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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #281 - Neither God nor schoolmaster: Célestin Freinet, a libertarian educator ? (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 4 Apr 2018 08:05:39 +0300

A trip over the Atlantic further, go to the School of Piolier in Vence (Alpes-Maritimes) to discover what the work of Celestin Freinet proposes and in what it meets the principles of libertarian education . ---- Small impromptu step on the land of Celestin Freinet, not far from Nice, on the grounds of the famous teacher of the schools of the last century, emancipator, critic, one could say even political. Politics but not partisan ... Libertarian, then Freinet ? As Anne-Marie Milon Oliveira reminds us in her interesting book (in Brazilian Portuguese), " without a shadow of a doubt, anarchist thought is present, very present even, in the work of Freinet ". The trade union educator in 1935 had had to open his own proletarian school despite his commitment to public school. He had, in fact, to bear the brunt of the attacks of fascists and local reactionaries. Thus, from 36-37, with the Spanish war the school will host small Spanish refugees whose parents are struggling with the conflict.

And today ? Does the Freinet project in terms of education continue to carry values and functions that correspond to our own principles and modes of action ?

At the top of a village road is the school surrounded by a large park with a completely deconcentrated plan: it is the geography of the place that guides the establishment of the school buildings. Each of them appears as the testimony of a collective organization without hierarchy or centralism.

We notice the small theater with the antique miniature which testifies to this attention paid to the tools of the emancipation that one finds in many initiatives of popular education.

In class, we find the teacher in the middle of students who work individually, in pairs, in groups, on their own initiative, following a path established by the dialogue with the teacher, the self-evaluation of his level, knowledge to achieve. Also note the maintenance work done by the children in autonomy ... Everything shows that freedom (seen as an apprenticeship, a conquest) goes hand in hand with initiative and sense of responsibility and that children know how to cultivate one. and the other when they have the opportunity.

If, indeed, Celestin Freinet was not an educator of the libertarian movement in the strict sense of the term, his work is nevertheless a fundamental step towards libertarian education, partly because it belongs to a time when, in any case, libertarian thought permeated the entire educational world. And it still feels today in the school he founded where we find principles and techniques that remind us of Paul Robin, Sébastien Faure and other more recent.

So, yes, Freinet is not libertarian pedagogy in the strict sense but it has interesting aspects that invite to deepen the discourse and especially the practice.


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