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Presentation : a field of research

Bertrand Daunay, Sylvie Plane et Catherine Tauveron

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  • 1 Whose issues prior to two years are available online at ife.ens-lyon.fr/edition-electronique/archiv (...)
  • 2 Yves Reuter dir. (2007/2013), Dictionnaire des concepts fondamentaux des didactiques, Bruxelles, De (...)

1Repères is a scientific1 journal listed by the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) that publishes French-language research into the didactics of French as a native or first language. “Didactics” in French refers to a field of research that seeks to understand and describe learning and teaching contents within school subjects. This is why the didactics of mathematics, science, technology and French (as a foreign language or as mother tongue) as well as other didactics have developed since the 1970s2. The didactics of French, which is derived from a process towards the renovation of the teaching of French in the 1960s, has become a productive research field. Most of its works have contributed to shedding light on teachers and trainers’ practices. Repères publishes contributions focused on primary education and the early years of lower secondary education that come from the whole French-language area (particularly from France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Quebec). It is the only international French-language journal with this profile. This special issue in English is intended to promote this journal outside the French-language environment and to disseminate the numerous research on writing of which it was the main provider over the past ten years (although it has no monopoly over the publications in this field).

2Among the various topics published in Repères, the didactic approach to writing seemed to us the most likely to interest researchers in education whose works focus on the teaching and learning of all native or first languages. This consensual topic was investigated by various research trends (9 translated papers taken from different issues of the journal) represented by our selection.

  • 3 EVA group, Evaluer les écrits des élèves à l’école primaire (Evaluating the pieces of writing of pr (...)
  • 4 On the notion of “ordinary” writing, see the founding works of Michel Dabène (see especially No. 3 (...)
  • 5 For example, Catherine Tauveron, “30 ans de recherches sur l’écriture par les équipes Français 1er (...)

3Among these trends, we first selected that which focuses on the relation to the norm in writing and the evaluation of literary writing regarded as places of reproduction and creation. It is necessary to contextualise the three selected articles – that of Catherine Tauveron, that of Dominique Bucheton and Jean-Charles Chabanne and that of Bernadette Kervin – which each in their own way refers to the concept of distanciation. These three articles explicitly or implicitly refer to a previous French research – “Criteria, tools, procedures for a formative evaluation of pieces of writing” – conducted from 1982 to 1991 by the EVA group at the French institute for research in education (INRP). This research found an echo in the scientific sphere but also in the educational field. Indeed its main findings were published for a general readership3, prescribed in official guidelines and found in many textbooks. The EVA group has among its many contributions developed a matrix to evaluate pupils’ texts in the form of a double-entry table with the possible didactic remediation plans (text, inter-sentence relations, sentences) along the horizontal axis and the (pragmatic, semantic, morpho-syntactic, graphic) perspectives to be adopted along the vertical axis. In each of the twelve boxes (one of which only – the morphosyntactic box – is actually explored by teachers), are presented questions that teachers-evaluators or pupils-writers (when writing, rereading or rewriting) are bound to think about, on the understanding that the most popular entry into texts is the textual pragmatic box; any choice made in this box can have systemic consequences in the other boxes or text zones. The principles of a formative evaluation were also supported: self-evaluation or peer evaluation guided by “tools” like lists of achievement criteria with their concrete indicators. These tools are gradually developed by pupils for each discursive genre requested and based on the analysis of authentic pieces of writing. Criteria-based formative evaluation based on “ordinary” writing4 was instrumental in introducing rationality and didactic transparency in classrooms that enhanced pupils’ writing security and academic performance accordingly. This approach was intended to replace currently biased school norms by objective social textual norms but did not manage to take account of some types of multinormed writings that can be subjected to many variations and unexpected effects like narratives and more generally all literary writings. In practice, a few generic traits applicable to any narrative and in the end accounting for none prevailed and were prescribed as norms (“Characters must be described at the beginning, characters must say something, an initial situation, a problem and actions, a final situation are necessary…”). Many academics, among whom those who conducted the EVA research programme5, realised the limits of a formative evaluation designed as such (more algorithmic than strategic collective tools with prescribed narrative “orthodoxy”) that might fossilize compositions and impede any specific strategic appropriation. While research also focused on the pragmatic dimension of writing through an emphasis on the need to take readers into account, virtual readers are somehow supposedly uncooperative and looking for transparency (the need to guarantee text coherence and cohesion or in other words making oneself understood) precisely when literary writings prescribe cooperative readers and often find pleasure in thwarting “ordinary” rules of canonical discursive behaviour:

  • 6 Raphaël Baroni, « La coopération littéraire : le pacte de lecture des récits configurés par une int (...)

