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Voici Educating Yorkshire, une série produite et diffusée par Channel 4.

educating-yorkshire

Jonny Mitchell, le principal de Thornhill Community Academy à Dewsbury (Angleterre) a accepté les caméras dans son collège. Ce collège avait une une mauvaise réputation et faisait partie des 6% d’établissements les moins performants d’Angleterre en 2007. En 2012, ce collège est arrivé dans les 6% des meilleurs établissements.

La série a utilisé 64 caméras fixes placées dans tout le collège et filmant de 7h à 17h, ainsi que plusieurs caméras à l’épaule et 22 microphones. Il a fallu 6 mois de préparation avant le tournage : les parents et les élèves ont été consultés et des psychologues ont rendu visite à une centaine de familles.

2000 heures de film ont été enregistrées en 7 semaines. Mitchell et l’équipe éducative ont dit qu’ils se sont surveillés au début mais qu’ils ont vite oublié la présence des caméras, tout comme les élèves d’ailleurs.

Je vous recommande la série, c’est un très bon aperçu de la vie d’un collège en Angleterre, autant du point de vue de l’administration que des collégiens. Très sympa à regarder et exploitable avec nos élèves !

Pour toutes celles et ceux qui ont (ou ont eu) ou qui vont bientôt avoir des enfants, voici une petite parodie sur l’éducation et les relations parents-enfants sur un petit air de rap:

Don’t make me count to 1-2-3
Yeah, it’s the parent rap, y’all
We may spend most of our time chasing toddlers down but
We still know how to rock the hizzle
I don’t even know what you just said

We used to be cool!
Back in the day, back on the block
Watching PG-13 movies, staying up way after dark
Then we had a couple shorties
And now we’re really flossy
Cause now we be rollin’ with our own little possie
In the mini van
Or in our little wagon
Let me throw it to the moms
Cause the little one is saggin’

I used to bling it up, I used to dress real shrewd
Now I accessorize with food that’s already been chewed
And that’s all right
I make this diaper bag look good
When I’m walking through the mall tryin’ to wrangle my brood
My PB&Js will set your world on fire
I could make you mac-n-cheese blindfolded on a wire
I’m wiping the do-do
Kissin’ the booboos
Got them eyes in the back of my head, I see all you do.
Using your full name so you know I ain’t playin’
And that’s why all my kiddo’s, they keep sayin’

Mom mom, she’s the bomb, rocking all night till the break of dawn
Cooking them peas so I’ll grow up strong
Got my second seat belt if we crash head on
Dad dad, he’s the man, working real hard to support the clan
Traded in his porsche for an old sedan
Raisin’ those brows if we get outta hand

When it come to Candyland, I’m a stone cold player
Helping out with the homework, I’m an Algebra slayer
Wrestle carseats into place without spillin’ my mug
If I tuck you in at night, you’ll be as snug as a bug
Then I’m off in the morning, to make that cheese
You may not know this yet, but it doesn’t grow on trees
Now mama take it please, what, uh, take it

I’m droppin’ “time out”s like they’re hot
Potty training all my tots
Washin’ all the pans and pots
Tyin’ little shoes in knots
Giving knowlege to your brain
Like “if your friend jumped off a train you don’t have to do the same”
Now get your toys out of the rain!
I’m cleanin’ every spill
Cuttin’ coupons like a vil
If you need parental skill now you know
We are for real!
You don’t think our rhyms are ill boy?
Then your grounded for a mil!

Mom, mom, she’s legit
Making us chill when we pitch a fit
Telling us to share and never to hit
If you can’t say somethin’ nice put a sock in it
Dad dad, he’s the guy,
never gets tired of playing “I spy”
The constant barage of kids asking “why”
And he always pretends he needs another tie

You know money doesn’t grow on trees
Why buy the cow if the milk is free
This won’t hurt you as much as it hurts me
If you want dessert eat another veggie
Close that door
You weren’t born in a stable
Sit up straight
And kiss your aunt mable
Close your mouth when you chew
Get your elbows off the table
Mom and dad of the year, check it, that’s the label

It’s the parent rap y’all
And it’s apparent
We’re great parents
Mom and daddy in the house
Mom and daddy own the house
Mom and daddy need to clean the house…

Keep your hands to yourself, boy
Don’t make me stop this beat, I’ll do it! I’ll pull this beat right over.

