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Teaching history in France


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#16 Laurent Gayme

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 12:10 AM

Also: How important a subject is history considered to be by politicians etc? I know daniel will have seen the threads here about history in the Uk being under threat, is the same the case in France?

Very difficult to answer, I think.
We are all, as french teachers, living times of restrictions (hourly restictions, money restrictions, research restrictions, appointments restrictions : teachers who are ending their career will not be replaced). There is actually in France a general state of mind against state and state employees. Teachers are state employees. There is for example actually a plan to remove history and geography from the exam at the end of the 3e (called "brevet des colleges").
Otherwise, history and geography have always been involved in building the french nation and the citizenship. Many politicians studied history and use history in politician struggles. They wrote books on french history. French people seem to like history.
So I am quite optimistic (or quite blind).

Really time to sleep now Posted Image

Edited by Laurent Gayme, 18 March 2004 - 12:14 AM.


#17 D Letouzey

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 06:36 AM

history in the Uk being under threat, is the same the case in France?


Dan,
I think we face similar threats.
But I shall miss time to develop this at the moment : this thursday will be a very busy day for me.


May I suggest a comparison which will concern all Schoolhistory members :
What French history do you teach in Britain ?
What British history do we teach in France ?

We can rely on some "case studies" : William, Joan of Arc, Napoleon,
L'entente cordiale, Churchill, de Gaulle...
How do you teach world affairs since 1945, especially French and British choices
toward Europe, toward the USA ?

Have a good day
Daniel

#18 JP Raud Dugal

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 10:05 AM

history in the Uk being under threat, is the same the case in France?

I quite agree with Laurent and what he said on the role of history in France.

Your problem, if I well understood is that they intend to link History and Geography.
In France, we both teach these subjects.
Another thing: History (and geography) are compulsary till the end throughout the curriculum. In the UK, you have to convince them to choose your subject (in spain too as far as I know).

Jean Philippe

#19 JP Raud Dugal

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 10:18 AM

We can rely on some "case studies" : William, Joan of Arc, Napoleon,
L'entente cordiale, Churchill, de Gaulle...

For a good starting point, may I suggest to you to have a look at this link....

http://digital.libra...ry/history.html

If you want to, as Daniel suggested before, we could compare how you and us are teaching the English-French relationship :D

Moreover, we can compare some events and try to understand the main differences. For example, in the IWW the main battle is Verdun for us..for you it's The Somme. Haig/Petain comparison could be interesting thought...
Another example: we barely teach 'Gallipoli' but for you it's a big issue (because of Churchill and the commonwealth forces involved in this battle) .

I tried to work on these differences with my students in European Section. Have a look to that if you want to.
In some days, I will put the oral debate on that point online.

Jean Philippe

#20 Laurent Gayme

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 01:34 PM

Compulsory geography at the college :
- 6e : major geographic marks of the world (distribution of population, climatic and bio-geographic areas, relief, major kinds of landscape : urban (mediterranean littoral with tourism, littoral with industries mostly japan, european metropolis, north-american metropolis, metropolis in the third world), rural (rice-growing delta in Asia, US farm, european village mostly french, african village), with low population densities (Sahara, Arctic, Amazonia, Himalaya or Andes).
- 5e : Africa + Maghreb, Asia + India and China, America (differences between north and south) + Brazil
- 4e : Europe + three states among Germany, Russia, UK, Spain, Italy / France : unity and diversity + national and regional development + regions (Ile de France, North and East, atlantic West, Souths, around Lyon, territories beyond the seas)
- 3e : geography of today's world (population densities and migrations, inequalities between rich and poor areas, urbanization, trade and economic globalization), USA, Japan, EU, France (economic and geographic changes)

We have to study both history and geography + "education civique" (building citizens) in 3 hours (6e), 3 to 3.30 hours (5e, 4e, 3e) !

Edited by Laurent Gayme, 18 March 2004 - 01:35 PM.


