Saturday, June 18, 2011
His class were to perform a little show for parents. I'll just say that again for those who have forgotten my kids go to a French school - my son took part in a musical show as part of his education!
French schools are not renowned for including creativity in the curriculum which is why I'm drawing attention to the fact. Children often learn by rote and their handwriting is strictly controlled, and if they want to express their creativity they're obliged to join an association outside school. Inside it's noses to the grindstone and robot responses, please!
My youngest had kept his activities pretty quiet, along with most other things. It was only fairly recently that he slipped it into the conversation that they were preparing a show as part of the year's work. Three teachers were involved to bring together music, dance and French in a show written by the children (aged 10/11). They suggested the music and came up with the theme of the library to run through the show.
The story was that a couple of boys had to prepare a project on Africa so they went to the library to find some books on the subject. When they found one on a topic such as living conditions, they 'went off to read about it' and the class came out to dance or enact a song on the subject. Another topic was music and the last one was a traditional story about a poor girl with a step mother who had to go and visit a leopard to mend a vase and as she was polite and respectful was rewarded while the step-sister was selfish and rude, and she got punished (she was eaten by a snake).
The whole class was involved in the dance routines, with more or less shuffling... and there was one scene which required playing various traditional instruments by a small group (including my son who had to keep the rhythm). They had to learn songs, music and dialogue, plus the story-teller's story. It was pretty impressive because they did an excellent job.
To be fair, primary schools do make more of an effort to get the kids performing at least for an end of year 'kermesse' (which is usually dire) which has a theme such as planets, the sea, Africa, the environment, etc. with kids performing some sort of bland little routine (after which or during preferably, you need a strong drink). What was different about my son's show is that it was longer than usual - 30mins so they had time to get their teeth into a story, and instead of being dire, it was interesting!
Once they get to collège, they perform nothing more and can be as creative as a rotting toe nail. Mind you, at that age they're probably too cool to go on stage with their school mates so it would be incredibly difficult anyway for teachers to prise them away from their phones and get them to rehearse.
At that age now they prefer making their own movies, filmed on their phones, of them doing silly things and then taking the piss out of each other, but secretly proud of their creative achievements... Actually, I'm dead jealous of the technology they have. I would have loved to be able to do similar when I was that age.
Naturally I forgot to take any pictures or film my youngest's show, but it did mean I could enjoy it as it happened instead of later on a screen...