Ex abrupto beginning of narratives, inverted presentation of events, incomplete or delayed expositions, textual reluctance linked to suspense-building, long descriptive or digressive passages that interrupt the course of action: completeness and strict relevance are rarely the norms met and/or targeted by literary narratives.6

  • 7 Catherine Tauveron and Pierre Sève, Vers une écriture littéraire ou comment construire une posture (...)
  • 8 The concepts of intention artistique and attention esthétique are borrowed from Gérard Genette (L’œ (...)

4That’s why Catherine Tauveron in her book Vers une écriture littéraire7 argues that writing literature should not be considered only a problem-solving activity but also an activity towards the deliberate design of comprehension and interpretation problems for the reader based on the promise to draw the attention of the Other. She defines the didactic conditions to favour, activate or even reactivate the literary effects in the narrative compositions of pupils. She assumes that pupils are able to make writing choices and pragmatic literacies based on distantiated literary reading (why and how to attract demanding model readers in the game of the text, request their affective and cognitive investment, rouse their cultural connivance and adherence to the fictional world created?); that pupils will also adopt the role of author as they are vested with artistic intention. Adopting the role of author, what will be referred to as discursive ethos, means feeling authorised to be fully part of the class: “Although I’m a learner that still has a long way to go to master the language and speech, I already take the position of an author who can have an impact on the reader, choose my enunciative, narrative and linguistic options and expect to be recognised and read as such with a specific writing style and sensitiveness”. Artistic intention can be effective only if the pupil-author knows that his text, the result of creative freedom, will not primarily and only be subjected to an orthopaedic look and treatment. In other words artistic intention must be matched by aesthetic intention from peers and the teacher8. In such a didactic option, the teacher is expected to legitimise the role of author for pupils, secure the “rights” of young authors in the stage of collective evaluation, help them express and clarify their artistic projects, in a word see to it that there is the same look at their texts as that of a recognised author. In private or collective evaluation, beyond standard evaluation criteria, criteria of a different form should be used and seek to perceive/promote the artistic project of children, make sure that their texts are appropriate for literary reading: “Is the text of the pupil readable like that of a literary author, ie does the reader have some work to perform? Are there any challenging semantic accidents (silences, ambiguities, or contradictions) that induce various meanings or raise reading enigmas? Is cultural connivance sought? Does it go off the beaten track or not? Is there narrative tension? Do its narrative and stylistic options result in a specific aesthetic effect? It is against this backdrop that Catherine Tauveron reports on a descriptive research into effective teaching practices as regards literary writing. These practices were observed or induced from various prescribed tasks (definition of the writing process, instructions given, reactions to prescribed writing instructions, evaluation and rewriting of pupils’ narratives). Overall, the instructions given or refused to pupils and above all the criteria used for the evaluation of Julie’s particularly inventive narrative (combining almost all the characteristics of the literary text such as described above by R. Baroni) suggest that their skills are underestimated. All the elements are gathered – admission of evaluative powerlessness, use of prescriptive criteria or request that the child strictly complies with his status of uninventive pupil, lack of aesthetic attention –not to recognise the project of an author behind Julie’s narrative: literature and the writer’s work are not data to be used as reference for classroom work. This resistance should be taken into account during training sessions.

  • 9 See especially Chabanne Jean-Charles, Bucheton Dominique, dir. (2002) : Parler et écrire pour pense (...)

