Comparing MaP and Catlin Gabel Classes

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Natalie & Mira
Today we attended 4 classes at MaP, shadowing several students. It was very interesting to go: we’ve both gone to Catlin since we were young, so we haven’t been exposed to different school set-ups. These are our observations about the differences and similarities between CG and Maru-a-Pula that we noticed while in class.
Mira: I went to two English classes, one analyzing poetry and one analyzing a play. Then I went to part of an art class & part of a drama class, and then to a geography class.
Natalie: I went to creative writing, literature, visual art, and geography.
M: The biggest difference I noticed was that the classes were lecture based: the teachers talked much more than the students.
N: I definitely agree. Classes at Catlin are very discussion oriented. However, at MaP, the teachers generally lecture, and students ask occassional questions.
M: It was most apparent  in the English class. At home we analyze texts by having decentered/centered discourse. Here, in discussing both the play and poem, the teacher would explain the meaning to the students. Sometimes the students would say their ideas.
N:  I also found  the lack of student based discussion to be very noticable in English class. At Catlin, I’m so accustomed to sharing my ideas with peers, that I was surprised that most of the students kept quiet, especially because they were older than us.
M: I agree. On a more organizational note, it was interesting to me that the classes here aren’t as integrated as ours, subject-wise. For example, we take geography (which in this case was just called geography, but was really geology) as part of our science courses, but here it’s a separate class. I spent a while trying to figure out if this would help me focus more on one subject, or if learning a subject in context of its related topics enriches my learning.
N: I also contemplated whether less integration would benefit my learning. Back home, we tend to learn a diverse mixture of material in each class, which I enjoy, because it allows me to draw parallels between the topics. Math, however, is very integrated at Maru-a-Pula. Instead of taking algebra, geometry, and calculus classes, the MaP students take a general “maths” course.
M&N: We both noticed that there are advantedges and disadvantedgesnes to both the teaching styles and the class set up. It would be interesting to see how CG students would react to MaP classes and vice-versa. Please send us candy!