Theory of Experimental Fumbling S. Frenet - History...

S. Frenet's Theory of Experimental Fumbling

The French teacher Celestine Frenet did not have a special need to determine his philosophical position. He was critical of bourgeois society and sought to eradicate its vices, especially in the sphere of education. Initially, until the end of the Second World War, he positioned himself as a Marxist and, therefore, a supporter of historical materialism. As such, he attached to his pedagogy a social character. At the same time, special attention was paid to the collective activity of students and their indispensable inclusion in public activities outside the school.

Marxism Frenet peacefully got along with his vitalism. The child realizes the inclinations inherent in him by nature as some creative life impulse. It is necessary to clear his way. In Frenet's penchant for vitalism, his peasant origins were affected.

After the Second World War, Frenet's commitment to Marxism weakened. Insisting on the method of trial and error, which allows him to grope for the proper development of the child, he referred to the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin. A certain influence on Frene was also the philosophy of J. Dewey, with whom he was united by a primary interest in problematic experimentation.

We can distinguish the following basic principles of pedagogy S. Frenet.

1. Learning by doing some work.

2. Training by trial and error.

3. Collaborative Learning.

4. Reliance on the interests of children.

5. The natural approach as a self-learning of children through their experiments.

6. Democracy as a school of responsibility.

Frenet opposed all forms of pedagogical work that somehow crammed the freedom and initiative of students and teachers, rejected the a priori ideas, theoretical guidelines that ostensibly should be followed, individual plans that the students themselves did not participate in making up, the lessons are just permanently fixed forms of training sessions, textbooks, homework assignments, evaluations. In search of alternatives to the rejected Frenet was inexhaustible.

Students were given the opportunity to express their views in free texts, for printing which was organized by the school printing house. The children exchanged these texts, discussed them in classes. Successful texts, presented in the form of cards, were grouped, forming an alternative to the traditional textbook. Teachers encouraged the students to draw up their own projects, usually designed for a period of not more than one month, produced cool wall newspapers. Cooperation was maintained not only inside the classroom, but also between classes, the teachers defined the boundaries of the responsibility of their pupils, if possible, delegated some of their powers, not allowing, however, the transformation of the educational process into a game that does not require the participants to purposefully work .

All the academic work was given a vital meaning. This concerned both reading and arithmetic or, for example, geography. Students learned to read not in accordance with the traditional scheme letters syllables → words, but in the reverse order (the life meaning is not letters, and words, that's why they form the initial level of the language ).

The core of the Frenet didactics was the method of trial and error, designed to protect against any scholasticism. From this point of view, this method deserves undoubted support. But, unfortunately, Frenet did not give a method of scientific description. It must be noted that the method under consideration does not always receive an adequate explanation. Certainty of science is often associated with a hypothetical-deductive method. Against this background, the trial and error method seems to be unpresentable. But this is an obvious fallacy. In any science, they manipulate hypothetical concepts. Such manipulations are precisely realized as a trial and error method. Frenet, as it seems to us, was in vain distanced from science. As a result, he clearly lacked conceptuality.


1. Highly appreciated is S. Frenet's all-round orientation to pedagogical experimentation.

2. Many of its techniques, especially the technique of free texts, which give the whole educational process a hermeneutic orientation are still relevant.

3. The weak point of S. Frenet's pedagogy is the lack of proper attention to the scientific side of pedagogy.

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