Freinet’s Call to Action

Freinet’s impassioned call to educational practitioners, didacticians, and scientists remains pivotal in the ongoing discourse on pedagogy. His plea for collective responsibility within our educational endeavors has reshaped our understanding. Although “Freinet’s pedagogy” may not have strictly adhered to the conventional definition of pedagogy in the past, the contemporary contributions from linguistics undeniably lend credibility to Freinet’s philosophy . The universal process of competence building, as elucidated by language acquisition specialists like Jean-Emile Gombert, serves as justification for a standardized acquisition process applicable across all languages.

“At its core, none of the significant developmental milestones are achieved through seemingly scientific processes.”

“It is by walking that a child learns to walk; it is by speaking that they learn to speak; it is by drawing that they learn to draw.”

“We firmly reject the notion that it is an exaggeration to think that a process so general and universal must be precisely valid for all forms of education, including school teachings.”

“With this certitude, we have implemented our natural methods, the worth of which scientists attempt to dispute.”

Célestin Freinet

The pedagogical challenge

Célestin Freinet was full of common sense and unstoppable logic, his methods were not justified by science, which made him a practitioner of education, undoubtedly a didactician but certainly not a pedagogue.

When it comes to education, intuition is like a spark. It becomes an illuminating light when it is reinforced by science. The spark is didactics: a teaching method which is carried out by an educational practitioner. The light is pedagogy: a teaching method that is justified by science.

Why Science is relevant?

Célestin Freinet invites practitioners to adopt the approach of the pedagogue. If a learning process is not at first sight scientifically justified, we must seek and make manifest the scientific theory that justifies it.

Célestin Freinet points out that even before our era, it was observed that knowledge is built through action. In other words, “fabricando fit faber”, it is by practising to do something that one becomes skilled in it. Linguists such as Olga Galatanu and Jean-Marie Barbier have seized upon the question of theoretical knowledge and knowledge of action and have given us a scientific point of view.

The process of competence building as described by language acquisition specialists such as Jean-Emile Gombert allows to defend a universal acquisition process, valid for all languages.

“Quam quisque norit artem, in hac se exerceat” (Cicero), “Let everyone practice the art he knows“.
Célestin Freinet was a didactician, he developed teaching methods based on his certainties, his observations and his experiences as an educational practitioner. His approach was empirical and it was the art of teaching that he knew.

Scientists believe that knowledge can only be reached through knowledge through science and contest the value of the empirical approach of Célestin Freinet and didacticians in general.

So the scientists, those whose activity is dedicated to science, seize educational issues and build the theoretical knowledge that will allow the didactician to scientifically justify the teaching methods he/she carries out and to become a pedagogue.