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Middle School Education In The Us

Discussion in 'General Discussions - USA & Canada' started by BhumiBabe, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. silento

    silento Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you, thank you !Goodness, I feel like a kid in the candy store, doing a happy dance here :). This will indeed help us first time middle school parents so much.
     
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  2. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    So, about "Testing out" of a foreign language, yes, you can do it for a native language such as, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, etc. This will require talking to the school counselors for the paperwork required and where/how their testing requirements work. I took Spanish in MS, and in HS. I learned Japanese from my friend's mother in HS. Since, Japanese already had an established testing out standard in the US, I was easily able to get foreign language credit for it.

    When I was in HS, our community created a Tamil school in our area (not affiliated with the temple) and started creating a syllabus for students to receive credit for the weekend classes, since MS students are the least interested in learning the native language. While I wasn't able to get credit, the younger students did - though it might have been only HS credit. I am not sure what the MS requirements are. The local Tamil school organized a way to match the California standards (I grew up in Dallas, for reference), and administered the test for the students interested in testing out. It is rigorous, and only students that had a lot of interest in learning the native language can pass. The tests require students to be able to READ, WRITE, and SPEAK the language. Most of us are able to speak colloquially, and pass that part. The reading and writing aspects require the student to have a vast vocabulary, ability to spell, construct sentences using correct grammar, and be able to write short answers/essays (I am not qualified for this in Tamil). I'll be honest, most parents that I've met, do not know the native language enough to teach to this detail - especially if they attended an English medium school in India.

    I am not saying this to discourage anyone from testing out. I am just expressing that it is a level beyond what children normally use at home and requires a lot of prep work.
     
  3. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    Moved post to Gabfest.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  4. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    OK, now back to the kale & quinoa of this thread (I'm vegetarian, so no 'meat'!).

    I hated school all the way through. Had I been in the US then, I'm sure I'd be a surf bum now or at least had a stint as one before sanity prevailed. As it is, I was saved by a singular lack of imagination and the straight and narrow of a traditional Indian upbringing. I simply could not envision things being any different as I trudged wearily through my schooling.

    Consequently, I have spent some time thinking about education and associated matters. I have no kids and I have dealt only with students 16 and over. So keep that in mind as you read what follows.

    What I have to say applies to middle-school only to the extent that it is a precursor to high-school and beyond. I have made some efforts to get involved with school education, made visits with plans in mind, but then it was pointed out to me that Indian parents are beyond obsessive about the entrance exams and the engineering/med-school tracks. Messing about with that trajectory would be a non-starter. 'Education' only gets in the way. I sympathize (to some extent) and find myself back at the drawing board. Perhaps someday I will target middle-school kids for enrichment (theirs, not mine, I hasten to add!)!:wink1:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  5. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    I just realized that I wasn't clear about the Language credits. When I was in MS, 7th and 8th grade Spanish counted toward half the requirement in HS. I was still required to take another year, so it essentially helped me finish the requirement faster and complete something else with the extra space in my schedule - I chose to take flex time and work at Kumon.
     
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  6. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah IL Hall of Fame

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    I will try to add my perspective on some of the issues raised above, starting with this one, since I think a lot of parents struggle with it and I have dealt with it in my own way training novices.

    Keep in mind that I have only dealt with a highly self-motivated and self-selecting population of students, always in a one-on-one situation (except for the occasional judging of science competitions and the like). On top of that of course, there's a bit of a selection on my part (except for the kids of friends - mercifully rare - where no selection is involved, except choosing your parents!:lol:).
     
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  7. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    silento, count yourself as upgraded from candy store to inside an edible gingerbread house. : )
     
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  8. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    In our school system second lang like Spanish starts at elementary with basic vocabulary building in 4th grade and in middle school continues as a separate subject and then into HS for 4 years with Jr and Sr year providing options for AP course. Me being a lang teacher (not by profession) can't imagine a kid becoming fluent in a language which they could carry it forward unless they have this much exposure 7-9 yrs as they don't speak that language at home.

    Now coming to indian lang learning say Tamil that happens on weekends during a reg school year for 30-32 weeks from K-7 grade helps the child if and only if they speak the native language at home. BB I am aware of the California Tamil teaching institute s rigorous HSCP ( high school credit program) course and much to my disappointment there are few who misuse the wonderful learning system just to get credit. College level lang transcript that is used for evaluation is of very high standard and unless native language learning is taken seriously its better to follow what is offered in the school system. That leaves me with a question why do parents go for HSCP credit just for credits/ marks or instill the love for learning ones own mother tongue?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  9. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    On the topic of foreign language (FL) in HS -- if child is applying to very competitive colleges (top 5 or top 10 kind) in a very sought after major, note that colleges prefer students who have studied FL in high school for 4 years or until the max level of that FL that the school offers. This applies to any sought after major.

    If testing out or completing the requirements by writing a subject SAT test in that FL, check the admissions blog of that competitive college and collegeconfidential.com to get an idea of how that college views if student studied less than 4 yrs of FL in HS. In particular, what should student do in the FL category for the 3rd or 4th year of HS.

    And, if college website says "x years of FL study required, y years preferred" - then, they mean the same (one) FL, and continuous years of study. Skipping FL in 11th grade to study other subjects, with the intention of studying FL again in 12th grade, is not a good idea, even if school OK's it.

    Testing out by using an Indian language is better if the child studied in India till 8th or 9th, and hence using that option. That also works well with the overall profile the child will present on college application. Also, colleges know how hard Spanish, Mandarin, French, Korean, Japanese etc can be. They might not really get how much work goes into studying an Indian language at that level. In the worst case scenario, they might view it like a native Chinese/Mandarin speaking student studying that as FL in HS just to get good grades easily. The "they" in the previous few sentences means the person reading the college application.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  10. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    A general note - not sure which is the best place to put it.

    Education topic threads like this one soon get heavy with information and opinions. The content in these is very useful to read, understand : ) and save for whenever needed. But, it is also easy to get overwhelmed and feel that one does not know all there is to know. I call that the fear of "oh my God if this is all that I now know, what all must be there that I don't know..!"

    U.S. education, right from preschool to high school and college is very forgiving for any missed opportunities, mind-changes etc. Even if parent does no research, does not have helpful fellow-parents in the community... : ) all will be well. Child will utilize and reach his/her potential and shine sooner or later.

    More so for us Indian parents, who tend to worry more than needed. Maybe I am speaking more to myself!

    ====
    Another disclaimer/disclosure while I am at it : ) - This level of knowledge about the schools, teachers, courses etc etc is not needed. I was planning to get a certification and take up a related job part-time, and hence worked actively to gather what I know and so eloquently discourse on. : ) That plan got shelved, but what I know cannot be un-know'ed
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017

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