Open Letter to the French Ministry of Education

Subject: Open Letter to the French Ministry of Education
Date: 5 May 2017

I wanted to write to the French Ministry of Education to suggest some changes that I feel are necessary in the French educational system in regards to the harshness of French classroom culture.

I was a student at an international school in the United States and I noticed some differences between the French system I was immersed in and the American one that were shocking to me. I often felt humiliated in front of my classmates for small things like spelling errors, and I observed a lack of positive comments or praise when I did good work. Considering the national motto is “Liberty, equality, fraternity” I cannot understand why schools are so unaligned with the values of the country. The French system discourages and shames kids for what they aren’t good at instead of encouraging and praising them for what they can do. This strikes me as extremely counterproductive, something that is proven by the low academic performance on tests compared to other countries. My perspective is that sharing information and knowledge is not good on its own and that self-esteem and confidence are equally important. Making students feel inadequate will do nothing but diminish their self-esteem. Instead, I want to suggest helping them find and develop their personalities and creativity, and praising them when they do well. Every student deserves a learning environment where they feel comfortable and accepted.

Thank you for considering my concerns on this subject. I think that this problem illustrates the need for better teachers in France and I hope that there will be changes in this area as I have heard similar views from parents who feel that the system is too stubborn to change their teaching methods.

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