Emails from English 5 Students

From October 9th:

Today was back to the usual school schedule. The students continued to learn about “academic writing.” This lesson discusses formal vocabulary and minimizing the use of phrasal words. The students then went through their own papers and edited them to make them more formal and academic. I helped students edit their papers. I found it quite challenging to balance the students’ original thoughts and writing with what would be more typical in formal writing in English. For instance certain word choices superficially fit into a sentence but the slight nuances in definitions are quite difficult to point out to a non-native English speaker.

This week I also received about 10 emails from students in the English 5 class (the youngest students at Norra Real). I volunteered to help answer their questions about American High schools for an upcoming project. It was quite interesting to see the difference in English writing quality of the English 5 students compared with the English 7 students. It was also quite interesting to see the aspects of American high schools that students focused on in their questions. Many of the questions focused on the class schedules, lunches, the differences between Swedish schools and American schools, and more. 

Some question examples:

  • “Is it true that it’s an unwritten rule that you have one table to sit at lunch and that it is wrong to go and sit with someone else”
  • “Why do you think they have so many different events in high school, such as Homecoming, rep rallies etc., and what do they provide?”
  • “In american schools I know that sports and other activities are very important. Did you feel pressured to be part of a sports team or a club when you went to high school? Are almost everyone part of a club and doing things in the school after classes end?”
  • “Also, did you grow tired of having the same classes every single day of school? Because having history as a main subject every day would eventually result in me skipping classes!”

It was difficult to answer some of the questions, because each high school in the United States is so unique. I gave a disclaimer that my answers only reflect my own experience, but it still felt as though I was making some blanket statements about American high schools in general.