The idiots' guide to teenagers

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Yaëlle Amsellem Mainguy, Chantal Dahan/ sociologists

Project manager: Mathieu Marion

 

Objectives:
How do you qualify adolescence and how do you talk about it when you yourself are living through this phase? Accompanied by a sociologist, the classes learn to benefit from what others know or think they know about adolescence: researchers, obviously, but also children, parents, etc. The classes devise a survey, incorporating their own experiences and testimonies.

Workshop: 
Portrayals
The students discuss the “usual” representations of adolescence: do those most affected share a feeling of belonging? Where do they meet up? How do they dress? What roles do they play with regard to adults? How do they spend their free time? In parallel, the sociologist introduces a carefully-chosen selection of texts by authors focusing on teenagers that suggest conclusions that, in their time, made sense or broke from contemporary thinking.

Speciality
The group selects a series of questions and invites specialists - linguists, doctors or legal experts - to discuss them with the class. The group of experts is invited to hold a debate in class. Together, they draw up themes for the following stages.

Survey
The specific methods of sociological surveys are now deployed. The students produce an interview grid and draft a questionnaire; the class draws up a panel of people to survey (parents, teachers and classmates) and organises the interviews.

Analyses and arguments
The final and longest session, which is also the most fascinating, involves the students’ decrypting the interviews, and above all, finalising their research by establishing observations and trends from the responses they have obtained. The sequences of analyses carried out by the class are all filmed.

Outcome:
The rendition involves delving into the students’ research using pictures taken in class by the film-maker Dominique Philiponska; these pictures portray an idea in the making. These testimonies are a delicate and sensitive invitation to each visitor to think again about the issue. 

Outings (selection):
- GUIDED TOUR ON THE THEME OF THE STAGES OF LIFE, MUSÉE D’ORSAY
- TRIP TO THE MINISTRY OF CITY, YOUTH AND SPORT
- GUIDED TOUR ON THE THEME OF RITES OF PASSAGE, MUSÉE DU QUAI BRANLY
- TRIP TO THE INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA JEUNESSE ET DE L'ÉDUCATION POPULAIRE (INJEP)

Participating schools: 
- Class 3, Collège Théodore Monod, Gagny
- Class 3, Collège Georges Politzer, La Courneuve