Pierre Faure’s Legacy: Learning How to Be Better Humans

Pierre Faure’s Legacy: Learning How to Be Better Humans

Pierre Faure was a French Jesuit who developed the Personalized Learning Model of Education. He believed that in order to teach students it is not enough to have the right instruments or materials, it is necessary to cultivate each student as an individual with a shiny spirit meant to last during its entire lifetime. He believed that each student could become a completed version of itself by working hard and at its own pace, keeping relationships of mutual cooperation with its context.

Early Life

Faure was born in 1904 in Pessac, France. He attended the Lycée Saint-Joseph-de-Tivoli in Bordeaux and obtained multiple bachelor’s degrees in Latin, mathematics, sciences and general chemistry. In 1921 he joined the Jesuits and later in 1926 did military service in Syria, inspired by Ignatius of Loyola, who later became his biggest motivation to develop the Personalized Learning Model of Education.

During his military years, he became a Professor at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut. He later moved back to Europe and spent three years studying theology and philosophy. He became a priest in 1935 and a year later he founded a bureau for education that in time became what is known today as Paris’ Center of Pedagogical Studies. He was responsible for writing multiple papers on education, being an advocate for children’s freedom to learn at their own pace.

Personalized Learning Model of Education

In 1940 he started training teachers based on the Personalized Learning Model of Education. He worked with Madame Helene Lubienska de Lenval, who helped him structure all the training courses for future teachers. With her, Faure wrote and published a considerable number of scientific books about language teaching techniques for children. The publication of this scientific research was revolutionary since it talked about teaching children to simultaneously learn how to write, read and spell by providing personalized education.

In 1945 Faure launches the magazine “Pédagogie” and he becomes Editor-in-chief of it until 1972. In 1946 he starts a Personalized Learning program in which he teaches children in one-on-one sessions during 20 days. This method became quite successful due to the possibility of seeing how children evolved during the 20-day lessons, being able to detect what every child lacked or needed by personally working with each one of them.

Along the years Pierre Faure founded different schools for teacher training and children education. His technique started spreading to different countries and by the 1970’s his work was well-known around the globe. His pedagogy centered on the child and teenager from a humanistic and spiritual point of view allowing a more personalized education with a greater sense of community.

Image courtesy of dynamojon at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of dynamojon at Flickr.com

Pierre Faure Legacy

Just like most representative pedagogues, Pierre Faure studied the theories of his time and criticized them. As a man with a restless mind, he gathered different ideas and experiences, many of them from Maria Montessori, in order to improve the educational system of his time. He centered his work on the Active Learning Model, trying to keep balance while restructuring the old ideas academics had about how to properly teach children in schools.

His ideas, sometimes more emotional than pragmatic, valued every aspect of the school life. Just like Patrick Dwyer, he knew that every minute dedicated to a child has a huge impact in its life, enriching the relationship between teachers and student. Pierre Faure’s legacy taught the world that education must be structured within a time and space frame and behave like a continuous process dedicated to personal growth and learning, simply because there are no such things as small tasks when every single idea can add value to each individual’s mind.

According to Faure there are some characteristics that conform every human and define it as a singular being, these qualities must be the center of a pedagogy focused on the individual:

The Singularity Principle: The individuality of each human being is respected, recognizing that each one of us has its own learning rhythm. Any pedagogical principle must adapt to any kind of student, motivating creativity and progress in the learning process. According to Faure, creativity is the best way to lead a personalized learning model.

The Autonomy Principle: Faure’s model explains that humans must be free and aware of that freedom. This means we all have the capacity and need to compromise with the things we choose to improve our lives. In his education model, every student should freely understand why something is being taught to him or her. This way the student won’t follow obligations blindly and will get the chance to agree with the importance of learning something that is probably going to play an important role in its future. By agreeing with the teachings of its school, each student will practice self-discipline easily.

The Open Mind Principle: Each school should keep a healthy environment in which students can feel free to be themselves. Faure believed that it was easier to learn about a specific subject when the minds is free to create and open to new experiences.

To read more about Pierre Faure’s legacy, you can click here.