Make Bullying Stop

Posted by julien-redelsperger on juillet 11th, 2014 under Non classé Tags:  •  No Comments

Make Bullying Stop!Big advertising campaigns, articles in newspapers, pedagogical workshops in schools, TV shows… you might want to know who deserves this huge communication strategy?

Well, unfortunately, this is a not the last pop star that teenagers love. It is a sociological concern that takes its root deep inside every school in the world: bullying.

 

What are we talking about?

 

Bullying is an issue which is seriously taken into account in Canada, as it is in most of the anglo-saxon countries. According to official sources from the Government of Canada, the term « bullying » referred to physical actions such as hitting, kicking and punching, as well as other types of non-physical behavior that can have similar impacts on the victim.

Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It is a concern that is well known for a long time in almost every school in the world. Children are sometimes mean to each other without being fully aware of the consequences of their actions. The growth of Internet and social networks make bullying worse. Facebook, like the other networks, are now the new playground for kids. And the effects can be much more devastating.

 

In France

 

I have the feeling that in France, bullying is viewed as a step in the process of growing. Everyone in junior high school was, at least once, the target of another kid or group of kids. I often heard that this is not such a big deal. It helps to build a strong personality and be prepared for the real life. Unfortunately, I doubt this common thought is approved by pedagogical specialists and teachers. So why aren’t we talking much more about bullying in France? Of course, the media underline this issue when something specific and terrific is happening (extreme bullying that lead to suicide ; as an example the interview – in French – of the mother of Marion Fraisse is readable here ), but otherwise, we have to admit this doesn’t really seem to be a top priority for the French ministry of education. At least, until now and the recent campaign called “agir contre le harcelement à l’école” (acting against bullying in school) with the participation of a French pop star and a French athlete who testified about their own experiences.

According to the French specialist Éric Debarbieux, the engine of bullying lies in the refusal of difference (scholars that are either very good or very bad, have a different social background, ethnic origin…) and it took time for education politics to face this reality. For example, Finland did it in the 1970’s, UK at the end of the 80’s and France began to think about around 2010. He also points out that for the Americans (and I can say by extension, the North-Americans, which includes Canada), prevention is better than cure : one dollar invested in prevention saves five dollars in medical care.

 

In Canada

 

Canada takes bullying very seriously into account. Tons of campaign, advertising and politics are made to cultivate awareness of general public. The ministries of education and the school boards offer many different resources for the teachers, the parents and the scholars. The federal government also has a dedicated website for helping the parents and the teens who are experiencing cyberbullying.

So if we talk a lot about bullying in Canada, does that mean that it encounters a lot more of problems than the other countries?

 

Bullying is everywhere

 

In a study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2009/2010, Canada and France are ranked in the middle of the 35 countries studied for level of bullying. Sometimes, France has a lower rates (for the 11 and 13-year-olds who have been bullied at school at least twice in the past couple of months), sometimes it’s the contrary (for the 15-year-olds who have been bullied at school at least twice in the past couple of months). But one point is still right : the rate of teens who have bullied others at school at least twice in the past couple of months is always lower in Canada than in France. Anti-bullying politics is totally integrated into canadian politics, when in France, it seems to only started. In any case, lowering bullying in schools is a really long lasting trend that takes resources and effort.

The study also shows a constant fact : the only country which has always the lower rates is Sweden. So this is a country where both Canada and France can learn from.

 


 

Illustration : photo credit: leosoueu via photopin cc

Education and Communication

Posted by julien-redelsperger on mai 20th, 2014 under Non classé Tags: , ,  •  No Comments

As I’ve already explained, the education system in Canada is very different from the French one. One of the consequences of this decentralized and provincial-based system is that the school boards invest a lot to promote their schools, using, for example, the Internet as a powerful tool of communication.

In Canada, schools have their own website. I wouldn’t say that every school site complied with the latest webdesign trends, but still… the main content is here. Parents can get information about the school, the last and next events, the vision and mission of the school, they can also get access to a private site with children’s grades, activities, absence and lateness. You can find pictures, ressources and courses to help your children and a lot more-or-less useful facts and figures about the school, its employees and the good practices dedicated to the children’s success. So basically, there is nothing fancy here. Just practical content to enhance a better communication inside the school community. It’s up-to-date and nice enough to enjoy the navigation. The website reflects the values, missions and particularities of the school board. It benefits to the overall image of the schools, the teachers and administrative staff.CECCE

When I figured it out, I tried to know more about the situation in France. After some empirical researches, I was astonished about what I found. First of all, not only every primary school doesn’t have a dedicated website, but the ones I found used either the very-far-from-being-functional (the politically correct expression to say ugly) template of their regional school-board (académie) or a self-made design with tons of clipart and gif that would bring anybody back in the 90’s.

