INFO LE FIGARO – The school publishing house Ellipses has published a French textbook with texts by entirely bogus authors.
This is not the first time that a student invents unknown authors to feed a poor copy. Pierre Poissant, professor of literature in Alsace, knows this process as old as school. When he discovers the quotations from Serge Trigoud, from Pascaline Messager, he does some quick research on the internet to check if their fame has escaped him. These writers are a pure invention of the facetious pupil. Which costs him several points. But the teacher is not at the end of his surprises. Because these quotes are multiplying like hot cakes, from copy to copy. How could these students have given each other the word like this? Intrigued, he leads the investigation to discover the origin of these sentences.
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The result leaves him stunned. They found these references in their manual. A general knowledge book for BTS, published by the very serious publisher Ellipses. The manual is for the 2022 exams on the theme of the year, “In my house”, theme determined by the Ministry of Higher Education. It presents a methodology as well as files on the subject, filled with quotations from authors who really existed, such as Guy de Maupassant, Le Corbusier… And others from authors who have been invented, such as Serge Trigoud or Pascaline Messager. All this without it being specified anywhere that certain texts are authentic and others are not. We can therefore find excerpts from non-existent works, as here: “A house is a mirror, that of our souls, that of our past. Living and inhabiting, in short, comes down to filling the house with objects that make us exist.Serge Trigoud, Living: A whole storyEllipses, 2020…
“Before discovering the origin of this text, I had to note in their copies that the students who quoted Serge Trigoud were inventing references instead of using their personal culture…”Pierre Poissant, professor of literature
For the professors, it is difficult to certify in these conditions the general culture of the students during the test of personal writing, a sort of dissertation during which the candidates are invited to use their knowledge on a given subject. Pierre Poissant, as examiner, is embarrassed: “Before discovering the origin of this text, I had to note in their copies that the students who quoted Serge Trigoud were inventing references instead of using their personal culture… It is unfair for them, because those who have learned these quotes are paradoxically the most serious students, who made the effort to revise on the textbook. When you trust textbooks, which are an essential tool for teachers, to learn that they invent quotes and authors is extremely disappointing”.
Contacted by us, the publishing house Ellipses, which publishes these works, does not “don’t see the problem”arguing that these quotes “have a pedagogical and methodological aim”. For now, Pierre Poissant has contacted his academic inspector, who encouraged him to send the information to higher levels. The higher education services have since taken note of it. Neither of the two authors, Laure Belhassen and Anne Ramade, responded to our requests.
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