n° 72, september 2016
There can be no education without authority or trust. And yet, across the world, it seems that there is an urgent need to reiterate this obvious fact, and indeed to examine these falsely clear notions.
What forms the basis of trust in classrooms, schools and education systems? How can it be measured, and on what conditions should it be supported when the education crisis and the crisis of trust seem to go hand in hand?
Enriched by original studies and diverse approaches, Issue 72 of the Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres seeks to observe the place and forms of trust in ten countries with very varied contexts: England, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Dijbouti, Finland, France, New Zealand, and Portugal.
Producing diagnoses, defining operational concepts and formulating original suggestions, the authors show the extent to which the teaching sector is not independent from the social and political sphere and its events.
What this issue offers is a concrete philosophy of trust as a condition of democracy and a mode of action for high-quality education.
An issue coordinated by Laurence Cornu, Professor of Philosophy, Department of Education Science, University of Tours, Deputy Director of the Education, Ethics and Health (EES) research team
Encouraging entrepreneurship through education: An international priority
Update on international education newsAnna Butašová, Arnaud Segretain
Jean-Marie De Ketele
The indispensable PASEC 2014 Report
Privatizing public education: Academies in England
New visions for national education in Slovakia
Insights into international education systems
Enkeleda Arapi, Frédéric Lasserre
The cycle of education reforms in Albania: A transition towards Western norms?
Christian Maroy, Xavier Pons
Governing school through its results? A France–Quebec comparison
The Global Testing Culture. Shaping Education Policy, Perceptions and Practice, William C. Smith (sous la direction de), Oxford, Symposium Books, 2016
Towards a culture of trust, a concrete utopia
How do authority and trust manifest themselves throughout the world in the contemporary (dis)orientations of education? Each country is confronting the crisis of authority as well as the failings of trust: through ten case studies conducted around the world, it becomes evident the extent to which the teaching sector is not independent from the social and political sphere and its events. But “trust” is difficult to objectify – and to define. Demonstrating a genuinely ingenious approach to data collection, the authors have distinguished forms of trust (relational, institutional, etc.) and set out the issues, such as trustworthiness, the security necessary to education, a sense of trust in the world, and a sense of the meaning of school, in contemporary attitudes of distrust. Yet it appears on the one hand that democracy cannot do without trust between equals, which requires us to rethink authority as well as educational methods. On the other hand, it appears that neoliberalism introduces injustices into education that ruin educational trust. Hence the engaged anthropological, ethical and political propositions resisting both authoritarianism and the transformation of education (and pupils) into a commodity, while supporting a practical culture of trust, a non-illusory utopia, and a concrete philosophy of acting together, both with “newcomers” (children) and among those with responsibility for education.
Trust in education between authority and power
Reflections on educational realities in Portugal
Adalberto Dias de Carvalho, Nuno Fadigas
Reflecting on the notion of trust in education immediately leads to a reflection on the notions of autonomy and responsibility, to the extent that the latter are related to important forms of conduct in a democratic community, which itself always rests upon trust. Indeed, living together in a democracy presupposes openness to the other as a partner in a sociality in which our vulnerability and dependence are exposed. These constraints require an education capable of building a citizenship that respects these very values of human dignity. This article presents a few characteristics of Portuguese educational realities in this regard.
The teacher–pupil relationship and the question of authority
A study of Benin
From elementary school to university, the teacher–pupil relationship is characterized by a power relation that is often envisaged as a relationship of authority. In the past, the figure of the schoolteacher in Benin inspired respect, and the schoolmaster represented an educational authority and a model. The exercise of this power and authority no longer seems so straightforward today and assumes very varied forms in a context marked by an increased politicization of the Beninese education system. This article is based on a survey of 649 pupils, primary and secondary teachers, local education officers and parents, the aim of which was to map the forms taken by teacher–pupil relationships and to tease out the indicators of a weakening of the schoolteacher’s authority. The results of the survey have also made it possible to point to the qualities and values that are expected of teachers.
Instilling trust through education in a distrustful society
The case of France
Based on international comparisons, this article considers the reasons that can be adduced to explain the significant degree of distrust in both French schools and French society. It puts forwards hypotheses on this subject and on the basis of these attempts to point to some of the characteristics of a school experience or the running of school that are liable to increase trust between school actors and shape citizens who are inclined to trust others while remaining capable of a certain degree of vigilance.
