Teachers stuck between the climate emergency and that of completing the program


Difficult for teachers to work on concepts that bring together several disciplines.

After the heat peaks of summer 2022, 16-year-old Nina decided to apply to become an eco-delegate. This election is mandatory in each class, from 6e in terminale, since the start of the 2020 school year. The objective is for each establishment to develop at least one project to fight against global warming. In 1D general at the Fustel-de-Coulanges high school, in Strasbourg, Nina was the only one to present herself. “Many students think that eco-delegate means a lot of meetings and no action”she summarizes.

The high school student intends to pass on to others what she has learned about how to reduce her ecological impact by watching videos, reading posts on social networks and talking a lot with her mother on the subject. She no longer eats meat, dresses “in thrift stores to fight against textile pollution” and gave up the fast fashion of brands like Sheinwhich do not respect human rights”. His “consumer power” console. “The inaction of States and certain large companies” sorry. What about high school programs? “If we were told about the current world by explaining to us what is happening and what we can do, students who are not interested in lessons would pay attention”, slice Nina.

Read also: Climate: high school students to help the planet

However, the notion of environmental education and sustainable development is explicitly present in the middle school and high school programs. But that is not enough to settle the question of his teaching, as explained by Solène Pichardie, teacher in SES (economic and social sciences) at the Lycée Kerraoul, in Paimpol, in the Côtes-d’Armor. “In the final year, there is a large chapter on growth, approached with the notion of competitiveness, and totally disconnected from that on sustainable development. And the question of the compatibility between growth and sustainability is not even raised”, storms the co-president of Apses (Association of teachers of economics and social sciences). Last year, a subject proposed for the baccalaureate has also been controversial. “We had to show that innovation can help push back the ecological limits of growth. The subject thus posed totally ignored the existing debate on this subject in the scientific field., summarizes Solène Pichardie.

Simulation of debates

The teachers interviewed often seem torn between climate emergency and urgency to complete the program. “We don’t have time to train students to take a position on energy mix choices, when we talk about nuclear power in 1Dfor example “, illustrates Pascale Chalet, activist at SNES-FSU, who teaches physics and chemistry at the Lycée de Brioude, in Haute-Loire. A logistical question also arises in high school to work on a concept that brings together different disciplines, which have become specialty lessons in 1D and terminal since the high school reform. Apart from the subjects of the common core, there is no longer a single teacher per class and per subject, but several specialist teachers, who teach students from several classes. “Neither the programs, which are too heavy, nor the organization of the school allow us to teach this question in an ambitious way and by carrying out interdisciplinary projects with our colleagues”, slice Solène Pichardie.

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