I’ve been trying to learn some language here in Sweden. Take advantage of the educational system. Putting my tax kronor to work if you will.
With all the tax money the government pulls in, they offer a lot of opportunities for adult education. Or a high school education while an adult. Which is what I’m looking for when it comes to languages. So I signed up of course. I’ve already made my way through one course, but missed the opening introductory meeting. I just signed up for my second course.
This time, I decided to take a late lunch and disappear to my introductory meeting. It was a poor choice on my part. An enlightening choice, but a poor one none the less.
The meeting was open to everyone taking classes so it was a hodgepodge of different interests. It kicked off with an awkward introduction by the middle aged woman in front of us. Who later revealed to us she was a teacher. And the principal. My education is in good hands.
We eventually got into the grading of assignments. This is where it got interesting. Despite a move to the Bologna system and a standardized grading using the letter grading scale, adult education sticks with the Swedish system. G, VG, MVG, and lest we forget, IG. Godkänd, Väl Godkänd, Mycket Väl Godkänd, and Icke Godkänd. Essentially, pass, pass +, pass with distinction, and fail.
Pretty easy to follow, no questions there. It was how to earn the grades that I thought was interesting. Because it turns out you can re-do an assignment as many times as you want. Fail the assignment? Don’t worry; if you get an MVG on the sixth attempt, no one needs to know about the other five failures. Now my mind starts racing, probably because I am kind of competitive and have always pulled half-way decent grades.
I get the idea that people should actually learn the subject, that a grade doesn’t necessarily demonstrate learning. I understand that. Fine. So pass the person, but do not give that person the same grade as someone who managed to pass with an MVG on the first attempt. Note somewhere that it took six attempts. Or at least just give them a G and move them along. To suggest that taking as many attempts as you want to pass a class is indicative of mastery of a certain subject is frightening. I do not want a surgeon who needed six attempts to pass physiology.
There are moments when I struggle to fit into Swedish society. Luckily, there are also moments when I force myself to fit into Swedish society. I did not act on my immediate impulse to raise my hand and ask why.
We moved along to how we all were going to get through the classes we were taking. Goals are good. But don’t aim too high. Don’t want to be let down when you don’t achieve them. Seriously. This was the advice given. Don’t set your goals too high. Like MVG. G might just be good enough for you.
So on the one hand, we are told that we can keep trying until we get that MVG, but on the other hand, some of us should just not try. Which makes perfect sense.
Welcome to Sweden. And Swedish adult education.
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