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Homage to Samuel Paty: history teachers facing history

During the holidays, Fabien Mione, 38, talked a lot with his colleagues on different Whatsapp groups. “ Shocked »By the appalling assassination of Samuel Paty, professor of history and geography like him, this associate who teaches at the François-Villon college, classified as a priority education zone in the 11e arrondissement of Marseille, felt the need to carefully prepare for this return to school. “It was necessary that we pose the situation in our establishment, that we reflect together on what we could do”, Fabien Mione advances.

→ PORTRAIT. Samuel Paty, a teacher passionate about his profession

While a national tribute must be paid this morning to Samuel Paty, marked in particular by a minute of silence at 11 am, Fabien Mione will therefore return to his classes for the first time since the tragedy – and what is more in a confined France. With the will to put ” at their disposal “. ” I have no doubt that the students will want to spontaneously broach the subject, as after the Charlie Hebdo attack, emphasizes the associate, who then showed his students of 3e caricatures of Mohammed and the Pope, “Because the students were asking and they didn’t know what it was”.

“Learning otherness goes through diversity”

How to find the pupils and how to continue, thereafter, to teach the values ​​of the Republic, the freedom of expression, the respect for each one and secularism? “We give history teachers (who are also responsible for civic and moral education, Editor’s note) a huge role, sighs Fabien Mione. However, we only see our students 4 hours a week and we do not have the keys to solve everything! ” He remembers, for example, a work searched in class with 3e on the September 11 attacks. “At the end of the session on fifty students, two of them still believed in a conspiracy. What more could I do? I had done my part, then I don’t know what’s going on with them… ”

Christine Guillonnet, who will return to her high school in Pontoise (Val-d’Oise), confirms the magnitude of the task. “Society asks the school to take care of everything. But our students do not leave their luggage at the door of the classroom: the economic concerns of their parents, their psychological problems. We must therefore address them as a whole and find a common language despite their differences. It’s not always easy, admits the teacher, so this monday we will do our best. “

The professor took the time to deconstruct the prejudices

For many teachers, the priority will first be to reassure. “The assassination of a professor is something that concerns them. In Conflans, it is as if terrorism had knocked on their door ”, explains Christine Guillonnet. Above all, teachers know that they have the weapons of pedagogy – explain, put into perspective, come back to the facts – to answer questions and open dialogue, without judgment. Because tensions, cookie-cutter words, many have already heard over the course of their careers. Like the day when a student, during a course on the Algerian war, told Christine Guillonnet that “The harkis are traitors”. Or that other student who challenged the reality of the Armenian genocide.

→ EDITORIAL. Homage to Samuel Paty: explain, dialogue

Each time, the professor recounts having sought how to deconstruct prejudices. “I lead them to discern between what is a matter of personal beliefs and real knowledge. Deep down, that’s what it is to teach, she sums up: don to learn historical facts and a method of reflection, which form a critical mind. ” However, the task is not easy with teenagers in construction who quickly get indignant. “They are very sensitive to injustices, continues the teacher from Pontoise. Very often, the case of the Palestinians arouses passions ”.

“I’m not going to do a vertical course on freedom of expression”

Open dialogue, this is precisely what will try again this Monday Gwentaz Caoussin, teacher at the Saint-Nicolas high school, in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Hauts-de-Seine). “I’m not going to do a vertical course on freedom of expression, he explains. I have the idea of ​​doing a normal course, while integrating a debate. “ The teacher considers that too often civic and moral education courses “Have a 19th century side, where students are told what to think. It does not happen at all now when the youngest are very used to being confronted with lots of points of view on social networks. So I prefer to teach them critical thinking and to think for themselves. “

→ MAINTENANCE. “Show children that, despite the pain, we have the means to act”

He says he realized the relevance of this approach again on the eve of the All Saints holidays, the very day Samuel Paty died. “As luck would have it, that morning, I chose to talk about freedom of expression with my students. We had quite strong differences of point of view. Many had told me that the term “Islamism” shocked them, for example. For them, many of whom come from an immigrant background, terrorists have nothing to do with Islam and it is their beliefs that one insulted in speaking of Islamism. “

“We have found a vaccine against obscurantism”

Teacher at Sévigné college, located in Roubaix in a reinforced priority education zone, Sarah Ouagueni, 24, will also meet her students this Monday morning. Without particular anguish, despite the feeling of identification with the murdered professor, but very prepared. During the holidays, she read a lot and refined a 30-page presentation to discuss with her 5th grade class, of which she is a main teacher, on secularism and religions, terrorism and freedom of the press. She planned to ” give some points of reference on Chechnya and to address the boycott of French products abroad », Explains the teacher who also relies heavily on media and information education, convinced that this is one of the keys to fighting intolerance and radicalization.

→ READ. Homage to Samuel Paty: what Jaurès’ “Letter to teachers” says

” I am convinced the essential role of teachers in helping the citizens of tomorrow to develop their critical thinking, assures the young teacher. This is why iI am going to start my presentation with a drawing in which we see students saying to their teacher: “We have found a vaccine. “” Against the Covid-19? », Asks prof. And the students who answer: “No, no, against obscurantism and intolerance! And this vaccine is you. “


Tribute to Samuel Paty

A minute of silence will be observed at 11 am this Monday, November 2 in all schools, colleges and high schools, after reading the letter to teachers from Jean Jaurès. Jean Castex and Jean-Michel Blanquer will go to a primary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Each establishment is left free to complete the reflection as it wishes. Catholic education has decided to associate the victims of the Nice attack with the tribute and will be able to offer times of prayer or interreligious gatherings to its students.

By the end of the month, will have to stand an educational time adapted to the age of the pupils around the values ​​of the Republic and its school.

Moral and civic education will be reformed at the start of the school year. The Minister of Education announced in the Parisian from 1 November, an increase in the number of hours of lessons and better training for teachers. The civic engagement of the pupils will, moreover, be taken into account in the certificate of the colleges.


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