Teach the “religious fact” in the classroom ? This is not a simple one. Among the many books published these last months to help the teachers, Talk about religion in class, Yves Michaud, and Sebastien Clerc is distinguished by its method and the way it puts the categories of the religious (christian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, etc) at a distance to better focus on the doubt, fundamentalism, guides, republicans, etc., If Sébastien Clerc, is the teacher, Yves Michaud is a philosopher, essayist, and specialist of the talk about ” cash “. The Point he was asked what was his ” discourse of the method “.

The Point : You’re known as a specialist in the aesthetic, and the former director of the School of fine arts and the destroyer of the excesses of contemporary art. Certainly not as a historian of religions. Why you be launched in a book on the art of learning the religions in school ?

Yves Michaud is a philosopher. Notably, he directed the Fine Arts from 1989 to 1997 and the University of all knowledge

© DRYves Michaud : I have also long been involved in the University of all knowledge and worked with children in the schools. I am an activist for education and pedagogy. After the attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015, I phoned to Sébastien Clerc, who teaches French and history-geography in high school in 93, and with which I had already done a book for teachers, in Front of the class. There are deals everyday of the teacher and, me, I took care of the framing conceptual notions such as ” authority “, ” sanction “, etc, I proposed this new project on the religious fact. Since the teachers have not been trained to teach it. Of course, there are the commissions supposed to work on this topic over the years, but this did not lead anywhere. However, it is necessary, it would have had to, to go fast. The ignorance is terrible. And I’m not just talking about high school students, but also teachers. Hence my idea to have a new approach from the ground up. We put two and a half years to adjust. Sébastien Clerc is in charge of the pedagogical approach and teaching me of the part conceptual. I present what is islam, or judaism, but also the creation, the fanaticism, the magic, the freedom, etc., On the principle of the toolbox. When a child says ” what is blasphemy ? “it is necessary that the teacher, the school nurse or the mother can meet.

For each religion, you present the “point of view republican” and your index is ” an index republican on religions “. Why ?

It is in the school of the Republic, non ? The teacher should be neutral from the religious point of view, but he must also teach the principles of the Republic. Already, in 1848, the philosopher Charles Renouvier published a textbook republican. We do not invent anything.

Curiously, you do not offer of detailed fact sheet on the secularism of…

One does not address directly in a sheet, for several reasons. First, because the secularism of the French is a difficult concept to explain. Then, it is dated, as it was designed to fight against catholicism alone. Finally, it has become a scarecrow to many children of muslim origin that equate that word to islamophobia. Today, we are in a very special situation. I have an artist friend who had the habit of going into the schools to work with children. Today, it no longer wants. Why ? Because the first thing that students ask is : “do You believe in God ? “This is a trivial issue in islamic circles. We do listen to you that if you believe in God. Otherwise, you may be an infidel, and therefore everything you say is questionable.

we must therefore learn to divert the topic. To say that the question does not arise in the context of the pedagogical relationship, there is a strict separation of religious beliefs and education. It is the law of separation of Church and State of 1905.

Why talk about the magic ?

The magic rituals are present in many religions, e.g. animism, or zoroastrianism. And if the monotheistic religions are often built against the magic, they accept some principle of miracles… A friend of a professor in Mexico, recently told me that after the first jolt of an earthquake, it is panic, but that after the second, everyone is on their knees to pray to God…

And the devil ?

It is the figure of evil, all religions for him are his place.

But this book can claim to neutrality ?

My neutrality is to show all facets of the religious fact. It is an anthropological approach, which corresponds to the diversity of the groups concerned, who, in a same high school, can come from 40 different traditions. Well, I do not think it helpful to talk of animism. But Sebastian made it clear to me that a lot of students of african origin are animists and muslims. Why are they talking about the only islam, and not polytheism ? Show the religious fact in all its diversity fascinates the children. Every social group has its own way of conceiving religion, and when we realize this, it makes it tolerant. The religious fact, it is the huge experience of human life. The discovery of saint Paul in fourth with the jesuits distracted me from God : this guy who had committed atrocities and who was giving lessons to everybody and is always showing also intolerant to me was unbearable. I hate fanaticism. But one day, I met a taxi driver, a muslim who asked me if I believed in God. I told him that I was buddhist. He explained to me that it was a wisdom. Yet, it was a fundamentalist who had rules for everything. But he said he was particularly pleased since he had become a ” supercroyant “, because he felt well-supported…

Your friend Sébastien Clerc uses a bowl filled with water on which he strikes as a reminder of his class to silence…

Yes, it allows him to avoid screaming. The sound is a reminder that not damaging, that helps build the calm smooth. This is part of the ethology of the pedagogical relationship. This does not preclude firmness. Today, this is what is lacking.

Because the teachers in the zones that are difficult are too young ?

No. The teachers are knowledgeable about their programs. They are often motivated, they are coping and, if the director is good, they are doing a great job. An ” old ” teacher not accustomed to this type of public will struggle to be heard and respected. But it is necessary that national Education and the State in general support. The Republic, it is not only a window that gives benefits. Too many people today confuse liberty, equality, and solidarity with social transfers. It is necessary for it to properly train the people, and, therefore, quality training of teachers. The university for the past twenty years has been in free fall. These are not the elites themselves that are in question, but the fact that there are less and less. It is necessary to think about how to form new ones.

Yves Michaud has directed the Fine Arts from 1989 to 1997, philosopher, empiricist, a specialist in aesthetic, director of the University of all knowledge, he is the author, among others, in 2011, what is the merit ? (Folio), and The Art in a gaseous state (Fayard) and in 2016 Against the goodwill (Stock).

Talk about religion in class, Sébastien Clerc and Yves Michaud, Belin, 192 pages, 14,90 euros.

© DR. Talk about religion in class, Sébastien Clerc and Yves Michaud, Belin, 192 pages, 14,90 euros.