5Dominique Bucheton et Jean-Charles Chabanne focus on writing individuals and on what can be an obstacle to them (identity construction and commitment). In line with the works of their team9, they assume that the commitment or non-commitment of pupils in writing is linked to their relation to language (developed or not in the family sphere), that the difficulties faced by some in curricular writing are less a question of a lack of technical learning outcomes than the single “posture” (other meaning of the word) they adopt which is different from that requested by the school system (capacity to give sense to the task, to accept and understand the social and curricular norms in writing, to take language as a subject, to use language without any direct relation to action, and to use language and cultural forms to develop a personal text). They make a few suggestions for teachers, instead of being mere correctors, to become readers who would be able to observe pupils’ activity in what they call “interim writings” (transitory writings before the final piece), interpret the dynamics of writing to give it a new impetus, and understand how the image pupils have of themselves as writers changes during writing. Thus they point to a number of areas at risk “where the relation to writing is petrified and development is stalled”, or by contrast there is evidence of significant movements and they design indicators of pupils’ development: enunciative posture of the narrator and inclusion of the various voices in the narrative, putting one’s individual experience at a distance, multiplication of viewpoints, attracting readers, topical richness and quality of the fictional world represented, recomposed borrowings of stereotypes and scenarios. They also investigate how grammatical and textual norms are taken into account and how they can relate to teacher concern to promote creativity. Distanciation, understood by Catherine Tauveron as constructive hindsight towards one’s personal experience and one’s text, is also mentioned by Dominique Bucheton and Jean-Charles Chabanne in the conclusion of their article. One of their principles is “to bring pupils to get involved to develop a distantiated and objectivised relation to their topics, contexts, and the various school languages and knowledge”.

  • 10 Sylvie Mangain, Jean-Louis Dufays, « Stéréotypes et apprentissages de l’écriture », Le français auj (...)
  • 11 Ruth Amossy, « La force des évidences partagées », ELA, 107, 265-278, 1997. Gérard Genette (L’œuvre (...)

6In a perspective close to that of the two aforementioned articles but with a specific entry – stereotyping – Bernadette Kervyn examines a specific literary form – poetry. She adopts the approach taken by Jean-Louis Dufays10. The latter suggested “abandoning once and for all the romantic conception of individuals and replacing it by a complex conception based on the notions of choice and game”. The individual he refers to “is not an individual that claims the talent of his ego but a social being that freely assumes his choices and plays consciously with the rules and tools he has at his disposal (…) a creative individual able to play with what alienates him – and so especially with the stereotypes that embody the speech and thought of the Other – to really become the author of his text”. Creation takes place in a social space of which it is necessary to know the norms to better invent counter-norms. The creative individual is both a member of a culture and history and a unique person that develops his own history and singularity in the group. As a result, originality can be reconsidered a relevant criterion insofar as it is manipulated by pupils themselves and changes as their own conception of stereotyping evolves. Bernadette Kervyn suggests a two-stage approach: integration of stereotyping (including by impregnation, imitation) then the subversion of stereotyping through the adoption of a distantiated posture. Formal or thematic stereotyping is thought both as a “resource” because it conveys socioculturally varied modes of thinking and saying and an obstacle to engaging in a creative form of writing sensitive to variation, and formal or creative strangeness. The article shows that it can also be a way to think out the world singularly. Such is the “strength of shared evidence” to use Ruth Amossy’s phrase11.

7The second trend concerns the processual aspects of writing. This is the sign that a major trend of research emphasises that writing analysis must not be based only on the study of texts but also on the complex mechanisms applied during the composition of texts. However, while academics agree on the need to understand the composition process, they engage in this task from different perspectives according to whether they focus on the activity of the writer only – what Claudine Garcia-Debanc and Michel Fayol studied in a retrospective article on how cognitive psychology influenced research on teaching writing – or, by contrast, they seek to jointly interpret the linguistic phenomena and the activity of the writer as suggested by Jacques David. Similarly, they can focus on the analysis of some clearly identified cognitive processes, as in the articles mentioned, or seek to examine how the observation of enunciative operations can help understand the writer in his singularity, as in the article written by Catherine Boré.

8Most analysts consider the shift in focus – from an approach essentially attentive to the quality of texts to an analysis based on a reflection about the very act of writing – a major event. It is generally admitted that the event presiding over this evolution in France was the publication of articles in the mid-1980s that presented the Hayes and Flower model as mentioned in the paper written by Claudine Garcia-Debanc and Michel Fayol. However, while it is true that this model challenged the then prevailing stage-based conceptions and had a considerable impact, the conceptual change it resulted in is based on a more complex context than it appears at first sight. It is necessary to pay attention to this model to understand the warm reception of this model and above all understand the positioning of the works that ensued.

