A good student ...

Un bon étudiant ...

  • cares about learning and not about grades
  • challenges themselves and seeks help when they need it
  • doesn't procrastinate, does their homework, pays attention in class.
  • does their homework on time.
  • does their work on time, asks questions when they are confused, is motivated to learn
  • does what is expected of him/her.
  • follows the syllabus, studies for exams, asks lots of 'good' questions
  • is applied, knows what he/she wants, gives it his/her best.
  • is curious and loves to learn, works hard in their classes, desires to improve themselves
  • is gifted or passionate
  • is very organized, manages their time efficiently, and respects their classmates and teacher
  • Loves learning, works hard
  • pays attention in class, asks questions
  • studies, does his best to learn
  • studies hard.
    goes to school.
  • studies hard and is prepared.
  • wants to learn, works hard to succeed
  • works hard, helps others
  • works hard, tries their best
  • works hard. , listens to their teachers.
  • works hard and is actively engaged
  • works hard to learn better, asks questions, and tries harder after every bad grade.
  • assiste à tout les cours et révise pour ses examens
  • construit un bon environnement
  • est celui qui est toujours attentif, est celui qui assiste régulièrement à ses cours
  • est curieux et investi
  • est un élève motivé
  • est un élève sérieux et impliqué.
  • n'a pas besoin de travailler.
  • n'arrête jamais d'apprendre de toute sa vie.
  • n'est pas forcément un étudiant qui passe sa vie à travailler, c'est avant tout un étudiant qui arrive à profiter de la vie tout en réussissant ses études.
  • n'est pas nécessairement un bon employé
  • obtient de bons résultats à ses examens
  • réussit sûrement, ne lâche jamais, persévére
  • s'intéresse à ce qu'il étudie
  • sait faire le compromis entre le travail et les plaisirs.
  • sait s'amuser et s'impliquer ailleurs tout en travaillant.
  • se projette dans le futur.
  • travaille en dehors de ses heures de cours sur des sujets différents
  • travaille régulièrement, est assidu en cours et est capable de se fixer un objectif à atteindre pour se motiver à réussir.

Discussion

It seems we MIT students think anyone who works hard and tries their best is a good student. It seems that the French might be more result-based. What do you (referring to the French students) think of a student who works hard but gets lower grades? Maybe they don’t perform on tests as well but know the material just as well, are they a ‘good student’?

Again, there are several answers that are the same, but the ones that aren’t the same are quite different. I think the French place much more importance on the balance between work hard and play hard, and this influenced their answers and led to more responses that connect good students with things that are not strictly academic contrary to the American responses. I don’t quite understand why the distinction was made between a good student and a good employee. Do they require a different skill-set? Why was that the first thing that person thought of in relation to a good student?

On a similar note to the previous comments, there is certainly a relationship between the two definitions of being a good student. It would seem that the American definitions often have to do with working hard, passion, and dedication, while the French definitions include dedication, invested, hard-working, but also include the necessity of creating a helpful environment that allows a balance between work and play. I am a little unclear about one of the responses “n’a pas besoin de travailler.” Does a good student not need to work because their passion for learning makes it seem like education is not a chore? What is the meaning behind this?

It also seems that while both the French and American students view a good student as someone who loves learning, the French responses seem to indicate that this passion is viewed as more relaxed and natural, while the American responses indicate that this passion is viewed as something that is more intense. How are academic pursuits and school viewed in France? Is learning seen as a relaxed and enjoyable, or as an intensely engaged and serious process, or maybe both?

American students thought that a good student is a student that cares about learning and also works hard. French students mostly thought that a good student attends all their classes, is motivated, and works hard. The French students also gave remarks such as: a good student does not need to work, and a good student is not necessarily a good employee. It seems that the American students who answered the questions are more hard working and passionate. Are French students generally hard working students that love learning?

I get the feeling that American students work more and harder (in terms of effort) than French students, whereas the latter enjoys the process of learning more. But I honestly feel there aren’t really any conspicuous differences between the two, because the verbiage is rather similar. I am curious to know, however, if a “good student” has a mostly negative or positive connotation in France? That is, does the average student strive to be a “good student,” or is this a term of scorn used to ridicule “teachers’ pets” or “try-hards”, etc?

