Harry Potter books to improve English

Rugger   Sunday, July 20, 2003, 01:39 GMT
Thanks Ryan for your explanation on the university entrance system.

Hiyakiani, I'm glad to share with you any information concerning the education system in Australia (well at least here in Melbourne). I feel that I now understand the American education system much more than I did befor posting in this thread. I have always understood the British GCSE's A levels and O levels system given that I have cousins studying in England, but my understanding of American education is limited to what I've seen in teen telly shows. But these only give a generalised picture of American high schools (eg. Save by the Bell).

I kinda feel bad though for steering this thread away from the main topic of Harry Potter. So I hope people keep on posting about the ways in which the Harry Potter books improves ones english skills.
Julian   Sunday, July 20, 2003, 02:50 GMT
To Kiani:

Please tell me, where in my previous post did I place direct blame on the state of American education on President Bush? What I said was, “The (American) government doesn’t want intelligent students. When you keep the general population stupid, you can easily con them into believing every lie you feed them.”

Whether you choose to take “American government’ to mean the current presidential administration, is entirely your choice. For me, “American government” is an umbrella term that encompasses all governing bodies, whether they be federal, state, city, or local governments, and whoever else is responsible for the implementation and governance of the laws of the land.

The notion that governments keep their people ignorant is not a new or radical idea. Thomas Jefferson recognized that this was a way despots retained their positions of power and thus, advocated that the U.S. government play an active role in insuring every citizen receives proper education to maintain a strong, healthy democracy.

I then proceeded to cite the Bush Administrations’ shortcomings to illustrate how, despite these, Mr. Bush’s popularity remains high, in part, due to our ignorance and lack of understanding of events within our very own borders. Nowhere did I say the American school system sucks and it’s all Dubya’s fault.

Regardless, I am very well aware that state, city, and local governments run the educational system. The federal government does however, formulate and enact policies governing funding for education; administers and distributes grants and financial aid for lower income students; and institutes programs for teacher training, job training, youth development, etc. These factors play a sizeable role in the quality of education one receives. Many say that that isn’t enough, though. But rather than increasing aid and being more proactive, the federal government is backing out of such programs and curtailing spending on education.

I will now make a pledge to refrain from discussing politics on this forum (especially on a "Harry Potter" thread).
Lana   Sunday, July 20, 2003, 03:24 GMT
Well-stated Julian. We are now seeing the inevitable results of this policy with the importation of more and more people from other countries to meet the needs of business, especially in engineering and technical fields.
Ryan   Sunday, July 20, 2003, 03:48 GMT
I don't think that talking about educational systems is that inappropriate for a Harry Potter thread. A lot of what Harry Potter is about are educational themes, especially the last book, where the school basically becomes directly controlled by the goverment. I don't want to give too much of the book away for those who haven't read it, but in the end it is obvious that it is student motivation which is really the true reason for the success of Harry and his friends, and that even with a bad school system one has to make every effort possible to educate oneself.

Also, Harry is in his fifth year now and they still haven't learned any foreign languages. They could at learn a "magical" language like goblinish or house-elvish, you would think?

Tremmert   Sunday, July 20, 2003, 20:05 GMT
Actually I think Rowling is a bit anti foreign languages - look at the way that guy's accent is ridiculed - the foreign boy whom Hermione likes.
David Bosch   Monday, July 21, 2003, 03:37 GMT
I think that's because in Britain, the accent of a person is taken very seriously; that's why the RP accent is very respected and the Birmingham accent is not quite liked.
Guofei Ma   Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 02:24 GMT
Oddly enough, none of the Americans in this forum brought up the subject of Advanced Placement (AP) exams and courses. Though they are completely optional, I dare say they are roughly equivalent to the International Baccalaureate and British A-level GCEs. Most AP exams consist of a multiple-choice section and an essay/analysis (i.e. "long-answer") section. Most students who sit for AP exams take year-long AP courses to prepare them for each exam. Almost all of my classmates will take at least 5 AP courses in the last two years of their secondary education.
Simon   Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 07:51 GMT
Doesn't saying daft things like wingardum leviosa count?
Ryan   Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 17:14 GMT
AP exams are hardly necessary to attend a university in the USA like A-levels are in the UK, Guofei. Plus, many universities will give you university credits for scoring well on the exam, yet still make you take a class in that same subject as part of their university requirements. I was accepted to a fairly prestigious university in the US without taking a single AP exam. The SAT/ACT is still much more important.

David Bosch   Sunday, July 27, 2003, 00:35 GMT
I've read the first ten chapters of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix and the words that I've learnt or perfectioned so far from it are:

1. reckon
2. beckon
3. nod, nodded, nodding
4. a couple more that I cannot remember
Tremmert   Sunday, July 27, 2003, 19:19 GMT
Change 'perfectioned' to 'perfected' ;)
Guofei Ma   Sunday, July 27, 2003, 20:35 GMT
I suppose my school is extremely competitive, as almost all students in 11th and 12th grade take at least three AP courses and tests.

As for whether universities will let you bypass certain courses simply because you passed AP tests, I don't believe UK or Australian universities will grant you credit for university courses for taking A-level and IB tests. I tend to regard APs as a "higher-level secondary school courses" rather than "introductory university courses", perhaps because I transferred from the UK's education system and still have a habit of equating SATs and SAT IIs with O-level GCSEs and APs with A-level GCEs.
Guofei Ma   Sunday, July 27, 2003, 20:37 GMT
In my school, it's the general mentality that one cannot enter any four-year university without taking tonnes of AP courses and exams and doing coursework 19 hours a day.
Ryan   Monday, July 28, 2003, 05:07 GMT
That's crap of course, Guofei. I know people who went to Ivy League schools who did not do all that work and only took a couple of AP exams, which aren't required for entry into any unversity at all to begin with.

Guofei Ma   Monday, July 28, 2003, 23:04 GMT
Did those acquaintances of yours in Ivy League schools do a lot of extracurricular activities and community service or did they have a special talent in music or sports? Admission into universities is getting more and more competitive and I would like to know what sort of students universities are looking for, if not excellent results on difficult exams.