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  • Writer's picturegabriellehalpern

Radio RCJ: Hybridising schools?

This column is presented by Gabrielle Halpern every Tuesday during the 12 o'clock news on RCJ radio and offers a philosophical look at current events.

As schools have just closed their doors for the traditional summer break, it would be interesting to think about some ideas to reinvent them...

All the pupils are now on holiday and this could be an opportunity to think about how we can reinvent schools.

One initiative in this area, which has gone almost unnoticed, deserves to be looked at very closely. The small Duplessis-Deville secondary school in Faucogney-et-la-Mer in Haute-Saône has been transformed into a "service establishment" as part of an experiment launched by the department a few months ago. In concrete terms, the aim is to open the college to the local area and its inhabitants, so that everyone can benefit from its infrastructures and spaces. The school's resource centre (CDI), has become a cultural space where all the local people can come to consult, borrow or buy books or attend conferences. The school canteen will be transformed into a rural brasserie open to everyone at lunchtime, and the classrooms will be opened outside school hours for adult training courses, particularly in digital technology. The school also has a grocery shop where everyone can come once a month to buy fresh produce from fifteen or so farms... The students in 4th year are in charge of this shop!

This initiative is of great symbolic significance: it marks a first step towards a metamorphosis of schools, which are no longer defined as closed places where teachers pass on knowledge to pupils.

We're witnessing the emergence of a new definition of the school as an open ecosystem, as a third place where generations, uses, interests and activities mix. School is no longer a school; it is also a thousand other things at the service of the general interest of the whole community and the local area, from culture to the economy and including social connections. Similarly, a few months ago, the Espace des Arts in Chalon-sur-Saône transformed its theatre, which was closed to the public, into a classroom in order to imagine another way of passing on knowledge to children.

These initiatives are magnificent embodiments of the accelerated hybridisation of our world that we've been witnessing for a number of years. Yes, a school can be something other than a school, it can be a theatre, a restaurant, a garden, an outreach grocery store or a craft workshop!

The hybrid school is the school transformed into a third place, a space for meetings and metamorphoses, a breeding ground for unlikely unions!


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