‘Raconter un tronçon de vie’: practices and conceptions of writing in the emancipatory pedagogy of Célestin Freinet
Dr Richard Mason (Department of French, University College Cork)
16th May 2019, ORB 1.24 4pm.
This paper considers the status of writing in the politically oriented pedagogy of Célestin Freinet (1896–1966). It focuses on the practice of the texte libre, in which students’ personal experience furnished the raw materials for printing texts and developing literacy skills. Freinet characterized the texte libre approach as a technique de vie, one which promoted students’ creative self-realisation and political emancipation. The paper looks at writing in this context from two perspectives: first, it explores how interrelated and often elusive notions of ‘literary’ and ‘authentic’ expression determine a horizon of success for the texte libre. Second, it examines how writing functions within Freinetian pedagogy as a means for the elaboration of a community, exploring the creative and political stakes of the shift between the tronçon de vie – the individual narrative – and the collective Livre de Vie.