American students seemed to emphasize doing assignments on time whereas the French students just focused more on the quality of the work. Perhaps there aren’t as many deadlines or smaller assignments to keep track of in France. Do students in France often have to keep track of lots of different assignments and their due dates?

@tasha I think it would make sense if there aren’t as many smaller assignments in deadlines in France. When we were talking about the forum in class, Mme Levet mentioned that while we meet four times a week and have nightly assignments, the French students only meet once a week and do not have as many assignments as they spend more time in class.

@ tasha Going off of @ erbri’s comment, this may also explain the frequent appearance of “regularly goes to class” on the French side! I don’t believe that a single American mentioned in-class presence, which doesn’t surprise me too much given that: a) we spend way more time working outside of class than in class, and b) we go to many STEM-based classes which do not revolve around discussion, and sometimes (sometimes!) we do decide that learning the material on our own is more effective than attending lecture. However, the second reason may be less important, as the students at l’ENSEIRB also attend a technical university.

It seems to me that the French and American ideas of what a good student is for the most part are very similar. Though and interesting notion that I saw on the French side was the idea that a good student “doesn’t have to work - n’a pas besoin de travailler.” This notion however was not present at all on the American side. Potentially this may indicate that a good student is more of an innate ability, or quality that people are born with, in French culture. Where in American culture is seems that being a good student is more of a statement of one’s work ethic.

There are indeed a lot of similarities between both groups such as enjoying what you do, working hard, are motivated. I agree with what most people have said regarding that students that are considered good in the US are those who hard, while in France, although they seem to have a work-hard attitude, they also value having a healthy work/free-time balance, which is not necessarily present in the US students’ mentality. Regarding lc2017’s comment about “doesn’t have to work hard” I was wondering if that person was referring that a good student wouldn’t consider work what he/she is doing because he/she loves his/her studies.

I was wondering how do the French students generally feel about their work life. Do they generally feel overwhelmed or is it common for students to all have a good balance between work and other interests?

Un bon étudiant, est un étudiant formaté par le systême scolaire de son pays (cela dépend donc du lieu). Un très bon étudiant est quelqu’un qui fait abstraction de la méthode d’apprentissage pour se concentrer sur le fond. Un étudiant normal essaye juste de profiter au maximum avant d’entrer dans la vie active.

@tasha Comme l’a dit @erbri nous avons plus d’heures de cours dans le semaine, environ 30h/semaine. Du coup nous avons pas souvent de devoirs avec des deadlines courte. Parcontre beacoup de cours s’organise sous forme de projets avec des deadlines de 1 ou 2 mois. Nous avons aussi un projet qui dure toute une année scolaire. C’est une organisation différente. Mais c’est comme ça dans toutes les classes. Du primaire, secondaire, au lycée…

J’ai eu la même question que Sophieg, ça m’est déjà arrivé personnellement que j’ai bien bossé pour des examens mais au final je me trouve avec des notes moyennes, alors que je suis sûr que j’ai bien bossé et compris les concept des cours.

@labradoodle Il nous arrive de nous sentir submergé lorsque nous devons rendre plusieurs projets dans une même période mais généralement nous ne laissons pas ce travail prendre trop de place sur nos autres activités.

@Sophieg Nous ne considérons pas les étudiants ayant de moins bonnes notes comme de mauvais étudiants mais notre système est très fortement basé sur le système de note, un étudiant ayant de meilleures notes a plus de chance d’obtenir l’orientation qu’il souhaite.

@nreavaille, That is a very different educational system than the United States’ , at least for the university system. How do you think this difference between lots of homework vs. lots of class time affects how much you are able to learn? With so much class time, do you guys get a chance to do research while in university? Or is that not common? In elementary school, middle school, and high school, a normal American student has 35 hours of school a week, and then spends a significant amount of time doing homework on top of that. What do French students usually do with the time outside of class?

It’s interesting to see the comparison of how different schools, especially engineering schools, are structured. Since you (French engineering students) are in class a lot is it primarily lectures or do you also have lots of lab classes/lab work? I often find that the longer projects, like the ones @nreavaille described, give me the most practical knowledge. Is that the logic behind having the work you do outside of class being mostly long-term projects?

jchambre: Thank! I must say that both of your responses were quite insightful.

