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10 June 2014 @ 05:04 am
I feel you, L high school seniors  
I'll have to take a tangent to explain myself because 'L high school seniors' will probably make no sense to you. Yup, I'm going all educational about education XD It's really really long and probably boring as hell, but you could always use it as a resource if that's the sort of thing you're interested in. I do hope it's clear enough because it's early in the morning and I probably make no sense since I didn't sleep this night I know it's a lot to take in. Anyway, I can answer questions.

Now a funny anecdote is that the grades are reversed. The grade 6 is the same year in both France and the US, which is called the sixth here but in reality stands for the sixth year before the bac. And what's the bad, you may ask. For most high school students, hell. For older persons, a diploma that lost its worth and is as easily obtainable as a gaming console.

But we all agree in that even through its "useless" and won't guarantee we'll get a job with it, we can't afford not to have it (and I must point out that it's rare for French to agree on something as a whole... Except that we like to disagree and complain about other French, that's a national sport here XD No really, nobody hates us more than ourselves).

Back to the bac (wow, frenglish pun here *giggles*). It's a diploma you get at the end of high school if you pass the days-long tests at the end of grade 12. But more important than just any other high school exam, it's your pass to higher education. You won't have access to any higher education without the bac or an equivalence. You could always start working... but most jobs require the bac. Even if it's a part-time job like working in McDonald's, if you don't have the bac, you'll likely not get hired.

But it's even more important. There are quite a lot of bacs, but I'll only be speaking about the three main series, which are called general streams (literal translation is 'series') with each its focus: L for literary, S for scientific and ES for economics and social (which is a balance between L and S but with eco added to the mix). You choose your stream in the end of grade 10 and you've got to be careful because it's your future, like really.

If you choose S and ES it's still okay because they're balanced enough. If you choose L, forget about sciences and economics, you won't have the basic scientific knowledge for it. In fact, you can almost forget all that's not literary or artistic careers (you could still go to things like law though). So basically, you want to be an artist? Go for any series, with ES or S you'd always change your mind later. You want to be a physician, go for S. Aren't decided on what you'll do? If you've got good grades, you go for S; average grades, you go for ES.

There's a saying which never ceased to amused us and is sadly quite true: "ES students make market research for the need of cartons, S design them, STG (Science and Technology of Management) produce them and L sleep in them [meaning: L end up homeless]". If you don't know what to do later, you just don't go to L (except if you suck at everything except literary subjects, of course).

I'm simplifying things, obviously, but that's the core of general high school education. Mine was L, which is when I learnt to ramble a lot ad tell not so much in lots of words, while making it seems like I wasn't repeating myself. You see, I just did that: an overlong sentence when I could have written: I learnt to speak of nothing with many words XD

Anyway, once you've got your stream, depending on it, you've also got to choose a specialty. L's specialties includes subjects like languages and arts. ES and S speak for themselves. It'll determine your most important subject, the one you'll be in trouble for screwing it when passing the bac. Which leads me to how to obtain the bac. You've got to take one exam per school subject at the end of grade 12 (like finals. What your grades were during the whole school year don't count). Then taking in account your section and specialty, you'll have an average note ranging from 0 to 20 (the grading system is a 20-point scale). If you got 10 or more, you passed (10 isn't good though, it's just merely meh). And just to say, having a average note of 20 is almost impossible. In fact, I've got another funny quote that'll give you an idea of how grading is (in general, not just for the bac). "20 is for God and 19 is for the teacher" (except for math, where you're just right or wrong). 10 to 11 = average. 12 to 13 = acceptable/good enough. 14 to 15 = good. Anything over 16 is excellent. That's the theory but actually, with average 'acceptable' grades, you're a good student. Anything higher, you're an excellent student. Over 18, you're a genius or have no life, maybe both. 20, sorry, you don't exist XD

I don't know if I'm clear enough but you'll understand better with an example. I chose the L stream with the specialty History of art.

