“French youth consider that success does not depend on their own efforts at school”

NOOur school system is showing worrying signs. The level of discomfort among French students is one of the highest: 50% of our children say they are anxious at school, that is, 30 percentage points more than the average of the countries of the Organization for Cooperation and Development Economic (OECD) in 2019. Is this the price of better school results? Away from. In twenty years, French students have gone from 7th to 17th position among the eighteen OECD countries in mathematics and science, in 2019. If all students are affected by this decline, even the class leader, our country will be distinguished by record differences in school performance and the strongest correlation with the social origin of the students.

It is urgent to establish the link between this worrying situation and the strong French deficit in social and behavioral skills. What is it about ? In various international surveys of children and adults, we observe a lack of confidence in one’s own abilities and chances of success, a low degree of perseverance, little trust in others and little ability to cooperate. For example, young people in France believe much more often than elsewhere that it is impossible to develop intelligence and that success does not depend on one’s own efforts at school.

The relationship with others is also worrying since French students rank last among all OECD countries in the ability to work in groups and solve problems collectively according to PISA surveys, far from the Nordic countries, Germany, Greater Britain or even America. And the same problems are found identically among adults in the world of work. Is it an immutable culture? I hope not. Rather, it is the result of our teaching and management methods.

Develop self-discipline, perseverance.

We allow students and employees to work with confidence in themselves and in others less than in other places, we place them more often in a logic of competition than of cooperation. Thus, according to the PISA 2018 survey, almost two-thirds of students say that they spend all class time taking notes and never work in a group. The good news is that these pedagogical and management methods can positively evolve and transform our social and behavioral skills.

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