem unable to think outside the box. It’s done this way, because it is, and that’s the way it’s always been done! Or am I putting 2 and 2 together and making 5?
Anyway, now I'm off to make a chocolate cake for my little girl who's 4 years old tomorrow :)