9Indeed, there are two ways to interpret the changes brought to didactics by their discovery of the modelling of writing processes due to Hayes and Flower and their followers. One might consider it is an epistemological change that led one community to change paradigm from a discontinued representation of writing to a representation that signalled the complexity of this mechanism and rationalised it. But one might also consider that, like any innovative idea, the discovery of this modelling was warmly welcomed only because intellectual conditions contributed to its emergence. The modelling of the writing processes had three virtues which would then be somewhat depreciated but made it utterly precious when it was disseminated.

10First of all, the focus of modelling on writing brought some questions back to the fore that other more immediate concerns had put in the background but these questions remained latent. Indeed, several major research trends kept in the minds of specialists in didactics the need to challenge the mainstream writing models that obviously represented it imperfectly in the school environment by describing it in a dry and spiritless manner. In particular, the linguistics of enunciation developed by Antoine Culioli soon roused the interest of specialists in didactics because it raised questions on the operations effective in verbal production. Similarly, the works on text grammar, which were developed by researchers interested in didactic concerns, led the scientific community to consider writing from the perspective of processes allowing the transfer of meaning from one segment to another, and thus to investigate the operations that make it possible. In this way, thanks to the questions on operations at stake in verbal production – whether these are predicative and enunciative operations that make the enunciator as instance, or topicalisation and binding operations of which the statement is only the visible sign – those interested in writing were ready to welcome theories focusing on this overlooked side of writing. Another sign that writing was still of interest to specialists in didactics is the warm welcome made to the works of Emilia Ferreiro and Anna Teberosky as mentioned in Jacques David’s article. The adoption of a research paradigm assuming that the written compositions of very young children cannot be interpreted unless the mental hypotheses behind their development are reconstituted was the result of the attention brought to the mental activity of writers.

  • 12 Albalat, Antoine (1902) Le travail du style enseigné par les grands écrivains. Paris : Colin
  • 13 Fabre, Claudine (1990) Les brouillons d’écoliers ou l’entrée dans l’écriture. Grenoble : CEDITEL

11The second benefit of the works conducted by cognitive psychology was that they apparently provided the opportunity to combine the visible, ie the graphic signs or even simply the gestures of the writer, and the invisible, ie the mental mechanism of this writer. As a matter of fact, the graphic signs had become topics worthy of attention thanks to the significant development of the genetic criticism in France. This research discipline, whose beginnings were marked by the works of Antoine Albalat12 on the manuscripts of the great authors of the early 20th century, developed a rigorous methodology by borrowing one of its investigation tools to classical philology and simultaneously refusing teleological presuppositions. Claudine Fabre13 was the first to transfer the methods developed in this field and put them in the service of the analysis of pupils’ writings, thus providing didactics with precious investigation resources as shown by the articles of Catherine Boré and Jacques David. The final benefit of the modelling of writing processes discovered by Michel Fayol and Claudine Garcia-Debanc was that it implicitly offered the promise of a rationalisation of teaching and provided operatory prospects for new research.

  • 14 Research programme 30312 (1991-1995) of the Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique (French inst (...)
  • 15 EVA Group (1996) De l’évaluation à la réécriture. Paris : Hachette-INRP
  • 16 This schematisation was published in Turco, Gilbert, Plane, Sylvie & Mas, Maurice « Construire des (...)
  • 17 Dabène, Michel (1991) « Un modèle didactique de la compétence scripturale », Repères 4, 9-22, 1991.

