not to dictate DS's GCSE coursework?

(45 Posts)
conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 18:31:33

We have a 15 year old. He is asking me to help him with a French task that will be part of his GCSE. I am pretty good at languages, including French. All he has to do is comment on a photo and he has ages (2 weeks) to prepare for an exam in which he will have to reproduce his learned work. I have several problems with this method but understand that this is what he has to work with.
I have spent the past hour trying to help him without just dictating what he should put. He got increasingly irate that I was being difficult and 'challenging him' instead of helping him and has now stormed off saying he will get someone else to give him the answers.

AIBU to stand my ground, or should I help him?

CailinDana Wed 23-Oct-13 18:33:20

Hard to say - does he find French particularly difficult?

ErrolTheDragon Wed 23-Oct-13 18:35:28

>AIBU to stand my ground, or should I help him?

You are helping him - spoonfeeding answers isn't really helpful in the long run.

YANBU. Stand your ground.

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 18:35:57

He says he is not doing well in French and asked me to give him some extra help. He emailed me the questions and his answers so far, which he has got just be translating using the internet. I suggested marking up changes in track changes so he could see them and ask about them but he was incredibly frustrated as he didn't understand track changes. So I turned that off and suggested he tell me what he wanted to write and we would work through it together. So he stormed off.

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 18:36:50

Errol, that's what I said! We have 2 week, in that time you can understand all this. But no, he wants the easy way. I hate this system that just rewards students with academic parents.

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 18:56:11

I want him to do well, he has had a very rough start (we are not his parents) sad

HighNoon Wed 23-Oct-13 18:56:49

My son scored high marks by writing what he wanted to say in English and the translating it with a DICTIONARY! He was amazed at the very concept.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 18:58:55

YANBU. It's supposed to be his own work anyway.

NipNaps Wed 23-Oct-13 18:59:24

OP - this may be me being a bit thick but I don't understand what you mean by "track changes"?

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 19:03:13

nipnaps there is a function in word that allows you to make changes and show them in a different colour, so you can see what is different.

I have been given this child to help him. It has been tough. I so want him to succeed but I hate this attitude that we should just do it for him.

Renniehorta Wed 23-Oct-13 19:03:55

He will find it much more difficult to remember if he does not work out the answers himself (with your help). I hate controlled assessments with a passion. They can just be learnt parrot fashion, no need to understand what you are saying.

Some students produce utter double Dutch because they don't know what they are saying.

soul2000 Wed 23-Oct-13 19:04:48

Excuse my ignorance... I thought all coursework had been abolished in all
subjects?.

pixiepotter Wed 23-Oct-13 19:05:16

Help him! do you thinkall the other parents aren't getting French speakers to help? Why put him at a disadvantage?!

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 19:07:13

*Excuse my ignorance... I thought all coursework had been abolished in all
subjects?*

This is preparation for a controlled assessment.

Help him! do you thinkall the other parents aren't getting French speakers to help? Why put him at a disadvantage?!

You mean cheat?

Fugacity Wed 23-Oct-13 19:08:31

He needs to do his controlled assessment under exam conditions at school. He will be well prepared for this. If you want to add to his preparation, this is not against the rules.

You have to make sure that your help is constructive, though. Do you understand the hoops that he needs to jump through? It might be worth speaking to his MFL teacher.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 19:08:40

And the OP is trying to help him. She just isn't prepared to do it for him.

Snargaluff Wed 23-Oct-13 19:09:54

He needs to look in his French book to see what he's been taught in lessons. Linguascope have good vocab sheets on the intermediate section. If you tell him things to say they'll probably be more complex than he is taught in class so a) it will be obvious and b) he won't be able to reproduce it

roisin Wed 23-Oct-13 19:13:21

This is why Coursework is such a problem: schools bend the rules.

MFL prep for controlled assessments should all be completed in school time, under timed and controlled conditions. Students are not allowed to take the questions home, to prepare at home, to take into school and work they have prepared at home, to have assistance from anyone, to have online access during prep. etc. They are allowed access to a dictionary however.

ilovesooty Wed 23-Oct-13 19:15:49

MFL prep for controlled assessments should all be completed in school time, under timed and controlled conditions. Students are not allowed to take the questions home, to prepare at home, to take into school and work they have prepared at home, to have assistance from anyone, to have online access during prep. etc. They are allowed access to a dictionary however

Well said roisin

LIZS Wed 23-Oct-13 19:16:36

Got one the same age . No point helping really as they won't remember it easily under exam conditions.

Snargaluff Wed 23-Oct-13 19:17:48

With my exam board they are allowed to take things home and prepare them. They have 2 weeks of prep time

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 19:46:03

Well, he has come back for his dinner, which I offered to chew and regurgitate onto his plate to save him doing it for himself grin.

He accepts my point but tensions are a bit high. He is going to expand on his answers and then ask me to correct them. I've explained my corrections may be quite extensive so we may need to discuss how he makes the change. Another battle for tomorrow.

roisin thanks for posting. I am heartened that at least the original intention was more sound. I had a post when I he did his previous French assessment and some teachers seemed to think he could take it home, or ask his French teacher for feedback. We queried it with his French teacher at the parents evening and she was very scathing about the whole thing. I suppose they cannot afford to make their students toe the line if the rest of the country has room to cheat.

DieDeutschLehrerin Wed 23-Oct-13 19:48:08

Before DS, I was a head of MFL. Unless the exam spec has changed since becoming a SAHM 12 months ago, students are allowed access to everything they have prepared, previous work, text books, dictionaries, online resources etc. the only thing they cannot have is help from anyone else. They nominally have 6hrs to spend on it but this is not really enforceable and you have to take the student's word for it. The work then has to be reproduced under controlled, timed conditions in school, from memory but with access to bullet point notes.

Regulations may vary from exam board to exam board but they are broadly similar. I would talk to his MFL teacher to find out what's what.

The task he will have been given may well have bullet points indicating what should be included. As a starting point, if he is struggling, I would tell him to go to the back of the relevant chapter in his text book where there will be key words and phrases in English and French and start by picking out the phrases which cover the requirements of the task. Then remind of how he can adapt these phrases to meet his own needs and using a variety of adjectives, qualifiers, opinions etc.

This is what his teacher will have been telling him he needs to do anyway, and it is reinforcing the skills he needs to use to manipulate a language anyway, so at least you will be helping him to get something out of the task rather than doing it for him.
Sorry, that was rather long but I hope it helps.

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 19:49:04

What depresses me is that he has no interest in making it interesting. He just wants to put 'the man is drinking tea'. Not, the man looks rather sad as he drinks his tea, perhaps wishing he could afford some cake...

But no sad

Pixiepotter he has two weeks. I am helping but I am also playing the long game.

conkertheworld Wed 23-Oct-13 19:50:52

Thanks DieDeutsche, I think I will send his French teacher an email and try and get some clarity.

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