That's the subjects I had to take with their coefficients between parenthesis so you see what's important. What's in italics are the optional subjects. It's more work but you can only gain points with it: if you got bad grades it won't count. And you can chose from quite a lot of subjects (included horse riding). It mostly depends on if you chose options during high school (most don't, it's three hours per week per option on top of the other subjects)/extra-scholar activities.

That's for the subjects you take at the end of grade 11: you don't have them anymore in grade 12, they're replaced by other subjects (depending on your stream).

French language — written (3): it's only coeff 2 for S and ES
French language — oral (2): fortunately for me, it's only 2 because I majestically screwed mine. The exam is divided in two sections, a 10-minutes text explanation (chosen at random between a 40-something texts you've studied during the year. Other sections have it easy, they've got half of these XD) and a 10-minutes interview. I did the explanation's intro and told the teacher to skip the rest to get to the interview XD

TPS (2): it's an obligatory optional subjects if you're not homeschooled. It stands for Supervised Personal Work and because it wasn't ironic enough with the obligatory optional part, it's not a truly personal work either. Actually, it's a group research (2 to 5 persons) you've got to present at the end of the year in front of a teacher. You've got 10 minutes to do it then a 20-minutes. The presentation's subject must be related to two school subjects chosen by the teachers in the beginning of the year. My class' was French and History, so it was easy to pick a subject. My group's was 'The conflictual relationships between the authors and the government during the Second Empire'. Yeah, the title's pompous as hell, I know XD And actually, it can be pretty funny because you choose the form of the paper and presentation you've got to do. For example, my group's paper we did a newspaper and our presentation, a play where we disguised ourselves in 19th century characters (I was the poor newspaper boy XD).

Math (2)
Sciences (2)

And that's all for grade 11. Now onto the main things, at the end of grade 12.

Literature (4)
History/Geography (4) The major (either history or geography) is chosen randomly. The minor is a few questions and a map to complete. The final note is addition of major + minor (first is graded on 12 and second on 7). Personally, I didn't do the minor because I suck at pure geography. Got 7 on that one XD
PE (2): it's the only subject that isn't a final. You've got one sport per trimester and then your final note is the average between the three notes you got.

1st foreign language (4) coeff 3 for other streams
2nd foreign language (4) coeff 2 for other streams

My 1st foreign language was German and 2nd English but I switched them for the finals.

3rd foreign language (2) Japanese
Plastic arts (2)

History of art — written (3)
History of art — oral (3)

And be prepared because that's the doom of the L stream.

Philo (7)

Yes, the most important subject—no matter what your specialty is—is fucking philo. If you screw philo, you'll have to ace in all other subjects. The thing is, your grade relies much more on randomness than anything else (doesn't mean studying doesn't count) because not one teacher grades philo in the same way as another one. Also, you'll know that we've got 8 FUCKING HOURS OF PHILOSOPHY PER WEEK in grade 12 when we never had done any philosophy before. YES. Welcome to L! XD

That's why I feel these poor L high school seniors who'll take the bac next week. When it'll be the World Cup frenzy. Just like when I took the exam. No really, poor, poor guys XD

PS: I'm not overreacting about philo. Look, for my year, we had to chose between these three subjects (welcome to philo, sources of head desks for students of every streams since forever):

1) Can the research of the truth be disinterested?

2) Shall the past be forgotten in order to build a future?

3) Explain the text:

When we were treating of laws, since human actions, with which laws are concerned, are composed of contingent singulars and are innumerable in their diversity, it was not possible to lay down rules of law that would apply to every single case. Legislators in framing laws attend to what commonly happens: although if the law be applied to certain cases it will frustrate the equality of justice and be injurious to the common good, which the law has in view. Thus the law requires deposits to be restored, because in the majority of cases this is just. Yet it happens sometimes to be injurious---for instance, if a madman were to put his sword in deposit, and demand its delivery while in a state of madness, or if a man were to seek the return of his deposit in order to fight against his country. In these and like cases it is bad to follow the law, and it is good to set aside the letter of the law and to follow the dictates of justice and the common good. This is the object of "epikeia" which we call equity. Therefore it is evident that "epikeia" is a virtue.

