Britt-Mari Barth is professor emeritus at the Institut Supérieur de Pédagogie of the Catholic University of Paris. She was visiting scholar at Harvard University in 1993-94, visiting professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium in 1999-2000 and is currently visiting professor at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest, Angers, France. She is the author of two major books, L'apprentissage de l'abstraction and Le savoir en construction both published by Editions Retz, Paris; in the francophone world, they are considered as key references in the area of pedagogy and are regularly republished. She also directs the informal Laboratoire de recherche pour le développement socio-cognitif. Her work is translated into seven languages, and translations in Arabic are under way.
Based on field experience, reflection on the teaching/learning process is at the heart of her research. Her work, over a period of more than 25 years, has led her to develop an educational approach which is known as the "construction of concepts".
This approach, at once practical and theoretical, seeks to take into account in a global manner the individual who is learning, situating that learning simultaneously in its cognitive, emotional and social dimensions. From an ethical viewpoint, the aim is to empower learners in their search for meaning during their school experiences. The approach also seeks to make learners aware of their own intellectual capacities, more self-confident and thus more autonomous in their future learning.
The theoretical framework is linked to a cultural orientation of cognitive psychology - of which Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner are the forerunners - but also to other findings in cognitive science and to recent work in educational research in which Britt-Mari Barth has participated. She has developed concepts such as: socio-cognitive mediation, conceptualization, intellectual tools, metacognition, intersubjectivity, cognitive dialogue and the emotional/cognitive link.