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Are French schools failing their brightest children?

Oct 14, 2018 by

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France’s education system has been long criticised by psychologists, teachers, parents, and others.

A specific kind of child is being let down by the system, ones with “high potential” or “precocious” children, however you want to define them. These children have an IQ of 130 or more are out of step with their peers. They learn faster and tend to be hypersensitive.

Only 2.5% of the population in France has demonstrated this ‘high potential’ and 70% of them have avoided struggling at school, while the rest experienced many difficulties.

The situation has raised questions that neuroscientists, psychologists, and teachers have been trying to answer to ensure these children thrive in a society that not only has a hard time recognising them, but will not adapt their education system to meet their needs.

“Children with high potential assimilate everything very quickly and disengage just as quickly, which can come across as restlessness or anxiety and it can even lead to school phobia,” says Anne-Laure Kerimian, a former teacher who worked at graduate school Lycée Branly in Lyon.

“They have a hard time selecting relevant information among from an influx of detail. To regain control of their mind, which they often don’t understand, they can develop compulsive obsessional disorders which leads to generalised anxiety.”

‘The education system is sick from the inside’

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