A letter to Educators

A letter to Educators

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy published a 32-page “Letter to Educators” on September 4, 2007, the day when the primary and secondary schools started, expressing his expectations for French education.

It is said that this is the first time the President of the French Republic has written a letter directly to a teacher. This letter more or less imitated a briefing to teachers by the Minister of Education, Yule Ferri, in 1883. The letter will be delivered directly to 850,000 teachers at a cost of nearly 500,000 euros. Education Minister Darko added that “this letter is not only addressed to teachers who have just taken up their jobs today and will retire in 2047, but also includes young students whose lives have ended at the end of this century.”

The full text of Sarkozy’s letter is now translated for readers.

A Letter to Educators

Ladies and gentlemen:

On the occasion of the beginning of school, I am writing to you. This is the first time I have written to you since I was elected President of the Republic.

I want to talk to you about the future of our children. The future of children is in the hands of each of you. You are responsible for educating, guiding, and protecting those spirits and feelings that are not yet fully formed, immature, seeking, and still fragile. Your responsibility is to accompany the flourishing development of their mental, moral, and physical abilities from infants to teenagers. This responsibility is the heaviest, and at the same time the most beautiful and worthy of praise.

Isn’t it the greatest and most beautiful thing to help children to germinate their minds and feelings, and to help them embark on the path of life? But isn’t it also the most difficult at the same time? Because in addition to the pride of seeing children grow up, their personality and judgment are born; when each child feels the precious gains taught by him and is happy, there is always a worry of misleading and suppressing talents and fettering passion. There is always a worry that is too indulgence or too harsh, and there is always a worry that cannot understand the deep feelings of children and their ability to complete tasks.

Education is an attempt to reconcile two opposing movements: one is to help every child find his own way; the other is to promote every child on the road of truth, goodness, and beauty that people believe.

In the face of growing children, one of the requirements for adults is not to suppress their personality while educating them. Every child and every teenager has a way of self-existence, thinking, and feeling. He should be able to express, but he should also learn.

Education has long ignored children’s personalities and used a unified model to shape each child so that everyone can learn the same thing at the same time and in the same way. Knowledge is above everything else. This education has its greatness. Be strict and serious, urge people to make progress and overcome self.

This strictly required education was once a powerful factor in social progress. However, many children feel depressed and excluded from the benefits of social progress. This is not because they lack talents, nor are they incapable of learning and understanding, but their feelings, their minds, and their personalities are not suitable for the single model we impose on everyone.

In response, in recent decades, children’s personality has become the center of education, instead of taking knowledge as the center of education.

It is necessary and beneficial to give children a more important status and respect their characteristics, characteristics, and psychology. The important thing is to develop children’s excellent qualities, develop their strengths, and correct their deficiencies. But too much emphasis on spontaneity, too much worry about restricting individuality, blindly looking at education through the glasses of psychology, will go to the other extreme, and people will not be able to teach.

In the past, education placed too much emphasis on culture and did not respect nature; but later education was too natural and did not have enough culture. In the past, too much emphasis was placed on the transfer of knowledge; later, on the contrary, it did not pay enough attention to the transfer of knowledge.

The authority of teachers is shaken by this. The authority of parents and education is also shaken by this. The common culture, which has been passed down from generation to generation and is constantly enriched, tends to shatter, becoming hard to tell and hard to understand. School failure has dropped to an unacceptable level. The inequality between knowledge and culture is widening. The knowledge society imposes its logic, its standards, and its requirements all over the world. The opportunities for social advancement that families and schools can give children are shrinking. Trying to reactivate the golden age of education, culture, and knowledge that never existed is futile. Each age has its own expectations. We cannot reproduce the school of the Third Republic era, nor the school of our parents’ era, or even the school of our own era. What the times has given us is to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy and the information revolution.

What we can do is to put forward the educational principles of the 21st century. These principles can neither be equated with the principles of yesterday, nor can they be equated with the principles of the day before yesterday.

What kind of people do we want to make children? They should be free women and men. They should be people who desire to know good things and great things. They should be kind-hearted people, caring people, independent thinking people, tolerant people, and at the same time they should be able to find a career and use them. People who work for a living.

Our role is not to help children always be children, nor to make them big children, but to help them become adults and citizens. All of us are educators.

Education is difficult. It is often necessary to start over to achieve the goal, but never get discouraged, and persevere. Every child has potential waiting to be developed. Every child has a form of wisdom waiting to be developed. Need to find and understand these potential and wisdom forms. Just like the requirements for children, education is also a requirement for educators themselves.

