Certification exams are not accessible to non-native children

Carte blanche from Nadia Elshady, Educator, Founder of Non-Profit Organization Maxi-Liens, Being Good for Children Network and Ergonomic Pédaconcept

The period of certification exams that students enrolled in FWB schools will undergo brings its share of tension and questions. For many years, so-called reasonable accommodations were put in place to allow students with special needs to take exams in a quieter manner. Thus, a child, for example suffering from dyslexia, receives documents printed in larger letters and has more time to answer questions. The idea of ​​these arrangements is to meet the requirements of justice and fairness set forth in the missionary ordinances.

However, the profile of children, although clearly identified by the FWB as having special needs, does not benefit from systematic reasonable accommodation. These are allophone children. The problem stems from the faculty’s continuing skepticism regarding the conduct of tests and the possibility of allowing these children to see the translation of questions and instructions. Dans les discussions, l’idée principal qui émerge est qu’autoriser l’utilisation d’un outil de traduction – dictionnaire en format papier ou outil numérique – est perçu comme une form de tricherie ou d’aide qui pourrait avantager port les uns for others. However, a child who finds himself faced with a questionnaire written in his weak language is already at a disadvantage and giving him access to translation will put him in more equitable conditions.

While some teachers only need explicit permission from the hierarchy, others seem to be against the idea of ​​translating questions and instructions.

But why aren’t they allowed access to these facilities? There seem to be several reasons to explain this “omission”. First of all, the definition of the word “allophone” is not entirely clear and many do not know which children can be classified as such. Then, one of the handing instructions that are given is that the children should be able to read and understand the instructions on their own. Finally, children’s difficulties are often related to factors other than bilingualism.

What is an allophone baby?

If we refer to the standard definition, an Allophone-speaking person is a person whose mother tongue is different from the official language of the country in which they reside. Regarding pupils, we can add that from the moment they still need to rely on their first language and this allows them to complete their lexical fields, they enter the profile we are talking about. Often, children learn the new language by immersing themselves with their peers in the playground or play activities and under the illusion that they have mastered the language of learning and thus escape from our radars. In fact, there is often confusion between Obsession For (native) language learning which assumes entry into a specific vocabulary, structure. Basically, our regular French lessons structure the language we actually speak. The problem with allophone kids is that they have to learn French as a language of communication, but also a language educationAnd the It is a double difficulty. Unfortunately, the mother tongue was not taken into account, Many students find themselves in a state of failure.

Moreover, the scientific studies Show clearly that second language learning in the school context occurs over the long term, up to 7 years. Although some children quickly acquire the language of communication, it is nevertheless necessary for them to continue to rely on their mother tongue to make learning progress. Other studies have shown that children who have strong language in their mother tongue Better performance in school que les autres parce que cela leur permet une meilleure acquisition de la langue seconde puisqu’ils peuvent passer de l’une à l’autre et ainsi lier l’affectif (langue maternelle) au cognitif (langue de scolarisation) sans poserie de hiérarch Monday.

Proficiency in the language of instruction determines the success of descended students in the school system, and deficiencies in vocabulary and grammar put them in a state of failure with the consequences we know:

  • drop To the specialist when the children do not suffer from any disorder or deficiency,

  • Referral to professional streams that do not correspond to the choice of pupils nor to their true abilities,

Hence the importance of implementing reasonable accommodations in order to evaluate students in a more just and fair manner. Several simple ways can be explored: give extra time or authorize the use of the translation dictionary as recommended by Minister of Education, Caroline Desire, or group the kids together in a room with a fla or daspa teacher who will manage the translation of questions and instructions. Having access to use an app that translates words and phrases and scanning documents for simultaneous translation saves valuable time.

MaxiLens ASBL It establishes a program of welcome and support for children in recent or old immigration cases, and systems that have already proven their value have been tested. Among them, the promotion of the French language and the translation of regular courses have enabled all children who have benefited from it to obtain a CEB certificate, and they are currently successfully completing their studies in general secondary education. You can listen to certificate For a teenager of Syrian origin, she entered the fourth primary stage, and she only had more than two years to learn to speak, read and write French and to update herself in other disciplines.

So if it takes several years to master the second language at a level sufficient to understand school learning, we cannot continue to put Allophone students on standby and expect them to fully master French before continuing the course. Systems do not allow access to this control).

It is therefore necessary to give them the tools to advance in their education by relying on their mother tongue so that they no longer need it. It is a logical question.

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