or eons, French culture has enjoyed worldwide admiration. But over the last two decades, education and literacy have suffered to a degree clearly observable in literature and the arts as much as in everyday life.
Paul Guth is one of Frances most prominent and enthusiastic advocates of education reform. His contributions to the field are legendary. He recently told staff of the French edition of Freedom how he became involved in education, and shared his views on contributions to the field by L. Ron Hubbard.
Freedom: How long have you been concerned about declining standards of literacy?
P.G.: My friend Jean Claude Desruelles filmed a series of TV programs many years ago. They were called, Paul Guth The Swashbuckler of Illiteracy. It was already one of my concerns then.
Then, in 1980, my Open Letter to Future Illiterates earned high recognition. This letter is still factual and up to date. Being myself the grandson of an illiterate person Im speaking of my maternal grandmother, a peasant from Bigorre this subject has always been painful for me.
Freedom: How did your career begin?
P.G.: When I was 23 years old, I received my degree in classic literature. I then taught French, Latin and Greek at Dijon, at the Corneille Lyce of Rouen, at Lyce Janson de Sailly and at Paris.
I was enthusiastic about my work and people said I was an extraordinary teacher with inventive ideas. General inspectors said I was a pioneer of most teaching reforms. It was very rewarding to have my native city of Ossun establish the Paul Guth group of scholars in my name.
Freedom: What were some of your early experiences at the business end of education?
P.G.: In April 1936, I was 26 years old and teaching in the Lyce Corneille of Rouen in a 3rd year course. I remember saying to the class, Well my friends, as we have learned from each other we should continue. Lets meet again in 10 years in this same class room! Ten years later, we had been through the War, and we found ourselves back, each one sitting in the same chair telling his life story to others. All agreed their education had served them well.
Freedom: How did you learn about L. Ron Hubbards work in this field?
P.G.: When I first read the magazine Humanitarian: Education, I realised it was a masterpiece on the subject of education. The methods offered by L. Ron Hubbard form the fundamentals of learning well and can apply to the study of any subject, whatever the age or the level of the student.
It appears that the main concern of Hubbard was to make it possible for everyone to fully understand the world around him and to play a constructive role in it.
This pedagogy should be made known to every teacher and be made available to all students of all levels.