Schools in America and France: Yay School! Essay

Schools in America and France: Yay School! Essay

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Throughout popular culture, there are many representations of school systems and inner city life. Laurent Cantet's film, Entre les murs (The Class), presents a view of the school system in France. Entre les murs is based on the memoirs of François Bégaudeau, a teacher in the French suburbs. While Entre les murs deals with poorer, suburban schooling in France, one chapter in David Simon and Edward Burns' book, The Corner, discusses schooling in the Baltimore inner-city. These two representations have many similarities and demonstrate the universality of schooling problems. Both also show attempts by governments to improve the situations within inner cities.

Entre les murs presents a view into a French classroom through the memoirs of François Bégadeau, a teacher who plays M Marin. Laurent Cantet tried to make Entre les murs as true to the situation of schooling in the “banlieues” (suburbs) of Paris through his construction of the film. The students chosen for the film were selected through an acting program started by Cantet at the Françoise-Dolto Middle School (Rice 28). The use of real students allows for realistic interactions between the students and the teacher. Another way Cantet replicated the schooling situation in the suburbs is through the scripting. Cantet did not choose to script many of the student's lines; therefore, their responses to the classroom discussions are mostly improvised (Rice 28). Through not requiring the students to memorize their lines, the feeling of a real classroom is constructed.

The schooling system in France is set up similarly to the school system in the United States. In both systems, there are primary schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges. O...


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...derfunded, or understaffed, or poorly managed. … there is this equal and opposing truth: The schools cannot save us” (Simon and Burns 277). The schools do not save the children of The Corner from the violence of the corner; neither do they save the underprivileged, immigrant children of the suburbs in Entre les murs. The similarities between these two representations of schooling despite being in two different countries and cultures show the universality of the problems in inner cities and the schools located there.


Works Cited

Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation. New York: Crown Publishers, 2005. Print.
Rice, Anne-Christine. La France contemporaine à travers ses films. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 2011. Print.
Simon, David, and Edward Burns. The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. New York: Broadway Books, 1997. Print.

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