by Laetitia Mellottée, France
In GOETE local case studies (Work Package 6) student essays and video material were collected as part of the attempt to generate dense, qualitative material in order to 1) allow a closer look into the dynamics of the gover- nance of educational trajectories, 2) generate a deeper understanding of the local space of the schools and their cooperation with the other local institutions; 3) analyze the climate in the school environment through the experiences of the current students, students who have recently graduated, their parents, teachers and experts.
In France, the GOETE team decided to have video mateiral rather than written essays. This decision is part of a dialogic process in which reseachers adapt their work to best suit the local context and at the same time achieve the research goals to the fullest. In the French context, teaching methods are usually very conventional, and written work and marks are the commonest way to evaluate pupils. Yet, our field work pointed out to a paradox situation in which most students were not at ease with this academic way of expression, especially in a disadvantaged school where level of achievement is low and theoretical learning are not praised neither by students nor by a large part of teachers. For this reason, we definitively agreed that written essays were not an appropriate way of expression for our students. Further, students were really interested in all kinds of video media (Internet, smartphones, TV, cinema), even when they are not so familiar with the work behind the scenes.
Consequently, the French team decided to propose to a school to realise a film related to our research issues. In addition to this film made by students, it appeared very interesting to film a documentary about the workshop. Denis Larcher, multimedia director of the Public School of Health (EHESP, Rennes) accepted to be the director of the movie. For this purpose a workshop was developed and conducted with envolvement of the French GOETE team. This will be briefly presented next.
Aims of the workshop
- enable students to discover how a movie is built
- related academic learning ( writing, reading ) to an attractive method of work
- gather material for the research ( the film, discussions, essays and the making of )
- involve students and make them work on issues relates to the educational system
The team observed than in the studied school in Ren- nes, teachers try to institute alternative pedagogical methods based on oral expression and participation of students. When we presented our project to the princi- pal, he was very enthusiastic and helpful. The problem we had to face was to find hours in the very loaded time schedules of students for the workshop. We agreed together that we had to find a volunteer teacher and give the workshop during class‘s hours. Fortunately we met a teacher of French who find the project interesting and compatible with his lessons and teaching methods. He found interesting to integrate the film project to the work students were doing about building a story and dialogues. He proposed to involve his class of stu- dents of the last year of lower secondary school which gathers pupils who used to have a particular support in French as they are migrants. Consequently, we are working with a small class of 18 students counting 6
students with a special support in French, 2 students repeating the year, 1 or 2 students temporary enrolled as they have just arrived in France and other regular stu- dents of the neighbourhood. Four adults are involved in the workshop: two fieldworkers of GOETE team, the film director and the teacher. As far as possible, we have meetings to organise and discuss about the promising advances or the difficulties the class may encounter in the project.
Organisation of the workshop
Even if the workload of the school and of our team complicate the organisation of the workshop, we try to go into the class each Thursday morning (from 1 to 2 hours).We decided to involve students at the most in the project and asked them to choose students for being in charge of the documentary about the workshop. During each session, two students (a cameraman and a sound engineer) have to catch the most important moments (discussions, acting, etc.). All steps are rea- lised by/with students or presented to students so as to be sure they agree and understand the project.
Still in progress, the workshop is divided in several steps:
- from September to December - building the scenario: General presentation of the project, choice of a theme related to GOETE concerns in the WP6 survey and writing of the framework of the film. Students decided to work on the theme of transition between lower secondary and upper secondary school, “Tomorrow, I clear off !”. We worked several sessions on the writing of the story (characters, plot, places, etc.).
- January to March - the shooting: Students are divided into different tasks (technical team, actors, script, etc.) and are in charge of the shooting of the film under the direction of Denis Larcher.
- April and May - editing: Denis Larcher and some students will edit the movie and the documentary about how the movie was made.