Teacher Education in France: Universitisation and professionalisation – from IUFMs to ESPEs

Article English OPEN
Cornu, Bernard (2015)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508, eissn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v6.28649
  • Subject: teaching profession; teacher training; pedagogy; professionalisation; education system

During the last 30 years, there have been several major reforms of teacher education in France. The role of universities in teacher education, the acquisition of professional competencies, as well as the articulation between academic courses and practice in schools, have all been questioned. These reforms have led to lots of debates and controversy, particularly about the role of universities and schools and about the balance between knowledge and pedagogy.In this paper, I first describe the specificities of the French system in recruiting and training teachers, and I then present the major developments in teacher education in France in the last 30 years, along with the main questions addressed. After a long period of time during which primary teachers were trained in écoles normales and secondary teachers only received subject preparation, the creation of IUFMs (Instituts Universitaires de Formation des Maîtres – university institutes for teacher training) as independent institutions in 1990 tried to resolve the biggest questions of teacher education. The history of IUFMs has led to successes and failures that I will analyse. In order to improve the role of universities in teacher education and give future teachers better professional preparation through ‘sandwich training’, in 2013 the government created the new ESPEs (Ecoles Supérieures du Professorat et de l'Education – higher schools for teaching and education professions).Keywords: teaching profession, teacher training, pedagogy, professionalisation, education system(Published: 1 September 2015)Citation: Education Inquiry (EDUI) 2015, 6, 28649, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/edui.v6.28649
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