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We should read more classics at school, French teachers argue

We should read more classics at school, French teachers argue

There should be more classics of literature among compulsory readings for young Quebecers, high school French teachers argue.

“We must create, with experts in literature and pedagogy and with teachers, a well-argued repertoire of works drawn from Quebec and world literature, but large enough so that there remains pedagogical freedom for teachers,” said Lille-Marion Jouvin-Vest, who teaches French at the Ecole Joseph François Perrault in Quebec.

“The idea is not to have everyone systematically read the same thing, it would just be that there is a common grounding. Right now everyone is doing the best they can, but there is a lack of guidance.”

cultural attractions

In fact, student readings vary greatly from school to school. “It depends on choices made in the past. Many teachers read translations of books that have been adapted for the screen in an effort to interest students.”

This is without taking into account the division that exists between the special programmes, where young people deal more with great work, and the regular classes, where the requirements are “generally lower”, added a third teacher, Fabrice Metefer.

“It’s a shame because the role of the school is to bring all young people access to a culture they can’t access at home. For some, school is the only opportunity to connect with great cultural monuments,” explained Mr. Mitever, acknowledging that a balance must be found between what is very difficult What students consume.

So the three teachers choose the classics of literature when it comes time to choose books for their students. “It always works out so well,” Lily Marion Goffin Feist gushed.

A classic is a foundational or landmark text that paved the way for hundreds of other works of the same kind, such as Sherlock Holmes for crime novels.

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“Sometimes students find it more difficult,” admitted Fabrice Metefer. “But they often find joy in the pride they feel in reading a difficult book and reaching for something new. It ignites something in them.”

An economical choice

The presence of a reasoning repertoire inspired by France’s “common foundation of knowledge, skills and culture”, would make it possible to set certain boundaries and ensure that the works read in class are well anchored in the programme.

This tool will also allow school service centers to be guided in book purchases. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for books that are bought in bulk to be used in the classroom only a few times, before gathering dust and trimming them off sooner or later.

“This happens when you choose titles that are trendy, but don’t stand the test of time. Unfortunately, they’re wasting money,” noted Lily Marion Goffin-Vist.

Examples of classics that could appear in the repertory, according to Lili-Marion Gauvin-Fiset

Detective Novels: The English Classics (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmesnovels by Agatha Christie), novels by Georges Simenon

Wonderful Tales: Maupassant’s Short Stories

Tales and legends: The Hunting Fair and Other Stories, By Honore Bogrand

committed poetry: Universal rejection, rapal man, by Gaston Miron

Tales: Fountain superstitions

General Instructions

Currently, the Ministry of Education’s guidelines regarding texts to be read by high school students are very broad. In the first cycle (Secondary I and II), students must read a minimum of five works per year, which are either novels, short stories, tales or legends. In the second episode (Secondary III, IV and V), the instructions are tighter: pupils must read “at least five books” “allowing close contact with at least three different universes and at least three different authors”. During high school, half of the works read must be from Quebec, and the other half must come from Francophone or World Heritage.

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In addition, the Ministry of Education already maintains a collection of literary works, in the form of an “educational development site” called The Towers. Every month, book and education professionals analyze new works of literature for young adults available in French in Quebec. This guide is not restrictive and contains mainly children’s literature.

what they said

“Teaching the classics means giving students the rules and foundations that will enable them to be culturally competent. It is also a mandatory paragraph to understand the references that are everywhere, even in episodes Simpsons For example.” – Lily Marion Goffin Feist

“Young people are terribly underestimated, they are given books that are too easy. Sometimes they also underestimate themselves.” – Julie LeBlond

“The justification for reading a work cannot be that the teacher thinks that because it is easier, young people will like it. The truth is that you never know if he will like it. And there are students who get frustrated when it is too easy.” – Fabrice Mattiver