The classroom

Last Friday, Jean-Baptiste’s teacher invited the parents of the class to a meeting. She was going to explain to us how she works and what the children will be doing this year. It was interesting to be back in a French classroom.

When you come in the room, there are several rows of desks, all facing the teacher. Each child has his/her own desk, with space under the table to put exercise books. And they are also facing a… blackboard. Yes, they still use proper blackboards, with chalk. There is no “interactive board”, no fancy technology around, there is not even a computer in the classroom. In France, teachers teach. I know that sounds silly to say, but that’s not obvious in some countries like the UK where computers have invaded the classrooms.

The teaching is fairly traditional. Children learn things by heart, they have writing exercises, reading exercises, maths problems to solve… They don’t decide what they want to learn, the teacher has a program to follow.

It was refreshing to visit the classroom and hear about the work they are going to do this year. Some things have changed, but overall, it seems very similar to the way I was taught.