#21 Laurent Gayme

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 02:10 PM

How to become an history teacher ?
First of all, to obtain a "baccalaureat" (The french exam, at the end of the lycee). Then go to a university, to study history or geography (or to an IUFM = university institution for building teachers), for the same studies) :
- 2 years to obtain the first exam called "DEUG"
- 3e year : the "licence"
After obtaining the licence, first competitive entry examination, called "CAPES" (history and a little geography : written papers and oral, then, in case of success, one year as a teacher with 6 hours in a school, teaching practice, pedagogic studies : at the end of this year inspection : in case of failure game over for one year, in case of success you are a teacher "certifie" and a state employee until retirement if you want, with 18 hours/week in a college or a lycee + lot of homeworks).

But another choice is possible : after the licence, to stay at the university for a "maîtrise" (a masterpiece ?) : first research exam : you write a sort of mini PhD (my maîtrise : social politics during the government of Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas 1969-72).

After the maîtrise, CAPES or a harder competitive entry examination called "agregation" (history and a little geography or geography and a little history after geographic studies : written papers and oral, then, in case of success, one year as a teacher with 6 hours in a school, teaching practice, pedagogic studies : at the end of this year inspection : in case of failure game over for one year - very rare because inspectors have the agregation - , in case of success you are a teacher "agrege" and a state employee until retirement if you want, with 15 hours/week in a college or a lycee + lot of homeworks).

There are a few agreges in colleges (I have both CAPES and agregation, it's allowed, I kept agregation and "left" CAPES). Agreges and certifies do the same job, but agreges do only 15 hours and earn more money and have a better basic score for transfers.

Before competitive entry examinations, we rarely teach. I have never teached before agregation. This is The big problem in french system : we learn the job in front of children, most of us never worked withe children before becoming teachers.

After the maîtrise, two research exams : the DEA (plan of the PhD) and then the PhD, and the hope (often only the hope) to teach and search in universities (some do it without agregation, it's becoming rare).
My DEA is about cultural state planning in France 1961-70, my PhD too but still hardly going on :(

#22 D Letouzey

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Posted 18 March 2004 - 09:27 PM

history in the Uk being under threat, is the same the case in France?

Is History as much under threat as a subject in France as it appears to be in England? (Paul Smith)

We are all, as french teachers, living times of restrictions



After a full day, some points, from a personal POV :

- Since 1980, we have had to face permanent changes, both in the curriculum and in the marking.
So French teachers have got a strong “esprit critique”, and they have learnt to be cautious and scepticals...

For example, partly due to the restrictions mentioned by Laurent, we have lost 30 mn in term S. We miss time to teach normally some important aspects. The curriculum will be changed in 2005, and we are divided on how to judge the new version.

In 1972 (and in 1980) we had to face a stronger threat : some politicians wanted history to become optional in some classes. This project has been cancelled.


Another serious trouble is described by a young colleague :

She answered to Paul’s question :
I think that true history is in danger in France. The new curriculum for the last years of the lycee for example doesn't explain the rise of fascism. Hitler arrives as a monster in the 1930s and we shall not study the 1920s! It's awful and I refuse to do that. History must be logical. I want the students to understand how everything happens, not to accept my lesson and to study it by heart as I sometimes was taught in the lycee (in the 1980s). So I'm afraid of the new trends and hope we will react and it will change. I want to teach to future citizens and not to consumers.


I shall add a strong criticism on one aspect of the june 2003 bac :
Our students had to use two small texts, from Primo Levi :
http://clioweb.free....eda/bac03pl.htm

One of the question was a silly one – “what do learn on the Holocaust from this text ?”
Most of them simply paraphrase the texts, copy elements of them.
They forgot to question history, to analyse the german antisemitism, and to argue on what elements may have led the nazis to kill so many jews. All aspects one can read in Primo Levi 's books.
In a way, had not the students learnt history in the whole year, they should have got the same mark.

We have strongly protested. ;)
This may change in june 2005.

Daniel

Edited by D Letouzey, 29 July 2007 - 04:31 PM.


#23 JP Raud Dugal

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 12:15 AM

It's time for me to present to you what can be considered as an unusual way of teaching in Europe. 11 years ago, what we called Sections Européennes (European Sections) were created in France.

