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Education and Teaching - Expo Liege 1905

Missing picture

In approaching the description of the French Section, we went straight to what struck us as the most striking aspect of the whole.

Let us now go through the section methodically so as not to omit anything that should be seen in each group.

This group, to which it had been intended to give in the section a breadth which would explain from the French point of view the views of its government, was represented by a collection of statistics, graphs, works by students, teachers, etc., which were all of a very high standard. But its most interesting aspect was the lectures which made known, through the voices of respected teachers, the current French pedagogical methods.

We learned from them how certain professors at the Collège de France understood history, what was the course followed in the teaching of philosophy, from what point of view medicine was considered, what were the principal psychological elements for the formation of the child's soul in general, and what should be the pedagogical methods, based on the rational observation of the child's nature.

From this it could be concluded that the French methods of education and teaching are based on new principles. Indeed, they are the application of those discoveries made by men who were not only profound observers, but who had enough scientific scruples to try to remember with lucidity their special schoolboy soul, to remember what would have been likely to interest him, to reform the methods of education and teaching from this realistic point of view.

This freedom of judgement, left to men whose reason is in no way influenced by the assimilation of theories that are already very old, marks a very interesting state of mind in the French administration currently responsible for the direction of public education.

Pedagogy, one of the most important sciences, since it tends to form the heart and soul of the child, is thus inspired, at present in France, by purely human principles. It seems that these can be summed up in the concern no longer to impose on the child knowledge that is no more than words lined up one after the other, but to interest him instinctively in this knowledge, by seeking the point of contact that could bring it into harmony with his sensibility, which is as yet unestablished.

The lecture room, to which we have devoted a separate note, showed an application of this principle in the prints which covered its walls and which were intended to interest the child in art. Art is not something that can be understood after many years of study and at the end of which a diploma is awarded, it is only a question of sensitivity. However, in order to move from the simple emotion felt by all to the special and subtle emotions particular to certain individuals, an educational programme is necessary. These prints attempted to achieve this programme.

Nearly fifty lectures by the most authoritative professors and scholars were therefore held from June to October.

The lecturers dealt with higher education, secondary education, primary education, and then ventured into more special subjects: Law, Philosophy, Medicine, Histology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, History, Geography, Literature, Botany.

Finally, a series of fifteen lessons was given on the organisation of university schools and the functioning of the major scientific services in France.

It was also decided that the various universities should be represented in the series of lecturers by their most eminent masters. The Minister of Public Instruction had, in this order of ideas, asked for conferences from a certain number of scientists and professors whom their recent discoveries or their original methods designated quite naturally to be the popularizers of the national work.

They were not asked to give a summary of the scientific and intellectual effort being made in France, but to highlight the progress of this development, which deserved the great publicity of a universal and international Exhibition.
To conclude this chapter, let us say that a number of statistics and graphs, fixed to the partitions or placed on shelves, provided documentary information on French educational establishments.

The Directorate of Primary Education, in particular, displayed three large graphs, drawn up by M. Levasseur, a professor at the Collège de France.

These graphs provided information on the number of male and female teachers per 10,000 inhabitants, the number of pupils in primary schools, the expenditure on public primary education and the instruction of conscripts and spouses.
conscripts and spouses.

The Pedagogical Museum was represented by a frame of photographs of old schools and a graph of the view service.

Another chart represented the expansion of the Polytechnic Association for the Development of Popular Education from 1835 to 1905.

A large number of photographs of secondary schools, from various academic inspectorates, were exhibited by the Direction de l'Enseignement secondaire, which had also sent two charts showing the study plans of the Enseignement secondaire des garçons and the Enseignement secondaire des filles.

The exhibition of the Higher Education Department consisted of items sent by various departments of this Directorate and consisted mainly of photographs.

Among these were views of the Laboratory of Physical Geography, a reproduction of a chart used for reading maps, a model of the autographs used for excursions, three photographs of the Museum of Mouldings of the Faculty of Letters of Lyon and several photographs of the Sorbonne.

The Faculty of Sciences was represented by various photographs of its laboratories and workrooms.

We also noted, successively
the Laboratory of Comparative Anatomy. - Working room;
the chemistry laboratory. - Hydrogen sulphide distribution room;
the Physical Research Laboratory - Research room;
the Histology Laboratory - Practical work room;
Laboratory of Zoology, Anatomy and Comparative Physiology. - Practical work room

Similarly for the Faculty of Letters. Various photographs represented:
the Albert Dumont Library;
the exit of the course of M. Lavisse;
the Museum of Ancient Art;
the Museum of Modern Art;
the History of Art Hall;
the History Library.

An original thesis, defended at the Sorbonne in the 17th century, completed the exhibition of the Direction de l'Enseignement Supérieur in a tasty and rather unexpected way.

In addition to these graphs and photographs relating to the various primary, secondary and higher education systems, there was a host of documents concerning special industrial and commercial education.

The group's exhibition occupied an area of 200 square metres and was divided into two parts. The first part was devoted to the technical education establishments under the authority of the Ministry of Trade and Industry: the Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers, the Ecole Centrale, the Ecoles d'Arts et Métiers of Aix, Angers, Châlons, Cluny and Lille; the Ecoles nationales professionnelles of Armentières, Nantes, Vierzon, Voyron; the Ecoles d'horlogerie of Cluses and Besançon; as well as the fifty-one boys' practical schools and the eight girls' practical schools.

The second subdivision of the exhibition of technical education included establishments and works due to private initiative, such as the courses created by the workers' or employers' trade unions, and the various organisations intended to develop and spread popular education.

It would have been a considerable, if not impossible, task to consult all the documents collected on this occasion in order to gain an idea of the particular direction of French technical education. The only practical use of this exhibition was to make it possible to document some isolated branch of this vast programme of technical education.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Liège 1905