La vidéo est issue de It Starts at Home avec Matt Chandler et Gary Thomas, une série diffusée sur Bluefish TV.

Cette petite variation sur les gender roles devrait vous faire sourire ;-)

J’ai regardé le premier épisode de la série The Newsroom, actuellement diffusée sur HBO, et – sans avoir réellement accroché aux personnages ou à l’histoire – j’ai tout de même bien apprécié ce petit moment :

La vidéo est constamment retirée de YouTube et ne peut être intégrée sur des sites tiers donc en voici une version kinétique :

[Jenny]
Hi, my name is Jenny, I’m a sophomore and this for all three of you. Can you say in one sentence or less – what – (laughing in background) you know what I mean: “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”

[Emily Kathleen A. Mortimer – As Sharon]
Diversity and opportunity.

[Debate Moderator]
Louis?

[Louis]
Ah freedom and freedom, so let’s keep it that way.

[Debate Moderator]
Will?

[Jeffrey Warren “Jeff” Daniels As Will]
The New York Jets.

[audience laughs]

[Debate Moderator]
No, I’m gonna hold you to an answer on that. What makes America the greatest country in the world?

[Jeff Daniels]
Well, Louis and Sharon said it. Diversity and opportunity and freedom and freedom.

(audience member holds notebook)
IT’S NOT. BUT IT CAN BE.

[Debate Moderator]
I’m not letting you go back to the airport without answering the question.

[Will]
Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece. James Madison was a genius. The Declaration of Independence is for me the single greatest piece of American writing.

[Will]
You don’t look satisfied.

[Debate Moderator]
One’s a set of laws and the other is a declaration of war. I want a human moment from you.

IT’S NOT

[Debate Moderator]
What about the people? Why is it?

[Will]
It’s NOT the greatest country in the world, Professor. That’s my answer.

[Debate Moderator]
You’re saying?

[Will]
Yes.

[Debate Moderator]
Let’s talk about…

[Will (Speaking to Sharon]
Fine. Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck, but he gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn’t cost money. It costs votes. It costs airtime. And column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fuckin’ smart then how come they lose so goddamn always?

[Sharon]
Hey!

[Will (to Lewis]
And with a straight face, you’re gonna sit there and tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The U.K. France. Italy. Germany. Spain. Australia. BELGIUM has freedom. (laughs) Two hundred and seven sovereign states in the world, like, a hundred and eighty of them have freedom.

[Debate Moderator]
All right…

[Will]
And you, Sorority Girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know. One of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re seventh in literacy. Twenty-seventh in math. Twenty-second in science. Forty-ninth in life expectancy. A hundred and seventy-eighth in infant mortality. Third in median household income. Number four in labor force and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.

Now none of this is the fault of a twenty-year-old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst, period, generation, period, ever, period. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I dunno what the fuck you’re talkin’ about. Yosemite?

(Audience surprised.)

[Will]
Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest.

We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy.

[pause]

We reached for the stars. Acted like men.

We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it—it didn’t make us feel inferior.

We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t, oh, we didn’t scare so easy. Ha. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.

[pause]

Enough?

Petite précision pour la sorority girl : America is not a country, the USA is.

Je vous souhaite de très Joyeuses Pâques ! En prime, voici une petite blague de prof trouvée sur le blog du Web Pédagogique :

En voyant la foule de gens, Jésus alla sur la montagne. Et lorsqu’il fut assis les douze vinrent à lui.

Il leva les yeux sur ses disciples et dit: “Bienheureux en esprit sont les pauvres car le royaume des cieux leur appartient. Bienheureux ceux qui souffrent car ils seront consolés. Bienheureux les doux car ils possèderont la terre. Bienheureux ceux qui ont faim et soif de justice car ils seront rassasiés. Bienheureux les miséricordieux car ils recevront la miséricorde. Bienheureux ceux qui ont le cœur pur car ils contempleront Dieu. Bienheureux les pacificateurs, car ils seront appelés enfants de Dieu. Bienheureux ceux qui seront persécutés pour avoir choisi la juste cause, car le royaume de Dieu leur appartient.”

