Laurent Isel, pedagogical director of EFIS: Our task is to strengthen the relationship between the macedonian and french education.
What is new this year is that we moved our middle school students in new premises, right next to our school. For us, this means opening a high school, and working on the future of our students. We want their parents to see the meaning of their children’s education in the french educational system.
In France, the pedagogical directors also teach their students.
The middle school pupils from EFIS in Skopje, have the privilege to study in a completely new building this year. Even though the school year has already started, there is still time for the ones who would like to be part of the french educational system to join them. Any child from first to ninth grade can join the school until the 1st of October.
We are talking to Laurent Isel, the pedagogical director of EFIS, who has been managing the school one year already.
There is a new school year ahead. Are you ready to welcome the pupils?
- Yes, the whole pedagogical team of EFIS is absolutely ready to welcome their pupils. I would like to mention that as a pedagogical director of EGIS, I can count on the whole team: teachers, assistants, technical personnel. All of them are very motivated and conscientious. We have prepared the school year in detail since the beginning of July. The preparations at the end of August lasted for more than a week (in the French system, the preparations last two days). All of this is due to the availability and professionality of our teachers, and of the whole EFIS team.
What is expected this year? Are there any new things planned maybe?
- What is new this year is that we moved our middle school students in new premises, right next to our school. For us, this means opening a high school, and working on the future of our students. We want their parents to see the meaning of their children’s education in the french educational system. Our task is to strengthen the relationship between the two educational systems: the french and the macedonian. Also, we need to keep the same work pace we used in the last years. We need to keep focusing on teacher training, valuing the school projects, developing partnerships (above all, the institutional partners who help us bring our projects to life) and enriching our learning methods. We are continuing to work on our pupils’ success, allowing them to learn and develop, while at the same time growing the school.
Are you satisfied with how the whole story of EFIS develops in Macedonia?
- We always want things to go faster. However, the school is not at its beginning, so we are aware of how patient we need to be in order to see long term results. My colleagues, the managers of EFIS, are the spine of EFIS and they know that best. They know EFIS at its best, but also at its worst. They truly know the meaning of the word persistence. It’s important that EFIS continues developing, and offering quality education.
What would you recommend to the parents of the first graders? What can they do to help their children who are taking the first steps into the school system?
- There are different stories in first grade. The majority of pupils have been in EFIS since nursery school, and they already know French, which makes it easier for them. Some on the other hand come from different school systems. And there are those who find out the meaning of school and socialisation for the first time. Most of them speak French only in school.
What parents are worried about, and what anglophone pupils struggle with, is the French language. That is why we’re offering lessons for the pupils that do not know French and who have not started their education in our nursery school. It seems like French books should be more easily accessible, and the French Institute introduced an interesting foundation for the ones looking for French children literature. The parents feel helpless because they do not speak the language, but they can try to find different ways such as playing French cartoons or French documentaries to their children from time to time.
Generally, the majority of the education, as I mentioned last year, takes place in the school. The parents however, have the major role in following their child, following its development, learning or even difficulties. Spending time with the child outside of school, is in my opinion of crucial meaning. They should read books (even if they are not in French), talk and listen to the child. And I’ll put it out there, the children should be actors rather than consumers. They should spend less time on their mobile phones and tablets, which are great tools that open the doors to the world. However, one should use them smartly.