Presence, eloquence, accent… A training document for the grand oral, the new baccalaureate test, worries teachers

A document and a lot of questions. On Wednesday 2 December, a philosophy professor posted on Twitter an evaluation grid for the grand oral, one of the new baccalaureate exams, along with the following text: “How Jean-Michel Blanquer officially asks teachers to evaluate the candidates on their tone of voice, their accent, their empathy, their humor, their hygiene, their smile, their sway or the ‘provocative’ character of their outfit.”

On published documents, tones of voice – “piercing”, “nasal”, “hoarse”, “forced” …, accents or even postures are considered as “negative traits”. What arouse the fear of some teachers. A little later in the discussion thread, the teacher specifies that the mentioned grid “will not be the national grid for the day of the event. But it is a resource offered by the EN [Education nationale] to get an idea of ​​what to expect. “ So what is it really?

This document was proposed by the Academy of Bordeaux to teachers who were following training in the grand oral. This new test aims to assess students during a 20-minute oral. The first five minutes allow the candidate to develop an answer to a given question. The next ten are devoted to questions from the assessors and the last five to the orientation project of the future bachelor. Everything is detailed in these frequently asked questions on the website of the Ministry of National Education.

The document published on Twitter by the philosophy professor is cited in a Quebec book, The teaching of oral French in Quebec, by Ginette Plessis-Bélair, Lizanne Lafontaine and Réal Bergeron, published in 2007. Contacted by franceinfo, the rectorate of Bordeaux specifies that the “document is taken out of context”. “It has only an illustrative aim, so as to initiate a reflection on the relevance or not of evaluating certain parameters and their subjective character”, explains Pierre Lacueil, academic delegate for the training of national education personnel. In other words, the grid presented would be a comparison with the methods applied elsewhere, in this case in Quebec.

“It is by no means a public document, it is not distributed to the students. It is a training document which aims to make people think and react”, continues Pierre Lacueil. Contacted by franceinfo, the demented philosophy professor: “It was in no way presented as a document used to present what was being done abroad. Neither in the training module, nor during the videoconference, this document was never presented in these terms.”

The proposed official grid is available on the website of the Ministry of National Education. Among the criteria deemed very satisfactory, we find “the voice [qui] effectively supports speech “, “marked prosodic qualities (flow, fluidity, variations and relevant nuances, etc.)” or the use of“a rich and precise vocabulary”. Knowledge and answers to the jury’s questions are also assessed.

“Basically, we ask them to go for a job interview.”

Christophe Girardin, representative of Snes-FSU in the Marne

to franceinfo

So many elements that worry some teachers. They fear that the test will focus on subjective criteria. More than the evaluation grid, it is the very test of the grand oral that raises many questions. “This test is more about performance, where the student must be standing, without notes, without support”, explains Claire Krepper, national secretary of Unsa Education, which follows the monitoring committee of the reform of the bac. “This should not turn into an assessment of skills acquired in the social environment.” “The essence of my work is to help a student to build his argument, his knowledge. Not his way of standing or speaking”, continues Christophe Girardin, professor of history and geography and representative of Snes-FSU in the Marne.

Questioned, the rectorate of Bordeaux recognizes “that there are social biases which mean that the students do not all express themselves with the same ease orally. It is the objective of our republican school to better train our students on this point.” For his part, Claire Krepper is skeptical. She claims to already have “formulated these questions last year” without having been heard. “The only thing that can be discounted is she concludes, it’s that colleagues take the health context into account in their assessment. “

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