Merely satisfying the established minimum standards is not the goal, and don’t let the children who are at a loss do not be overwhelmed by an excessive wave of knowledge. The purpose is to give every child the greatest education that can be received, and to promote their learning interest, curiosity, openness of spirit, and awareness of hard work as much as possible. Respect for oneself should be the basic driving force of education.

Give every child and every teenager in our country self-confidence, so that they can discover their own talents, and enable them to complete tasks that they have never believed in. In my opinion, this is the theoretical basis for supporting the reconstruction of our education plan.

We look forward to children’s love and respect for us, and we want to give children the same love and the same respect. Our love and respect for them requires that our relationship with them must not have any form of “giving up”, nor should we be infected with any “bewitching” color. Because we love our children, because we respect our children, the education we give them should improve them, not lower them. Because we love our children and because we respect our children, we cannot give up education when we encounter initial difficulties. You cannot be deprived of this treasure of education because it is difficult for children to concentrate, because they are slow in learning, and because they cannot easily master the text. Without education, they can never become truly free people.

Because we love our children, because we respect our children, we have an obligation to teach them how to be strict with themselves. We have an obligation to teach them that everything is not the same, that all civilizations are based on the hierarchy of values, and that students are not equal to teachers. We are obliged to teach them that no one without restraint can survive, and that no one can gain freedom without rules. If we cannot teach our children to distinguish between good and ugly, between permitted and prohibited, who will be our educators? If we cannot punish our children who make mistakes, who will be our educators? When a child tries to say “no”, we cannot obey him, but always say “yes” to him. The feeling of impunity is a disaster for children, and he will continue to verify the limitations of the adult world’s coercion. Children cannot be taught that what they do is allowed, he has only rights and no obligations. Children cannot be taught to think that life is just a game, or that they can be exempted from learning all the knowledge of the world in an orderly manner. Information technology should become the core of educational thinking in the 21st century. But we should not lose the view that the humanistic relationship between educators and children is still the core. Education should also train children to take the initiative to work hard, so that they can discover the sudden joy of thinking after a long time.

Reward excellence, punish mistakes, cultivate appreciation for truth, goodness, beauty, greatness and profound things, and aversion to fake, evil, ugly, small and mediocre things. This is what educators do for children. This is The love best explained to children is respect for children.

That is why respect should be the foundation of all education. It is not only the respect of teachers to students, the respect of parents to children, but also the respect of students to teachers, the respect of children to parents, the respect of others and the respect of themselves. Education is to produce respect. If our society no longer has enough respect, I believe that this is first of all a problem of education.

I hope we rebuild a respectful education, a respectful school. I hope that children learn to pay attention to polite, open-minded, tolerant and other forms of respect.

I hope students take off their hats when they enter school and stand up when teachers enter the classroom, because this is a sign of respect.

I hope that every student learns to respect each other, respect the opinions that are not their own, respect the beliefs that they do not agree with, and respect the beliefs that are incompatible with them. Making them understand differences, contradictions, and criticism is far from being an obstacle to their freedom, on the contrary, it is a source of enrichment for individuals.

When they collide with their thinking habits and beliefs, they have to face others, open their arguments and feelings, and take a serious attitude, which can stimulate the examination of their beliefs and their values, ask questions, and strive to surpass themselves. This is the reason why we should keep our republic’s school model. Even if we want to innovate it, this model needs to be retained. Because the model of this Republican school accommodates all family backgrounds, all social classes, and all beliefs, it requires everyone to remain neutral and respect each other in religion, philosophy, and political beliefs.

This model is being weakened, and its principles are no longer sufficiently respected.

If I hope to reform the unified junior high school, it is for each student to find his own place, to consider the differences in the rhythms, feelings, characteristics and forms of intelligence, so that each student has the greatest opportunity for success.

If I hope that children with disabilities can receive education like other children, it is not only to make disabled children happy, but also to allow other children to enrich themselves from their differences.

If I am happy to see the school transcend everything and become a secular school, in my opinion, it is because secularization is a principle of mutual respect, because it opens the space for dialogue and peace between religions, and because it is The most effective way to prevent religious closure attempts. Regarding the danger of religious confrontation leading to the path of civilized oscillation, can’t we better use some of the great universal values ​​and secularization to fight against? For this reason, I believe that religious activities cannot be allowed to enter the school gate. The origins of major religions should be studied, their human view and world view, of course, not with any kind of persuasive spirit, nor from the perspective of theology, but from the sociological, cultural, and historical perspectives. Analytical methods to understand the essence of religious activities. Soul and holiness, accompanied by human adventures from beginning to end, are the source of all civilizations. If you understand the soul and holiness, it will be easier to open your mind to others, and it will be easier to talk to them.

