Spring/printemps 2004

La rationalisation de l’éducation physique en France, 1950-1966 : la pédagogie du « rendement et du contrôle »

Philippe Sarremejane
Docteur en Sciences sociales (Sciences de l’éducation) de l’université de Paris V et diplômé de philosophie de l’université de Paris I ; actuellement Maître de conférences en Sciences de l’éducation à l’université de
Published May 1, 2004
How to Cite
Sarremejane, Philippe. 2004. “ 1950-1966 : La pédagogie Du « Rendement Et Du contrôle »”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 16 (1), 1-32. https://historicalstudiesineducation.ca/hse/index.php/edu_hse-rhe/article/view/433.


In the post-war period (1950-1966), physical education in France went through a strong movement of methodological rationalization. Driven by a search for social acceptance and a desire to be recognized as a fundamental school subject, physical education sought to produce a form of efficiency combined with a procedure for the control of learning. The goal was to measure the effects of teaching, that is, the “progress” made. Yet during this period evaluation tools were neither effective nor unified or generalized. The innovative process begins with an estimation of the physical capacities of the pupils so as to define comparable level groups. Childcentredness becomes the most efficient method. Gradually, the tools allowing us to estimate this level become more impressive; the development of the classification table of Jean Letessier can be seen as the height of this innovation. This new methodology presents important theoretical and practical modes of rationality. However, controlling “progress” will turn out to be challenging. Clearly, the school conditions of teaching make it difficult to prove that the pupils have really progressed in their physical education classes. Many tensions remain.