Archive for 'Culture'

No “Year in Russia” for Poland any more!

Posted on 24. Jul, 2014 by in Countries, Culture, Current News

I’m suer most of you follow the news and heard about the horrible tragedy that happened last week to the Malaysian flight. The Polish government has called off preparations for the Polish Year in Russia amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the alleged shooting down by pro-Russian separatists of a Malaysian jetliner last week. The decision was taken after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was allegedly shot down by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine towards the end of last week, killing all 298 on board. This is the decision of the government, but both the foreign and culture ministers – Radosław Sikorski and Małgorzata Omilanowska respectively – unequivocally came to the conclusion that in this situation, it is impossible to follow through with the organisation of the Polish Year in Russia.

Image by archer10 (Dennis) on

Image by archer10 (Dennis) on

2015 was meant to be a year devoted to the celebration of Polish and Russian cultural ties, but due to the increasingly dismal situation in Ukraine, Poland has called off the festivities.

As a result of the government’s decision, all events that were set to be held as part of the year of bilateral celebration will be cancelled.

The Russian-Polish cross-cultural year was set in motion at a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers in December 2013 in Warsaw. Its aim was to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries.

Russian Year in Poland will also be cancelled as a result.

In the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week, a catastrophe that claimed 298 lives, Poland joined the chorus of other Western countries accusing Russia of having destabilized Ukraine and perpetuated the conflict in its east.

The European Union and the U.S. have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russian officials over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which has intensified exponentially following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March.

After a much-disputed referendum was held to decide Crimea’s fate, similar referendums were launched in other cities in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have taken up arms and refused to recognize the new authorities in Kiev, calling instead for integration into Russia.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

I scream, you scream! We all scream for ice cream! Lody, lody!

Posted on 20. Jul, 2014 by in Culture, Holidays

Today is International Ice Cream day! Who doesn’t like ice cream?

In fact, the entire month of July is known by some as Ice Cream month. What better way to celebrate than with some fun facts about our favorite cold and delicious treat!

Image by Sandy Austin on

Image by Sandy Austin on

According to Yahoo! the top five ice cream flavors (pięć najpopularniejszych smaków lodów)) are:
1. Strawberry (Truskawkowy)
2. Banana (Bananowy)
3. Chocolate (Czekoladowy)
4. Coconut Milk (Mleko kokosowe)
5. Peach (Brzoskwiniowy)

The top five cities that love ice cream the most (pięć miast, które kochają lody najbardziej) are:
1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. San Francisco
5. Atlanta

The U.S. enjoys an average of 48 pints (22.7 Liter) of ice cream per person, per year, more than any other country.

It takes an average of 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone.

The ice cream cone’s invention (wynalazek stożka lodów) is linked to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. An ice cream vendor reportedly didn’t have enough dishes to keep up with the demand, so he teamed up with a waffle vendor who rolled his waffles into cones!

The most pop­u­lar top­ping for ice cream is chocolate syrup (syrop czekoladowy) followed by butterscotch (toffi).

Immi­grants at Ellis Island (imigranci z wyspy Ellis) were served vanilla ice cream (lody waniliowe) as part of their Wel­come to America meal.

The biggest ice cream sundae in history was made in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1988, and weighed in at over 24 tons.

There you have it! Hopefully you enjoyed learning some new facts about ice cream! We all do it! (Well…almost all of us!) Take a look at my post from last year National ice cream day/month, let’s have lody! It will give you a little more info about how that “holiday” started and some more Polish phrases for ice-cream lovers!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

How school has changed…

Posted on 29. Mar, 2014 by in Culture, Education, History

Today’s blog is going to be king size, mega,long, duży, ogromny, długi!!!!!!I will try not to bore you though:) Today’s subject is changes in school system!

In most aspects of life and society there have been many changes in the last 100 years. One such area of change has been in education and there are significant differences between the classroom of 100 years ago and the classroom as it is today.

One of the most noticeable differences between schools of 100 years ago in comparison to the modern day classroom is the types of punishment used and when discipline (dyscyplina) is administered. For example, in past times a child was expected to be seen and not heard while now students are actively encouraged to be vocal in lessons and to play a great role in participating in their education. Modern day punishments (współczesne kary) include detentions (przetrzymanie), removal of privileges and exclusion from school (wykluczenie ze szkoły). Previous punishments included everything from writing lines on the board to actual physical discipline, such as caning.