The aim of the project is to teach a subject in a foreign language (in France, it's mainly english but you can find some in Spanish, Italian and German).

We usually have to teach the same subjects that we 'deliver' in french. But we have to pay attention to the european side of history and focus the most we can on the anglo-saxon world. In fact, we are free to do what we want :king:

Two examples:
- when we teach the Enlightement and the French Revolution in normal lessons, here we can focus on the Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus in the UK and the American Revolution.
- In Première (16-17 YO), we have to teach the IWW. We focus on the French during wartime (the homefront). In some classes, we can teach some battles but mainly Verdun.

As I previously said, I tried to focus in European Section on the IWW seen by the British. You can see this link:
http://apella.ac-lim...ars/judging.htm

Most of my job is in this website:
http://apella.ac-lim...europ/index.htm

You can have access to the lessons for Seconde Première and Terminale:
http://apella.ac-lim...ons/lessons.htm

Some helpful websites:
Julia Thompson has launched a website
http://www.europaulva.tk

Aurélie Pech's one:
http://perso.club-internet.fr/aupech/

The Official curriculum (in french):
http://www.eduscol.e...121/default.htm

Have a look to these rings for european sections:
http://perso.club-in...tions-euro.html
http://www.ac-nancy-...bin/default.asp

A lot of Internet websites from Daniel's website:
http://aphgcaen.free.fr/europe1.htm


There is a lot to add on that. If you want to know more about what we are doing, please tell.

Perhaps Gilles could add something on this topic.

Jean Philippe

#24 D Letouzey

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 07:10 PM

First, 2 direct questions :

. What do you think of this seminar which has started last wednesday ? ;)

. What place has French history in your curriculum ? :flowers:

In this message, I shall develop one aspect which has been debated on the education forum :
Are we teaching nationalist or nationalistic histories ?
Can we teach an unbias european history ?

Is it better to focus on bilateral relationships, let say between France and Britain, or can we reach a common continental (or world) history ?

In a next message, I will develop the WW1 example, from a recent historiography book, written by Jay Winter and Antoine Prost.


In France, the British and british history can be seen from opposite views.

One leading to anglophilia :
At school, most kids are studying English, and may learn elements of english history and culture.
2004 is the anniversary of the Entente cordiale :
http://www.entente-c...org/index1.html
http://www.esri.salf...on_europe.shtml

Some pupils have been to England though it seems sometimes easier to organise school exchanges with Spain, Germany, Sweden.


On the other side, nationalists can find elements for a new anglophobia, or francophobia.
Joan of Arc, Napoleon have been used in this purpose.
In recent months, our countries have had divergent policies about Bush 's war.
The future of Europe is another source of division : French thatcherians use Bruxelles to fight what they see as a decline due to a state ruled society.


In some places, you can have both feelings.

People in Le Havre still think that there was no serious military reason to bomb their city, kill people and destroy a harbour. Some may even see in this bombing a pure economic rivalry.

On the other hand, 2 reverse examples :
in 1942, more than one thousand men and women attended a mass for british pilots that have been shot dead by the Germans. These villagers had no trouble. 2 years later, in 1944, near Bayeux, an equivalent ceremony led some villagers to prison and to german camps.

This morning, at home, there were 2 english couples, coming from the Fens (they live close to Andrew).
One of their uncle, Arthur Papworth, was killed in August 1944 ; he is buried in the village cemetery (not in a war cemetery), and the local authority pay a gardener to "flower" the tomb. At this moment, it is all in yellow, with daffodils, one of the colours of his regiment. The local school is named after him.



In French lycees, what can we teach about British history ?

