So what do I say, when asked to comment on the differences? Well based on one small village school & limited private tuition it all seemed rather surreal. I talked about learning styles in both countries and the need for those differences based on the demands of the system and in particular the languages.
This is highly evident in French when the need for rote learning & sequential memory is vital if all those verbs, genders and conjugations are going to be learnt. Hence, weekly tests of a rote learned verbal piece and a dictation, are essential for the French children. While their counterparts over the channel would not have done this type of activity for several generations, when the uunderstanding of structure and meta-language were vogue in the earlier part of the 20th Century in England.
21st century English teaching does not see detailed structure of language as essential; such knowledge is balanced by viewing the style & the purpose of the language. After all its the enjoyment of a book, the understanding of a text, the appreciation of a poem and the pleasure in communication (spoken, heard & written) which is what language is about.
So what's better,well neither its a case of balance and what works for the language in question. And for those bi-lingual children its a case of linking the method & the language. As I told the reporter," Its about making Connections"...he seemed to like that.