12Therefore the conditions were met to launch the second stage of the EVA research with a focus on the shift from evaluation to rewriting14. Drawing upon both the modelling of the writing processes and the advances in terms of evaluation made by the first stage of the EVA research, this research project was intended to find the means to help pupils to use evaluation as feedback on their writings and improve them. These works materialised in the design of tools for teacher training. The attention of teachers was drawn in particular to the cognitive dimensions of writing and they were provided support to develop writing and rewriting mechanisms15. More particularly, reviewing and rewriting examined from the perspective of the skills they request were analysed as part of this research. This approach was selected because it went beyond the oppositions between two quite different conceptions of writing, that of the psycholinguist or the cognitive psychologist which focuses on the mental processes at work during the instant of writing per se, and that of the linguist or the specialist in genetic criticism that focuses on the writing operations and believes that writing is part of a long, discontinued period. From these opposite perspectives, the set of skills necessary to review or rewrite a text was mapped16 to help teachers target specific learning. This mapping extended the table of the first stage of the EVA research which inventoried and ranked the areas of didactic intervention in terms of evaluation and more largely of teaching writing. But it also drew upon the definition of writing suggested by Michel Dabène17 and took up its categorisations. The reviewing/rewriting skills were then described as a set of interacting knowledge, know-how and representations. This description showed it was necessary to act at several levels to teach pupils to review/rewrite their texts. The purpose was to bring pupils to become skilled in identifying their own mistakes and in selecting the appropriate remediation. But this know-how is effective only if it is based on solid knowledge in terms of textual and linguistic functioning. But this very knowledge can grow only if pupils have the right conceptions of written compositions and of writing. Thus it is necessary for teachers to change the initial representations of pupils about them.

13These works were useful not only because they brought a necessarily tentative answer to latent needs of the teaching community but also because the investigations they gave rise to emphasised the existence of theoretical shortcuts, lacks or, by contrast, petrifying generalisations that have been gradually revealed. These blind points originated in works that continued the EVA research in other institutional contexts.

  • 18 For an analysis of the notion of model in the field of written production: Plane, Sylvie, « Quels m (...)
  • 19 A research group of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the GDR 2657 Approches (...)
  • 20 This cooperation gave rise to the publication in 2010 of issue 177 of the journal Langages « Traite (...)

14The article of Claudine Garcia-Debanc and Michel Fayol takes a critical look at how the Hayes and Flower model was a meeting point between psycholinguists and specialists in didactics. It investigates the notion of model and modelling just as the two fields of research concerned both use this concept but do not give it the same features. More exactly, the notion of model is a founding principle of research into cognitive psychology since all the works conducted in this field are focused precisely on the development of a representation of cognitive operations that would account for their systemic functioning. On the other hand, the very notion of model in the field of didactics is problematised18 as specialists in didactics keep in mind the possible abuse of models – models are for researchers explanatory tools but they might become prescriptive tools. It was important for the meeting between psychologists and specialists in didactics to evaluate the situation and with hindsight point out that the issue of learning was still a work in progress. Dialogue between research communities continued to promote cooperation between linguists, specialists in didactics and psychologists19 and materialised in works exploring challenging points, especially the questions relative to the temporality of writing. These points were overlooked by the trend towards equating rewriting and reviewing20.

15Other important dimensions of writing may have been overlooked by the reference to a model and in particular those relative to the variety of linguistic procedures. That’s why the article of Jacques David and that of Catherine Boré focus on these dimensions by investigating what these procedures teach us on the singularity of writers.

  • 21 Penloup, Marie-Claude (1999) L’écriture extrasolaire des collégiens. Des constats aux perspectives (...)

16The article of Jacques David just as that of Claudine Garcia-Debanc and Michel Fayol draw attention to the interest to develop synergy between the research on processes and those on texts. To illustrate this principle, he studies a corpus of texts written by pupils in extracurricular environments. In this way, he follows on from the works conducted by Marie-Claude Penloup21 who showed this type of corpus was worth studying by collecting and examining secondary pupils’ compositions. Jacques David combines the presentation of the significant corpus he collected – over a hundred compositions – with a methodological report with a dual purpose: on the one hand setting the conditions of collection towards the comparison of this type of corpus with that of older pupils and on the other hand thinking about data processing towards access to cognitive mechanisms applied by writers. His attention primarily focuses on two points: the first deals with spelling procedures in the light of metagraphic commentaries made by pupils; the second concerns rewriting and deletions whose graphic features provide information on when they were made, thus enabling readers to distinguish those made during writing from those made during rereading. Jacques David also gathers information on the difficulty of text generation, which was one of the points neglected in the works inspired by Hayes and Flower and devoted to text reviewing – from the analysis of these data.

  • 22 Banfield, Ann (1982) Unspeakable sentences:Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction. (...)