Alors Simon Pierre dit: “est-ce qu’on doit apprendre tout ça ?”
Et André dit: “est-ce qu’il fallait l’écrire ?”
Et Philippe dit: “j’ai pas de feuille !”.
Et Jean dit: “les autres disciples n’ont pas eu à l’apprendre, eux !”
Et Barthélemy dit: “est-ce qu’on l’aura en devoir ?”
Et Jacques dit: “est-ce qu’on sera interrogé sur tout ?”

Et Marc dit: “ça sera noté ?”
Et Matthieu quitta la montagne sans attendre et dit: “je peux aller aux toilettes ?”
Et Simon le zélote dit: “quand est-ce qu’on mange ?”
Et Judas dit enfin: “vous avez dit quoi après pauvres ?”

Alors un grand prêtre du temple s’approcha de Jésus et dit : “Quelle était ta problématique ? Quels étaient tes objectifs et les savoir-faire mis en oeuvre ? Pourquoi ne pas avoir mis les disciples en activité de groupe ? Pourquoi cette pédagogie frontale ?”

Alors Jésus s’assit et pleura.

8h10, je serre le frein à main de ma voiture dans le parking des profs, quasi-désert. Je pousse la porte d’un pas léger et me dirige tranquillement vers la salle des profs. Sourires, bises, poignées de main fermes et sèches : pas de doute, c’est le début de l’année scolaire. Je glisse mes premiers quarante centimes dans la machine à café en appuyant sur le bouton “thé citron”. La machine s’étrangle, j’en profite pour me présenter au professeur de techno qui vient d’arriver. On échange quelques banalités, je prends mon gobelet : rien que de l’eau chaude. Plus de thé dans la machine. Pas de doute possible, c’est bien une machine E.N. !

Back to school

The work of Charles Booth and Rowntree (see Chapter 2 : Victorian Philanthropy) influenced a new current within the Liberal Party : new Liberalism.

When the Liberal Party was returned to office in 1906, supported by the nascent Labour Party, it introduced several important pieces of legislation : Education (Provisions of Meals) Act (1906), Education (Administrative Provisions) Act (1907), Children Act (1908), Old Age Pensions Act (1908), Trade Boards Act (1909), Labour Exchanges Act (1909) and Health and Unemployment Act (1911).

Even if we take all these laws together, we only have a piecemeal attempt to deal with social protection. Lloyd George and Churchill (at the time a Liberal) were responsible for the 1911 legislation on unemployment insurance and believed that something should be done to improve a situation which had scarcely evolved since 1834.

The liberals were not overtly committed to social reform during the 1906 election campaign but espousing such a cause was a way of possibly stymying the nascent Labour Party and also preventing any more revolutionary attempts at changing the social system.

In point of fact, not all workers were covered by this legislation. Only wage-earners were eligible and sexually-transmitted and alcohol-related diseases were excluded. Of course, the wives and children of the poor and the unemployed were also excluded. And the Act was administered essentially by the former (private) insurance companies, which became richer, as did the “panel doctors”, guaranteed a per capita sum per “panel patient”.

Even the extension of the Act in 1920 only brought under its umbrella 75% of the workforce. Another strand connected to a desire for improvement in social conditions was the wish to improve the health of many of the urban poor. After all, Britain depended on its military strength, which in turn depended on the fitness of its men. A weakened working class would be unable to defend Britain’s interests in time of international conflict.

The inter-war years (1918-1939) were characterised by a great paradox : economic instability and recession in much of the country and also a rise in the standard of living for the majority of the population.

In 1918, Britain was still a strong economic and industrial power (especially in the fields of cotton, coal, shipping and international trade in general). The First World War had forced the Government to switch the emphasis to armaments, which when peace came had a distorting effect on economic activity.

The cost of the war was high : Britain changed from being a creditor nation to a debtor nation. As an island trading nation, Britain was particularly affected by the changes in the international trading system.The inter-war years were characterised by wild swings, oscillations from free trade to protectionism, great uncertainties, all of which affected Britain.

After World War I, Britain’s entrepreneurial class showed great reluctance to move into the new industries, such as electricity, artificial fibres, cars, luxury items, new foods…

In 1907, the new industries accounted for 6.5% of Britain’s total industrial output ; in 1928, the figure had only reached 16.3%. The rise in the importance of the new industries was modest but still there for all that. In the old industries, the example of the Lancashire textile industry is exemplary : a desire to go back to the old 19th century ways, even though the machinery was now written off and a reluctance to amalgamate and thus, for mill-owners, the fear of losing their independence.

