Research Areas

Transformations of school knowledge



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Produced in the framework of the Sinergia project (CRSII1_141826) "Transformation of school knowledge in Switzerland since 1830", this research reports on the transformations of knowledge to be taught in French-speaking Switzerland over the long term (19th-20th centuries), more particularly in the cantons Geneva, Vaud and Friborg. It focuses on an analysis of the discourses, programs and teaching methods relating to three disciplines - French as a first language, German as a foreign language and history. First of all, it is a question of placing the transformations affecting the knowledge to be taught in the context of the construction and evolution of the disciplines mentioned above. From this point of view, three periods are particularly significant: the genesis of school subjects during the 19th century, based on a set of basic skills (reading, writing, counting) gradually diversified; the dissemination of new educational proposals developed in the first third of the 20th century (Active School, New Education for French-speaking Switzerland); finally, the turn of the 1970s and the in-depth renovation (aims, contents and teaching approaches) of certain disciplines.

The transformations of knowledge are grasped here from a dual posture, both historical and didactic. Thus, the analysis of teaching resources and prescriptions focuses in particular on the process of selection and didactisation of the objects to be taught, but also on the approaches recommended for their teaching. The construction of school knowledge is still approached from the point of view of borrowings from the reference disciplines.

This project also seeks to question the role attributed to the three disciplines used in the diffusion of a feeling of belonging that is characterized in Switzerland by the superposition of different layers that can all take on a unifying dimension (social, religious, linguistic, cultural, local). regional and national). From then on, one is interested in the dimensions on which the construction of collective identities is based and in the disciplines more particularly convened to promote their diffusion.

Finally, as this research is part of a national project involving teams from Switzerland's three linguistic regions, one look at the circulation between cantons and linguistic regions.

Principales publications

  • Darme, A. & Schneuwly, B. (2014). De la « crise du français » à la rénovation de l’enseignement de la langue maternelle : Transformation des contenus théoriques et didactiques dans les manuels de grammaire genevois (1916-1979). 4ème Congrès Mondial de Linguistique Française (Voir
  • de Mestral, A. (2015). Analyse d’activités proposées dans des moyens d’enseignement d’histoire. A l’école de Clio2 (Voir)
  • de Mestral, A. (2015). Quelques éléments pour une analyse critique des ressources didactiques en histoire. A l’école de Clio(Voir
  • Extermann, B. (2013). Une langue étrangère et nationale. Histoire de l’enseignement de l’allemand en Suisse romande (1790-1940). Neuchâtel : Alphil.
  • Monnier, A. (2015). Le temps des dissertations. Fabrication d’un exercice au service de l’intelligence et de la culture des jeunes gens et des jeunes filles à Genève (1836-2004). Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l’éducation, Université de Genève.
  • Rouiller, V. (En préparation). La double transmission culturelle dans les manuels d’allemand en Suisse romande (1840-1915). In  Education et culture matérielle en France et en Europe XVIe-XXIe siècles. Paris : CNRS
  • Schneuwly, B. & Darme, A. (2015). La lecture dans la discipline français. Analyse des plans d’études et des manuels de lecture de 1870 à 1990 dans le canton de Genève. In L. Perret-Truchot (Ed.), Analyser les manuels scolaires. Questions de méthodes (pp. 109-128). Rennes : PUR.
  • Schneuwly, B. (2015). Le livre de lecture : un hypergenre ? 120 ans de livre de lecture en Suisse romande. Recherches et applications, 58, 27-36.
  • Tinembart, S. (2015). Le manuel scolaire de français, entre production locale et fabrique de savoirs. Le cas des manuels et de leurs concepteurs dans le canton de Vaud au 19e siècle. Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l’éducation, Université de Genève.