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French elementary school teachers and dance

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#1 Estelle


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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:50 PM

I came across some web pages about the competitive exams to become an elementary school teacher in France (it's an exam which is organized in each region every year, but the rules are fixed nationally by the ministry of Education)... and to my surprise, it mentioned dance as one part of the exam!

More precisely: the first part of the exam includes two written tests (about French and mathematics), and the people who get a good enough mark at that test take the second part of the exam, which included four oral tests. One of those four tests is a physical education one, and there are three possible choices: a 2000-meter race, some badminton matches, or some dance (each test also includes an interview with the jury, dealing mostly with pedagogy). Some other activities used to be possible in some regions (gymnastics, climbing, basket-ball...) but the rules have been modified last year by the ministry. The dance test is supposed to be a solo or a duo lasting between 1 minute and 30 seconds and 2 minutes, and has to be a choreography created by the candidate.

I'm a bit puzzled about such a choice of activities (for example, as far as I know, badminton isn't very popular at all in France...), and I really wonder how the jurys are chosen (they're likely to be physical education teachers, and I wonder what they know about dance in general), and how the marks are given- they're supposed to evaluate in a very short time the choreography, the technical and artistic interpretation, and any style is possible... Moreover, it seems that most students don't receive any specific training about it. On one hand it's interesting to see that dance is taken "seriously" by the ministry (even if it's fare more likely to be some kind of contemporary dance rather than ballet), but on the other hand I'm afraid it probably produces a lot of really bad solos and duos...
The ministry seems to believe that anyone can become a choreographer easily, which sounds quite stupid (after all, for the French test, the candidates are not asked to write a novel or a short story!)

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