However, understanding differences should not lead to neglect of participation in a common culture, collective identity, and good morals. Education is to inspire individual consciousness and gradually raise it to universal consciousness. It is to make everyone feel a single personality and at the same time be a part of the entire human race. Between the two, some things are basic, and any education cannot be avoided. Between individual consciousness and universal consciousness, for us French, there are national consciousness and European consciousness.

Between the consciousness that belongs to human beings and the consciousness of personal destiny, education should also inspire civic consciousness and cultivate citizens. If our children cannot be made French citizens and European citizens, they will never become citizens of the world.

The family certainly plays a fundamental role in the inheritance of national unity. But the school is the melting pot. When it comes to schools, I think not only that elementary, junior high and high schools should put civic education back in the first place in teaching, but also the teaching of moral values ​​such as human rights, equality between men and women or secularization, which are at the core of national consistency. I also think of the value of knowledge. Our own way of thinking and thinking. I think of this clear-thinking French tradition. In our philosophy and science, in our language, literature, and art, there is a tendency to have both French style and universal rationality.

Faced with the threat of flattening the world, our task is to promote cultural diversity. This task first requires our own unanimous identification, drawing the essence from our knowledge, morals, and artistic traditions, passing it on to our children, and making them perpetually pass on to everyone. Because the heritage of all cultures and civilizations belongs to all mankind. We are the inheritors of all human spiritual gains and creations. We are the heirs of all great civilizations that have contributed to the mutual enrichment of various cultures and are giving birth to the first global civilization.

To show our children the universal culture and to carry out cultural dialogues is not to deny our culture, but to practice it. France has always put universalism at the core of its thoughts and values. France has always regarded itself as the successor of all cultures in the world that contributed to human thought.

We should put ordinary culture at the center of education again. Of course, ordinary culture is not a purposeless accumulation of knowledge, but a deliberate and integrated knowledge. It does not require completeness and quantity, but should be committed to the basic spirit and quality, and the different fields of human wisdom should be integrated, so that each child and youth can build their own vision of the world. For the first time in history, children know many things that their parents do not yet know. But it is necessary to construct this knowledge into culture, and to illuminate this knowledge with the heritage of all human wisdom.

Do not separate, isolate, or oppose the various forms of knowledge. Sub-subject teaching will continue, because each subject has its own logic, because this is the only way to explore things in depth. But it needs to be supplemented by the overall vision, and it needs to be supplemented by the perspective of each subject compared with all other subjects. I believe that, on top of the traditional classification of knowledge, we now need to construct a new context of knowledge, which is the result of the combination, mixing, and enrichment of different disciplines.

I don’t agree with a single textbook. I also disagree with the globalization of knowledge that leads to chaos. But I believe that interdisciplinary knowledge should quickly gain a place in our teaching, because the future is the intersection of knowledge, culture and perspectives. I believe that the key to our intellectual, moral and artistic revival will be found there. Ordinary culture should be a kind of eternal care. As for our children’s foreign language learning, I hope they must learn at least two foreign languages, and that foreign language learning is also cultural and civilized learning. I hope that our children will learn literature, drama, poetry, philosophy and science while learning foreign languages.

To conclude that the importance of ordinary culture in education is declining, and that specialized learning is often too detailed and premature. It is a completely straightforward conclusion that scholars, engineers, and technicians cannot be without literature, art, and philosophical literacy, and writers, artists, and philosophers cannot. Science, technology, and mathematics literacy.

There is an idea that people who are engaged in science do not need to study poetry, drama or philosophy. I think this idea is absurd. There is also a thought that children of ordinary families, children born in disadvantaged civilian neighborhoods, children of workers and employees do not have to face the great works of the human spirit. They have no ability to evaluate them and teach them how to read, write, and Even though it’s pretty good. In my opinion, this kind of thinking is the greatest contempt.

If so many young people in our country cannot express their feelings, if so many young people cannot express their feelings, cannot share their feelings with others, and cannot find the vocabulary of love or pain, if many of them are against abuse, barbarism, Violence cannot be appealed, perhaps because they have not been exposed to literature, poetry, or any art form, and these art forms are the way to express the most touching, sad, and tragic human emotions.

