“Those who rule must be tested, there are those who will be better with us than commoners.”

The hilarious movie “Les Segpa”, released last month, discredits these struggling undergraduates. Teachers, like students, are skeptical about this caricature. Burgundy College opens its doors for us to restore the image of Sigba.

During a fourth Segpa hands-on workshop, at Schumann College in Macon. © Radio France / Victor Vasseur

Robes and coats stained with paint. Gloves on his hands, safety shoes on his feet, Nathan squats, tape measure and cutter on his side. To practice, he must cut the board and then stick it on the wall in this workshop. Professor Thierry Rodriguez advises, but lets things happen, even if something goes wrong. We are at Schumann College in Macon (Saône-et-Loire), in a priority education network, in the context of the fourth Segpa (Department of General and Vocational Education amended). These students chose the “Housing” course to learn the basics of carpentry, construction and electricity.

“I’ve already heard parents say their child is normal, and refuse to see their child enter Sigba’s class” Blows the 57-year-old professor, a former farrier. The clichés persisted. No, Sigba students ‘They are not fools or retarded’, as the comedy “Les Segpa” that hit theaters in April might lead one to believe, and from a web series with over two million subscribers. On social media, through forums, many teachers protested this caricatured vision that this film co-produced by Cyril Hanoun brought back. The production defends itself in the voice of Jean Rachid Kelloch in Le Parisien: “Segpa in this very positive context, with true values, a message, and very funny.” Beyond the film, and ideas sometimes received in a caricatured form, what is the reality of Segpa classes, for those students who are having a hard time? How do their teachers work?

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“Reading is boring, we’re wasting time!”

It’s a semester like any other semester. There were 13 students that morning, including two girls, for Alice Monnier’s French course. In the program: “Structuring an argumentative text”. The teacher suggests a topic for reflection: “Reading trembles with pleasure, experiences emotions. Do you share this opinion?” Student’s response: “Reading is boring, we’re wasting time!”. The teacher writes the answers on her computer, and her screen is displayed on the board. In the back of the room, a student, her shoulder-length hair, thinning with her broken watch, looked like the moon. After a few minutes, we saw Liberty fall asleep with her head resting on her palm. She has rings on her finger and earrings in the shape of a cross.

During the 3rd French Segpa at Schumann College in Macon, on May 12, 2022.
During the French Third Segpa at Schumann College in Macon, May 12, 2022. © Radio France / Victor Vasseur

With Mrs. Meunier, these pupils read “The Count of Monte Cristo” or even “Cyrano de Bergerac” and they remember it well. “They like to read and write stories and listen to theatrical scenes.” The teacher confirms. “But when they read alone, they do not understand. They will think of the words, but put no meaning behind them. They have read an entire text, but in the end, they retain nothing”. Difficulties arise when learning to read. Nathan, 14, admits: “I still find it difficult to read”. So the teacher takes the appropriate books in foreign languages, “to avoid the past simple and complex vocabulary” Alice Monnier explains.

Good professional project in mind

Yannis is the most involved, despite his hesitant answers. He admits that French is not his favorite subject, like some of his companions interviewed. Without hesitation, workshop lessons are preferred. “It didn’t bother me coming to Sigba” Especially since his older brother preceded him in this department. “You helped me get better, otherwise I would have suffered” Adds the teenager, very clear. “Later, I want to become a brick”. He knows it since last year, has done training exercises and watched videos on the Internet. Like him, many students have clear ideas about their future, like Liberty. planning to work in a bar, “I was told there is one in the Eiffel Tower, I would like to test it, that would be great. Paris is the capital, and there is tourism!”

The Eiffel Tower, Anna dreams of repainting. “And why isn’t there the Statue of Liberty either! But I don’t even know if it’s repainting itself!” She was in 3rd class in Segpa last year, she is continuing her studies at Erea (Regional Institution of Adaptive Education). She came to greet her former teachers. We take the opportunity to talk to him: “I am dyslexic. I got 4th place in Sigba. I would like to renew the mosaic art, and also become a technician to reach ropes, because I love climbing.” She seemed to know the necessary training at her fingertips.

During a third Segpa workshop course, at Schumann College in Macon.
During a third Segpa workshop course, at Schumann College in Macon. © Radio France / Victor Vasseur

For Justin, accompanied by AESH in progress because “dysphasic, dysorthographic and dys… I don’t know what”, this will be the restore. Because of his school phobia, Sigba’s class allowed him to hang wagons. As for Lucas, who wears a black polo shirt, curly hair and light eyes, he discovered his passion during his apprenticeship. He is 15 and sees himself on the road: a traveler, with his truck, and as a freelancer. His parents support him and are proud of him. These students come from all social backgrounds, there is the son of a truck driver, a cleaning lady, an electrician, a business manager, this is the daughter of a salesperson and a plumber.

The Segpa, a ‘funny’ web series

On the playground, talking to these teens sparks their curiosity. Very quickly, a group of college students forms around Llanes, Liberty and Lucas. “Are you talking about the movie Segpa? I saw it, it’s Gol Re” (Funny in Ferlan) Jasmine is 11 years old, divorced. Freedom Piece: “Yes, but that’s not us. We just have difficulties, and some succeed.” Because clichés die hard. “Those who judge should test, there are some who will do better at SEGPA than in general.”

These college students haven’t seen the movie, but found the series “cheerful”. “I look, it’s funny, but it’s not the real picture” Yannis regrets. “With them, SEGPA is stupid.” Insults on the field? They’ve heard that before. “But she passed me.” Lucas criticizes. Nathan “Don’t count them. I tell myself we might be more successful than them.”

Yannis, Liberty, Lucas, and Justin (left to right, top to bottom.)
Yannis, Liberty, Lucas and Justin (left to right, top to bottom) © Radio France/Victor Vasseur

Former Segpa who became business leaders

Parents of students sometimes have strong ideas about the Segpa section. “We must make parents understand that this is an opportunity for their children.” Thierry Rodriguez says: No longer counting the number of students who are self-employed today, These are the great successes. As he says. “I have students who become managers who take students on internships, then resume apprenticeships, and then keep them as workers.” full circle.

Students struggle in the general section, not understanding anything. Here they find balance. The practical part upgrades them and gives them self-confidence.

Difficulties in reading and poor school report in CM1 and CM2 will not necessarily direct the child to the Segpa section. “It’s very standardized and moderated” Schumann College Principal Samuel Robardet identifies 54 years old. “Guidance is done on the basis of psychological assessment, and there is an intelligence test. If it is less than 90, in the region 70-90, which is called the normal low region, one can suggest to the parents of the sixth fusion student Sigba.”

Thierry Rodriguez, a workshop teacher, has been at Schumann College in Macon for fifteen years.
Thierry Rodriguez, a workshop teacher, has been at Schumann College in Macon for fifteen years. © Radio France / Victor Vasseur

In these classes of up to 16 students, the profiles are varied. Very calm guys, restless others, sometimes uncontrollable, like this sixth who has been kicked out of class 18 times in recent weeks, despite chain warnings and hours of glue. “They all share this great difficulty in school.” The director explains.

They find it difficult to withstand, seek provocation with adults, test boundaries, and others have understood the rules.

Samuel Robardet notes the inability to survive “Attention for an hour, these students need to be concrete, to be manipulative, to understand better and to give meaning to what they are learning.” Workshop teacher Thierry Rodriguez is convinced, if they want, they can, “Segpa is a good starting point”. Bounce back, find the path and then the job they love.

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