Life Style

How teachers are prepared to deal with student aggression

The versions differ as to the motivation of the pupil. One reports a lively exchange with the teacher about an assignment not completed. The other evokes the fall of a calculator as a trigger. One thing is certain: the 15-year-old second-grader slapped his math teacher violently in the face, who had to be rushed to hospital, from where she was able to be discharged in the evening.

Occurring Monday, November 29 in the Lycée Montaigne, in Paris, on the edge of the Luxembourg Gardens, this aggression swells the tide of violence to which teachers are regularly victims.

Violence on the rise in primary school

According to the Ministry of Education, in public schools, teachers are implicated as victims in half of the serious incidents declared by inspectors. In secondary education in the public and private sectors under contract, teachers are victims in a quarter of serious incidents reported by school heads. Violence, mainly verbal, is on the rise in primary education (2.4 serious cases per 1,000 students in 2019-2020, 2.8 in 2020-2021) but decreases slightly in secondary education (the rate drops from 12.2 to 1000 to 10.2 over the same period).

These statistics question in any case the way in which teachers are prepared, or not, to face the aggressiveness of some of their students. “Once their competition has been obtained, the trainee teachers are part-time in front of the students, part-time in training, where they benefit from a“ class authority and management ”module”, indicates Alain Frugière, director of the Higher National Institute for Teaching and Education (Inspé) and president of the Inspé network.

“In addition to the theoretical part (sociology of students, adolescent psychology, etc.) that they received, if they have prepared for their competition within the framework of the Inspé, they approach with trainers from different fields. situations of tension or violence inspired by reality. They are also invited to look at the situations they experience themselves in the context of their internship, through the analysis of practice. “

Role play game

During the training, it also happens that future teachers participate in role plays to test their reflexes and think about the most relevant attitude to adopt in the face of an outbreak of violence. ” Corn the situations are rarely those with which we will be confronted, the pupils having an infinite capacity to surprise us ”, slice Jean-Rémi Girard, the president of the National Union of high schools and colleges.

The sharing of experience also and above all takes place through peers, believes this union official. “For a long time, the difficulties of class management remained a taboo subject. But this is no longer the case, in particular because they are on the increase and that everyone is, one day or another, confronted with them. Discussions on this subject have almost become the norm in priority education, where the teaching group plays a key role. Seeking help and advice from colleagues is almost, in some cases, a survival reflex! “

Know the legal framework

“What protects teachers is also knowing the legal framework well”, adds Jean-Louis Linder, vice-president of the Autonome de solidarité laïque. This structure, which has 475,000 members among the education staff, aims to support, with peers and counsel, teachers and members of the educational team encountering conflict situations. Last year, it also offered around 7,500 training courses devoted to the civil and criminal liability of agents, ethical issues and the risks associated with digital uses …

→ READ. Violence at school, the excitement of teachers

“It is essential to know, for example, what is acceptable to bear and what is not, and to know the behaviors that can be adopted without putting oneself in legal danger. During these training sessions, we start with cases, anonymized, that we had to deal with among our 10,000 annual files ”, specifies Jean-Louis Linder. In the mass of these cases, 150 to 200 concern serious verbal assaults or physical assaults.


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