Educating the (Im)Migrant Child in Today’s France: Pedagogies, Challenges, and Success Stories

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 250 (University of Glasgow)
Marie M. Schein , Modern Language Studies, Texas Christian University
In France today, immigrants represent about one third of the total population in the country.  Many families arrive with adolescent children who may already have a high school diploma, but the majority, including newcomers and itinerant migrants, needs to attend school.

In the last decade, this reality has prompted many studies that have attempted to measure the academic success of immigrant children and adolescents.  Such studies point out possible causes of failure or progress, such as gender, socio-economic environment, urban or rural living arrangements, level of education of their parents, or the system in place in French schools aiming to welcome, include, and integrate these students in the society. 

This presentation will examine key studies conducted in the last decade regarding the assimilation of newcomers to ordinary classrooms, intercultural pedagogy, cultural differences in matters of communication between pupil and teacher, politics, and the laws governing the educational system in France for all, including for immigrant pupils.  Furthermore, this presentation will highlight promising educational initiatives and success stories in classrooms for primo arrivants, in the innovative programs of café des enfants with locations across France, and in the pilot schools of the Espérance Banlieues Foundation. Finally, the presenter will highlight a few of the individual success stories of many immigrant children, such as the story of Anina Ciuciu whose path has taken her from a refugee camp to law school.