At first I wanted to name this blog gloriously “5 differences between European and US educational system” but that wouldn´t be really accurate. First of all I haven´t studied anywhere else except Slovakia, so that would be too generalizing. And it also sounds too official. This is definitely not going to be an academic text. Just my observation from few classes that I was able to attend this week at ASU.
So here are my 5 reasons for which I think I will enjoy studying here:
1. Teachers remember your name.
I am not a big ego person, but sometimes it feels strange when after three months your teacher still calls you “you, in that red sweater” or “you, who came late to the class”. That happenes often in Slovak schools. Although if you come late next time, the teacher might remeber your name…
2. Teachers have opened doors to their offices.
From what I remember we were allowed to visit teacher´s offices only during their “consulting hours” and to arrange “an audience” in any other time was almost impossible. Here it seems you can ask for advice anytime and that helps a lot.
3. Teachers act like your friends
In Slovakia (and from what I know from my friends this applies also to other post-communist countries) the relationships between teachers and students are much more formal than here. Unless it´s your schoolmate fromprevious years who now teaches you because of his PhD, it is unacceptable to call your teacher with his first name. Teachers also never meet their students in their past time or go for a lunch with them.
4. Teachers teach you what you really need for life.
When I am thinking about my University days I don´t remember anything else except of memorizing thousands of sentences that had no importance to my future career at all (to be honest I also remember some partying:) Here in US, students work on practical projects since the beginning of semester. That helps them to feel much more confident when they graduate the school and look for a job.
5. Teachers grade the student according to their real accomplishments.
Now, this might seem obvious too, but not everywhere it works like that. Although I´m not saying that all teachers at Slovak universities have their “preferred students” and “the other ones”, it happens a lot. One particular teacher of mine had a very sophisticated way of how to show the students that his grades are based “solely on the result of the final test”. At the final examination nobody was allowed to write his name on the test. You could write only the number, so the teacher would not know to who the test belongs. The only problem was, that he was the one who told you which number to write down and had a full list of student names and their numbers.
I know this looks like a horrible criticism of schools in my own country, but everything comes from my own experience. Fortunately the talks about changes in educational system in Slovakia are going on, and we hope a lot will change.
Oh, and I´ve almost forgotten about the thing I enjoy the most about studying at ASU – i can write my homework by the pool!