Issue n° 28


Moral chronicle : Equal status for primary and secondary teachers ?, Sophie Ernst

The replacing of dedicated Teacher Training Colleges of Education by University Institutes for Teacher Education and the change of title from school master/mistress to school teacher was a response to a policy aimed at equalising the status and perception of primary and second-level teachers. At the heart of this change arose a question regarding ‘professionalisation’ and the many interpretations of this term. Sophie Ernst points out how other inequalities became apparent between first and second level teachers and how new divisions arose within the University Institutes for Teacher Education.

Notion : The ‘copernican revolution’ in pedagogy, Dominique Ottavi (University Paris VIII)

Kant is responsible for the epistemological adaptation of the Copernican syntagme of ‘revolution’. Ottavi examines how this metaphor was adopted within the field of pedagogy. At first it referred to learning, and it was subsequently influenced by child and adolescent psychology and became a slogan based on the new approaches to education. The metaphor was used to support demands as varied as taking into account the whole person of each child and liberation of youth in general.

Report: The Instituteurs

Presentation, Alain Vergnioux (University of Caen)

Interview with Mona Ozouf, Henri Peyronie (University of Caen) and Alain Vergnioux (University of Caen)

The interview draws on the work of Jacques and Mona Ozouf dealing with the school and the primary teachers of the Republic based on their large study of 1962 on the generation who were teaching before 1914. The interview will examine the republican ideal and its expression in educational policy and practice, the professional, political and trade union background of the teachers, their processes of registration within their regions, and laïcité/civic neutrality.

The genesis of the profession of primary teacher. Outline of an historical sociology, François Jacquet-Francillon (University of Lille III)

The author examines the life stories written by primary teachers in the nineteenth century and takes from them accounts of their situation, professional status or of their social role as they perceived and experienced them or as these were invoked in supporting demands. By so doing he problematises the idea of professional identity by dividing it into ‘professional life’ and ‘group self-affirmation’. Finally, he reveals how these aspects were changed by the feminisation of the profession in the 20th century.

The alternative primary school envisaged by the first trade unionists among primary teachers, Frédéric Mole (IUFM de Lyon)

At the start of the twentieth century new conceptions of the school and of the social role of primary teachers came to light and disclosed tensions within the republican model. Through support groups and the first trade unions, primary teachers considered themselves increasingly as a force to be reckoned with both institutionally and in terms of pedagogy. Accordingly, as described by Frédéric Mole, the first teacher trade unionists were pedagogic activitists demanding a greater consideration of the child in terms of her/his psychological development and social-economic context. They criticised curricula and ‘official’ exercises or questioned the way French was taught or the nature of the Certificate awarded. Furthermore, liberals challenged the State monopoly of schooling and envisaged, supported by trade unions, the establishment of ‘free schools’ where experiments in education could take place.

Péguy and primary teachers, Pierre Statius (IUFM de Franche-Comté)

Pierre Statius reviews the body of writing in which Péguy gives his views of the school and of primary teachers to present thematically a whole series of questions which underpin the institutional and intellectual history of the Third Republic. Péguy paints a powerful picture of young students in their teacher training colleges, their often wretched plight thereafter, the rivalry between the primary teacher and the priest in the upbringing of young people, the criticism of the modern world and the decline of classical learning.

Primary teachers and local studies : Variations on a response to a paradoxical order, Youenn Michel (University of Caen)

The opening of the school to the local area was a paradoxal demand made by educational policy makers who were strongly influenced by the centralising traditions in France. As such, teachers’ responses to this demand varied. The example of the regional educational policy of the Vichy government suggests that the teachers retained a discretion with regard to this policy in spite of the efforts of the authorities with their propaganda.

The education and personal journey of a state primary teacher during the Second World War : interview

The evidence of Raymond Caron speaks for itself and does not require commentary. Through his personal history, he gives a lucid and precise account of the situation and fate of thousands of student teachers, from 1939, at the outbreak of war. This involved a fragmented training under the control of the Vichy government, the experience of the exodus, of forced labour for some and of joining the Resistance for others.

Studies : The keyboard, Pierre Billouet (IUFM des Pays de la Loire)

This article deals with the computer keyboard and its introduction into the classrrom. This is more than a mere technical change. Indeed it brings right into the school the learning of a different ‘technological system’. It is not only the ‘place’ of writing which finds itself redefined but also the nature of writing and of the written text. The technical object determines the user’s actions while the keyboard prescribes a new attitude towards time and new kinds of human practices in respect of distance, speed and unpredictability. As a result, the humanist model of education becomes greatly attenuated or perhaps even rendered obsolete.