The mission of The Meaning of School association is to discourage young people from dropping out of school – and to enable all students to develop their full potential, allowing them become actors in their own education and in society.
What do we offer?
We offer CM1, CM2 and 6th year classes (age group 9-2 years in the French system), in ‘Priority Education’. This is an innovative course of workshops based on active, cooperative and positive pedagogies. The approach aims to change the way students look at school and help them to make sense of their schooling. They strengthen their motivation and their development by developing their feeling of belonging, their confidence in their own chances of success and their willingness to contribute to society. The workshops are delivered in ‘co-intervention’ (participatory collaboration) with the teacher, who is a full partner, and followed by a class project in order to permanently anchor the new state of mind among students. Additional training is offered to teachers to enable them to learn about and activate motivational and developmental triggers in their classes on a daily basis.
What are our main principles of action?
- Complementarity with National Education: we want to be a resource for students as well as for teachers. We hope to contribute our little stone so that everyone feels better at their place and more fulfilled within the school system.
- Free for schools: our workshops are not dependent on any funding from schools. When schools are able to mobilize existing funding mechanisms in their network, city or department, this naturally allows us to continue more easily with our mission.
Otherwise, we look for sources of external funding (private donations, patronage).
Where are we?
Since January 2020, despite the difficult health context, we have run 120 workshops with 29 REP and REP + classes in Ile de France (Paris and surrounding region), reaching more than 660 students. We are now present in the 3 ‘Academies’ (academic administrative departments) of Ile de France: Paris, where we have received academic approval, Versailles (in particular 92) and Créteil (in particular 93). We hope, in the long term, to be able to offer our program more widely in Ile de France and in the surrounding regions.
What is the basis of our program?
Our program is based on extensive research carried out in the United States for 10 years, showing that certain beliefs about school and learning are decisive in triggering the logic of failure and dropping out of school. Large-scale research shows that these beliefs are very malleable, and that brief classroom interventions may be enough to reverse the trend, get students out of a vicious cycle of discouragement and failure, and put them back on a track towards motivation and success.
Relying on this research, we act on these 3 beliefs, making them levers of success:
- The feeling of belonging: we help the pupils to develop a positive vision of the school to engage them before they drop out;
- The purpose of learning: we help them make sense of their schooling so that they want to do their best in school in order to have a positive impact on the world;
- The dynamic conception of intelligence: we help make them actors in their thinking and learning.
What is our impact?
Our first efficiency measures allow us to hope for an impact at 3 levels:
- Impact on the pupil: more motivation and well-being at school;
- Impact on the classroom: a more cooperative and dynamic classroom climate;
- Impact on the teacher: a different perspective on pupils, a renewed sense of vocation, tools to nurture the motivation and well-being of one’s pupils. Active research carried out with live learning situations is underway. It will allow us to more precisely assess our impact.
How to stay in touch with us?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ lesensdelecole