Link with SFERE Provence

The Federative Research Organisation SFERE Provence aims to organise educational research within Aix-Marseille University's Research and Higher Education Clusters (PRES). EA 4671- ADEF is committed to building this structure, which allows scientific relations to be formalised with a host of different laboratories, all dealing with teaching, education and training issues (Psychlé, CIELAM, PIIM, IREMAM, IREM, LESA, LPL, LSIS, etc.).

The idea is to foster links between research specific to the subjects taught. The challenge is to address specific themes which feed into new research perspectives in education and training. The work also focuses on the complementarities of these research methodologies, both as regards the methods of collecting data and the ways in which it is processed. The aim is to focus on research activities (seminars, working groups, etc.) on new themes likely to attract external researchers, supervise theses on subjects common to several areas and influence recruitment (for permanent positions, guest researchers, post-docs). In addition, going beyond the school, students and teachers, the idea is to promote and strengthen research on academic and professional training situations.

The world of teaching, education and training is an empirical field. It offers a variety of subjects for scientific analysis, along with complex problems that require the cooperation of different viewpoints. This complexity is increasing today: changing practices through the generalisation of tools and technologies, the fruits of rapid innovation; epistemological diversity, with the development of human sciences which are becoming specialised and extending to specific methodological and theoretical approaches; diversity of target groups to be trained; changes in ideological, social and economic issues on an international level.

A multidisciplinary effort would appear to be the most appropriate form of scientific organisation, if not the most legitimate, in order to address this complexity in terms of future developments. Nevertheless, this does not mean that new knowledge will emerge simply through the juxtaposition of several points of view. Each scientific approach constitutes a style within an indexed field. Each has its own unique way of combining multidisciplinary references (for example, in some of its approaches, cognitive psychology combines linguistics, artificial intelligence, logic, philosophy, statistics, etc.).

Avoiding the pitfalls of a simple juxtaposition of themes, SFERE Provence (which is constitutionally derived from different research disciplines) has four objectives:

  • to examine teaching and education situations with a view to improving them and adapting them to economic, social, technical and scientific developments;

  • to better understand the rational and explanatory models of learning situations, through enriching existing models in education, psychology, sociology, ergonomics, etc.; ;

  • to build a corpus of criteria and scientific arguments to improve teaching and the choices guiding its operation and construction, as well as its critical assessments (creation of tools, methods, adaptation to target groups, etc.);

  • to introduce the possibility of cross-fertilisation of disciplines dealing with similar issues, but in different ways, while pursuing common goals.

The researchers and teams making up the ADEF research group are associated with work on these four objectives.

Organisation of relations on a national and international level

The laboratory is very much involved in a policy of network building on a national level and with other French-speaking countries. All the teams are well established in their own areas of activity and thus contribute to the structure of these networks. The involvement of several of our group researchers has had a clear impact on research networks and networks of experts within different fields. We have a strong desire to become involved in various research and training scenarios. This remains a major priority but all too often tends to favour national ties. We often find that national tender processes, under pressure from institutional formalisms, fail to clearly distinguish between research projects and expert missions in the field of education and training, adding to the confusion when it comes to the activities of researchers and research lecturers.

The laboratory must thus strive towards openness and diversification, particularly in terms of projects, programmes and international networks. This effort involves engaging our teams in the process of responding to international calls for tenders, including those emanating from large organisations such as the National Research Agency, the European Union, UNESCO and the World Bank. This approach requires a number of conditions to be brought together. The main ones are as follows:

  • We must develop reliable networks of partners nationally (already in existence), at European level (uneven across the teams) and internationally (uneven across the teams). This will be achieved through strengthening our policy of agreements and exchanges, including through the mobility of students, research lecturers and researchers.

  • We must forge links with an administrative organisation competent in putting together responses to calls for tenders or projects.

  • We must establish an administrative body for the research group, drawing upon one of its components (Department of Education Sciences or IUFM), to monitor and manage large projects with an extremely rigorous and demanding level of administrative, financial and accounting requirements.

Our laboratory resources must be able to capitalise upon and share the knowledge and skills acquired by the members of the research group, through their commitment to:

  • national networks for research in education: OPEN (Teaching Practice Observatory), RESEIDA (Research on Socialisation, Teaching, Inequality and Differentiation in Learning) and ViSA (Learning Situation Videos),

  • international partnerships aiming to develop research on knowledge diffusion (ANR 08 BLAN-0135 'E2DAO: Education for sustainable development, support and obstacles', in collaboration with the STEF research group) and to train experts on regional issues (CAENTI, 6th PRCD), issues concerning the transmission of technical culture (RAIFFET, African Network of TVET Teacher Training Institutions and, in Europe, the RIUFICET, TERECOP, RCFHEIST and CRIPT networks) and the development of this transmission (research projects by PATT - Pupils attitude towards technology - and UPDATE - Understanding and providing a developmental approach to technological education).

  • a European project for the VAE (EUROGUIDEVAL), on the evaluation of health practices (HAAS repository) or for the Ministry of Transport through an expert study on sandwich courses and road safety (Predit G03)