"Epikeia" does not set aside that which is just in itself but that which is just as by law established. Nor is it opposed to severity, which follows the letter of the law when it ought to be followed. To follow the letter of the law when it ought not to be followed is sinful. Hence it is written in the Codex of Laws and Constitutions under Law v: "Without doubt he transgresses the law who by adhering to the letter of the law strives to defeat the intention of the lawgiver."

It would be passing judgment on a law to say that it was not well made; but to say that the letter of the law is not to be observed in some particular case is passing judgment not on the law, but on some particular contingency.
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Music: Murray Gold - Vale
     Mandya_phoenixdragon on June 10th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
They need to honor the previous system but yeah...fix this shit. Ffffff...
Luoluorescence on June 10th, 2014 04:34 am (UTC)
It's a shame because there's a lot of good things to keep but that tends to be drown into the overall ughiness. The government tries to reform it, but they don't know how to deal the problem (the mountain of problems) and end up being clumsy and taking bad decisions. Coupled to French's natural weariness of any change. Even more when the fundamentals of French school are the same since their creation by Napoleon. It's tradition and you don't mess with tradition XD

But more seriously it's a very delicate subject, even if we all agree things need to change. The difficult thing is to keep a modern education system, which will be good as many people as possible while keeping the traditions and traits that's making the strongest points of French school.
antliae_1antliae_1 on June 10th, 2014 08:45 am (UTC)
It's not a modern system anymore because in Elementary school, pupils can't learn basic stuffs easily as before.

Anyway, French Education's system sucks now. Because you need to be graduated from BAC, but to be graduated it's simple as saying 'hello'.
Luo: 10luorescence on June 10th, 2014 09:48 am (UTC)
I wasn't saying it's modern. I meant the changes should give modernity and respect the spirit that comes from the tradition.

How easy it is isn't that much of a problem since all the selection is done with your results or at the uni, later. Real problem is that uni everything is kinda worthless compared to the Grandes Écoles and going to uni isn't that great.
猿 | Yuan: 【Bowie】ricochetflourflower on June 10th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC)
Btw, one of the greatest flaws of the French system is that once you're out, you're out. And descholarization is a growing problem that can't be dealt with EVEN if the student puts their all into getting back into school. The French system also refuses to recognize any kind of foreign education, even if it surpasses the French level. The amount of bullshit about this is so high it's unbearable.

And okay, traditions are nice and all, but at this point, it's pure elitist bigotry. Nothing more. There are some good ideas to keep, but mostly, things need to change a lot. And for now, all I see are pointless reforms making things worst (dropping history for S series' 12th grade? seriously, couldn't you come up with anything better?).
Personally, I don't give a shit if traditions are swept off the table as long as it's for the better. The French put way more emphasis on tradition rather than on efficientness sometimes, and I can't stand it.

Let's not even get to the bullshit administration our uni students have to deal with. Well, uni students in particular, but mostly everyone as well.

But let's face it: it would take a lot of time, money, and effort to change this flawed-ass system. Even if we were to find actual solutions and the order in which to unfold them.
And let's not get to the stupid teachers our schools are flooded with. Just thinking about it makes me angry.

#AngryYuan2k14 #ThisHasBeenARant #YuanOut #WorldPeace
Luoluorescence on June 10th, 2014 04:20 pm (UTC)
France in general and administration is hell in paper forms. Ugh. But yeah, I completely agree with you, even if I do appreciate traditions, it's more than time to try another way to change things. Easier said than done, though...
Azzie's corner of madness: Ian/Barbaraflowsoffire on June 14th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
…you are French too. And a former L student.

Yes. Fandom world is small!!! o.O
Luo: Mordinluorescence on June 14th, 2014 02:17 pm (UTC)
You were in L too?

Fandom world is so small! In my experience, once you know someone, you always end up knowing lots of people and it's "OMG YOU KNOW X EITHER? WOW! THE WORLD IS SOOO SMALL!"
Azzie's corner of madness: Icy lightflowsoffire on June 14th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
Yup! ^_^ Philo hell, that's us!

Indeed. Well, it's not called the web for nothing :D