Governments in the 1920’s followed orthodox policies. In 1920, the Bank Rate was raised to 7%, hence encouraging saving and discouraging spending. In 1921, the Geddes’ Economy Committee was set up and reduced public expenditure. In 1925, Churchill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reintroduced the Gold Standard, which re-established pre-World War I parity of the Pound and the Dollar. In so doing he did not take into account the fall in the Pound that had taken place in the intervening years. This produced a handicap for the British industry, overvaluing the British currency (£1 = $4.25).

According to orthodox economic principles, costs had to be cut and often wages suffered. It remained at 2% until 1939. Britain, France and the USA signed a tripartite agreement to stabilise currencies but throughout the 1930’s, the level of the Pound remained too high to really kick-start the economy. The great battle was between free trade and protectionism.

The first few hesitant steps were taken in 1932 with the Import Duties Bill which introduced 10% tariffs on all imported goods from non-Empire countries, pending a world agreement on international trade. Prime Minister Baldwin talked of “safeguarding”.

There were a number of changes in the population during the inter-war years. There was a rise in the proportion in the population of working age leading to a rise in the number of producers as compared with consumers. This led to a rise in national output, despite the high unemployment of the early 1930’s.

There was a shift in the population from the industrial North and South Wales to the South, the Midlands and the South-East. The population of Greater London increased from 7.5m in 1921 to 8.5m in 1939, whereas the population of South Wales fell by 100 000 between 1931 and 1938. There was an increase in the population of new towns (Coventry, Luton, Slough…). In the 1930’s, there were also net inflows into the country. Some former emigrants returned to Britain and there were inflows from Ireland and refugees from Europe.

Between 1931 and 1941, there was an increase in the population of 650 000. Nevertheless, there was a slowdown in indigenous population growth due to the deaths of so many males during the War, the phenomenon of increased wealth and more birth control.

There were also changes in the economic and social status of women : in 1911, 5.75m women were in employment ; in 1936, the figure had risen to 6.5m. Changes in patterns of female behaviour (including going out to the pub !) were linked in part to a certain emancipation after female suffrage had been obtained in 1918 and 1928 (see Chapter 5 : More electoral inequalities : the Road to Female Suffrage)

As far as social class was concerned, Britain was still a class-conscious society but changes were taking place : there was a move away from the landed aristocracy towards a prosperous business class. The middle class developed with the increase of salaried office workers. There was an increase in the professions, civil servants and a gradual rise in the number of female members of the working middle class. At the same time, there was a decrease in servant employment. In 1936, the Government defined “working class” as follows:

The expression “working class” includes mechanics, artisans, labourers and others working for wages, hawkers, costermongers, persons not working for wages but working at some trade of handicraft without employing others, except members of their own family, and persons other than domestic servants whose income in any case does not exceed an average of £3 a week, and the families of such persons who may be residing with them.

Schedule II, The Housing Act, 1936

A divided country

The country was very much divided during the inter-war years between the old 19th century “half”, where wages fell during the Depression, and the new “half” (in the Home Counties for instance) where wages actually increased during that period.

The Hunger Marches were an attempt to show the other half of the country what the North-East was going through. National unemployment reached a peak of 3m in January 1933 and then fell back to 1.6% (i.e. 12% of the insured population) where it remained until 1939.

Many observers point to an absence of real resentment against class inequality. Trying to explain this, Runciman (in Relative Deprivation and Social Justice, 1966) advances the theory of relative deprivation : satisfaction or resentment are not functions of inequality as measured by economists but by man’s assessment of his own position compared to others with whom he compares himself.

Between World War I and the 1960’s, working men compared their lot with that of others in the working class and not with non-manual groups. Also, it has been pointed out that unemployment did not lead to the break-up of the family, despite the great pressures on the role of the male as”bread-winner”, and the difficulties often felt by women in trying to eke out a living.

There was rarely a correlation between class inequality and resentment of it. There was often solidarity in adversity with the working-class making the best of a bad job and getting on with their lives, however difficult things might have become. Yet it would be wrong to say there was never any bitterness : tempers occasionally boiled over (in Rochdale and Belfast in 1932 for example).

