Monday, February 7, 2011

Flying By

That's basically what my time here is doing. Not only have I been here only a month, but I didn't realise until tonight that this coming Saturday is when I'm going to Wales, and next week is going to pass by in a blur because on the days when I'm not in class, I'll be seeing show (Carmen with flamenco dancing, Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch [who played Paul Marshall in Atonement] and Naomi Harris [Tia Dalma from the Pirates movies], and The Children's Hour WITH KEIRA KNIGHTLEY!) Then that Saturday, Megan's coming, reading week and our adventures commence, my plays are produced that next weekend, and I see another play... and then February's over.

After sitting through another slightly painful RT class (during which a group of classmates verbally attacked another's opinion. Their arguments were redundant and tedious after three minutes, but they kept going for much longer while the rest of us, including our teacher, studied our nails until they chilled out), I observed a few things. Despite some of my classmates in RT being like wolves when they get bored, most of my English classmates are quite timid when it comes to doing things. For example, when an American student answers, they just say what their response is. Students here seem to preface nearly every academic response with, "Isn't it..." or "Could it be..." They also apologise when they get an answer wrong, which baffles me. You're in school to learn. Yes, it sucks to get something wrong, but it's no reason to apologise. It's not the end of the world.
Also, because the students are so hesitant, teachers have to drag the answers out. They have the habit of, after the student has responded initially, pressing them with, "Can you expand on that?" I sometimes feel like the students here are terrified of making mistakes. I can't claim that I'm not this kind of person, but students here tread very, very carefully. I think it does have something to do with the fact that your entire grade depends on three or so assignments, but it's still a very different attitude than in America. But even with all that, it also seems like sometimes they try to do as little work as possible (like with RT's giant freak out last week.) Sometimes they'll even say they prefer not to answer a question... and the teacher will allow it, without asking them to try to answer (quite the opposite of the "expand" idea.)

Teachers also apologise a lot. My oldest teacher (who isn't very old at all) doesn't so much, but my two younger ones are constantly apologising- for the length of assignments, going overtime in class, making a slide that's hard to read... it's all very tiring, actually. At home, teachers rarely apologise for the length of an essay or going overtime... then again, students don't complain about it to the teacher, so maybe it's all give and take.

On another subject, I had dinner at a place called Nando's tonight with Adrienne and Megan. They're all over the city and they serve delicious chicken "burgers" (which are just chicken sandwiches) with "chips." Their restaurants are nicely decorate with cool lights, too- sadly, I didn't know we were going, so I didn't have my camera to take a picture.

That's all for me today!


Mrs. Flury said...

Benedict Cumberbatch?! He plays Sherlock Holmes in the new Masterpiece Theatre "Sherlock" series. He is GOOD!

I am so thrilled for you to have these opportunities, Rachel! I am all star-struck, and I'm only reading about it all!

Rachel said...

Oh, yes- I haven't seen that, but I did hear he was in it.

I'm so happy I get to see all of these amazing plays here- every single thing I've seen here has been good in its own way. I'm pretty star-struck, too. I'm a fan of a lot of American Broadway actors, but (maybe because I don't live in NYC), I find it very hard to see them in many shows like you can here.

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