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Language, Inclusivity and Integration in Belgian Primary Schools: Practitioner Perspectives

Rachel Dowling

Dissertation submitted to the University of Oxford in partial fulllment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Education (Comparative and International Education)

Trinity Term 2011

St Antonys College

Abstract
__________________________________________________________________________ In our increasingly globalized and mobile world, students who do not natively speak their schools language of instruction are a signicant and growing demographic. Unfortunately, they face widespread discrimination and disadvantage. High level education policy struggles to adequately account for the extensive linguistic, academic and socio-emotional support these students need. At a local level, however, individual school directors are increasingly adapting linguistic norms. The result is a proliferation of integration practices ranging from highly marginalizing to highly inclusive. This study tracks the phenomenon of minority language pupils integration through the perspectives of primary school directors in French and Flemish schools in Brussels. A series of qualitative interviews, followed by a thematic and comparative analysis of their responses, offers an answer to the questions How do directors guide minority language speaker integration into the language of instruction? and Why are they motivated to take the actions that they do? Results of this study show that monolingual instruction is used and idealized in both French and Flemish Belgian schools, yet school directors also praise multilingualism and claim to support a diversity of languages. Seemingly paradoxical, this dual discourse engagement may have arisen from domestic Belgian conict between the French and Flemish communities, and a simultaneous emergence in a cosmopolitan 21st century. I investigate potential historical sources for this complexly textured position, and use Cumminss 1986 framework for minority language student empowerment to evaluate twelve participants specic self-described practices. While the study makes no causal connections between discourse, action and learning outcomes, it does offer a useful comparative portrait of two approaches to minority student integration in the same city. I suggest that an appreciation for the culturally embedded nature of education is one way to begin to address and reverse minority language speaker disadvantage.

List of Tables and Figures


Statement of the Limitation of Scope
Acknowledgements
CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Research Outline and Research Questions
1.3 Commonalities between Belgium and Other Countries
1.4 An Intra-National Perspective in a Globalized World
1.5 The Opportunities for Research in Belgium
1.6 Three Research Goals

5 6 7 8
8 9 10 11 12 13

CHAPTER TWO: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature


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2.1 Language Instruction of Non-autochthonous Speakers: an Ideological Spectrum
2.3 A Brief Introduction to Monolingual and Bilingual Instruction in Primary Schools
i. Issues of Implementation
2.4 A Framework for Understanding Linguistic Empowerment of Minority Students
2.5 Four Waves of Language Policy Reforms in Belgian Schools
i. Wave One (1830 - 1914)
ii. Wave Two (1914 - 1963)
iii. Wave Three (1970 - 2000)
iv. Wave Four (2000 - Today)
15 16 20 21 23 24 25 26 27

2.6 Ofcial Monolingual Policies and Dominant Linguistic Discourses in Belgium


29 i. Assimilation-Oriented, Monolingual Discourses
ii. Pluralism-Oriented, Multilingual Discourses
30 30

2.7 Moving towards Field Research: The Central Role of Belgian Primary School Directors
31

CHAPTER THREE: Methodology



3.1 Selection of Research Methodology
3.2 Participant Selection
3.3 Semi-Structured Interviews
3.4 Methodological Limitations
i. Recognizing, Addressing, and Minimizing Methodological Risks
ii. Case Selection Bias
iii. Reliability of Interviews
iv. Language and Translation
3.5. Quality Management: Procedural Audit for Data Collection
3.6 Ethical Considerations
3.7 Data Analysis: Thematic Coding
3.8 Quality: Reliability, Validity and Authenticity
3.9 Generalizability and Theory Development

32
32 33 33 34 34 35 35 36 36 37 37 38 40

CHAPTER FOUR: Results and Findings



4.1 Views on Maintaining a Monolingual Environment
i. Flemish
ii. French
4.2 Views on Multilinguality and the Role of Minority Languages in School
i. Flemish
ii. French
4.3 Views on the Relative Use of Individual and Group Learning
i. Flemish
ii. French
4.4 Views on the Role of Parents and Community Members in the School
i. Flemish
ii. French

