Bicultural and Trilingual Education: The Foyer Model in Brussels (Multilingual Matters, 54)

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Demain les metaphors: le name birthday process de Book? Newsletter Sign up. The page you are looking for does not exist. Please browse through the following pages. Follow Us 10 experiences also by Charles Jenks. The National Consciousness of the Flemings and the Walloons. An Empirical Investigation. Nationalism in Present-Day Flanders. Present-Day Wallonia. The Search for an Identity without Nationalist Mania.

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A Brussels Identity? A Speculative Interpretation. Are the Immigrants the Last Belgians? Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction This is a book about shifting national identities in Belgium. It is an attempt to show how these identities emerged and evolved. It aims at explaining why the Belgian identity, which in was so strong that it could create a new nation-state, has become so weak that today it has to accept a mere overarching role above and in competition with the new national loyalties. These three aspects, the increasing European character of Brussels, the general multilinguality, and the minority nature of monolinguality in Dutch, are important determinants for the bicultural educational projects of the Foyer in Brussels.

A view of culture and language in immigration Talking about language education and the knowledge of a language, it should be realised, involves more than just language problems. In fact, the position attributed to a 'language' in education is more than just the selection of a language: it is a cultural option.

It is an option that affects the cultural identity of the future adult. The thesis I would propose is that supporting a subjective cultural identity, which is, after all, a real identity, need not impair the social adjustment of the persons involved or threaten their loyalty to the host country or its inhabitants. The ethnic reference to one's own roots will be more realistic and calm, at least if it does not hinder normal integration into the indigenous society.

In Brussels, this is certainly no disadvantage for the reasons sketched above in our view of Brussels society.

Bicultural and trilingual education : the Foyer model in Brussels

At this point, a discussion of the so-called second generation is in order. It is generally accepted that this generation, at least during the school years, seems to be primarily inclined to assimilate the characteristics of the indigenous Umwelt, though this inclination is not entirely free of aggression toward the host country. Most often, this becomes apparent as they get a little older. The reason for this is certainly that the children, at a very fragile age, i. Of course, it must be possible to include them in the school curriculum and they must have an open attitude toward the culture of the host country.

Bilingual models and programs

A view of speaking-thinking and language To speak a language, to appropriate something in a certain way, implies a judgement of the speaker himself. This thinking and speaking constitute the explicit consciousness, which is simultaneously internal and external. It is this internality that helps constitute the 'self.

The 'self fully realises itself, becomes 'conscious', only when the prelinguistic level is abandoned for the externality that is proper to every language. Therefore, to recognise oneself 'speaking' in a certain language becomes one of the supports in the development of a child's identity. Frequently there is an interaction between the child's language crisis and its identity crisis. Very often the language spoken in the immigrant families in Brussels is very fragmentary and 'fluid' in spatial and temporal usage.

Sometimes the children, and the second generation, speak another pre-school, first socialisation language than their so-called mother tongue. While one should not neglect the first socialisation language, one also should not isolate, over-emphasise, or situate it outside the broader diachronic and synchronic contexts of immigration.


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The diachronic context in Brussels implies that at least a number of immigrant languages will become European status languages in the capital of Europe, while in the synchronic context, multilinguality has already become the norm in Brussels, at least for the coming decades. A view of intercultural enrichment In the realisation of intercultural enrichment, priority is given to the structural over the ideological. Thus, it is important that foreign and native teachers be present on the same level who collaborate closely, that the immigrant children be given the opportunity to explain subject matter elements to the Flemish children and vice versa.

In other words, there needs to be room for something like experiences that counter the generally prevailing monocultural patterns and that there are built-in opportunities for members of the various subgroups to work together to complete successfully a common task. The intercultural course package must thus provide for real information exchanges between the 'bearers' of cultures under the supervision of cooperating teachers to maintain the level of the exchanges.

This must also occur within an operational context in which intergroup contact is actualised on the basis of equality of status without being superficial and without being threatening or competitive. However, this is easier said than done. For the school is a very complex phenomenon.

Bicultural and Trilingual Education: The Foyer Model in Brussels (Multilingual Matters Series 54)

Here the question arises of innovation strategies in education which of itself can lead again to theoretical considerations which it is not appropriate to discuss here. Conclusion The purpose of this chapter has been to review the theoretical basis of the Foyer Model, its historical development in a number of schools, and provide the detailed context for the chapters which follow. These chapters will also be largely concerned with the past and present, with the analysis and evaluation of the Foyer Model as it has so far developed.

