Fall/automne 2009

Les Cahiers d'exercices. Prolifération d'une nouvelle (?) forme de manuels scolaires. L'exemple du Québec

Paul Aubin
Université Laval, Centre interuniversitaire d’études québécoises, et l'Université du Quebec à Trois-Rivieres
Published December 3, 2009
How to Cite
Aubin, Paul. 2009. “Les Cahiers d’exercices. Prolifération d’une Nouvelle (?) Forme De Manuels Scolaires. L’exemple Du Québec”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 21 (2). https://doi.org/10.32316/hse/rhe.v21i2.1776.


The first school exercise books appeared in Québec in 1882. Initially small, their production took off after World War II to such an extent that it has rivalled that of traditional textbooks over the past twenty years, at least in some disciplines. There are now more than 2,500 different exercise books. Published by definition for use in the schooling world, exercise books are subjected to the constraints imposed, notably, through the state approval process for teaching materials in print. The first period (1880–1960) witnessed a slow but steady increase in the publication of exercise books; however, traditional textbooks still dominated in both the classroom and the market place. The second period (1960–2000) saw the exercise book eat more and more into the dominance of the textbook. New currents in education and new programs created conditions favourable to an explosion in the use of exercise books; thus, during the 1990s, 45 percent of schoolbooks were exercise books. Certainly, the change in numbers was spectacular, but no less spectacular was the transformation of form and content.