In the era of audio and video, mobile phones, the Internet, and direct communication, our children do not need less common culture, but more. They need to have more analytical skills, critical spirit and value standards. The more knowledge the world produces, the more information it produces, the more technology it produces, and the more culture it requires, so that people can remain free and they can control their destiny. In such a world, with more and more stimuli and more temptations, our children need more humanism and science. In these two areas, we have made too many concessions.

Contrary to our wisdom tradition, humanity and culture are shrinking, and science and culture are degenerating. We need to fight on two fronts to make children interested in reading, art and science as soon as possible.

However, we need to re-examine our teaching methods. For too long, our education is to let children passively accept knowledge. Perhaps we have criticized the recitation learning used to train memory too much. Isn’t someone complaining that some of La Fontaine’s fables or Verlaine’s poems are filled in their memory, or complaining about learning French historical chronology or the signs of world geography, or complaining about recitation of multiplication tables and common formulas of mathematics and geometry? ? Of course, true culture requires more than recitation, and only through the awakening of consciousness, mind and curiosity can the profound foundation of culture be laid. Children need to be guided to learn to ask themselves, think, keep distance, react, doubt, and discover the truth by themselves, which will benefit children for life.

Our education should be less passive learning and less mechanical learning. Education should also reduce doctrines, theories, etc., and reduce abstract teaching content. Before abstract content, many wisdoms stagnated and closed themselves. We need to give a greater position to observation, experimentation, performance, and practice. I believe that this method is beneficial to many children, and academic failure will be reduced. This also applies to science, humanities, or art. In order to make knowledge more active and practical, education needs to be opened to other fields, culture, art, research, technology, and of course to the corporate world, because most children will one day start their adult lives there.

Our children need to reach out to writers, artists, researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs, and share with them their love of beauty, truth, discovery, and creation. Links should be established between cultural institutions, research centers, publishing circles, enterprises and elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools.

Children should not be enclosed in the classroom. They should go to theaters, museums, libraries, laboratories, workshops earlier, and receive the beauty and wonders of nature earlier. In the forest, in the countryside, in the mountains, on the beach, physics, geology, biology, geography, history, and poetry often have greater meaning. Not only the creation of nature, but also the need to teach our children to read the famous works of artists. Not only do not hesitate to expose children to the great works of the human spirit, but also to the works of today’s alive people.

Our children will not all become musicians, poets, scientists, engineers, or artists who work in art. But we should not give up developing the musical interest of children who will never become musicians. We should not give up fostering the love of poetry for children who will never become poets. We should not give up cultivating serious scientific attitudes and enthusiasm for research for children who will never become researchers. Nor should we give up cultivating children who will never become artists to love beautiful and exquisite works.

This means for all children, all teenagers, regardless of their family background or social environment, as long as they are students in ordinary schools or vocational schools. Because one of the shortcomings of our traditional education is that physical strength is opposed to intelligence. This ridiculous separation needs to be broken, so that vocational education majors are as famous as outstanding majors, and vocational education diplomas are equivalent to other diplomas.

We have to transcend another kind of opposition, the opposition of body and spirit. Education is a whole. Education should be both theoretical and practical, both intellectual and physical, and both artistic and competitive. The status of sports is still insufficient. Children need to transcend themselves. At the same time, physical education is a school that respects others, respects rules, is upright and self-transcends. I believe in the value of sports. For the greater interests of our children, not only sports should have a more important position in schools, but also the sports world and school sports need to be more open to each other, sports institutions and educational institutions need to strengthen ties, and athletes and teachers need to cooperate closely.

Please understand me. In my mind, it is not to increase the burden of over-heavy class hours, nor to add new teaching to the already over-long course catalog. My thinking is just the opposite. It is to give our children time to live and rest, and to give them time to comprehend the teaching content.

What we need to find again is the harmony of the education plan. It is necessary to adjust the teaching frequency and school curriculum to make the education plan naturally harmonious. It is very necessary to adjust the curriculum after decades. Schools are facing ever-increasing conflicting requirements and tensions, especially as the social cohesion becomes more fragile, the expectations of the school become stronger. It is necessary to regain the coordination within each discipline and the coordination between disciplines to meet the expectations of the society. It is necessary to find the guiding line in education again, and let it determine the educational principles, goals and simple standards. This is what we need to do first. At the same time, we must raise the level of requirements, not quantity but quality.