17The article of Catherine Boré builds a bridge between the research focused on writers and that focused on writing or more precisely the discursive aspects of text generation. Her article reexamines the notion of writing by focusing on the complex forms of polyphony caused by the composition of a text of fiction. This polyphony takes the form of enunciative duplication since the enunciator in turn assumes the discourse of the narrator of the story and lends his voice to the characters of which he becomes the interpret while they did not exist previously to the building of fiction. But in some cases this polyphony can take the form of a quasi inversion of roles – the character prevailing over the author in the management of inventio. By bringing his characters to life through enunciative stratification, the other emerges from the young author, to use Catherine Boré’s words. As in the research conducted by Jacques David, it is the examination of rewritings that informs on what might be called here the richness of writing. The two corpuses collected by Catherine Boré reveal enunciative problems which, in turn, are the sign of tensions in writing or difficult positioning. Deletions and remorse show that fictitious identities are still ill-established but at the same time disclose how these identities develop or even prevail over the author, as what Banfield observed among writers who cannot be suspected of not mastering the language22. In response to the emergence of the other, the young writer can still signal fictionalisation linguistically, in particular through the use of verbal tenses. The trial and errors that Catherine Boré observed contributed to understanding how the textualisation and creation of the referent closely interact, thus emphasising an important aspect of the dynamics of writing.

  • 23 In didactics, the question of the relation to writing was addressed in details by Christine Barré d (...)
  • 24 Jean-François de Pietro et Bernard Schneuwly, « Le modèle didactique du genre : un concept de l’ing (...)

18Although the next three articles are not based on a single theory, they converge on the importance of the social dimension of writing at school. It is necessary to contextualise the theoretical background and refer to the contributory disciplines to French didactics. It has indeed drawn upon two very different, albeit compatible, approaches to determine its own theoretical background. On one side, writing is apprehended as social practice that can be subjected to a sociological or ethnological description, without ignoring its links – or tensions – with the other social uses of writing. An informed didactical approach to these works includes the matter of pupils’ writing, what they have to say (legitimately or not) in a school text or their own extracurricular writing practices and their effects on their relations to writing23. On the other side, a more psychological perspective inspired by Vygotsky’s theories raises the question of the teaching of semiotic topics – texts primarily – that are socially and historically constructed and likely to be handled by speaking subjects (in reading and writing) thanks to the identification of textual genres designed as psychological instruments. The teaching of these genres (often described in Bakhtin’s terms) is made possible through their didactic modelling which is thus a transformation, a sort of “transposition” for teaching24.

19The impact of the social dimension on curricular writing is the subject of research varying according to its theoretical referents and how it is empirically processed. The three articles reproduced here are partially representative of this research. They identify three ways in which French didactics investigated the issue of social contexts behind writing according to what could be taught in terms of curricular writing.

  • 25 Issue n° 3 of Lidil, Des écrits (extra)ordinaires, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, has already (...)
  • 26 For a more recent synthesis of the question, see the item “extrascolaire” in Yves Reuter dir. (2007 (...)
  • 27 The founding book of Marie-Claude Penloup (1999) must be mentioned L'écriture extraordinaire des co (...)

20The first, which is illustrated by the article of Yves Reuter, examines the relations between curricular writing (and reading) practices and pupils’ extracurricular practices following on from the founding works on “ordinary” writing explored in didactics25. These are complex relations which are often neglected by prescription or research but which however are behind the very question of learning to write in class. Thus curricular writing cannot be considered without exploring the links or gaps between writing in a formal learning system and extracurricular writing. Yves Reuter offers a synthetic theoretical approach that questions the inclusion of extracurricular practices in terms of didactic relevance26. Bases upon a draft definition of the notion of practices, of which he shows the heuristic value from a didactic perspective, he first identifies some of the problems raised by the inclusion of extracurricular practices among which access to knowledge of these practices by teachers themselves, their selection and inclusion in effective practices with the risks of mainstreamisation of social practices, further disaffection of reading and writing practices for some pupils and cultural seclusion. Then the author shows the potential benefits of extracurricular practices: cognition and recognition effects of pupils’ extracurricular practices by teachers27; association of pupils’ cultures with school culture with supposed effectiveness in terms of learning outcomes; change in the traditional didactical configuration through the establishment of an in-class research space; specification of the teaching objectives and approaches closely related to their diversification.

