Home schooling

After the reform of college holidays, room for the reform of every day and weekly rhythms (carte blanche)

That’s it, the reform of school timetables has been voted and from the beginning of the next school year the holiday calendars will enter a new era. But for Bernard De Commer, a former union official, the next step should be to reform the daily (what time should school start and end?) and weekly rhythms.

The reform of annual school rates was approved by decree on March 30. After a long gestation period of around thirty years, after failed or stillborn efforts such as that of Elio DI RUPPO in 1993, after a series of promises in successive Community policy statements that have remained dead letters despite the brakes from different lobbies… At last! As Anne-Sophie Bailly, editor-in-chief of Le Vif wrote in her last editorial: “It is the student who is at the heart of the reform. Not the convenience of parents. Not the country’s bilingualism. Neither is the attractiveness of the teaching profession”.

Now is the time to put it into practice.

The next project in terms of pace that the government will have to deal with in the next legislature, if we really want to finalize this reform. it will be that of daily and weekly rhythms. The Commission’s report of 1991 predicted this, and it seems to me that there is no reason to stop there. Especially since these daily and weekly rhythms are just as essential as the annual rhythms.

And they are based on the same chronobiological and chronopsychological data.

The report recommended that consideration be given, depending on the age of subjects and levels of education, to the need for moments of take a restneeds the foodfluctuations in pERFORMANCE – such as “the meridian trough at the beginning of the afternoon”-, and that the school practices a pedagogy of meaning, coherence and continuity.

Undoubtedly, improvements have been made since: cycle education in basic education for example or, in specialized education, the Individual Learning Plan (IPP). But the other recommendations of the Report should see the light of day, in a more complete way than today, with the Pact for a lesson of excellence.

Thus it can be read in 1991: “All members of the educational community are called to draw up the policy of the institution and the project that translates it… The school community is organized into a complex but coherent set of teams and groups. . The school directorate is responsible for the articulation of all communication and action networks that exist within the institution”. This can be translated from the participatory process presented precisely by the Pact, a process that certain departments, certain organizational powers, contempt. And that’s an understatement.

Already in 1991 the report recommended multidisciplinary activities and “continuity between basic education and secondary education”. These are in part two of the stated goals of the common core. All this does not seem to me to cause great problems in the public interested in the school. What it can and probably will stallis’typical schedule a reception day starting around 8:30am and a day ending around 5:30pm for the seniors and, in this case, including “after class” activities.

Not just a nursery

This “after class,” for the Report, is the time for free activities, games, research projects, enhanced learning under “a new conception of homework,” and not just daycare. This comes back to me the extension of the day it’s an idea that some opponents of Internet-based annual fees now find attractive. Actually, for working parents. Like what the good of children can also serve as a screen !

Also read | School timetable reform: why Minister Désir is not waiting for Flanders (video)

It should be noted, in passing, that the report has already recommended removing homework essentially as such. The topic that had tensed certain parents when Minister Nollet issued his decree on March 29, 2001 that “regulates the duration, content and assessment of homework in primary education”. Decree which has almost not been respected until today under pressure, no doubt, from parents or competition between schools and networks. A school that gives a lot of homework that is supposed, to some, to be a “good” school. But with these “after school” activities, it will be the finances of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation that risk being damaged a little more than they are.

Regarding weekly ratesthe report noted – and I quote – that “the preservation of Saturday is a day off explained more by economic and social context than by chronobiology. Therefore, the negative effects of weekend rest must be compensated improving school rhythms during the week but also from the desire to offer stimulating and balanced cultural, artistic and sports activities during the weekend, taking into account children’s biological rhythms”.

Indeed: the school is not alone and should not remain so. It is society as a whole that must tackle this problem head on, paying special attention to socio-cultural environments in difficulty and implementing an ambitious policy for children and young people.

Bernard De Commer, former trade union official and now activist

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