42
42 42 44 44 44 45 46 47 47 48 48 49

4.5 Rationales for Teaching French and Flemish to Minority Language Speaking Students
50 i. Flemish
ii. French
4.6 Similarities and Differences between French and Flemish Respondents
4.7 Higher Level Analysis of Socio-Cultural Patterns
i. Tremors of Domestic Political Unrest
50 51 52 56 56

ii. Political Premeditation: Not a Part of Flemish School Directors Rationales


57

CHAPTER FIVE: Discussion



5.1 Understanding Directors Discourses
5.2 Analyzing French and Flemish Practice Using a Minority Language Empowerment Framework
i. Cultural and Linguistic Incorporation
ii. Community Participation
iii. Pedagogy
iv. Assessment
v. Assessing the Degree of Student Empowerment
5.3 Application to the Theoretical Framework
5.4 A Critique of Belgian Monolingual Practice
5.5 Conclusion and Directions for Further Research

58
58 61 63 63 63 64 64 65 65 67

REFERENCES
APPENDICES

Appendix A. Participant Letter
Appendix B. Participant Consent Form
Appendix C. CUREC Application Approval
Appendix D. Map of Belgium with Language Areas Highlighted
Appendix E. Participant Case Descriptions

69 77
78 81 82 83 84

Appendix F. Example French Interview


Appendix G. Example Flemish Interview
Appendix H. Diagrams of the French and Flemish Education Systems

96 104 111

Appendix I. Income Inequality in the Population and Strength of the Relationship between Socio-economic Background and Performance in the OECD
113 Appendix J. Articles 24 and 127 of the Belgian Constitution, Concerning Education
114

List of Tables and Figures


___________________________________________________________________________ Figure 1: The Linguistic Interdependence Model Figure 2: Minority Language Empowerment Framework Table 1: Nine Basic Elements of French and Flemish Schools in Brussels as Reported by School Directors Table 2: Summary of Thematic Discourse Analysis Table 3: Presence of Articulated Discourses in French and Flemish Participants Interviews Figure 3: A Parallel Comparative Application of Cumminss 1986 Minority Language Empowerment Framework in Belgian Schools 19 22 53

55

58 62

and other items ___________________________________________________________________________ This is a small scale, descriptive qualitative study of the views of a dozen primary school directors in the city of Brussels on the topic of minority pupil integration. It is not the aim of this work to make any determination about the relative or absolute efcacies of the French and Flemish education systems in Belgium. Recognizing that differences exist between Flemish and Dutch, the two names are used interchangeably in this dissertation to refer to Dutch, one of the three national languages of Belgium. Research participants and academic references used both terms to refer to the same language, which I preserved when possible. Apologies for the inconsistency. I often refer to the dual nature of Belgian language politics in reference to French and Dutch. Please understand that this is to simplify analysis and highlight the difculty of minority language speakers to navigate Brussels -- itself a bilingual city -- not to delegitimize German as a national language of Belgium. Bilingual education is a eld unto itself and this dissertation does not pretend to offer an exhaustive review of it. Please understand that I merely brush the surface of the issues of monolingual and bilingual education, and only for the purpose of understanding participant perspectives more fully. Full attention to the relative strengths of monolingual and bilingual instruction is beyond the scope of this work. Due to the style of data analysis undertaken, some comments when taken out of context, may seem to suggest broader applicability than that for which they were intended. It is never the goal to make statements about all Belgian school directors (or even all directors in a single community). Statements made in the attempt to show trends among study participants and their application to theory should not be construed as anything other than that.

Statement of the Limitation of Scope

Acknowledgements
___________________________________________________________________________ It is with the deepest gratitude that I wish to thank: My parents for their unwavering love and support, and for letting their little girl nd her wings. My Belgian research participants for offering their insights to me. David Phillips for his kind supervision, mentorship and friendship. Joachim De Lombaert and his entire family for originally inspiring this project, and for welcoming me as family into their homes. Colin Brock, David Johnson, and Alis Oancea for teaching me so much over the past year. The members of my CIE MSc cohort for their lovely camaraderie and global insight. Nancy Hilton for her gracious Belgian hospitality. My friends at St Antonys College for making me laugh every single day and being my family here. Andy Cunningham for pushing me to achieve, inspiring me with his own dedication, and showing me the remarkable things a single person can do with the help and love of others.

