The existence of mass education is a common feature of industrial societies. It is agreed by sociologists that the education system accepts some responsibility in preparing young people for the world of work. It is viewed as an institution where socialisation takes place, involving acquisition of knowledge and skills. It with or without intent also helps to shape beliefs and moral values. Education is an issue that plays an essential role in all aspects of society and sparks debates in issues of national economic competitiveness, national identity, and social justice. It is viewed as protecting the status quo and is a crucial element of personal growth and social transformation. The education system has existed since the early 19th century and appears o expand as society progresses.
Education in general appears to be shaped by four educational traditions. The first view is known as Encyclopaedism, it is very strongly inherent with the ideas from the “˜enlightenment’ period. It has been a very influential frame, especially for European countries such as France. This view promotes the idea that valid knowledge should be categorised, codified, and learnt. It promotes the concept that education provides the ability to think rationally, to reason, which leads to a better society with “˜enlightened’ people who, from education have the ability to use knowledge and reasoning with situations they encounter throughout their lives.
The second traditional view is based from a philosophical root known as humanism. It highlights the concept that education creates a “˜virtuous individual’ who posses high qualities of moral values, and high levels of intelligence. The humanism belief is strongly developed from English public schools and universities. This approach strongly emphasises the role of the academic tutor who in some ways acts as a “˜role model’ and though their guidance and example results in the pupil becoming a well rounded individual.
The third view is Vocationalism, which is orientated around the national economy. Its objective is to meet the needs of the national economy for skilled labourers who possess the suitable attitude towards work.
The fourth tradition is a recent philosophy in education known as Naturalism. This has developed from a combination of psychology, sociology, and philosophy. It highlights the significance of an individual child, its needs, ability knowledge, and its social world. It is based on the ideology of learning, influences, and interaction from the environment. It is a skill based approach, focusing on “˜learning how to learn’* and how the child interacts with its environment, education and other institutions, from which the child develops into a whole person.
Although the education systems may have been adapted as time progresses and vary slightly from country to country, the root of education originates from these four views. Therefore similarities can be seen in the education system in Britian and France.
(* Extracted from Spyby; line 10 pg 222) In both countries France and Britain, majority of children attend preschool. Their compulsory schooling begins around the age of 4/5.The pre-school stage is a period where children in Britain are encouraged to mostly play and develop rather than being taught any academic subjects, where as in France, children at pre school stage encounter formal teaching of subjects such as mathematics and reading and writing. In general there is a higher level of participation in preschool in France than Britain.
It appears that the France system bases its pre school system on the Naturalism approach, where by the child’s personality, creativity, intellect and socialisation is developed external to the family. From around the age of 5 children in both countries enter primary education. At this stage it is apparent that the naturalism ideology concludes and other traditional views become evident. In primary education there is similarity in the subjects studied throughout Europe, such as Maths, science, their language, P.E, arts.
The History of the France and Britain were similar in the changes they experienced in the 19th century.
The primary education in England and Wales was originally based on the humanist tradition in the early 19th century. From the late 18th century, large amounts of children had access to free elementary education from which basic values were conveyed. The Hadow reports 1931 and 1933 changed the structure of schools to form primary and secondary sectors. Primary school was based around developmental psychology, which then advances the child onto highly differentiated secondary school. The Hadow report was also the basis of the education act in 1944.
There had also been a change in the ideology of teachers after war where childcentered learning became an issue with primary school teachers in Britain. In the 70’s education in Britain became strongly associated with economic issues thus having a large impact in aspects of education. In turn an Education reform act had been produces in 1988, which imposed the National Curriculum. The national curriculum was strongly based on an encyclopaedism view. It arose problems for teachers as it restricted teachers from having the capacity to apply their professional judgement, and resulted teachers as being messengers of the curriculum to submissive learners.
The French system also went through changes around this time. Like Britain the education system primarily prepared labouring class children for the world of work. In the early 90’s issues were highlighted where teachers were regarded more as “˜cultural emitters’ rather than a “˜teacher’ especially secondary school teahers . Primary school teachers focused on the development of children rather than academic development.
The educateion system in both France and Britiain share a common factor of taking interst in the childs devlopment and both have a nationaal curriculum to follow. The French system however differs compared to Britian in their child centered approach.The French very strongly follow the tradtion of equality, where everyove achieves at the same rate and every individual is treated the same. Therefore a dtrucutres learning programme has been implemented where pupils learn at the same rate and achieve at the samt rate. Teachers on France play a crucial role in assisting every individual pupil to a similar stage as each other and unlike the British teachers do not view their professional role as involving curriculum development.
There is generally a diffrenc ein the way children are taught in France and Britain. As evident from a study conducted by Sharpe (92) the French primary schools tend to adopt a less child centred approach compared to Britain, they have a formal setting with blackboards and chalk, with desks faced towards the black board where as in Brtian there is more diversity in the way the National curriculum is taught, through working in groups, existence of play corners and there is a much more bright colourful displays of childrens work.
Another difference in the French and British system is the concept of equality which is promoted on scholls. In the British system there os a emphasis in schools to reseocet multicultural values and other tradtions and cultures each being unique and individual. Whereas in the French system the ideology of a single nation culture is strongly promoted.
The next stage from primary school is secondary school (in france refered to as lycÃ¨es professionelles), which the typical age for in both countries is between 10-12.
[more recently there has been debates amongst the british overment about the way children are taught in primary schools and the very “˜child centered “˜ approach has been critised. There has been speculation that the educational practices in Britiain may somewhat resmble the France system in the instructive and the extensive use and structure of the whole class. However these practices can only be implemented in the eduacational system through doverment intervention as unlike Britain, such practices in France are more “˜teachers professional culture (Mclean 199