- Nearly nothing before the Renaissance.
Of course, the Normans may be part of the chapter on medieval history, but only about Sicily, not about England. Roger II or William II ruling Sicily are used to show the interest of mixing different cultures ..
The Norman heritage : http://www.norman-wo...terre/index.htm

So we may find Thomas More in some textbooks. But not Elisabeth 's portraits.
http://expositions.b.../arret/d2/1.htm

La nation anglaise est la seule de la terre qui soit parvenue à régler le pouvoir des rois en leur résistant, et qui d'efforts en efforts, ait enfin établi ce gouvernement sage où le prince, tout-puissant pour faire du bien, a les mains liées pour faire du mal ; où les seigneurs sont grands sans insolence et sans vassaux, et où le peuple partage le gouvernement sans confusion ».
- Voltaire, in the Letters on the English (1734), had an active role in this anglomania of the elites.
http://www.voltaire....re_english.html
In college, the Habeas Corpus is used in contrast with Louis XIV and the French monarchy.


But we have to focus mainly on the French revolution.
Not on the Revolution, but on this revolution seen through the « political experiments » on the way to democracy !!!


In the old days, we spent time on the industrial revolution, on its explanations, and on the comparison between France and England. That has changed, and we focus more on the second industrial revolution, where other countries can compete with England
http://aphgcaen.free...que/histeco.htm

No British troops in WW1, in scientific classes : we have to study « The French at war during WW1 »...
http://aphgcaen.free...ences/prost.htm

Churchill is still there, with his fight for freedom. So does the courage of the British people in a war we recently saw in a color documentary.

But Vichy 's propaganda did develop an opposite view, about Mers el Khebir, about bombing on French cities, like Rouen. There was a poster saying « les assassins reviennent toujours sur les lieux de leur crime », with Joan of Arc 'shadow.
http://www.centremic...g/galleriea.htm
(go to the Italy poster, move right to Rouen 's one)

Some teachers may also compare French and British decolonisations : French failed, and made war in Indochina and in Algeria. British left India before the 1947 killing...

I shall let aside the Middle East history, in 1917 or in 1947. ;)


In fact, the positive side is that we try to avoid nationalist POV :
Michel Foucher, a geographer, writes that until 1949, we had a Westphalian Europe where several nations or countries did fight to rule the continent, or the world (via the Oceans).
That after WW2, most of them have become middle-size powers, and that they have understood that they must built a united Europe, both to avoid the return of WW, and to be able to compete with the USA.
http://www.bibliomon...3?id_auteur=693


One difficulty, to conclude : we no longer teach history alone, but we are asked to built a European identity, as our predecessors did about national identities. Sometimes, we put together history and memory. That can be dangerous.

So Remy Brague, a French philosopher, may suggest one answer.
The European inheritage is not only what we have got from our ancestors, but what we choose in our genealogy : greek culture and democracy, roman law, renaissance, industrial revolution, The rights of man...
http://aphgcaen.free.../europe2000.htm
http://odur.let.rug..../ROM/rofm04.htm
Daniel

Edited by D Letouzey, 26 March 2004 - 02:14 PM.


#25 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 09:58 PM

What place has French history in your curriculum ? :flowers:

There are a number of opportunities to incorporate French history into the teaching of History in England.

In my own department:

Years 7-9 (Aged 11-14)

The Normans, obviously. Building on that we look at the way that Medieval Kings tried to maintain and expand the frontier. Not particularly in depth as we also include relations with Wales and Scotland in a few hours teaching but there are plenty of references to the French lands that formed the Angevin Empire - I tie this in with the Hundred years war if I get time.

The French Revolution - this is an optional part of our curriculum. I spend 4 or 5 hours covering the revolution in Year 9 (13 years old). We then move on to look at revolutionariy activity and uprisings in the UK.

The First World War - we look at Verdun alongside the Somme and with more able groups begin to analyse the reasons for Verdun being so significant to the French.

Second World War - I spend a lot of time on D Day and the Battle of Normandy as its a personal favourite of mine.

France, as with other major powers, is covered in lessons on the role of the UN and EU.

Years 10/11 (Aged 14-16)

We study Medicine through Time so we study anywhere that there has been a major development in medical practice. Fairly high on the list are the likes of Pasteur and Pare. There's an element of evaluation of French society involved, particularly looking at the level of support French scientists get when compared to competitors.

The study of Weimar Germany looks at French policy towards Germany in the aftermath of the First World War.