I also look forward to a response to redchip123’s comments.

These responses have definitely clarified some of the major questions. Thank you for all the responses. Along with redchip123’s questions, I would be interested understanding the daily school schedule for high school and college in France. I think that could help paint a picture of where time is spent on homework and schoolwork.

I would also like to address the fact that both parties in this conversation are probably skewed towards working more on schoolwork than the general population. I think that perhaps talking to students at another university would show insight to the more average homework and classwork schedule for a student in the United States. For instance, I did not study much in high school and did not spend a lot of time outside of class on understanding material. I think it really depends on the student and the circumstance. But I do believe that, in general, Americans spend more time outside of class on homework and less time in school.

I am in more agreement with @Alex. A good student is a student who follows the system and learns in order to achieve a goal such as getting a good grade or getting into the workforce. A better student is one who learns for the sake of learning, and the results such as good grades or a good job are more of a by product of the primary goal of learning. Learning does not necessarily start or end in the classroom.

As mentioned above, I agree with the fact that both sides are similar. I feel however that the American side relates to how to actually become a good student, whereas the French side mentions the tendencies of a good student “is curious and invested.” I’m intrigued by the fact that the results weren’t considered. Since there are some slackers who generate good results and are thus good students. Thus can straight A slackers be considered just as good of a student as straight C hard workers?

@aokello asks an interesting question. The impression I get is that results are the most important thing. There are people who can prepare for exams the night before and perform better than some who might have started earlier. Ultimately, assessments are based on performance on this specific metric. So it would seem that a good student is simply one who gets good results?

A question that I would like to ask, that might clarify some of the confusion I have, is on average how many hours does a typical lecture of class last? At MIT we never have a single class for more than 3 hours max, typical classes lasting for 50 minutes to 2 hours. So not that much material is covered each lecture, and it’s a reasonable amount that one might attempt to make up themselves. I’m curious if it’s similar for French students?

A question that I would like to ask, that might clarify some of the confusion I have, is on average how many hours does a typical lecture of class last? At MIT we never have a single class for more than 3 hours max, typical classes lasting for 50 minutes to 2 hours. So not that much material is covered each lecture, and it’s a reasonable amount that one might attempt to make up themselves. I’m curious if it’s similar for French students?

@lc2017 : Cela varie certainement d’une école à une autre. Pour ce qui est de la notre, l’Enseirb-Matmeca, les cours magistraux durent 1h20 et parfois 2h. Il en est de même pour les TDs. De plus, il est rare que nous ayons des journées complètes, à savoir 8h de cours. En revanche, avant d’arriver en école d’ingénieur, pour ceux qui étaient en prépa les cours étaient donnés par tranche de 2h (parfois 4h) et les journées étaient bien remplies (8h/jour voir même 10h parfois).

Dans notre école nous faisons beaucoup d’associatif, d’ailleurs le jeudi après-midi nous n’avons jamais cours afin d’avoir du temps libre pour pouvoir s’occuper de la vie associative. Il existe énormément d’asso et de clubs qui permettent à tout étudiant de trouver son bonheur. Avez-vous aussi une vie associative riche au MIT?

La vie associative contribuent sans doute dans la formation des élève ingénieurs et des étudiants en général .. c’est pour ça d’ailleurs que l’ENSEIRB-MATMECA accorde une grande importance aux différents clubs et associations. Et au MIT ? Avez vous des clubs et associations ?

We have a more negative view of work. The French approach work like a profession and not like an obligation. But we, both French and Americans, are all occupied with money. Americans see work as our life, but there is a distinction for the French. What do you work for throughout your life? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I thought that the French seem to have a direct view of work. Work is work. It helps pay for the family, it is a necessary part of life. The Americans seem to associate work with their life, what they love/hate, and it occupies a lot of their time and thoughts.
The French separate work from home-life. Not only that, but Europeans and the French seem to be direct about their thoughts. Work is work. You get money from it. It helps you do well in life. Whereas, Americans seem to associate feelings (good or bad) with work.
How long do you typically work in a week? Is overtime a common thing in France? Do parents/families talk about work at home? Are French children told that they can do whatever they want in life? That they should pursue what they love and not what pays for the family?

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