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60 case studies have been identified. The case studies focus on intercultural issues, integration, non-discrimination values and human rights at school.

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French as a Foreign Language to Integrate Students


Name of the teacher
Cédric Vandamme
Subject taught:
FLE (French as a foreign language)
Years of experience:


Name of the School:
Collège Saint-Martin de Seraing
School Typology:
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School, Vocational School
Web site:


Background and Context:
Within the framework of the FLE (French as a foreign language) course at secondary school, I am in charge of different profiles of students coming from various countries (Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Ghana, Guinea, Pakistan). At the moment, notably since February, the course of FLE hosts 11 students, but this number is subject to fluctuations (if a student leaves, if another joins the school during the academic year). These students get rapidly into the system that I am coordinating within the school (I’m informed by the school board of the registration of a new comer, I decide when to meet the student, he joins the system to learn language and cultures).
The aim is to help students understand the rules adopted in school culture in Western societies and, at the same time, learn to command the new language (so that they will not have to attend the FLE course but only the course related to their own academic year).
Attendance to these courses begins with the registration of the student to the school and is mandatory (furthermore, students are rarely absent during FLE courses, unlike other courses where they often feel excluded).
The population is often poor (lack of money, students don’t have the adequate equipment, difficulty in getting to class in time due to the lack of means, sometimes catastrophic life conditions,…) but I try to establish a connection as quickly as possible in order to provide a point of reference in the school for the student.
Parents are always encouraged to come and meet me if they wish (it happened only once, last year, for the enrolment to the school year of a boy from Ghana). In any case, they come to the school board in order to be received, enroll their children in good conditions, understand how the school works...
Factual Description:
Within the FLE system, students often find themselves left alone or just in pair with the teacher. Thus, those students are not necessarily confronted with discriminatory situations. Nevertheless, it often happens to hear episodes of discrimination reported by those students (copying from a blackboard without understanding anything with the excuse that they will learn the language by copying, being forced to open their backpacks while entering a public space because the person is olive-skinned, insults on the street while a young Arabic speaking girl was passing by with her younger brother, feeling of not being integrated into the classroom,…). Students often talk to me about this kinds of issues that seem of critical importance to me. Thus, I decide to talk to them about it, to let them express their discomfort through the words they know.
Supervision is assured in order to make the student feel at ease in the school: worksheets (vocabulary learning, grammar learning, conjugation, communication competences,…) to carry out during the courses that are not in FLE (and about which he doesn’t understand anything), discussions with the teachers of French in order to provide the student with a book related to the subject of the course so that they can learn the language at their own pace, the telephone number of the FLE’s teacher is given to each student, students come at any time to meet the FLE teacher, bilingual dictionaries are used (when possible),…
Many students taking part to the system are left alone because of problems of socialisation, language barriers, feeling of loneliness (being the only speaker of their native language in the classroom),… Some of them feel excluded, sometimes by their classmates, sometimes by the teacher themselves who remains distant towards them (for example, the teacher doesn’t give to this student the paper sheets, or the adequate support on the pretext that the student doesn’t master the language; they don’t allow the student to look up for words on a dictionary on his mobile; they don’t greet him when he is approaching; …).
Obviously, not all teachers behave in this way; a colleague of French gave a bilingual dictionary (French-English) to an allophone student coming from Africa or a colleague took action in order to help a Syrian student to get to know the school system through an internship in an institution providing cooking classes.
Within the FLE course, I try hard to value each one’s culture by showing my interest to the languages (“How do you say that in your language? Did you understand in your language?”; I also repeat words in foreign languages, words that I memorise and repeat punctually in the classroom to highlight the value of mistakes, to the cultures of all the students (“How do you celebrate the end of the year in your country? Do you do like this too over there?”) and also by making students confront to each other when they are many in the classroom.
Activities carried out:
When they’re not attending the courses, students can come to me with any questions or taking with them any documents they don’t understand. Sometimes the school board gives me some administrative documents to fill in (name, last name, address, contact details of their parents,...) and students fill them in with my help. This enables us to have complete documents but also to help students understand administrative papers that they’re ceaselessly asked to fill in while in Belgium.
Furthermore, students receive from one to four hours of course each week. My schedule is then split up in a way that makes it possible for each student to be followed according to his needs (the stronger ones are therefore less followed). Some students are also followed by speech therapists or volunteering teachers in order to provide them with a tailored monitoring. These students are generally defined as “students with linguistic issues” because they are illiterate teenagers or adolescents who just arrived and have been present in the territory for only two weeks.
To each students, I hand out a learning folder (individual reading, grammar, vocabulary, conjugation…) which is always in connection with the level of the student. That student can work by himself as well as during the whole course week, completing all the exercises of the textbook. The student comes back to the course sessions and he can ask me the questions he wish, review a more complex exercise, go deeper into a theory… I always follow the wish of each student, moving forward according to his deficiencies, his wills, my observations…
I try very hard to show my interest in them by asking always the same questions: what they did the previous day, if they like the school; if they get along well with the other students in the classroom … I try really hard to make the student speak the target language about different and various subjects.
Sometimes I create communication activities with other people. For example, students learnt how to ask for an itinerary or to read an itinerary; I create a path to follow in the school where students have to interrogate teachers, secretaries, educators, … it’s an activity that everybody likes a lot, since everybody can see the progress of allophones and these students can test their real competences and progress made in only a few months.
I rarely give homework to students since I’ve already noticed that many of them don’t do them. They prefer to advance at their own pace with the exercise book they complete slowly and with the help of a dictionary/translator on their mobiles.
Assessment and lesson learnt:
Certification tests (that matter for the diploma) produced during the FLE course are rare but always useful for the learning of students. They are not systematically performed at the end of a sequence or of a specific learning. I often take care of the formative evaluation, since I don’t want to demotivate the student (= necessary importance to create a link between the student and the help to continually progress).
The formative evaluations are always multiple and have the aim of making both the student and the teacher aware of the learner’s progress in the language. This evaluation can be a discussion, a drill exercise, an essay, a ludic activity, an activity of communication with another actor … Nothing is done so as that the students feels uncomfortable or incompetent. I always take the time to reassure the student on his abilities to complete all the activities, it doesn’t matter which kinds of learning is concerned.
Then, some certification evaluations take place during the year (two or three months) but those are negotiated with the student. I propose an evaluation when I think that the student needs it (after a chaotic school report where the student feels incompetent in different subjects, for example) or if I know that the student is going to obtain an incredibly high mark. The aim is to help the student have good self-confidence, a feeling of being competent in the French language, maintain a connection with him throughout the learning process …
I carried out a qualitative evaluation where I report the levels regarding macro-competences in languages (oral and written production, oral and written comprehension) for each student. These assessments have been made thanks to observations I write down in a notebook each week. Afterwards, I created a monthly summary for each student I am following. Whenever there is a staff meeting, I bring all the summaries that I summarise in a long report that can be used to monitor the student. Even if I don’t give many courses to the student, my opinion seems to be considered as valuable (if not even more) as the ones of my colleagues in order to point out what I observe about the student, about his language competences, his integration to the school,… these reports are then put together by the school board that add them to the folder about each student concerned.
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.