The nature of the National Curriculum in England (which covers pupils up to the age of 14) is such that its hard to include many detailed studies of other nations. We have 6 major areas to teach in 3 years, one of which has to be a European event / civilisation (pre 1914). The most popular choices for this are The Romans and the French Revolution. One unit is a non European unit and the remaining 4 are basically 1066-today split into quarters: with British history being the focus.

This is probably one of the weaknesses of our system at the moment. Pupils can stop studying History at 14 in England having never learnt about the culture, heritage or beliefs that underpin the societies of some of our closest neighbours.

NB: having just written that little list of things, I've realised that I actually cover French history MORE than I do German history at Key Stage 3 (years 7-9). That came as quite a surprise...

#26 JP Raud Dugal

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 11:30 PM

The French Revolution - this is an optional part of our curriculum. I spend 4 or 5 hours covering the revolution in Year 9 (13 years old).

How do you teach the French Revolution? In a chronological way?

We are asked not to do so. In fact, the most important issue in the French's new curriculum is to show that the French Revolution did not finished untill 1879... France during this period is being considered as a 'melting' of autoritarism and democracy.
In fact, for me, as a 'young teacher', it's making sense. I recalled myself that period when I was a student as a total mess. Quite difficult to understand in a chronolical way.

Heritages are numerous: every political regime improved more or less these heritages.
Napoleon is just an event and not seen anymore as a period in itself. We don't have to talk about the battles but Code Civil, etc etc.

Even the Restauration era (1814-1830) did not mean back to absolutism. Louis XVIII and Charles X were obliged to recognise some of the heritages of the first revoltuion and when the former tried to forget that he faced the 1830 revolution (les trois glorieuses)
The role of the revolutions (1830, 1848, 1871 [la Commune]) can be considered as a quest to a new sort of political organisation and are deeply studied in our lessons in Quatrième (14-15 YO) as well as in Seconde (15-16) and in Première.

Jean Philippe

#27 JP Raud Dugal

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 11:33 PM

We then move on to look at revolutionariy activity and uprisings in the UK.

What are the uprisings in the UK at that time? Sorry I don't know much about this period in the UK. :crazy:

#28 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 12:28 PM

We then move on to look at revolutionariy activity and uprisings in the UK.

What are the uprisings in the UK at that time? Sorry I don't know much about this period in the UK. :crazy:

There were a number of political movements at the time that could have turned revolutionary: in the eyes of some leaders at the time. The 18th/19th centuries saw the Chartist Movement, The Luddites, The Rebecca Riots , The Swing Riots and The Cato Street Consipracy. One of the things I ask my students to consider is what the similarities and differences between France and the UK were at the time, leading into an evaluation of the liklihood of revolution in the Uk and an assessment of the reasons why it didn't happen.

In answer to the question about how I teach the French Revolution:

I've gone for a group based research project approach to it in the past based on the critical skills approach. Pupils work in groups and have a range of areas that they have to explore. Last year students created extensive booklets on the causes, cause and consequences of the revolution. The better ones included references to historical interpretations of events etc.

Edited by Dan Moorhouse, 22 March 2004 - 12:32 PM.


#29 JP Raud Dugal

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 05:02 PM

Thank you for this precisions. I will have a look to this periods.


In France, we study the English Revolution (Habeas Corpus and Bill of Rights of the 18°C).

Then, we pay attention to the enlightement era with mainly french thinkers but some can be german or english (Europe into our curriculum everywhere!) and we move on finally with the american revolution.

We explain that these revolutions are the very basis of the French one. In Quatrième (13-14yo) we can explain that the society wanted some changes but in Seconde it's quite impossible.