Chilean teachers’ multiple (and occasionally dissociated) forms of trust
A study in the primary schools of the region of Valparaíso
José Weinstein, Dagmar Raczynski, Macarena Hernández
This article describes a study conducted in the primary schools of the region of Valparaíso, in Chile, on two types of trust felt by teachers and on the ties that can potentially develop between them: relational trust and political trust. The former refers to the sentiment teachers feel towards the different actors with whom they are in daily contact within the school environment, while the latter refers to the trust they have in the educational institutions or other institutions or key actors within Chilean society. After a brief description of the concepts and research framework employed in the analysis, the article presents the methodology used in the study as well as its main results. It then provides a few overall conclusions and discussion points based on the data presented.
Relationships to school in Dijbouti: Between trust and distrust
Rachel Solomon Tsehaye
This article aims to interrogate relationships to school and knowledge by evaluating their legitimacy through the discourses of teachers, parents and pupils in Dijbouti. By reporting on the extent to which the different modes of schooling, via the knowledge they disseminate and which identify them, are or are not authoritative, this article apprehends the trust and distrust displayed towards school – whether public or private, Koranic or Catholic – as well as towards its content, qualifications and the professional aspirations to which each type refers.
Kia tū taiea: Honouring ties
Trust, education and authority in New Zealand
Mere Skerrett, Jenny Ritchie
The history of colonization, onto which modernist and, more recently, neoliberal tendencies have been superimposed, has had a serious impact on Maori communities in New Zealand. Trust has disappeared from the relationship between colonized and colonizer, and many Maoris are grappling with the ongoing consequences of colonization: loss of languages, knowledge forms and practices relating to healing, the spiritual, the education of children, and education in general. This article examines the responses to these losses, from both the point of view of the Maori conception of education in early childhood, which is immersive in order to maintain its own authority, and that of the dominant White majority. It highlights the tensions that hinder the ability of Maori families and tribes to re-establish their languages and practices in the areas of childcare and the education of their young children.
Authority, responsibility, teaching methods and assessment in English schools
This article seeks to demonstrate, on the one hand, that neoliberalism is a response to the crisis of authority and, on the other, that in the field of education, the trust once placed in the authority of the schoolteacher has today been replaced by the belief that it is the famous “invisible hand” which steers the market. Standardized assessment, legitimized by virtue of its association with scientific clarity, objectivity and precision, occupies a central place in the neoliberal reform of education. But the assessment methods alter the very meaning of educational practices and shape social relations. The manner in which these methods contribute to shaping the curriculum, teaching methods and the subjective perceptions of pupils is part of a complex process and one of the important factors is to determine who among those responsible for the accountability of the standardized assessment of pupils are best placed to influence this process. Based on the results of a recent study, this article examines the implications of these results for the curriculum, pedagogy and pupils.
Trust, distrust and (abuse of) authority in education in Cambodia
Lessons drawn from the shadow schools
Mark Bray, Junyan Liu, Wei Zhang, Magda Nutsa Kobakhidze
All over the world over the last decades, complementary private education has developed considerably in parallel to regular schooling. Some forms of complementary schooling are often known as “shadow schools” because their curricula are similar to those of regular classes. In Cambodia, these complementary parallel classes are often delivered by teachers from the public sector, sometimes to their own pupils and in their own schools. To recruit pupils to their private classes, teachers use the authority that is conferred upon them as teachers. This can limit the development of trust in the school system, but most families are not in a position to question these arrangements. Though Cambodia is perhaps an extreme case, this article suggests that the basic characteristics of this tendency are valid for many countries.
High school students form a “group subject” … and reinvent a political trust
The case of state schools in São Paulo in Brazil
Sílvio Gallo, Alexandre Filordi de Carvalho
Based on the analysis of a recent political event in Brazil, this article considers the loss of political trust in state management and – paradoxically – the emergence of the community’s trust in the public sphere. In the second half of 2015, after the São Paulo Education Secretariat announced a process of reform to the school system entailing the closure of schools, groups of high school students tried in vain to enter into a dialogue with the government and went on to occupy several public schools, which led the government to backtrack. This event can be read as the transformation of “subjected groups” into “group subjects”.
Trust, a cornerstone of the education system in Finland
Irmeli Halinen, Hannele Niemi, Auli Toom
This article looks at the way in which trust, in its philosophy and culture, manifests itself within the Finnish education system, drawing on examples concerning national-level processes and systems as well as local-level functions. The process of designing the basic national curriculum in its diverse local variants is a very collaborative one, thanks to the close involvement of actors and mutual trust. Many important procedures, like the assessment of pupils, also illustrate this culture of trust. In the Finish system, it is not necessary to establish monitoring mechanisms and, as such, Finland has no high-stakes inspection or assessment system. This requires professional and highly qualified teachers as well as an excellent teacher training programme. The article also covers the important role that trust plays with regard to the quality of higher education and teacher training. Lastly, it examines certain challenges that will arise in the future.