Discussion hosted by Clintonville Student Cabinet
By Bert Lehman
Ten foreign exchange students currently attending Clintonville High School (CHS) shared their educational experiences with officials from the city of Clintonville, administrators from the Clintonville School District and select students.
The panel discussion on schooling and education was hosted by Student Cabinet, a CHS organization, on April 21 at the high school. The purpose of the discussion was to share ideas and experiences surrounding schooling and education, and spark ideas that can improve CHS both socially and educationally.
Exchanges students shared with those in attendance what a typical day of school consisted of in their home country. They also shared what they liked better about the school day in their home country when comparing it to a typical day at CHS.
As expected, the answers varied depending on what country the student was from.
After also sharing what school is like in their home country, and what the rules and expectations are, the exchange students were asked what they liked most about CHS and if they had any suggestions to improve the school experience at CHS.
Momo Honda of Japan said one strength of CHS is the fact students are allowed to showcase their talents by being able to choose some of the classes they take.
Thanutcha Tangmana said she also liked the fact students get to choose which classes they want to take.
Not all the exchange students liked the fact students can choose their classes.
“It really surprised me when I came here,” said Mohmmad Solaiman of Philippines.
He said it gives students the option of taking easy classes, which isn’t good.
Having the same classes each day wasn’t a positive according to some of the exchange students.
Marius Gessner of Norway said he thought it was boring to take the same classes each day.
Michela Dreossi of Italy agreed that taking the same classes every day is boring.
The relationship between teachers and students was also discussed.
Tangmana said she liked the fact students can share their opinions with teachers.
“In my country it’s very hard to show our opinion because sometimes if we show our opinion it means we don’t respect the teacher,” Tangmana said.
Aimaral Kaarmanova of Kyrgyzstan said she liked the fact students at CHS can be friends with teachers.
“That was really a surprise for me,” she said.
She also said that students need to have more respect for teachers. Later she added that teachers are too kind to students.
“They allow too much,” she said.
Several exchange students said CHS relies too much on the use of Chromebooks.
“I think it just distracts you more,” Kaarmanova said.
She said schools in her home country require students to read books and use notes. The Internet is used at home when working on projects.
Solaiman agreed that the use of Chromebooks is a distraction. He said it gives students the opportunity to not listen to teachers.
Kaarmanova offered a different perspective about the use of Chromebooks. She said it is too easy to cheat when students have constant access to Chromebooks.
Anne Nguyen of Denmark recommended students do more group work. She said schools in her country require a lot of group work.
Gessner said he found it is easy to fall behind if students miss classes. He cited a personal example of him having to miss class time to leave early for track meets.
The exchange students were asked how being an exchange student at CHS would help them in the future.
Solaiman said being an exchange student will be very helpful for his future because he is learning good English skills. Being an exchange student will also be beneficial when he applies for college.
“It brings out many opportunities for us,” he said.
Imma Albinana of Spain said the experience will provide her with more opportunities when searching for a job because knowing how to speak English is a sought after skill in Spain.
“This year is like the best year of my life because I really love this experience,” said Honda. “Here I’m more independent. I have more confidence.”