Life Style

Changing the school from within

The title suggests that this is a book intended exclusively for school teachers. It is not so. Certainly, Philippe Viard is himself a teacher and director of the public school of Ennery (Val-d’Oise) but it is the whole of society that he invites to mobilize to make school “a place where children are happy and fulfilled, working for their future, a school connected to the world, society and nature”. A place where children are taught benevolence, autonomy, the search for meaning and self-confidence.

Thirty years of experience

With his 30 years of experience, the author offers, in a concrete and didactic way, his ways of doing things, his tools to support the curiosity of his students and involve them in their schooling: choice of multilevel classes, definition of the objectives of the year with each child, educational projects “which give meaning to learning”almost no notes…

→ EXPLANATION. Pedagogy: to learn at school, it is better to be active

Philippe Viard summons without abusing the neurosciences to better understand the child of today, the different intelligences… And he bases his reflection on several official documents, including the common base of knowledge, skills and culture, defined by the national education since 2005 and “which gives extraordinary pedagogical freedom”he enthuses.

An expanded educational community

If we feel concerned on each page of this short work, it is because this passionate educator, who has already testified in a documentary (1), pleads in favor of an extended educational community, including teachers and school staff of course, but also local actors – associations, cultural and sporting venues, elected officials – and of course the families, whom the author invites to enter the classroom to find out what is going on or even make their contribution . And this, so that the school is open to the world, the child connected to his environment.

This global educational issue is all the more essential in that the challenges – first and foremost the fight against climate change and living together – are major, in a society that is changing at high speed. And to conclude, with Hannah Arendt: “It is also with education that we decide whether we love our children enough not to reject them from our world (…) but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world. »

(1) “Changing the school from within”, Ed. Actes Sud, “I’m taking action” collection, 64 pages, €10 (€7.49 in digital version).

(2) A crazy idea, 2017, available on


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