Teachers baffled by Macron’s plan to ‘teach history chronologically’

‘We’re a bit mystified’: Teachers respond to the president’s comments saying this is already the case

A group of high school students in a class, with a teacher checking on one
History already is taught chronologically in schools in France, a teachers’ association has said in response to President Macron’s comments
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Teachers in France have responded with confusion to President Macron’s recent comments that he wants history ‘to be taught chronologically’, as they say this is already the case.

The president made the statement as part of a wide-ranging interview published on August 23.

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“Why do I talk about schools so much? Because they are at the heart of the battle that we must fight, because it is from there that we will rebuild France,” he said.

“History should be taught chronologically, and civic instruction should become an essential subject,” he added.

“Every week, a major fundamental text on our values will be read in each class and then debated.”

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But the Association des professeurs d’histoire-géographie has responded with confusion to the statement.

Christine Guimonnet, general secretary, told FranceInfo: “We're a bit mystified. You couldn’t get anything more chronological than the syllabus for [high school class] Première. For example: We start in 1789 and stop in 1920.”

She also denounced Mr Macron’s words as being “very top-down, as usual”.

“History is not a succession of dates, it's an interlocking of processes,” she said. “It's working on sources; deciphering, analysis. It's a scientific subject that is created patiently with the pupils.”

As for Mr Macron’s words on civic education, she said: “That’s very commendable, but to do that we need to have extra hours, and not take away from other subjects.”

The history-geography teachers’ union group of the Snes FSU (a teacher’s union) also reacted ironically to the comments.

“As well as teaching history chronologically, it's about time we started teaching geography with maps, maths with numbers, and PE with physical and sporting activities,” it posted on X (formerly Twitter).

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