High school reform: orientation by seduction is not the solution (2)

The last reform of the high school was accompanied by a radical change in the objectives of science education in high school. For too long, science in general and mathematics in particular had been used as tools of selection.

This instrumentalization of mathematics in secondary education had distorted the discipline and contaminated other scientific teachings. It was necessary to stop confusing orientation and selection.

It would have been necessary to push this analysis and keep the training without the selection. Instead, by referring to higher education the confrontation with the difficulties, by choosing topics close to the daily life of the young – or at least imagined such – the scientific programs of the high school since the reform try to please.

After the orientation by the selection, we try the orientation by the seduction.

Alarming effects

Although it is still a bit early to measure the long-term effects of this reform, the short-term effects are alarming enough to warrant a reconsideration of this choice.

First, the strings are a bit big for our kids. They understand that we do not tell them everything, that the reality is more complex and that we do not want to give them the keys.

They are constrained in the development of their autonomy, sometimes anxious to have to assume alone the construction of a coherent building of knowledge from a disjointed teaching, without interdisciplinary links.

A very questionable premise of the genesis of these programs is that for things to please, they need no effort.

As a result, unless they seek intellectual stimulation in extracurricular activities, students do not need to work a lot in science until they graduate.

Work habits

When they enter the higher, they are asked to tackle problems at a non-basic level and without established work habits.

When they do, what they do is a daily feat and they are the first to ask why they have been spared the slightest effort up to the age of 18 when they would have preferred to gradually acquire methods, technical bases, advanced knowledge. and interdisciplinary skills.

We really do not know if we are interested in science and if we can succeed in this way with a practice of scientific approaches.In fact, the sciences offer possibilities of practice at very different levels of complexity, and the pleasure of overcoming a difficulty is not proportional to the difficulty of the problem in absolute terms, but to the feeling that one has crossed a cap, understood something new, able to see the simplicity of a structure in a cluster of complex data, able to adapt known tools in a slightly shifted or even completely new context.

It’s the small wins that make you want to tackle new problems and fuel future efforts.

Delicate ideas

It is dishonest to let young people believe that you can do science without effort, and it is illusory to think that you can push back all the difficulties in the post-bac.

Science learning is “multilayered”: delicate ideas must be viewed and reviewed from different angles, with different disciplinary readings, at different stages of development.

Our brain can process three or four pieces of information at the same time;Our brain can process three or four pieces of information at the same time; but if he has worked before, the information he has to process is organized into packets of organized information, and he becomes able to process three or four packets of information together.

What do we prefer for our young people? Help them acquire these automatisms that will allow them to release energy to face new situations, to be creative and innovative, or to condemn them to reinvent the wheel before attacking each new problem?

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