DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
Main actors involved
The student (boy), a teacher who participates in an internal schooling service.
When, where and how the story took place
General, technical and vocational school near Liège. School year 2011-2012.
The experience takes place in a general fourth year class.
An Albanese family with a refugee status goes to the school to enrol their 16 year-old son in September 2011.
He does not speak one word of French. He did not go to a “Welcoming and schooling service for newly-arrived students” when he arrived. These services called “bridging class” are an intermediary step before going to an ordinary class. Their aim is to welcome and level up (especially in French) newly-arrived students.
The boy has proper certificates, but they must be given equivalence by the Ministry of Education. As this procedure usually takes several months, the school temporarily enrols him in fourth year, without being sure he will be allowed to stay there (he will, as the equivalence is obtained).
This student thus starts school with a period of uncertainty regarding the level of studies he will be able to join.
From the beginning of term, he is supervised one hour per week by the French teacher, who is in charge of newly arrived students. But since he does not command French, he is not able to do his works. Moreover, he does not work enough. Yet, he has potential.
The school decides to make him take a “mental management” test, in order to identify which learning process to set up.
After the test, a teacher participating in the reschooling service set up by the school, “L’Assise” (“the Base”) (described in the previous project “Stay@school”, in which Inforef participated between 2011 and 2013), decides to take care of him.
The teacher assists the student throughout the year, one hour per week:
• He gives him an organisation and working method (such as using a highlighter)
• He helps him write in his planner (diary with activities done and to do). Too slow to take notes, he did not know what to do.
• He help him putting order in his courses
• He helps him studying …
The teacher also meets the parents and invites them to support their son’s efforts to pass the year (they doubted his chances of success).
At the end of the school year, the student passes. He goes to the fifth year, which he passes too, constantly supervised by “the Base” and the French teachers.
He has entered the sixth year (last year of secondary school) and aims to take higher studies. He has chosen “economics” to then go to university and do finance, like his father.
However, he still has difficulties in French and will need supervision. He has asked help from “the Base” again to write his final dissertation.
Reasons why the story can be considered successful.
• The student passed the year and is still at school.
• He is well integrated in the class group. He belongs there.
• He was specifically supervised.
Starting point of the student.
A newly arrived student, from an Albanese family with a refugee status.
He has met the psychologist of the CPMS (Psycho-Medico-Social Centre) as soon as he arrived. He was not followed. He is from a well-off background with all the necessary support from his parents.
Economic background of the family
The family is Albanese and has a refugee status. The student is an only child. His father works in finance and his mother is a primary school teacher. The family has travelled a lot in Spain, Canada... The father has found work in Belgium and it seems the mother too. The parents already knew French but in family they speak Albanese.
Possible explanation of the success
• He is determined, he wants to succeed.
• He was able to raise his level of work when learning difficulties appeared.
• His family supported him.
• The school set up practical help needed for the courses.
• The school works in transparency such as with the class group, to which his situation was explained).
Interaction between the actors involved
All the school actors contribute to the student’s success.
The reschooling service of the school specifically takes care of the student in coordination with the teachers, the family and the CPMS. The class was informed and integrated the boy.
Transferability potential of the experience
The school internally developed a specific reschooling service that made it possible to follow the student and coordinate all the school actors.
Any school confronted to a population of students with learning and/or integration difficulties can develop an identical project to “reconcile the student with school”
It must be pointed out that such a service needs several kinds of means: a multidisciplinary intervention team, suitable premises, funds for the staff involved in the activities.
Only schools that receive very underprivileged audiences have funds to organise this measure. The other schools will have to rely on volunteers.