  • 28 With reference to Philippe Lejeune’s “autobiographic pact” (1996) : Le pacte autobiographique, Pari (...)

21Marie-France Bishop does not explore extracurricular writings but she investigates the introduction of the extracurricular environment in the curricular sphere. She traces the history of a genre that consists in writing one’s personal life and experience as a child. This “self-writing”, which has always been prescribed by the school institution, is however more or less recognised according to what prevails: writing as a means to learn to write or writing to express oneself. By investigating the “school pact” behind self-writing28, the author shows that this pact varies according to the pedagogical principles in force and to the objectives assigned to the teaching of writing and gives rise to different practices during which it is a different subject that is mentioned despite some formal constants (the use of the first person, the supposed reference to autobiographic elements, the classroom as the sole writing context). In her approach, Marie-France Bishop suggests that these variations are not an obstacle to the identification of a specific school genre – self-writing – that results from the transformation of exterior literary models.

  • 29 Whose author is a specialist : see his major contribution to a didactic approach based on a psychol (...)
  • 30 The issue of the links between learning and teaching on one side and development on the other side (...)

22The issue of the didactic transposition of a social genre into a school genre is one of the components also addressed by Bernard Schneuwly in his paper about the theoretical advances of French didactics as regards the teaching and learning of writing. He shows that there is a consensus over the need to regard school texts as the representatives of genres as the result of a necessary process of didactic transposition so that extracurricular social topics can become teaching topics towards learning. But individuals are behind this process: first teachers whose practice is influenced by various determinants that are both internal to the school system (their practice is always the result of sedimented practice) and external to it (e.g. the social representations of writing); and also pupils as writing individuals (both learners and children) themselves caught in curricular and extracurricular determinations. The knowledge developed by French didactics is investigated by the author from a Vygotskyan perspective29. He identifies the principle according to which one learns to write by appropriating writing tools, the guarantee of a transformation of the relation of individuals to their own psychic processes of language production. Such a conception necessarily questions the links between learning and teaching that didactics must still investigate and examine their links with the development of individuals30.

23NB Some of the children’s texts mentioned in the articles are presented with their original spelling mistakes. Failing to find appropriate equivalents in English, we chose to overlook them.

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Notes

1 Whose issues prior to two years are available online at ife.ens-lyon.fr/edition-electronique/archives/reperes/web/ and soon at revues.org.fr

2 Yves Reuter dir. (2007/2013), Dictionnaire des concepts fondamentaux des didactiques, Bruxelles, De Boeck.

3 EVA group, Evaluer les écrits des élèves à l’école primaire (Evaluating the pieces of writing of primary school pupils), Paris, INRP, Hachette Education (1991)

4 On the notion of “ordinary” writing, see the founding works of Michel Dabène (see especially No. 3 of Lidil, Des écrits (extra)ordinaires, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble)

5 For example, Catherine Tauveron, “30 ans de recherches sur l’écriture par les équipes Français 1er degré de l’INRP. Constantes et glissements et après ?”, Repères 20, Paris, INRP, 57-78

6 Raphaël Baroni, « La coopération littéraire : le pacte de lecture des récits configurés par une intrigue », site www.fabula.org, rubrique Atelier, sous-rubrique Atelier Coopération littéraire, posted online on 27 May 2004

7 Catherine Tauveron and Pierre Sève, Vers une écriture littéraire ou comment construire une posture d’auteur à l’école, Paris, Hatier, 2005

8 The concepts of intention artistique and attention esthétique are borrowed from Gérard Genette (L’œuvre de l’art. La relation esthétique. Paris : Seuil 1997). What he refers to as relation artistique, i.e. awarding the status of a work of art to an object is based on the assumption of the artistic intention (intention artistique) of its author. This assumption results in a particular attention of the receiver, which is not the mere « denotative » attention but an aesthetic attention (attention esthétique).

9 See especially Chabanne Jean-Charles, Bucheton Dominique, dir. (2002) : Parler et écrire pour penser, apprendre et se construire, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France.

10 Sylvie Mangain, Jean-Louis Dufays, « Stéréotypes et apprentissages de l’écriture », Le français aujourd’hui, 127, 44-51, 1999.

