Sylvain Connac and cooperative education

We learn much better with others. This is the message sent by Sylvain Connac after confinement. He insists on the adaptation of cooperation to the health crisis. He published a book entitled “cooperation, it can be learned”. Its purpose is to present the different forms of cooperation, from group work to cooperative councils. It establishes the pillars of student cooperation in the classroom.

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Sylvain Connac: biography

Sylvain Connac  is a teacher-researcher in education sciences, and a lecturer at Paul-Valéry University in Montpellier. He comes from the body of school teachers and was part of the teaching team of the Antoine Balard cooperative school in Montpellier. He regularly publishes training or research articles in most educational journals.

Teacher in initial training schools, having taught in a Priority Education school developing an educational project based on multi-age and cooperation (single classes).

The works of Sylvain Connac:

  • Connac, S. (2009). Learning with cooperative pedagogies, approaches and tools for the school . Issy-les-Moulineaux: ESF editor.
  • Connac, S. (2012). The personalization of learning — Dealing with heterogeneity at school and college. Issy-les-Moulineaux: ESF Editor.
  • Connac, S. (2017). Teaching without excluding — The hummingbird pedagogy. Paris: ESF Human Sciences.
  • Connac, S. (2017). cooperation between students . Futuroscope: Editions Canopé.

Sylvain Connac: Cooperation can be learned 

Cooperation at school is essential for children to interact with others and develop social skills. The book first defines what cooperation is by distinguishing it from collaboration and competition. In addition, to establish a climate of cooperation, it is crucial to develop these social skills:

  • Help, support, tutoring
  • Team and workshop work
  • Work in group
  • Student cooperative councils
  • Cooperative games
  • Knowledge markets
  • Democratic and philosophical discussions

Sylvain Connac considers cooperation to be an asset for reducing inequalities. 

To have cooperation in class, Sylvain Connac offers many exercises and Co-evaluation sheets inspired by the practices of cooperative classes from elementary to high school. Teachers will also find all the theoretical and practical elements for training in cooperation.

Sylvain Connac: The personalization of learning

It is, of course, only “personalized” learning: a student learns with what he knows and what he is.
He learns in a unique way, using his “method of his own”; That is to say, the student learns because he engages himself in an activity that allows him to progress… And it is precisely for this that we cannot allow the personalization of learning to operate in a completely random. It is up to the teacher to set up situations and offer tools so that everyone can work and progress in a personalized and demanding way.

But, how to identify what suits each one without, however, assigning it to the reproduction of what he already knows how to do? How to “personalize” without systematically “individualizing” and taking the risk of breaking up the class? How to articulate personal work, work in small groups and the collective lesson in an authentically cooperative pedagogy? And how to prepare upstream and manage a class on a daily basis to “personalize” the pedagogy?

These are some of the questions, among many others, that Sylvain Connac answers in this book. He does this by putting the reader in a “personalized educational training situation”.

Each teacher will therefore find here the means to move forward, with their colleagues, towards fairer and more effective teaching practices.
With Sylvain Connac’s proposals, class heterogeneity is no longer an insoluble problem, it is a tremendous resource.

Sylvain Connac: cooperation and evaluation

Teachers are condemned to live with a terrible paradoxical injunction: that of supporting students in their learning (which is the essence of the act of teaching) and evaluating their achievements, at the risk of discouraging those who fail to not easily meet the academic requirements. It is to try to overcome this educational paradox that a collective of school teachers, trainers and researchers has been formed.

Its reason for existing was, from the outset, to study pedagogical organizations that made it possible to evaluate the work of students without taking the risk of discouraging the most fragile. It was therefore necessary to mourn, at least in part, our usual evaluation culture, articulating the famous triptych: diagnostic, formative and summative evaluations.

Quickly, cooperation between students appeared to be relevant to facilitate this perilous ambition, the logic of “evaluation to learn” was studied, the principle of the evaluative loop was implemented and teachers embarked on important dynamics of change.

Sylvain Connac: differentiation

The heterogeneity of classes is a reality that poses pedagogical issues for teachers. Indeed, the differences in level between students prevent teachers from managing the class as a whole. But then, how to manage this heterogeneity? 

Pedagogical differentiation seems to be an effective response to these problems. In other words, it is a tool that facilitates the link between the student and knowledge. Differentiate pushes the teacher to think about the best devices allowing the student to learn and progress. In other words, pedagogical differentiation is a tool to fight against inequalities, for the success of all.

Tutor: Sylvain Connac

Sylvain Connac presents tutoring in the following form: 

A student, recognized as an expert, accepts, for a given time and with a specific objective, to accompany one of his classmates so that he becomes autonomous in the field of tutoring.  

Indeed, tutoring as a lever for pedagogical differentiation .

Tools for setting up the tutoring system

Indeed, Sylvain Connac offers different tools to develop tutoring:

The training of child guardians


  • Finish work first or don’t pause too long 
  • He has understood what is being asked of him, what it is about 
  • Otherwise, it refers to someone else. 
  • He can use the tool sheets and all the other documents in the class.
  • It does not give the answer or the solution. And also, he does not mock, he encourages and congratulates. 
  • Finally, he can:
    • give examples 
    • explain with his own words say what it takes 
    • have them read the instructions with them give tips draw diagrams
    • help to read, observe and understand the tool sheets 
    • let guess answer the questions…           


  • First he tries on his own 
  • He chooses the one who can help him
  • He does not disturb him in his work 
  • And also, he listens to the one who helps 
  • He puts good will 
  • He can :
    • To ask questions 
    • Ask to re-explain 
    • write, take notes 
    • Deciding to stop getting help

Colored belts to evaluate 

Colored belts to evaluate 

From a behavioral standpoint, it would be unfair to expect the same from all students. So, here are Sylvain Connac’s behavior belts:

behavior belts of Sylvain Connac


  • Is clean, uses the toilet


  • Try to work without getting in the way, take advice into account, respect prohibitions


  • Works (alone and in a team), knows the rules of life, talks to the Council


  • Knows how to work alone without history;
  • Instead of complaining or shouting, criticize and propose to the Council;
  • Respect decisions;
  • Knows how to do his trades well;
  • Learn to drive alone without a fuss;
  • Knows how to help a comrade;
  • Knows how to lead a team;
  • And also, knows how to chair the What’s New? and the presentation of the readings;
  • Learn to chair the Council.


  • Knows how to lead a difficult team;
  • Helps the class a lot, and also offers good ideas to the Council;
  • Knows how to chair the Council;
  • Knows how to lead a group alone outside;
  • And finally, go out without asking permission, walk around alone without a story.


  • Knows how to lead the class without the teacher;
  • Knows how to avoid stories;
  • And also, knows how to separate two fighters;
  • Can, if necessary, break the usual rules of the class.


  • Connac Sylvain, Canopé, “Organizing cooperation between students to take their diversity into account [conference]”, 08/31/2017, online: -cooperation-between-students-to-take-into-account-their-diversity-conference 
  • Connac Sylvain, Eduscol, “Tutoring between students, a lever for fraternity and educational differentiation [conference]”, 10/05/2018, online: https:// primabord high .
  • Learning with ESF cooperative pedagogies EditeurMarch 2009.
  • A day in the class of Sylvain ConnacEditions Odilon Odidoc No 13 July 2008.

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