Centenary of the Preparation School for French Teachers Abroad (École de préparation des professeurs de français à
l'étranger - EPPFE) 1920-2020

International symposium organized by the DILTEC-Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, in association with the STIH-Sorbonne Université, the French Civilization Courses of the Sorbonne (CCFS), the International Society for History of French as a Foreign and Second Language (SIHFLES)

French Version

English Version:

The Preparation School for French Teachers Abroad (EPPFE) opened in October 1920 at the 46 rue Saint-Jacques, opposite the Collège de France by the will of Ferdinand Brunot, first holder of the chair of History of the French Language created in 1899 within the Sorbonne. He had led missions abroad to explore new teaching methods and relied on the Alliance Française de Paris as a veritable laboratory for this first school of its kind. As early as 1894, Brunot had created summer courses, intended to train foreign teachers of French. He had introduced pronunciation and conversation courses, recruited "one of the pioneers of the new experimental phonetics, Father Jean-Pierre Rousselot."

The French Civilization Courses of the Sorbonne (CCFS) have already offered practical French language courses for foreign students since 1919.

From the beginning, Brunot wanted to articulate, in a changing academic landscape, an open qualifying teacher training, structured by training courses, based on identifiable skills. The list of students who contributed to the scientific construction of the field is long. At the same time, in a true "sorbonnard" tradition, marked by prestige and excellence (all its founders are alumni of the École normale supérieure de la rue d’Ulm), the EPPFE also offers a real openness to otherness, as students are foreigners as well as nationals. From a scientific point of view, although it is not usual in the academic landscape of these years, the school is immediately part of an experimental configuration that Brunot wanted to integrate into the Faculty of Letters in Paris. He had already created "les Archives de la parole" in 1911, immediately followed by the Institute of Phonetics in Paris, thus contributing to the construction of new academic disciplines (phonetics/linguistics).

The heritage character of the EPPFE is particularly interesting because it lies at the heart of the growing international dynamics in the twentieth century.

Created after the shock of the First World War, the school became between 1945 and 1963 the ESPPPFE (Higher School of Preparation and Development of French Teachers Abroad). With Pierre Fouché as director, it is projected into an international dimension by the students who make it live. It contributes to the dissemination of French in an obvious way, while ensuring the need for a strong contextualization of its teaching, because of the diversity of its recruitments. It is also in this sense that it takes advantage of the very flaws of the colonial system, of which it is an integral part. The tension between monolingual teaching ideologies and multilingual teaching and learning practices will be observed everywhere... The school "survives" more or less by regularly transforming itself within the framework of major political reconfigurations (World War II, decolonization, post-colonization, creation of the European Union) and the sociolinguistic reconfigurations (colonial languages, official languages, second languages, languages of schooling, etc.).Looking at the history of the EPPFE on the occasion of its centenary is therefore to question the global dynamics of training teachers of French as a foreign language in order to draw a geopolitics of the institutions responsible for these formations. More broadly, this symposium aims to highlight the contribution of works in the history of didactics of languages and cultures and is in the continuity of other scientific events. In May 2008, a first day of study, entitled « L’École de préparation des professeurs de français à l’étranger à l’UFR DFLE. Histoire d’une institution (1920-2008) » (The School of Preparation of French Teachers Abroad at UFR DFLE. History of an institution), already took place in the very venue where this institution was created.

Since 2017, the CLIODIL program of DILTEC (History and historicity in language didactics) has been exploring the historical dimension of and in the didactics of languages. This program, of which the conference is an integral part, intends to contribute to an overhaul of the history of this discipline in a comprehensive and connected approach (Appadurai 2001, Bertrand 2011, Subrahmanyam 2007 and 2014), which supports the continuum of scales and the concept of historicity (Hartog 2003), while giving a large place to historical anthropology (Wachtel 2014) and the index approach (Ginzburg 2010).

From this perspective, DILTEC largely opens this appeal to researchers who have contributed, but also to those who have inherited this history, in order to understand the dynamics of continuity and discontinuity impacting teacher training from 1920 to 2020. This symposium will also be an opportunity for DILTEC to present in a new and dynamic way the existing archives on the school kept on site.

The communications will be shared of four sections aimed at the history of the school itself or bringing the history of the EPPFE into dialogue with the constitution of the field of didactics of languages and cultures, and in particular with others schools of the same type.

The first two sections will focus on the Parisian history of the EPPFE and will shed light on its functioning and evolution in order to draw a multi-voiced portrait. It will be possible expand to other schools or institutions that have been related with the EPPFE.

The last two sections will question the place of the EPPFE and the diversity of its influence, in time and space, for the field of didactics of French as a foreign language.

Composition of the Scientific Committee and the Organizing Committee

Bibliographical references:

APPADURAI Arjun, 2001 [1996], Après le colonialisme. Les conséquences culturelles de la globalisation, Paris : Payot.

BERRÉ Michel et SAVATOVSKY Dan (dir.) 2010, Documents pour l’histoire du français langue étrangère ou seconde (n°44)  

BERTRAND Romain, 2011, L’Histoire à parts égales. Récits d'une rencontre, Orient-Occident (XVIe-XVIIe siècle), Paris : Le Seuil.

CHEVALIER Jean-Claude et ENCREVÉ Pierre, 2006, Combats pour la linguistique, de Martinet à KristevaEssai de dramaturgie épistémologique. Lyon : ENS Éditions.

Documents pour l'histoire du français langue étrangère ou seconde, n° 20, 1997,  « L’apport des centres de français langue étrangère à la didactique des langues ».

GINZBURG Carlo, 2010 Nelle éd., « Traces. Racines d’un paradigme indiciaire ». Mythes emblèmes traces. Morphologie et histoire, Paris : Verdier. pp. 139-180.

HARTOG François, 2003, Régimes d'historicité. Présentisme et expériences du temps, Paris : Le Seuil.

SUBRAHMANYAM Sanjay, 2007, « Par-delà l’incommensurabilité : pour une histoire connectée des empires aux temps modernes », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, 54-4 bis, pp. 34-53.

SUBRAHMANYAM Sanjay, 2014, Aux origines de l’histoire globale, Leçons inaugurales du Collège de France, Paris : Fayard. recension

WACHTEL Nathan, 2014, Des archives aux terrains, Essais d’anthropologie historique, Paris : Gallimard.

See also:

BRUNOT, Henriette, 1923, « Le but et les méthodes de l’école de préparation des professeurs de français à l’étranger », Revue internationale de l'enseignement, Année 1923, 77, pp. 34-40

Dernière mise à jour : 20/11/19

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