It is no longer a sudden screening when entering the university, this is just a Malthusian solution. We need to gradually raise the requirements of elementary, middle and high schools. If it is not possible to prove that they can continue their studies in junior high school, no one can enter the first grade of junior high school. If you cannot prove that you can continue your high school studies, no one is allowed to enter the first grade of high school. The high school graduation examination diploma should prove the ability to receive higher education. This will be a long-term work, and it will restructure the system from elementary school to high school. But this is vital to the future of our youth and the future of our country.

Give everyone the most, instead of being satisfied with giving the least to everyone. This is my hope for how to solve the problem of education in the future, especially the problem of school.

The reconstruction of our education must have the support of all educators. Political will cannot be arbitrary. For this reason, I invite you to participate in the reconstruction of the school.

When I say “all educators”, I mean that the goal cannot be achieved by relying solely on teachers or parents. This is a common cause united by all educators.

We need to be united, and each of you should work with everyone else. For fathers, mothers, teachers, judges, police, social educators, as well as all people related to children, such as sports, culture, and associations, the interests of children should be given priority. The spirit of trust, cooperation, communication, and responsibility should become common practice. Everyone should give up their prejudices or their priorities, and fulfill their mission for children to become adults.

Parents, you are the first educator. I know the hardships of your role, especially when the threat of unemployment, when the family is reorganized, when the father or mother is raising children alone. I know the burden of your lives. I want to tell you that you will receive support, from the earliest childhood of your children, whenever you need to educate your children. In my opinion, family policy is entirely part of the education plan.

I want to tell you that the rights of childcare and preschool education are my priority for the next five years. I decided to implement such a measure that any child can not go home immediately after school so that you can complete it. Work all day, so you don’t have to worry about taking care of your children. Since then, homework will be completed in school and under supervision. For outstanding children from ordinary families, if the home cannot provide a suitable learning environment, a good boarding school will be established for them.

We will help you complete the task. But you have an obligation to face children. You must set an example for them. You are responsible for letting children go to school, educate them to respect the law and be polite, and supervise them in fulfilling their obligations. If you indulge them in playing truant, if you are laissez-faire to them, the society will hold you accountable and hold you accountable, and it will be normal to supervise the subsidies for you.

Teachers, you also have the right to be respected and loved. Your role is significant. You often need to experience a longer period of study. Your wisdom, patience, mentality, and talents should be verified. I know how much we need education in this most beautiful profession. I also know how dedicated you are. I also know how difficult and sometimes even unbearable education has been since the violence entered the school. I have realized that your social status and your purchasing power are declining as work tasks increase, and your working conditions are deteriorating.

The country should give you greater recognition, better respect for your profession, and guarantee you a better standard of living and better working conditions.

Those of you who have gone through a long-term teaching work and have the need to change careers and want to prove their abilities and knowledge from other aspects, either in the public sector or outside the public sector, it will be easier to change careers. Conversely, those who have worked in other sectors hope that the transition to education will be more popular than it is now. In the national education system, just like other public functional departments, status constraints should be broken so that people, ideas, and abilities can flow.

I hope to improve the professional status of teachers as one of my priorities during my five-year tenure, because this is the inevitable result of school reform and education reconstruction. However, you, teachers and parents, should play the role of example. Through your behavior, manners, rigor, justice, and background, you can play an example role. You can also highlight the majesty of teachers through your abilities, and through your reward for excellence and punishment of wrongdoers. Concern, show your role as an example.

In my dream school, quality is more important than quantity, with fewer classes, fewer teachers, and higher efficiency, because school autonomy allows better management according to needs. But this is the result of school reform, not its purpose. For this reason, I promise that the funds needed for the reform will be invested in education and the improvement of the teaching profession. This is for more efficiency, not for rationing. This efficiency is not only to achieve economic goals, not only to have a higher-quality labor force in our future economy, but, perhaps especially, to enable our children to shoulder the value of civilization and to enable certain ideas of civilization. Continue to survive on them.

Each of you, I know, will assess the severity of the challenges we face. Every one of you understands that the knowledge revolution that is quietly completed right now has not left us time to rethink the meaning of the word education itself. Each of you realizes that facing the ruthlessness of social relations and the anxiety of facing future threats, the world needs a new revival, and this revival can only occur if it depends on education. Let us regain the Renaissance and only rely on education, this renaissance is possible. Let us regain the line from the humanism of the Renaissance to the Enlightenment plan to the Ule Ferri school.

The time for reconstruction has arrived. I invite you to participate in this reconstruction and we will act together. We are already too far behind.

President of the French Republic

Nicolas Sarkozy

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