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French courses for two Syrian refugees


Name of the teacher
Bénédicte Bayon
Subject taught:
French anf FLE (French as a foreign language)
Years of experience:
3 at IMT


Name of the School:
Institut Marie-Thérèse
School Typology:
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School, Vocational School
Institut Marie-Thérèse
Web site:


Background and Context:
Institut Marie-Thérèse has 1.400 students. This institute includes a large number of nationalities. It is located in the heart of a multicultural neighbourhood which is experiencing a process of revitalisation. The school board pursues the goal of integration of the newcomers. It encourages teachers to adapt their courses to the newcomers.
Factual Description:
During the school year 2015-2016, within the context of the migrant crisis in Europe, the school enrolled two Syrian students (brother and sister, 16-18 years old). The family speaks only English and Syrian.
Difficulties encountered
Since the students do not speak a single word of French, they are unable to join a class.
A specific space is made available to them and an adapted teaching method is organised (course of “FLE” Français Langue Etrangère, French as a foreign language) to help them join the class on the following year.

Results achieved
The young Syrians are motivated and self-willed, they want to achieve their own integration.
At the end of the school year, they can express themselves in French and they are able to follow the “FLE” course.
There are still some gaps in their knowledge, but they will be able to join the class of their level on the following year.
They are very grateful. They wrote a thank-you letter that was really moving for the school staff.

Remaining difficulties
During the school break, there doesn’t seem to be any discriminations towards them, but interactions are limited due to the language barrier. The young Syrians tend to stand aside and among themselves. They don’t talk very much about their situation of refugees and about the travel they’ve made.
Activities carried out:
Details on the actions taken to facilitate the integration

School year 2015-2016
Syrian students join the library of the school:
• They attend the course of “FLE” 4h/week, where they practice grammar and vocabulary.
• They work autonomously the rest of the time, helped by the teaching material prepared by the “FLE” teacher and by a history teacher fully engaged in the initiative.
The person in charge of the library participate as volunteer to help and support the students.

School year 2016-2017
Intensification of the integration program :
• The young Syrians join the class of their level, continuing to attend the “FLE” course (4h/week.) and follow the remedial “FLE” organised for all the students.
• The “FLE” teacher has obtained 3 additional hours per week devoted to support in the classroom. The young boy (whom she’s personally monitoring) is therefore benefiting from an extra support during the French course. She re-explains to him the subject without any changes. She intervenes at the request of her colleague teacher of French who does not want neither to slow down the class, nor to leave the young Syrian aside.
The other students of the classroom seem to gladly accept the situation. The young Syrian is correctly integrated in it.

Educational Tools adopted
• Grammar handbook
• Images/pictograms
• You Tube Videos
• JDE (Journal des enfants, Children’s Newspaper)…
Assessment and lesson learnt:
• The newcomers would not be able to succeed without the support of “FLE”.
• For the “FLE” teacher who is fully engaged in the initiative and who benefited from 3 additional hours this school year to support the student in the classroom, the experience has been already positive. But her work is limited to French.
• Ideally, the support should be widened and extended to all courses. But this is a new initiative, which has not become a real habit yet. Teachers have to be inform and there should be more personnel. At the moment, the teacher of « FLE » is the only person available.
• The objective of the teacher of “FLE” is to support the young Syrian until the end of secondary education. He is currently in the 4th year. He still has to pass two years to obtain the certification. The subject is complex, but he is strong willed. We can expect he is going to obtain the certification.

• For the schools developing the “FLE” course for newcomers, educational tools are available, in particular on the education website of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles:

• The Minister of education and the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles have developed a specific service for newcomers, the DASPA, dispositifs d’Accueil et de Scolarisation des élèves Primo-Arrivants (service for the welcoming and schooling of newcomer students).
These parallel classes allow:
 To ensure the educational mission towards these specific audiences to the school boards of schools confronted with the arrival of foreign students.
 To ensure equal chances of emancipation to new-coming students. They allow them to avoid wastes of time and to rapidly reach a normal schooling.
This service has been explained in detail by Inforef within the framework of the European project “School Safety Net”:
Description of the Case Study in National Language:

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.