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“Can’t we imagine that the school changes its knowledge position, opens up to the complex and makes room for the uncertain? »

This column appears in “Le Monde de l’éducation”. If you are subscribed the world, you can subscribe to this weekly newsletter by clicking this link.

Uncertainty is inevitable in the media as well as in bookstores these days. By the way, not without reasons. ENS-Ulm even organized a rich “night of uncertainty” on September 9, which proposed to cover the most diverse areas of knowledge, but also of political action, around this topic. Very often two central points: the evocation of a certain number of uncertainties that seem to impose themselves on the basis of issues of climate, “post-truth”, democracy or even peace, but also a reflection on discourses related to uncertainty. Should it be viewed completely negatively? Is it so characteristic of our time or was it not more flagrant in other times? Is it similarly perceived according to geographical latitudes and social and cultural affiliation?

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But there is a connection that is not generally made: it comes as a surprise to almost no one that the question of the impact of uncertainty in its various avatars is not generally asked of education. Because after all, if we often ask, for example, how to make a decision in times of uncertainty, such as a health crisis, or how to manage the uncertainties of your life yourself, for example, facing work or the climate, or how to behave in politics as a citizen in an overly problematic game, shouldn’t we also ask how to teach in this complex context of uncertainty at both teacher and systems levels? This question makes a lot more sense than we think, which may explain why we often prefer to go abroad instead of owning it.

Institutional writing

The school, you have to start there, definitely has a founding pact. If there were “schools” within more or less connected with temples or palaces, it was the transmission of knowledge that earned this trust, the promotion of skills and education, already in the family, is a good part of the huge device with which people armed themselves against the unpredictable. Knowledge disseminated by the school, whether they had been religious for a long time, whether they had, after sixteen.e century, raised from a secular culture, or whether recently organized into disciplines, have always claimed to be infallible, at least methodically. But let’s look further in two directions.

From the moment when school became not only mandatory by law, but above all necessary, by promising everyone even just social survival, society counted on the certainties that resulted from it: grades, diplomas, orientation, even the certainty that there was what does he have it is strangely called an “educational system” where everyone finds their place. Institutional writing and sureties.

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