Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Livret Scholaire

The school year ended and final reports were sent out. This was Marc and Nina’s first major one, and I hadn’t realized it would be undecipherable. After spending an hour trying to decode the document I ask my French-speaking Algerian neighbour, Soraya, for help. She points out the important lines, and assures me that all is well if Marc is going up to the next class. The Livert Scolaire or school book is organized in cycles, Cycle 1 is the maternelle or pre-school classes – petit, moyen and grand, going up to the year when the child is six. Cycle 2 is the following three years - CP/CE1 and CE2, taking the child up to age nine.

Marc and Nina’s report are graded : A reports compétence acquise, B denotes compétence en cours normal d’acquisition, C is compétence à renforcer and D signals compétence non encore acquise. An A means you got it, B shows that the competence in the subject is developing normally, a C asks that the understanding is reinforced and a D is not yet understood. Marc has an even sprinkle of A, B and C’s. Thankfully there are no D’s. Maths seems to be his best subject. French his worst and the comments state that his English is ‘interfering’ with his reading and writing. Nina has mainly ‘acquired’ what she should have and scores high on oral languages, except for some issues with sound recognition and articulation. Marc is not paying attention in his English classes (boredom maybe?) while Nina is an chatty and active participant.

The seven-page document lists every possible testable item on the curriculum from sport, singing to class attitude and autonomy. Some items I simply did not understand, like these examples from the French language section: ‘sait utiliser le classement de BCD.’, ‘distingue dans la phrase simple le GNS du GV.’ Grammar figures highly, there are several paragraphs about verbs, conjugation and vocabulary. There are some areas that I find particular French; the ability to speak ‘correctly’, to logically organize thoughts, and to write perfectly, that is, within the lines, respecting the margin, spaces and connecting letters. This would be asking too much of an English child of the same age, who is just beginning to do joined-up writing...never mind speaking correctly.

I read through the book amazed at the things Marc and Nina should have learnt. In panic I turn to the last page and see the phrase ‘passage a CE1’ and ‘passage a GS’ .Yes! Marc and Nina have made it to the next class! But there is also the sobering thought that the work will get harder and Marc certainly will have keep up with the class…. and somewhere along the line I am going to have do a crash course in French grammar or how can I ever help him?

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