A persistent poverty

In the poor parts of the country an d even in pockets in the prosperous parts, despite the progress made since the beginning of the century, numerous surveys pointed out terrible poverty which persisted.

Rowntree carried out another survey in York in 1935-1936 and discovered, using the same criteria as in 1899, 6.8% in primary poverty (compared with 10% in 1899). Reasons evoked were the same as those mentioned in late Victorian and Edwardian times : old age, sickness, low pay and large families. In York, Rowntree discovered that old age, sickness and unemployment were more important causes of poverty than in his survey of 1899.

Many surveys showed that child poverty was a very serious problem. Rowntree found that half the 6.8% in primary poverty were children. And it must be remembered that as well as those in primary poverty, many more were living below the “bread line” : approximately half of all working class children would suffer from poverty at some time.

Another group to suffer disproportionately from poverty was old people. Despite the introduction of old age pensions in 1908, their low level left recipients below the poverty line. The Depression in the early 1930’s exacerbated an already bad situation, bringing to the fore problems of chronic malnutrition among low income groups.

As well as work carried out by social investigators, other writings saw the light of day in the first third of the 20th century (Greenwood’s Love on the Dole, The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell…). Just as in the period 1835-1855, the social conditions of England provided a rich seam of material for indignant observers and writers.

Indignation was often the result of a feeling that nothing was really being done by the Government to alleviate the causes of poverty, and indeed, that during the Depression, the situation was being made worse by the Government. Opprobrium was often poured on the “Household Means Test“.

In 1931 MacDonald’s Labour Government, which was elected in 1929, was replaced by a National Government, dominated by the Conservatives, though initially led by MacDonald : it cut insurance benefits. Those whose benefits were at an end were transferred to the Public Assistance Committees (PAC) run by the Local Authorities.

The Committees implemented a harsh means test to determine whether potential beneficiaries really needed help. In a way not too dissimilar to the 1834 Act, the ethos was one of the inquisitorial tone, delving into the corners of the family budget in order to prove whether there was genuine need or whether the candidates could manage on their own.

There were also discrepancies between local authorities and so a feeling of injustice (Birmingham disallowed 34.8% of all applications whereas Methyr, in Wales, disallowed only 0.5%). There was also a discrepancy between men and women : a slight majority of men’s claims were paid in full compared to a only a third of women’s claims.

The unions believed that instead of finding ways of reducing benefits and allowances, the Government would be better off trying to provide jobs for those willing to work.

TeacherNotre première année professionnelle se termine (dans deux mois quand même…) et vient l’heure des premiers bilans. Est ce que le jeu en valait la chandelle ? Souvent mes amis me disent lorsque je leur décrit mes péripéties d’enseignant : “tu es sûr que tu aimes ce que tu fais ???“. A chaque fois je me dis que je dois renvoyer une image bien amère de mon métier. On a malheureusement tendance à toujours voir le négatif. Et il y en a beaucoup pour un prof.

Pourtant je suis dans un endroit tranquille. Mais souvent je voudrais juste “enseigner” et pas faire de l’éducation. Je transmets un savoir je ne suis pas là pour élever les gosses des autres, j’ai déjà les miens merci. Pourtant je l’ai voulu ce concours. Trois tentatives. Des centaines de kilomètres à travers la France, des nuits d’hôtel à réviser pour un oral. La déception par deux fois de voir le travail de toute une année s’évanouir à cause d’un jury mal embouché. Puis il a fallu subir l’IUFM et son cortège d’heures perdues (qui ne se rattrapent pas…) et le stress d’être stagiaire. So, was it all worth it ?

Aujourd’hui je suis incapable de donner une réponse. Suis-je seulement attiré par une stabilité matérielle (le sourire de soulagement de mon banquier quand je lui indique ma profession… ^_^). Non bien sûr – j’ai beaucoup de plaisir à enseigner. Tout d’abord parce que j’ai une passion pour la langue Anglaise. Et puis j’aime bien les jeunes. Cette première année m’a amené quelques bonnes surprises et petits bonheurs. Mais pour combien de temps ? Quand je vois certains collègues qui sont là depuis 30 ans … Je suis perplexe sur mes capacités… Enfin comme disait l’autre :

“Jusqu’ici tout va bien….jusqu’ici tout va bien…”

Rendez vous dans 10 ans ?