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CRDM-Guy BrousseauThe COREM and Michelet schools

The COREM, Centre d’Observation pour la Recherche sur l’Enseignement des Mathématiques, has been (for its 28 years of operation, 1972-1999) a research laboratory on the observation of the teaching of mathematics, located around the J. Michelet public schools of Talence (Bordeaux, France).

COREM At COREM, it was possible to design and implement lessons, to observe teachers and students in their interactions at classroom and deploy studies as joint work of people linked to IREM: researchers and postgraduate students in Didactics of Mathematics at University Bordeaux, teachers of Michelet school, and teacher educators, who worked regularly with teachers of that school.

These teachers incorporated some particular activities to their teaching labor. Their teaching load was reduced in a few hours per week, so they could participate in certain aspects of the investigation, mainly:
  • Planning of lectures:
    • Planning of “ordinary” lectures with teacher educators and eventually researchers;
    • Planning of lectures subject to PhD dissertations (with the PhD student, teacher educators
  • Classroom observations: during all those years, at least once a week, a situation of teaching of mathematics was prepared, it was performed by the current teacher. It was filmed, observed and finally discussed in group by the members of the COREM, and among them, teacher of the Michelet school, who had acted as observers.
    • Weekly, in case of ordinary classes,
    • In a sequence, in case of a piece of research
  • Weekly research seminars.
  • The writing of the weekly schedules of teaching and research, and of reports of the undertaken actions along the course.
As its name reveals, COREM was a privileged place for careful observation, since it had a building containing a classroom adapted to the presence of observers and videocameras, it allowed the observation and video record of interactions happening at class. The participation of postgraduate students and researchers were regulated by the institution, their respective obligations explicited, independent of the people, providing a satisfactory "research contratc" .

The complexity of this operation was due to the will of the pioneers of the project, to make it work so that the educational purpose of the school was not altered by the existence of research and observations, and that all could be deployed within the best possible methodological conditions.

The J. Michelet school cluster, as already mentioned, is a public institution with 3 levels of nursery school and 5 of elementary education (with 2 groups for each elementary level). Therefore, more than 1000 students have attended school J. Michelet between 1972 and 1999 and left their traces, through the work done in the COREM, of their interactions with each other, with their teachers, and with the knowledge developed in those courses. Eventually it is possible to trace back the school work of some of the children, throughout their schooling, including their performance with identical assessment tests (Contrôle d’Acquisition and Test Scolaire d’Acquisition Scolaire) in the course of time, etc.. The set of daily exercises, made and eventually replicated by successive groups of students, constitutes an exceptional corpus.

CRDM includes different types of information available to accredited researchers: notes, reports, descriptions and discussions of educational devices, settings, statistics, student notebooks, exercises, tests and controls, results, teacher lecture plannings. And also worknotes of researchers, articles, theses, information sessions for teachers, etc.


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