National Education is putting a kit online to help teachers talk to students about Notre Dame

A kit to talk about Notre-Dame de Paris in school, middle school and high school. Following the horrific fire that devastated the cathedral this week, the Department of Education has just launched online educational resources for teachers who want to work with students on the topic. These documents were published on Eduscol, the website of the Directorate-General for School Education. Artistic, historical, literary: different areas of work are offered on the platform.

History, historical photographs and famous texts

This file contains, for example, an iconography in which art history students can discover the construction site in the Middle Ages, the restoration in the Romantic period or even the furniture and equipment of the cathedral. In history, the file posted online will allow teachers to focus on several phases of Notre-Dame's life: such as when Henry VI's flag flew on the north tower.

Photos, plans and other tables are also provided to teachers, as is a complete file on Notre-Dame de Paris in literature. Of course, excerpts from Victor Hugo's book Notre-Dame de Paris are on the program.

Also read | Hugo, Claudel, Nerval…French teachers tell the most beautiful texts about Notre Dame

“It is our duty to talk about it”

Erik Lambert, a history and geography teacher at Notre-Dame de la Providence high school in Vincennes, plans to talk to his students about the history of Notre-Dame de Paris in the coming days. “I didn't talk about the topic in high school, I had to digest it first. What just happened was a nightmare. Of course it is our duty to talk about it,” explains the teacher.

For him, Notre-Dame de Paris can be viewed from different perspectives. “The Capetian kings, the crusades of the Middle Ages, religion, etc. What you need to know is that Notre-Dame was once a real place of life: the poor ate and slept in it, there were jugglers and bear handlers in the square. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, 80 cathedrals were built in France. This made it possible to stabilize royal power,” he says.

Also read | Catholic students “angry” over fire at Notre-Dame de Paris

conspiracy and “Fake News”

For Bruno Modica, history and geography teacher at the Henri IV high school in Béziers and responsible for the development of Clionautes, an association of history teachers, the documentation put online by the ministry is “very useful” but is probably “not read”. “. “In general, teachers rarely use the educational resources put online by the ministry to study current issues,” he explains.

According to him, each professor will approach the topic from his preferred angle. “For example, I will discuss it from the perspective of conspiracy and “Fake News”. I see a lot of people on social media spreading rumors about possible arson. “Should we believe everything we say online while an investigation is ongoing?” explains the teacher. Another possible perspective, in his opinion, is “that of national heritage.” What are the ways to preserve it? Can the big French fortunes participate and benefit from a 90% tax deduction?” Topics that will be in the news in the coming weeks.

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