Biography of Célestin Freinet (1896-1966)

Teacher and pedagogue French, born in 1896 in Gars, city belonging to the Department of Alpes-Maritimes, and died in 1966 in Vence. Teaching Professor, created and developed a clear inspiration krausist pedagogical techniques, based on the introduction of the printing press in the school, free text and the natural method of reading and writing, encouraging self-management, cooperation and solidarity among the students. He/She was the creator of the Coopérative de L'Enseignement Laïque and the Ecole Proletaire, bases both posterior movement of the school modern which was extended to a number of countries.

After studying the career of teaching, Freinet participated in the first world war and was wounded by consideration in 1916 during the famous battle of Verdun. While the wound caused him a serious disability, the pensions of war which was rejected. Nothing more to end the conflict returned to teaching at the school in a village in the South of France, bar-sur - Loup, which remained between 1920 and 1928. In this small town Freinet sought a new way of guiding classes, more adapted to the socio-economic needs of the children and focused on the activity of these natural and socialized. Result of these objectives and their own experience was a conception of the completely new school, based on autonomy, self-management and the cooperation of students, which entailed the establishment of assemblies as organ of participation and school expression, the free choice of texts, printed by the students at the same school, and a permanent contact with nature (walksvisits and activities outside of the spatial scope of the Center). With this latest addition, Freinet was intended to put children in contact with the reality of life and foster the spirit of observation and experimentation.

Through the newsletter L'Imprimerie à L' École, transformed then in L' éducateur proletarieu, Freinet reflected the new educational concepts that resulted in progressive accessions until, in 1927, he/she founded the Coopérative de l'enseignement Laïque (CEL) - whose current headquarters is in Cannes, which in the 30's came to count on several thousand teachers affiliates, diffusers of the new pedagogy by France and several European countries. The CEL was in charge of prepare and distribute new materials and editions. In 1928, Freinet was appointed as a teacher at Saint Paul, where he/she continued the dissemination work of his pedagogical method until 1935, date in which was deprived for exercise by annoying, French education authorities by a method of teaching that deemed dangerous and too unorthodox. Despite the setback, Freinet did not abandon their task and took refuge in private education. Near the town of Vence, he/she created the École Proletaire, where expressed freely their new methods based on the experimental score and education for the work.

With the outbreak of the second world war, the activities of the CEL were cancelled. Like many of their fellow citizens contrary to the collaborationist French Vichy regime, Freinet spent much of the conflict interned in an EC concentration camp. In 1947 he/she rejoined their educational tasks, again opened the École Proletaire de Vence and resumed the publication of articles and books of education. In 1948, he/she founded a new body, the ICEM (Institute of cooperation in modern school), which served as the basis for founding in 1957 the FIFEM (International Federation of the movement of modern schools), which brought together educators from all over the world willing to adopt teaching methods of Freinet. With the movement fully consolidated and accepted, Freinet died in expires on October 8, 1966, recognized and admired by all the professionals of the pedagogy of the world.

If tireless was his work as an organizer, no less was his theoretical contribution, reflected in a large number of works in which developed all its methodology and philosophy of education, virtually all translations into Spanish. All your bibliographic corpus, we can highlight: L' Éducation du travail, 1947 (work education); L' École moderne française, 1948 (the French modern school); Essai of sensitive psychologie Appliquée à l' Éducation nouvelle populaire, 1950 (of Psychology sensitive assay applied to the new popular education); Formation of enfance et jennesse, 1963 (the formation of children and youth); Les techniques audio-visuelles, 1963 (audiovisual techniques); and, finally, Les maladies scolaires, 1964 (school diseases).

Pedagogy and Freinet techniques

The pedagogical ideas of Freinet were to adopt a realistic and practical system, based on the daily activity and the search for a natural method of learning. Typographic technique in Freinet school was only a means to integrate and socialize the child, from the juego-trabajo to work. Freinet used free text, Interscholastic correspondence, free drawing, living calculation, the book of life, file, library of work and a long etc., which used instruments such as printers, tape recorders and limografos, in opposition to the traditional materials such as textbooks, notebooks, blackboards, etc. This method, unlike the classic, tried to maximize a school activity that rested on instrumental techniques (called the current procedures that Spanish), i.e., reading, writing, calculation, craftwork, motivating and exciting to the student in the learning process.

School practice devised by Freinet flees from the traditional magistrocentrismo and the verbalism or excess of theoretical knowledge, intellectualism, and establishes a different school, exposed to continuous changes and renewals as problems arise. One aspect that characterizes the pedagogy of Freinet is the importance from the outset gives the "collaboration": among the students, who share the fruit of learning and their work; between students and teachers, including establishing a relationship in which the teacher coordinates the coexistence and social life and serves as a stimulus; and among teachers, in order to share experiences, discuss and modify structures themselves to advance their ideas and renew the techniques.

Contact with life, made by the investigation and observation of the facts make the student feel constantly motivated to learn and apply the knowledge that has been adopting throughout the learning process. Finally, the subjects greater importance given that Freinet method are language, writing and calculation, giving priority to the mode of expression of knowledge to the mere acquisition memory of these.


FREINET, Celestin. Techniques Freinet in the modern school. (Mexico D.F: Ed. Siglo XXI. 1973).

-Education for the work. (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura economic. 1974).

FREINET, Elise. Birth of a popular pedagogy: history of the modern school. (Barcelona: Ed. Laica. 1983).

COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT OF POPULAR SCHOOL. The modern school in Spain. (Bilbao: e. Zero-ZYX. 1979).

PIATON, Georges. The pedagogical thought of Célestin Freinet. (Madrid: Ed. Marsiega. 1975).