When I arrived in Taipei, my knowledge of primary school was patchy. The French educational system is organised in such a way as to keep the worlds of primary and secondary separate and, coming from a secondary background, I had had very few opportunities to work with primary colleagues. Teacher training in France is highly specialised; it’s almost as if we are talking about two different professions when we discuss primary teachers and secondary teachers. There is a cultural divide between the two groups that cannot be denied – and we shouldn’t deny it – sometimes we need to recognise what separates us before we can overcome it and unite!
I was warmly and generously welcomed here by a team of professionals from whom I learnt (and continue to learn) a lot about how primary works. They opened their classroom doors to me, explained the issues at stake and, most strikingly, demonstrated extraordinary talent, infinite patience and limitless imagination day after day. It was a revelation for someone like me whose previous experience lay mostly at a lycée (high school) level. My own methods suddenly seemed straitened.
A child’s life at school in France from Petite Section to Terminale can be spread over four buildings with four separate heads – maternelle, elementaire, collège and lycée (kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school). Here in Taipei, we may have two campuses, but we nonetheless have the tremendous opportunity of being able to offer our students pedagogical coherence right through their schooling with the French Section. It is my role to ensure that we are speaking the same language on YangMingShan and on Fuguo (previously know as Wenlin), my task is to advocate a culture of dialogue in our school. There will of course always be differences – it’s a desirable result of the cognitive changes taking places in your children as they grow, learn, develop and evolve. In its new version, the Lycée français offers excellent opportunities to work together.
Our growth and the opening of lycée classes has led to the recruitment of more teachers, which means we now have two teaching teams of approximately the same size. Make no mistake about it, these two teams play on the same side – for your children! The synergy required doesn’t come naturally on account of the cultural reasons I mentioned in my introduction. It needs to be cultivated, maintained and protected, so that it benefits your children. It is a trump card that we should take full advantage of: the “new” lycée français allows us to do so.
I can already let you know that Carine Capel and Franck Lefèvre are motivated by the prospect of working closely together. I have been present during their meetings and can testify to plans for fascinating projects, which will enrich and delight your children.
Making sure that these two worlds converse is a beautiful objective for a school which is as diverse as ours.
Have an excellent weekend