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Class system in Britain

von Friedemann Winkler

  • Englisch-Klausur (Jahrgang 12)
  • 2-stündig
  • 13 Punkte (vor Korrektur)


1. Which reasons does Rita give for attending a university course about art and literature? Use your own words as far as possible.
2. What does the way Rita speaks and behaves reveal about her?
3. Although still relatively rare, private schools are gaining ground in Germany, too. Discuss the (dis-)advantages of a private-school education here and give your own opinion on the topic.
Good thoughts!


Rita is a hair-dresser and takes part in an Open University course aboui litera-ture. Frank is her professor.

Extract from act I scene 4
beginning with:
Rita: [...] Frank, y' know culture, y' know the word culture? Well it doesn't just mean goin' to the opera an' that, does it?
Ending with:
Frank: (…) I can get through the rest of the week if I know I've got comin' here to look torward to. [...]


In the text Rita gives some reasons for attending the literature course at the Open University. She is not very happy with her way of living and wants to have something that gives more meaning to her life (l. 17 “there’s no meanin’”, l.19 “eyes light up […] there was some meanin’”).
In the past lower-class people had aims they could fight for, knowing that all they did would improve their lives. But in recent years many members of the working class have got houses and enough money to live.
Though they should be happy about this Rita compares the situation to a disease (l.23). Nobody wants to admit it, but “buying’ new dresses all the time” (l.30) is not enough. Rita’s expectations of the art and literature course are that she will be given something she can think about during the whole week until the next lesson (l.38).

Rita’s way of speaking reveals that she belongs to the working class. She always elides the ‘g’ at the end of words (for example “somethin’” (l.25), drinkin’” (l.13) or tellin’” (l.36)), says “y’” instead of “you” uses some more similar elisions.
She also uses words typical of the working class, like “pissed” (l.10) or phrases like “go away” (l.36). Her sentences are often not very well structured so that it is a little difficult to understand them. The sentences are not only very long sometimes, they also include ellipses. A typical member of working class would use simple and short sentences. This shows that Rita is not the normal working-class woman. She is interested in learning new things and takes part in an Open University course, which you would rather expect of a middle class member. Rita doesn’t share her classmates’ attitude towards life. She wants to change herself and to give her life some meaning. This shows us that she is very self-confident.

The question whether Germany would benefit from private schools is a very controversial issue.
Of course there are many arguments for private schools. The one people consider most important is that due to a bigger budget private schools could offer better learning aids and often teachers with more motivation. Furthermore the private school system lets intelligent children be together with other children of similar learning ability. On top of that you could choose the private school paying most attention on the subjects you consider important for your child. Besides somebody who visited a famous private school would probably have better chances to find a well-paid job.
But on the other hand state schools will never improve if people who care about education send their children to private schools. Lacking good pupils state schools will have to decrease the standards of education. Bad pupils will have no chance to learn from very good classmates.
And as private schools have high fees only rich people will be able to afford sending their children there. A group of pupils who don’t have good skills but rich parents will spoil the system.
All of this will cause a wide gap between people who can afford private schools and people who can’t. Buying education will be like buying a new car or consumer goods and due to that people maybe will be ashamed to send their children to state schools. They will try private schools although they don’t have enough money, which could escalate into a family crisis.
If you bear this in mind you have to come to the conclusion that there is neither a strong need for private schools nor an overwhelming argument for it that would justify all the disadvantages.

Kategorie: Englisch | Kommentare (8)