I’m not critizicing the teachers, who probably do their best to maintain or create websites with or without the children when it’s not their jobs (I won’t ask a webdeveloper to take care of a full class of kids!). I’m just making the observation that in France, there is still so much work to do to turn traditional schools into digital schools.

In France, teachers in primary schools are making blogs and websites on their free time, without any helps or particular training. I guess they understand this will help children to better understand digital world, and how to get the best of it. Also, some “academies” (french regional school board) make the use of their old-school template mandatory, which is not very useful to get a better design and “branding” (yes, I’m talking about branding in education… no offense!)

The “colleges” (junior high-school) and “lycées” (senior high-school) seem to have their own websites, but the content is still very changing from one to another. Still the same ugly template (I don’t even talk about responsive design here) but with a more structured content.
To keep it simple, the more you grow up, the more you deserve to get a decent website. Once you graduated from high school, you finally get nice and functional websites powered by public universities and Grandes Ecoles.
How our children can be prepare to enter a changing digital world if the education politics seem to be so far away from being ready?
The internet is not only a world where our children are born. They are more than just digital natives. They will be the taskforce that lead our country to more innovation, creativity and growth.

And the internet (r)evolution might just starts in school with proper websites.

Alternate reality: education through the glasses

Posted by julien-redelsperger on mars 6th, 2014 under Non classé Tags: , , ,  •  No Comments

Technology sometimes needs a breakthrough to create new needs and new way of living, working and learning. Windows 95 democratizing the use of computers is one of them. Internet invading every aspects of our lives in the 2000’s is one another. Steve Jobs presenting the first Iphone, back in 2007, may be the last one… until Google?
A new era seems about to open since the launch of the Google Glass project.

However, wearable technologies are not just about wearing IWatch or Google Glass to check emails, find a way to avoid trafic jam or listen to music. It’s about becoming totally connected in any ways. We may like it or not, but we can’t make it stop.
And education will be one of the main field of experimentation. Companies are already in the starting-blocks, as you can see in the video below:

Teachers and professors will have to adapt themselves to enhance pedagogical tools that fit this new reality: alternate reality. A new digitally raised generation of teachers (this so famous Y-generation), started or is about to start their careers, while the wiser (or the old ones, if you’re not that politically correct!) are about to enjoy Florida sunshine for retirement.

We truly need to keep an eye on this new trend and its way it can impact education!

How education can benefit from these new technologies? Do our best expectations of a more connected world for the best of everybody will become reality? What will happen for those who won’t be able to buy these new tech devices? Are we preparing an education system with two sides? What about the basics of teaching? Knowledge will be available everywhere and everytime. How that’s about to change the way teachers are trained and work? Do the children will be more smart and open-minded because of, or thanks to, these new devices?

We do not have the answers yet… but maybe Google does.

 

What if we change the French education system?

Posted by julien-redelsperger on février 11th, 2014 under Non classé Tags: ,  •  1 Comment

Okay, let’s be honest, this is definitely an Educ-Sci-Fy story.

That being said, what if the French education were structured the same way than in Canada?

Let’s rambling on it for a second.

In Canada, there is a Ministry of Education in each province. Every province manages directly the elementary and secondary school system. In this framework, there are district school boards that administer the educational programs. So if you take the example of Ontario, there are 60 English school boards (themselves divided between public and catholic boards) and 12 French school boards (also divided into public and catholic boards). These school boards have to follow the curriculum from the ministry but they are responsible for recruiting, managing and paying their teachers and staff. The curriculum is specific to the province. For example, the curriculum of Manitoba is different from the one in Quebec and from the one in Ontario.

Now, let’s go back to our sci-fi issue.

How do we deploy it in France? On paper, it’s pretty simple. We close the French Ministry of Education located on Grenelle Street in Paris and open 22 ministries in the 22 French region (27 if we count the overseas) with the support of education union (I told you this was a sci-fi story).

Easy, isn’it?

Now we can ask our region Presidents to appoint their own Ministries of education and develop their own curriculum. Every region will have its own curriculum. They can probably specialize themselves on particular topics, emphasizing on the assets the territories have to promote: high tech, tourism, aerospace, food industry, cosmetic valley… In some region, the classes would be taught in regional language (Corsica, Britany…), in others it might be taught in foreign languages to develop bilingual classes.

The teachers will be recruited the same way the private sector do… scary, huh?

Well, actually, not exactly the same way. They will have, at least, to be qualified by a regional professional association, which checks the academic background and the skills of those who want to become a teacher. The regions that are willing to invest more on education will be able to pay their personal more and to attract the best teachers. This system emphasizes motivation and rewards teachers who are willing to give their best for the success of the children.

And, in a couple of years, the French would be more skilful than ever.

Perfect, right?
So what are we waiting for? ;-)