11 Ruth Amossy, « La force des évidences partagées », ELA, 107, 265-278, 1997. Gérard Genette (L’œuvre de l’art. La relation esthétique. Paris : Seuil 1997)

12 Albalat, Antoine (1902) Le travail du style enseigné par les grands écrivains. Paris : Colin

13 Fabre, Claudine (1990) Les brouillons d’écoliers ou l’entrée dans l’écriture. Grenoble : CEDITEL

14 Research programme 30312 (1991-1995) of the Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique (French institute for research in education) entitled “Révision des écrits” (abbreviated into REV) directed by Gilbert Turco and Sylvie Plane

15 EVA Group (1996) De l’évaluation à la réécriture. Paris : Hachette-INRP

16 This schematisation was published in Turco, Gilbert, Plane, Sylvie & Mas, Maurice « Construire des compétences en révision/réécriture au cycle 3 de l’école primaire » Repères 10, 67-81, 1994.

17 Dabène, Michel (1991) « Un modèle didactique de la compétence scripturale », Repères 4, 9-22, 1991.

18 For an analysis of the notion of model in the field of written production: Plane, Sylvie, « Quels modèles pour analyser la production d’écrit sur traitement de texte ? », LINX 51, 75-89, 2004.

19 A research group of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the GDR 2657 Approches pluridisciplinaire de la production verbale écrite, conducted these works.

20 This cooperation gave rise to the publication in 2010 of issue 177 of the journal Langages « Traitement des contraintes de la production d’écrits : aspects linguistiques et psycholinguistiques », directed by Sylvie Plane, Thierry Olive and Denis Alamargot.

21 Penloup, Marie-Claude (1999) L’écriture extrasolaire des collégiens. Des constats aux perspectives didactiques. Paris, ESF.

22 Banfield, Ann (1982) Unspeakable sentences:Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction. Boston/London :Routledge ; Banfield, Ann, « From le style indirect libre to represented thought: some new hypotheses on the origins of a literary style ». Proceedings of the 2nd international Congress of French Linguistics, New Orleans 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/cmlf/2010263

23 In didactics, the question of the relation to writing was addressed in details by Christine Barré de Miniac (2000): Le Rapport à l’écriture. Aspects théoriques et didactiques, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion.

24 Jean-François de Pietro et Bernard Schneuwly, « Le modèle didactique du genre : un concept de l’ingénierie didactique », Les Cahiers Théodilen n° 3, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Université Lille 3, p. 27-52.

25 Issue n° 3 of Lidil, Des écrits (extra)ordinaires, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, has already been mentioned. For a retrospective analysis of the works of Michel Dabène, who directed this issue and introduced the notion of “ordinary” writing in didactics, see the interview he made with Yves Reuter in Recherches en Didactiques n° 15, Presses universitaires du Septentrion.

26 For a more recent synthesis of the question, see the item “extrascolaire” in Yves Reuter dir. (2007/2013) Dictionnaire des concepts fondamentaux des didactiques, Bruxelles, De Boeck.

27 The founding book of Marie-Claude Penloup (1999) must be mentioned L'écriture extraordinaire des collégiens. Des constats aux perspectives didactiques, Paris, ESF. See also her article in Repères n° 15, « La liste non utilitaire. Vers une prise en compte didactique de cette pratique d'écriture extrascolaire », 1997, p. 131- 168.

28 With reference to Philippe Lejeune’s “autobiographic pact” (1996) : Le pacte autobiographique, Paris, Le Seuil.

29 Whose author is a specialist : see his major contribution to a didactic approach based on a psychological theoretical framework informed by the works of Vygotski: Le langage écrit chez l'enfant: la production des textes informatifs et argumentatifs, Paris, Delachaux et Niestlé, 1988.

30 The issue of the links between learning and teaching on one side and development on the other side is under debate within didactics.

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Bertrand Daunay, Sylvie Plane et Catherine Tauveron, « Presentation : a field of research », Repères [En ligne], Hors-série | 2013, mis en ligne le 12 septembre 2013, consulté le 30 mai 2017. URL : http://reperes.revues.org/499

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Auteurs

Bertrand Daunay

University Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille 3

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Sylvie Plane

University Sorbonne-Paris 4

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Catherine Tauveron

University of Western Brittany

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