The curriculum (program) has made significant changes throughout history and this is apparent when looking at the differences between school curriculum 100 years ago and those that are offered now. 100 years ago children were taught a much more limited curriculum that offered the basics such as reading (czytanie), writing (pisanie) and arithmetic (arytmetyka). Additional subjects were offered but were often dependent upon the academic ability of the child. Another difference is that boys and girls were taught separate subject based on what society at that time believed to be relevant and appropriate. For example, girls were taught cooking (gotowanie) and needlework (szycie) while boys had lessons in wood work (stolarka). The modern curriculum offers a greater diversity in subjects (większa różnorodność tematów) and students of both sexes are offered the same opportunities. Another difference is the teaching of ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching -ICT- classrooms include students with and without disabilities and have two teachers, a general education teacher and a special education teacher. The teachers work together throughout the day to adapt and modify instruction for your child and make sure the entire class has access to the general education curriculum. Students may be in an ICT classroom all day or for a portion of the day) as this was a non-existent subject 100 years ago and is now considered to be an essential part of day-to-day life with a great influence on future job prospects.

100 years ago a teacher’s equipment included a chalk (kreda), a blackboard (tablica) and their own subject knowledge (własną wiedzę przedmiotu). The pupils’ equipment would usually consist of simply a pen (długopis) or pencil (ołówek) and paper (papier) or a workbook (skoroszyt). A current classroom offers a wide range of equipment that is greatly influenced by technology. Items such as a whiteboard,computers and tablets are commonplace and have extended learning opportunities for students. The equipment that is required by pupils is also much more extensive. Parents often receive letters listing the essential equipment that is required for each year.

The way that teachers teach their students has also changed over the past 100 years. Over the years there has been a gradual move towards pupils playing a greater role in their own education and having input into lessons. Teachers are also more focused on the individual needs and learning styles of their students (nauczyciele są bardziej skoncentrowani na indywidualnych potrzebach i stylu uczenia się uczniów/studentów). Lessons are less teacher led as there is a lesser proportion of the lesson with the teacher relaying information to students and more focus on students researching subjects themselves.

Throughout history segregation (segregacja) in the classroom has been rife with some groups of people not being educated at all. Examples include separate education for people of different races and religions, single sex schools and different schools for the rich and the poor. Modern day education is much more inclusive in most countries, such as the US and UK, although some families still opt for particular schools based on factors such as their religious teachings. However, in some cultures segregation is not only still in existence it is actually encouraged.

Now, how about adult learning?

Unsurprisingly, the biggest change in education has been through new technology, like we already mentioned above. Not only do teachers use laptops and projectors to facilitate learning in the classroom, but students are expected to use a lot of the same technology to complete projects and assignments.

But don’t let this dissuade you from going back to school. Teachers and administrators understand that adult learners may have a technology lag, and most schools are willing to help you become proficient in the technologies needed in the classroom. Once learned, these new skills will not only help you excel in school, but in the workplace as well.

Online learning (nauka online) is also an important part of the technology evolution in today’s colleges. Community colleges and elite schools alike are now offering online alternatives, and these programs can be especially attractive to adult students who have jobs and families.

With increases in tuition and student expenses, it’s no wonder that financial aid programs have changed greatly in the last twenty years.

The need to succeed in exams at school has increased dramatically since the mid-20th Century. Nowadays, to be employed in a minimum wage job, one needs at least a C in Maths, English and Science. The elderly people we talked to told us that just 40 years ago, a pupil would be able to leave school one day with no qualifications and receive a job the next. The pressure on getting at least 5 A*- C GCSEs in this day and age is tremendous in comparison to just a few years ago!

Also, another major change is that the exams are now completely different to what they were before 1986 when previous O-Levels were phased out and the more recent GCSEs were brought in. These new examinations were “all inclusive” so all students of any ability could take the same exam.

Since the Health & Safety Act was passed in 1974, bureaucracy in schools has reached an all-time high, with vast quantities of forms being filled out on a daily basis. Some people have come to ask the question, has it all gone too far? Nowadays schools are expected to take extra precautions to ensure student safety, however this was not the case before the Act was brought in.

The way children learn has also changed throughout the years. It’s more difficult to keep kids’ attention and keep them focused. They know so much about so many things due to media. With the growing popularity of video games and other forms of instant entertainment, children have also grown accustomed to learning visually. Children want to be entertained and they are used to things that are fast-paced and ever-changing.

Family dynamics have also changed over time. Today, many students live with two working parents, or with single parents who have multiple jobs. This makes family time scarce, so teachers may be expected to go above and beyond their role and fill in for mom or dad. Inside classrooms, school days seem shorter and are jam-packed with more and more to learn. There is never enough time in a day, or a month, or a year to get it all done. This causes a strain on many extra-curricular activities like sports, music programs or field trips.

How do I remember school? I actually have great memories from school.

My notebook (zeszyt) was called brulion.

And everyone loved crayons with a teddy bear on the box

We all had multicolor pens in our bag

And sometimes Polish school bag was actually….chinese… (modelina, plastelina, wieczne pióro)

How do you remember school?

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)