Issue n° 34


Notion : Educational Guidance, Biljana Stevanovic (Caen University)

The aims of educational guidance are to advise young people regarding choice of studies and career path. Differential guidance shows gender bias towards pupils. Girls are directed towards literary studies and the services sector and boys are directed in a scientific, technical and industrial direction. Girls and boys do not gain access to the same knowledge or to the same vocational outlets. Differentiated guidance leads girls towards work that is less well paid. Self-selection, the way jobs are presented, feelings of competence, the relationship between family and working life are called into question in order to explain these different outlooks.

Report: Reforming teaching: historical perspectives

Introduction, Pierre Kahn (IUFM of Basse-Normandie)

What kind of reforms for what kind of democratisation? The question of the primary school in the transformation of the educational system 1945-1970, Catherine Dorison (IUFM of Cergy-Pontoise)

When democratising is taken to mean access to second level schooling of the ‘best’ pupils, whatever their backgrounds, the fundamental question concerns the factors that hinder the education of ‘good’ pupils at second level but the question of failure in elementary school is not asked. Moreover, the inquiries that in the 1950s dealt with ‘backward pupils’ in elementary school draw on another conception of democratisation. The article analyses the connection between the conceptions of democratisation of the school system and the formulation of the problem of educational failure at primary level. It studies the changes that took place in the 1960s and shows the importance, acknowledged by the Ministry for Education at the end of the decade, of educational failure and repeating classes.

Pedagogy in the primary school between 1945-1970: the impossible reform?, Pierre Kahn (IUFM of Basse-Normandie)

The major reform of the 1970s marks a break with the apparent predictability of official documents which, from the time of Jules Ferry, conceived of the primary school as comprising a very particular education aimed at the majority of pupils ending their education at the end of primary schooling. This unchanging state of affairs was paradoxical in the light of the fact that, since 1945, new classes at second level were subject to an attempt at reform in terms of active methods and new approaches. It also hides perhaps a more complex situation. The reformers were active within l’IPN from the beginning of the 1960s, in the context of a ‘democratic ‘extension of concern beyond sixth grade to all pupils. They took up a position in the first undermining of those traditional approaches to pedagogy that had been supported by the administration of primary education since the Liberation.

A complex and contested reform: the new approach to French in the elementary school from 1963 to 1972, Marie-France Bishop (IUFM of Lille)

The new approach in the teaching of French that was promulgated officially in December 1972 is notable for the complexity of its remit and by the violence of the debates that it set off. During this period two conceptions of the teaching of French came into conflict. The first, endeavouring to ensure basic knowledge, was committed to the principle of reinforcing the teaching of French to allow for entry to sixth grade. The second, wishing to provide motivation for learning by allowing self-expression and the practice of communication, was more oriented towards creative activities and required a reduction in curriculum content. Informing both positions were two conceptions of democracy in education that came into conflict.

An artificial consensus; the general reform of teaching of post war years and the opening up of the school to the locality, Youenn Michel (Caen University)

The aim of the general reform of the post war years was to develop active methods, and especially, local studies. This was facilitated by the introduction of new school time-table and by the introduction of guided activities. Behind this official blessing, study of the sources suggests that traditional practices and models of relationship to the local context remained prevalent.

The use of the Letessier table in the gradual integration of sport into Physical Education in schools (1952-1959), Yohann Fortune (Caen University)

The ‘Jean Letessier’s scoring table for performance in sport’ is an instrument that has left a deep mark on the history of teaching practices in physical and sports education in schools. Introduced for the first time in 1957, it quickly became the indispensable instrument for a large number of tests in physical education in school and civil examinations. Thus it contributed to the gradual integration of sport and especially of athletics into the school between 1950-1960. Use of the table also allowed for a subtle compromise between the desire to modernise the content of teaching and the need to respect to the rigorous and serious character of any subject that has norms of educational achievement. It is because it managed this balance that the Letessier table can appear both as a privileged witness and equally as an instrument in the gradual accommodation within school of physical and sports education in the 1950s.

Victor Host: theorist of educational reform and promoter of didactic sciences, Jean-Pierre Astolfi (Rouen University)

This article of homage aims firstly to recall the role of Victor Host in the 1970s in the conception and promotion of major pedagogic reform. Secondly it aims to show through an account of this important individual the links that existed at the time between, on the one hand, l’Institut Pédagogique National and, on the other hand, the movement of educational reform and the development of methodologies for teaching school subjects. It is followed by a text by V. Host that appeared in 1995 in the journal Perspectives under the title ‘The aims of scientific teaching approaching the year 2000’.

Henri I. Marrou: between tradition and teaching reforms, Hervé Terral (Toulouse-le Mirail University)

Henri I. Marrou’s reflections on history emerged during the period of crisis for the ‘European conscience’ marked by the Second Wold War, the rise of totalitarian regimes and the desire for freedom and social reform. H. Terral shows that Marrou was committed to modern ideas and to many aspects of the Langevin-Wallon plan. Yet he remained, without being a traditionalist or conservative, also committed to the teaching of humanities, to the moral formation of the individual and to the transmission of the general culture embodied in tradition.

Correspondence : The Islamisation of knowledge: Between knowledge and power, Zouaoui Beghoura (Koweit University)

Discourse concerning the Islamisation of knowledge is considered a response to the crisis with the civilisation of Islam. It is connected to the project of ‘Islamic awakening’ that appeared in North American universities during the cold war based on the idea of a ‘third way’. The model it followed was offered by Ibn Yaymia, who faced with a similar crisis in the thirteenth century, proposed as a solution the submission of reason and conduct to the law of the Koran. From that time the sacred text and tradition were conceived as the true foundation of all knowledge. The article explains why the human sciences are the privileged targets for the project of the Islamisation of knowledge and how an alliance was put in place between political power in Arab countries and the rejection of Western approaches to knowledge.