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Integration of non-French speaking immigrants in the secondary education system of the French – speaking Community of Belgium: findings of a research-training

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Author: Altay Manço

Publisher: Didactica, Madrid, vol. 21, p. 227-253.

Type: Article

Country: Belgium

Year: 2009


This article highlights the methodology and findings of four years of research-training undertaken by students of the University of Lie`ge (Belgium) within the framework of a class called “Problematic of immigrants confronted to the learning of French” (Master’s Degree “French As a Foreign and Second Language”) under the supervision of Altay Manc?o. The work done by the students led to a better understanding of the social-cultural context of young newly arrived immigrants who do not speak French, in schools of the French-speaking regions of Belgium. The practices that led both teachers and students alike to succeed in terms of academic performance and integration are described in both qualitative and quantitative terms. The exercise also establishes specific policy and pedagogical recommendations. The objective of the research-training was to introduce students and future teachers of French as a foreign or second language (FLES3) to the challenges of integrating immigrant students who do not speak French, the medium of instruction. This paper represents a synthesis and builds upon the learnings of several studies. It was written with the contribution of an external evaluator (Aude Harou) and allows us to complete and generalize the scope of local observation. The article begins with an introduction presenting an overview of the performance of first and second-generation immigrant students in Belgium based on several international studies, and the organizational and legislative context in which newly-arrived immigrants integrate into the educational system. Next, observations and analysis are presented, relating to (i) the personal experiences of young immigrants in secondary schools, focusing on the specific case of non-accompanied immigrant minors (“MENA”), (ii) the integration of incoming immigrant students in schools and (iii) the perspective of FLES teachers, which lead to pedagogical recommendations.

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Fondazione Ismu


Regione Lombardia Regione Umbria Regione Campania Cidis Onlus


ACIDI, Portugal, participant: M. Horta
Cabildo de Tenerife, Spain, participant: D. Buraschi
CVEK, Slovakia, participant: E. Gallova kriglerova
Hessisches Ministerium der Justiz, für Integration und Europa, Germany, participant: W. Kindermann
Integration Centre, Ireland, participant: K. Forde
IRFAM, Belgium, participant: A. Manço