DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
Main actors involved
The two teachers, the students.
When, where and how the story took place
General, technical and vocational school located in an industrial area on the decline, in the Liège suburb. School year 2010-2011
The experience takes place in a third vocational class (3P), in the framework of the computer and communication lessons.
In this class, there are big differences between the students’ levels. There are students of general education and students who have failed the primary school certificate and have not achieved basic skills. Those students understand the subjects in “different times”.
The homeroom teacher, attentive to those differences, was allowed by the administration to run an experience for one year: “co-animation”. For this teacher, co-animation means two teachers in class, two teachers “on an equal footing”, not one who assists the other.
In class, the second teacher is also a resource person. He helps students who need more explanations, he rephrases or completes a point of the subject “little” explained by his colleague, he teaches subjects with his colleague …
The lesson is more dynamic because there is an interaction between the two teachers. Learning is experienced in a positive way by the class group. Students learn better and “have fun”.
Reasons why the story can be considered successful.
• “It is the year with the greatest number of successes in 3P!”
• Students have no gap in the lessons in question (one of the teachers is always present). That’s a performance!
• The teachers share the subjects and animation according to their wishes and resources.
Starting point of the student
When they start 3P, some students are in a situation of great school failure, others do not have the primary school certificate, others have been expelled from other schools … Few have chosen to be here.
The students attend the lessons with their background: all kinds of family difficulties, personal difficulties, fatigue, stress...
Social and economic background of the family involved
The school is multicultural: Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Spain … Families are often underprivileged.
The parents’ commitment in the studies varies:
• Parents that are interested but lack means.
• Parents who are not involved in the studies: the student must look after his brothers and sisters, work in the family business, moonlighting to help them …
• Parents who hardly or don’t speak French and need their children to translate
• Moral suffering of the mother who is alone when the child goes to school …
Possible explanations of the success
• The administration supported the project and found financial means to assign two teachers at each of the two courses.
• The positive environment and dynamics that establish themselves in the class group foster learning.
• Students succeed. They achieve “know-how” and people skills that are precious for the rest of their education.
Unfortunately, the experience could not be reiterated the following year because it is too time-consuming (number of hours and teachers). There was thus an educational rupture for the students when they entered in 4P, with other teachers with more traditional methods. Ideally, one of the two teachers should have continued with that class to reduce the rupture.
Interaction between the different actors involved
Co-animation can only exist if the relation between the two teachers is positive, equal, and based on trust. The two teachers must be able to work together.
Co-animation is fully successful (which it was in this experience) when there is a real educational complicity between the two teachers.
It involves a great cooperation work between the two teachers (preparing the lessons, corrections, animation in class ….).
Action of educational policy
The school is recognised as “encadrement différencié” (differentiated supervision) by the Ministry of Education.
The system is in effect since the school year 2010-2011 to guarantee for every first and second cycle student (mainly the third vocational year, the students of which have 33% chance not to get a diploma) equal chance of social emancipation in a good educational environment.
This recognition depends on the socio-economical grade of the area in which the school is located (income per inhabitant, diploma levels, unemployment rate, professional activity rate, accommodation comfort …).
The school is recognised in class 2. It corresponds to a very low socio-economic rate.
It provides additional human and financial means and involves synergies with local and regional associations operating in the area where the school is located.
The school commits itself to reinforce the command of basic learning and French language in particular, to fight school failure through immediate remediation and differentiated learning, and to prevent early school leaving and, therefore, possible incivilities and acts of violence.
Transferability potential of the experience
Co-animation teaching is transferable to any lesson, but it cannot be decided in one day. Other experiences have failed in that school because the teachers could not agree. The teacher who makes this choice must first think about their own teaching and ask themselves the following question: “What kind of teach do I want to be?
Besides, since this device is time-consuming, only school with additional financial means can consider it.
Other forms of co-animation teaching are possible, such as having the same lessons and the same exams among teachers of a same level. Those teachers will need to select common skills that students should achieve, which does not go without saying!