“All capable”, the New Education The French Group of New Education

“The new education prepares the child, not only the future citizen to be able to fulfill his duties to his relatives and the people in general, but also the person to be mindful of his dignity as a man “(Principle of International League of New Education, 1921)

SUD Education favors the promotion and use of cooperative pedagogies in the classroom. However, SUD does not claim to decide between different current currents (Freinet pedagogy, GFEN, institutional pedagogy, etc.): these educational sheets are intended to present them, each independent of adapting it according to their choices and his practice. On this page you will find a presentation on institutional pedagogy, written by educational activists affiliated with SUD Education.

Teachers and scholars for New Education

After the First World War, teachers and scholars met and asked each other to develop a culture of peace, opposing a traditional and strict education aimed at obedience. This movement is confirmed within the International League for New Education, of which GFEN (French Group for New Education) is a member, with a strong idea, “everyone can”. Under the influence of thinkers such as Rousseau, Pestalozzi, or Jacotot, the first GFEN activists, Walloon or Langevin would work to create a research and training activity whose goal was to inculcate its principles within the education of child. It could be a question of writing New Education against competition and individualism and for the unity of learning but also against the ideology of gift or socio-cultural disability.

So the slogan “all capable” means that every child has the capacity to understand and create, and therefore be responsible for his or her own story. The goal is to make each child an actor in his or her own life. He really needs to learn knowledge but also improve his citizenship skills.

The self-socio-construction approach

“Real activity is not external activity, it is effect activity, it is the activity of the mind in the search for knowledge” (Édouard Claparède, Functional Education)

The central concept of GFEN, theorized by Henri and Odette Bassis, self-socio-construction can be summarized on 4 main axes (taken from the GFEN website):

  • 1/ Learning takes place through “steps”, tools that are thought of and discussed collectively, that face the reality of the earth. These methods aim to make the situations accessible to all but nonetheless raise questions. “Instruction therefore consists of prompting an action whose goal is set, in fact, but not the behavior, which is entirely entrusted to the initiative of the learner. »

  • 2/ Knowledge is built! It is important to show children the historical construction of knowledge and the discussions between scientists. This can be done through projects done by students that put them in a creative state as philosophers or historians can.

  • 3/ The methods invented by GFEN are called “self-construction”. Students face situations where they have to adapt to knowledge and not just know it.

  • 4/ Learning is collective learning, building one’s own society. The student learns with others, the teacher.

    The self-socio-construction approach is intended to be a systemic approach in which each element interacts with the other, as shown in the diagram below (taken from the GFEN website):

    – plano

Thus, the teacher’s work can be linked to 4 dimensions:

  • that of to find out → the question then arises on the purpose of the task given.

  • those in conditions → how to achieve the set objectives?

  • to students → how to organize the process for collective confrontation?

  • that the learner → the teacher must watch over each of the students

The learner’s work also has links in 4 dimensions

  • that of conditions where students are required to participate in research.

  • that of students with a confrontation to reflect on others

  • that of the teacher who sets the tone (confidence and necessity)

  • that of knowledge where the student has to make his knowledge, fit it.

An example of self-socio-construction, the text is recreated

Invented in the 1970s as part of the 20th arrondissement group (a group of schools in the 20th arrondissement of Paris), the recreated text approach is aimed at releasing text. This practice is done but in French but very well adapts to other “literature” topics. You need to explain to students what to ask: after reading a text, without taking notes, students should try to write again using their memory and discuss it simultaneously.

Some steps for this:

  • 1/ First, read the text aloud without taking notes.

  • 2/ Then, ask students to change the text individually (note the words they remember by trying to put them back in the order of the text)

  • 3/ In groups of 4, students will agree on a version of the text to be proposed.

  • 4/ As a whole group, each group will make their proposals, discuss to come up with a proposal. At this stage, you have to argue.

  • 5/ You can display the original text next to the reconstituted text to compare it (omissions, errors).

This work makes it possible to invest in the text in a different, collective way and forces students to think about the meaning of the words used or the sequence of sentences. The different stages may be more or less variable (one or more readings, no individual work, no group work) depending on the group of students.

A historical and collective experience

If GFEN teachers and activists try to implement their class in their methods on an individual basis, it is also necessary to note a collective experience, in the group of the XXth arrondissement where a whole constitution tried to cooperate using self-socio. – construction methods. It can be a question of coordinating procedures in many schools, with the help of other professionals (social workers for example) and parents with the goal of bringing to 6th grade at most many students from the neighborhood popular, at a time to enter college is. more complicated.

This collective spirit can also be seen in GFEN magazine, Dialogue, which serves as the front of the movement. Each issue features reflections and discussions between Éducation Nouvelle activists. GFEN, which wants to be a research activity, will also set up summer universities, internships and other training that will allow them to democratize their approach to teachers but also to other types of teachers. (social workers, animators … etc).

Today, the international league no longer exists but GFEN collaborates with other activities within LIEN, International Link for New Education or within activities such as gatherings of other New Education activities (such as CEMEA or ICEM for example).

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