This is not to say, however, that we are not thinking of the future. It has been pointed out above that the relationship between theory and practice is dynamic, that diachronic change is a feature not only of the Model but also of the Brussels context in which it functions.

We shall return, therefore, in the final chapter, to questions and outlook for the future. Durham: internal Foyer report. Scientia Paedagogica Experimentalis, 24, Brussels: Foyer, Leuven: University Press. Tilburg: internal Foyer report. They were the first group of children to finish a completely bicultural primary school curriculum. As such they constituted a very interesting group for research: for the first time the overall effects of the Foyer bicultural programme could be evaluated.

It was decided that this evaluation should be carried out by external evaluators. The section Language and Minorities of the Tilburg University was invited to carry out the evaluation of the proficiency in Dutch of these children. This article reports on the evaluation project. In section 1 a general outline of the methodology used will be given. Section 2 contains a description of the tests that were used. In section 3 the main results of the tests will be discussed. In section 4 a further analysis of some of the data will be presented.

A number of concluding remarks will be given in section 5. Description of the Evaluation Project The central question the evaluation project sought to answer was twofold: How high is the proficiency in Dutch of children of Italian migrants in Brussels who have been enrolled for six years in the Foyer bicultural programme? How does the proficiency in Dutch of the children relate to characteristics of the educational context? In general, proficiency could be established along two basic lines.

One can either establish measures of language proficiency, or one can try to draw a global impression of proficiency through ethnographic research. In the given research situation, both approaches have serious drawbacks. In order to be able to answer the second research question, and to forward suggestions for the improvement of the educational model on the basis of the results of this study, it is necessary to give a detailed picture of language proficiency.

Therefore, it is important not to limit ourselves to the more or less general conclusions that normally emerge from ethnographic studies. We also need to be able to relate that general proficiency to certain important sub-proficiencies. On the other hand, the group of children to be investigated is too small to allow the results of language tests to be related to characteristics of the model with a certain degree of confidence.

Individual characteristics of the children may influence the results to a great extent, thus blurring the effect of didactic choices made in the model.

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This dilemma could not be solved. The only thing we could do was try to find ways to minimalise its effects. We opted for a research design in which ample attention was given to ethnographic research as well as to the establishment of language measures. The ethnographic research focused on the school setting within which the children acquired Dutch. Through participatory observation some aspects of the language learning process were investigated: quality and quantity of the language input, effectiveness of the communication, children's opportunities to use and practise Dutch cf.

Bilingual literacies, social identification, and educational trajectories

Fillmore, ; Rivers, In addition more objective data on the educational setting were collected through structured observations. The observation scheme used for these observations concentrated on the interaction between teacher and pupil. Moreover, the use of structured observations made a comparison between classes easier. In this article we shall concentrate on the quantitative analysis of the language tests used in the evaluation project. For the establishment of language proficiency measures, we made use of language tests.

We tried to reduce the negative effect of the small size of the experimental group in two ways. Both approaches were aimed at reducing the danger of erroneously attributing certain characteristics of the language proficiency within the experimental group to choices made in the educational model.

By enlarging the diversity of tests, testing procedures and testing moments, we hope to have reduced the influence on the overall test result of idiosyncratic factors such as fatigue, aversion towards certain tests or test procedures and so on. Through the introduction of a large number of control groups we want to be able to abstract as much as possible from individual traits of pupils in the experimental group. The selection of tests and control groups was complicated by the peculiar language situation of the children in the experimental group. As is described elsewhere in this volume, Dutch should be regarded as a third language for the Italian children in the Brussels area.

In most cases their home language is Italian or a dialect of Italian, whereas French is the language dominating the world outside the home and the school. The peculiarity of this situation has its effects on the comparability of the Brussels situation with other parts of the Dutch language area.


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One cannot expect the children of the experimental group to perform as well on Dutch proficiency tests as children for whom Dutch is a genuine second language. Nevertheless, we are forced to work with tests that have been developed for children in The Netherlands or Flanders. It is also very difficult to find suitable control groups in the Brussels area: most children of Italian origin in Brussels who are not enrolled in a bicultural project go to French schools.