Jean Philippe

#30 UlrikeSchuhFricke

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 10:13 PM

So far the seminar has concentrated on the Anglo-French relationship and how or if it is a vital subject in history lessons in France.
I read through the curriculum you teach in the different grades and have found out that in Germany we nearly follow the same: Greek, the Romans, the Middle Ages in our year 7 (kids are 12/13) in year 8 we teach Renaissance, the Reformation in Europe (but focus is on Germany and Martin Luther; the specific German way into a federal system with a weak centre(Emperor) and strong dukes and princes which eventually lead to Germany still being a fedral system), followed by abolutism - the French role model - and then of course the French Revolution as the example of a bourgeois revoltuion, then we move back to Germany and the early 19th century and the failed German revolution of 1848. In the years 7 and 8 we have two lessons per week, in year 9 we only have one lesson. The main topics here are the Industrial Revolution - here the British way serves as a role model - German unity and the Kaiserreich (1871-1918). imperialism - all European countries and the USA are dealt with here - and finally the causes of World War I and its result; in year 10 we once again have two lessons per week and expected to cover the rest of history from the Weimar Republic till today. That's a rough survey of the curriculum in the year 7 to 10.
France and Franco-German relations understandably play an important role in our history lessons as we share quite a lot of history and both countries were at each other's throat fairly often.
The way France is portayed in our history books is ambivalent. As I said before we analyse the absolute system by having a closer look at Louis XIV and the system he established and which was imitated by many European princes and kings. We pay special attention to the French Revolution which is seen as the perfect example of a successful revolution and which is used to develop certain models of describing why and how revolutions begin, why or when they can be successful and also if a very radical phase (Terreur) is necessary to bring about and consolidate the changes. Still today our attitude towards Napoleon and his policy is ambivalent: on the one hand he is seen as someone who brought some progress to the still fairly backward German countries and who brought some of the French liberties and rights to the territories he occupied or which joined him (mainly the German countries along the Rhine which benefited from his influence); on the other hand he is seen and decribed as someone who occupied and exploited German territory who suppressed any opposition against him and who tried to force the ideals of the French Revolution on Germany. But reluctantly even those who are anti-Napoleon have to accept that without him important changes e.g. in Prussia would not have been possible due to the intransigence of the Prussian King.
The next focus then is Bismarck and German unity which was achieved in the course of three wars, the last one the war of 1870/71 which ended with the defeat and humiliation of France and the German Emperor being crowned/proclaimed in Versailles - in 1918/1919 history comes full circle you could say by signing the peace treaty ending World War I in Versailles and making the German delegates tasting their own historic medicine. The history books now are rather critical of the Bismarck area, they show how Bismarck's foreign policy aimed at isolating France at all costs and that it definitey was no policy aiming at everlasting peace. War was never far away. With the benefit of the hindsight the history books clearly show that the harsh French attitude towards Germany after World War I has its origin in the way Germany treated France before and the French fear of a strong and hostile Germany is understandable. When dealing with the Weimar Republic France is never far away: 1923 France occupies the Ruhr area and then Locarno and the attempt to reconcile the two nations and the end of this process when the Nazis came to power.
Dealing with Nazi Germany we concentrate on our national history very much and do not say much about the development in other European countries. Talking about foreign policy in the 30's our history books are more concerned with Britain and Appeasement policy.
After 1945 France is once again seen as the occupying power which is the most reluctant to hand back at least some political power to the Germans in her zone; once again the textbooks try to make the students see and understand the reasons for the French attitude.
In Politics, Geography and History we then move on to the history of uniting Europe with the German-French partnership at the core of this process.
The general message I think our history books want to convey is that countries which have been enemies for centuries can find a way to build a lasting partnership and from an alliance. The further west you move in Germany the more the influence of France is felt and accepted.
We also have bilingual schools in which subjects like History, Geography, Politics etc. are taught in English. I teach at one of these schools. In Lower Saxony the language of choice always is English; the language of coice in bilingual educations in the areas along the Rhine, Saar etc. very often is English and the bilingual program as such began with schools teaching subjects like the ones mentioned in French.
It is difficult to decribe what we do in our Sixth Form as we are in the middel of a major shake-up of our curriculum and it is fairly late and I am tired (might explain the spelling and grammar mistakes).
If you are interested I can tall you something about how to become a Grammar school teacher in Germany tomorrow.
Good night
Ulrike

Edited by UlrikeSchuhFricke, 23 March 2004 - 01:08 PM.





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