The School Way

Teachers, Pupils and Parents Facing School Trajectories
By Séverine Chauvel

This paper analyses in practice how educational and occupational choices procedures attempt to let pupils make autonomous decisions. Said otherwise, it studies to which extent the autonomous choice principle is implemented on the field. The institution defines school career decisions as a cooperative procedure (dialogue with the families and individual treatments of pupils’ orientation during school board meetings). Yet this theoretical framework is bypassed by some pupils and their family who contest the general principle that their opinion is on equal footing with the one of school professionals when it comes to educational career decisions. We also show that teachers can be torn between their selective role (sorting out whether pupils should go to the general high school or to vocational schools) and the fact that they also want to act as the pupils’ spokespersons. Eventually it appears that the imperative to conduct the school counselling procedure as planned is more important to institutional actors than to guarantee a real autonomy in the elaboration of the pupil’s project.

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