Our Children’s future in France

Hi, parents and teachers! I don’t usually like to get engulfed by the turmoil of political issues, but this time I feel I must reach out to readers, specifically French ones, although my article is in English (most of my colleagues speak and read perfect English) as we are deciding on our children’s future.

Last night, live on French TV, after more than two and a half hours of slinging accusations and slander, arbitrated by two overwhelmed journalists -who would have no doubt  preferred a more conventional rally between the two party leaders running for the presidency, Marine Le Pen blatantly revealed to the public what she has been trying to veil since the beginning of her campaign. Her mud throwing strategy to forestall having to expand on her political plan for France’s murky future.

The whole debate was a juggling of insinuations, sneering remarks and outright accusations. The National Front leader donned her papier mâché mask featuring a complacent smile, which by no means denoted contentment, but rather scorn and condescension.

Does she want people to think that her adversary is a spoiled brat who enjoys playing around with politics? If that was her strategy, next time round she might want to use another one and appear less infantile herself.

If the attack approach is the one we should adopt, as per the example given yesterday, in order to defend our ideals and rights, then we have been teaching our children all the wrong attitudes about life. In institutions, we are told to ‘respect’ our classmates, co-workers and ‘listen’ to other people’s opinions, but our future political leaders seem to be showing us that we’ve got that all wrong.

Now about the issue of children, and specifically the education of France’s future adult population, the two leaders definitely have nothing in common. Well, they don’t have much in common on anything…

While Le Pen seeks the long-lost respect for the teacher’s role in classrooms, Macron wants to go to the root of the undisciplined behaviour. The issue he pleads is reaching out to the child and his or her specific social or educational needs. It is crucial to build the identity and consciousness of the blooming adult and help him or her to prosper as a responsible being, especially in those cases where the child has no real support within the family sphere.

We should work towards providing for children who have no means to acquire this awareness rather than punishing indiscriminately and restoring order with other- if we look into our past- rather unconventional methods of enforcing discipline.

Last year, with France’s government reforms to the education system, institutions lost some fundamental cultural stepping stones, such as bilingual classes, intensive language schemes, Latin, Ancient Greek and an upheaval of the history curriculum, as well as a general open-mindedness towards the European community, which has taken so long to establish.

Teachers have also lost the support of the educational aides (AVS) who provided vital assistance in classes with children needing extra guidance. Today we are faced with the issue of increasing inequalities and class separation, as classrooms are left to fend for themselves under the supervision of bleary-eyed, overtired and demotivated teachers.

If the leader of ‘La France en Marche’ does as promised, the future looks brighter than it has done for quite a while now. His plan is simple and could be extremely effective-I wonder why it took so long for a leader to work that one out? Had they been to more PT meetings we might have tipped them off before. He promises to invest a large amount of energy and resources in primary institutions, which is where our children start developing as the future students of senior classrooms.

How many children have been tripping and falling throughout senior school due to an inadequate education at primary level? Our younger learners are full of enthusiasm and positive prospects in their new school environment. This is precisely when we should help them develop into positive and critical thinking senior students. Here is the chance they have to learn important strategies for life, as well as easier academical concepts.

So working with the younger ones and providing support in primary classrooms, as well as in the home environment will form more assured and skilful children who can proceed with more confidence onto more demanding studies.

On the other hand, the leader of the NF party declared that stricter and more defined classroom rules would help reinstall the respect of the teacher’s authority, although she did not expand on the ‘type’ of punishment she had in mind.

The problem does not lie in classroom management, the issue is often to be found in the child’s home environment and in the difficulty, the child’s parents have to follow his or her progression. Some do not have time and others do not have the capability or means to do so. A child does not choose the family her or she is born in. Not all of us are Sunday children. Our nation’s future lies with them. We need to help them develop into conscious, morally sane, critically thinking adults. Young people who care about what they are doing and the people with whom they coexist, as well as the environment in which they live in.

“I hope…” as Sting pleaded in one of his songs, “that the [politicians] love their children too.

©2017 Sonia Ferrigno

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