Tuesday, April 25, 2006

You are no Gibran

Recently I came across one of my report cards from Secondary school. I admit I was a bit of a dork, but something really stood out in my report cards. The 2 lowest grades were English and Arabic writing. I never used a comma or a semicolon properly but that wasn’t the reason the grades were the lowest.

There is a weird logic used when grading student writing in Lebanon. While a ten year old can get a 20/20 for saying that a Dog and a Tree are different in Science Class, a deep philosophical discussion of these differences in Writing class could never get him or her higher than a 13 or a 14. Why? “Don’t be discouraged 13 is excellent because in writing you can always do better, and you are no Gibran or Shakespeare.” No Shit! Shakespeare didn’t write Hamlet when he waseth TEN.

At twelve, it’s the same story, protons are positively charged. Wow you’re a rocket scientist but you still are no Gibran. Don’t ask me why Gibran is the one and only standard, that’s a whole different story, but no wonder kids grow up traumatized with everything that involves subjective grading.

Now you know why we have 10 Million doctors while our Art has been reduced to Wawa Bahh. It’s all Gibran’s fault.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you!

Lebanese artist at large

Mustapha said...

You are very much underestimating the wealth of our Lebanese Art and creativity my friend..

Mustapha Farroukh , Wajih Nahleh, Pierre Khoury , Elie Saab, Ziad Rahbani are all contemporary artists that were never humbled by being compared to Gebran..

The Arab world's Tv Stations, Advertising Agencies, Web Design Studios, Production companies, fashion houses and Magazines are mostly staffed by Lebanese "creative talents", and even our performance arts keep breaking new boundaries...

I'd give our creative genius a 14/20 because unlike in maths, in Arts we can always do better..

Anonymous said...

I got a 15/20 once. haha!
History and georgraphy are another story.

Jamal said...

True a lot of individuals do stand out in spite of the difficulties, although I would argue as a whole there is a cultural depression in the country/region.
My point was the educational system is flawed and unbalanced, and the small things could make a significant difference.

أمل said...

Sooooo TRUE!!!

I agree, from my position as a teacher and as a former student who's always been put down by language teachers at school.

I have always loved literature but for some reason the old Lebanese curriculum did not encourage creative writing as much as it praised logarithm. (I wonder if the new curriculum is pulling it off.)

Literature has always come second -or tenth -in this part of the world. As the famous old phrase goes as "el fan ma bit3ami khoboz" .. and may I add .." bil 3alam el 3arabi".

Come to think of it, Gibran did say that those who choose arts and literature choose the harder way to live.

Bashir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bashir said...

So it was Gibran in your part of Lebanon? It was Al Mutanabbi on my side. I wonder who it was in each of the other parts?

Bashir said...

"I wonder if the new curriculum is pulling it off?"

Amal, the "new curriculum" is doing a worst job...

Hisham said...

Some of us weren't lucky enough to get a number score on Arabic writing assignments. Instead, my teachers enjoyed assigning an adjective instead of a number.

They ranged from:

Moomtaz (Gibran's grade)
Jayyid Jiddan (consider yourself an expert in "Adab")
Jayyid (Most got that)
Wassat (You're no good but I like you)
Doon al wassat (enter humiliation zone)
Da3eef (you suck!)
Da3eef Jiddan (You really suck!!)

Anonymous said...

I pissed myself laughing reading this one...

Hurray for wit!


Anonymous said...

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