Character Education at Le Lycée

In French, the word éducation has a different meaning from its English homonym. L’ éducation is a holistic term that refers not only to what a child learns academically, but primarily to the development of a child’s character. 

It could be more closely translated into English as “upbringing” or “character education.” In France, you can have a PhD. and still be considered as someone “sans éducation,” if you act in a rude, vulgar, or self-centered way.

At Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, we challenge our students scholastically but since we are also inspired by the French meaning of éducation, we go beyond academics to develop responsible, independent, and community-oriented students. This is why our teachers are dedicated to instilling in our students certain core human values, such as respect for others, respect for one’s word, fairness, compassion, and self-reliance.

Starting in primary school, class time is devoted to “l’Education humaniste,” where children are free to share their experiences, however personal, and benefit from the feedback of their peers and teachers. In language arts and especially in reading, our students are taught to question their own perceptions of the world by applying what they have learned from the experiences of others to their own lives.

As these children mature into Middle-Schoolers, our teachers pay careful attention to the physical, mental, and emotional transformations taking place and the necessity of expanding the student’ s self-confidence.

Well before High School, where stress typically sets in resulting from competition for the highest grade, the highest exam score, the perfect college application profile, Middle School serves as a transition space, where character development plays an equal role with intellectual development

At this stage, young people experience a greater need for independence, and the importance of peer-group pressure gives rise to another need:  that of engaging oneself in projects with long-term goals. In Middle School, the Home Room period, called “vie de classe,” provides that extra time for discussing with fellow students the greater issues involving campus life, and learning to engage with the Student Council in developing specific plans of action.

In High School, the emphasis is placed on autonomy and leadership skills, developed further through the wide array of optional activities we offer in addition to our robust curriculum.  Competitive team sports, a plethora of clubs created and led by students, the model United Nations Debate Team, a student-run newspaper and website, the planning of events and performances, as well as various community service opportunities provide High School students with different opportunities to channel their creative energies in ways that reflect their individual personalities and interests. By affording our students a large choice of activities through which they can realize their potential, the Lycée High School experience enhances students’ self-understanding, endowing them with a clearer sense of their identity and role in the greater community.