CHAPTER ONE
___________________________________________________________________________

1.1 Introduction
Belgium is a small, peaceful and highly diverse European country. The capital city, Brussels, serves as the seat for the European Union and hosts hundreds of global centers for collaboration and understanding. Despite its convening role internationally, Belgium is also characterized by endemic domestic stalemates and intense political rhetoric. Deep fragmentation between the Northern Flemish region and the Southern Francophone region make the national motto Unity makes Strength1 almost ironic. Language rights, cultural representation, economic planning, and even the very persistence of the country2 divide the French and Flemish communities of federalized Belgium. Day to day life on the streets of Brussels goes on relatively uninterrupted. But strong cultural divisions persist which create the false impression that native French and Flemish Belgians constitute the only cultural groups in Brussels, when in fact, Moroccan, Turkish, Arab, Congolese, Portuguese and Italian cultural groups have a strong and increasing presence. People of Belgian decent represent just 44% of the Brussels population (van Parijs, 2007), while non-nationals make up approximately 30% of the population (Jacobs, 2004a). Schools with concentrations of non-native speakers commonly have 90 to 100% minority language speakers in urban neighborhoods of the city (Bollen and Baten, 2010; Gonard and Smith, 2004). Indeed, the French Belgian community has the highest percentage of immigrant children under the age of 15 in the EU, and the Flemish community in urban Brussels is very diverse as well (OECD, 2004; OECD, 2010b). Disturbingly, this very large group of minorities is performing on average two years behind their majority language speaking peers (Luciak, 2004). A cascade system, where failing students are entered into lower academic tracks discourages students, increases drop out rates, and disproportionately affects vulnerable populations (Kim and Pelleriaux, 2006; Dooly et al., 2009). Surprisingly, second and third generation Belgians are statistically as severely disadvantaged as recent immigrants (OECD, 2003; Kim and

1 2

Eendracht maakt macht in Dutch, L'union fait la force in French, and Einigkeit macht stark in German

The online and print media is replete with descriptions of the Belgian political stalemate. For instance: Russian Times (March 22, 2011) Belgian political crisis: countrys unity at stake Available from: <http:// rt.com/news/belgium-separatists-political-crisis/>

Chapter One 9

Pelleriaux, 2006). This suggests that school language acquisition efforts are failing to mitigate neighborhood and family factors. Belgian schools may be contributing to, not protecting against, social-reproduction. Its a known fact that when operating well, schools can disrupt inter-generational disadvantage by equipping children with skills such as literacy, technical skills for employment and critical thinking paradigms (Freire, 1970). Education is in a unique position to improve human capital, reduce the need for expensive social services, strengthen health outcomes, and boost a range of other social goods which benet both individuals and the society in which they live (OECD, 2010a; McKinsey, 2009; Hanushek and Woessman, 2008). It may be that Belgiums exaggerated internal domestic discord is an impediment to minority student success. While democratic debate is unquestionably necessary, extraordinary conict can be damaging to minority groups insofar as it buries the presence of minority concerns. With one of the highest measures of student performance inequality in the OECD (according to 2003 and 2009 PISA and TIMMS tests), Belgium is facing a human capital crisis that could have very severe consequences for the country if not addressed soon (OECD, 2010a). ___________________________________________________________________________

1.2 Research Outline and Research Questions


This dissertation takes up the issue of minority language speaker integration into the French and Flemish Belgian education systems. I wish to probe the degree to which French and Flemish cultural autonomy inuences pedagogical decisions. Specically, to what degree is monolingualism an enforced expectation in Belgian schools? How are the pressures to assimilate affecting minority students? And how much of this can be attributed to a dual national cultural landscape that denes itself in black and white linguistic terms? Work will progress in ve chapters. The rst outlines the issue at hand. The second explores the situation of language instruction in Brussels over the course of the countrys history to gain an understanding of practice and policy today. In addition, the second chapter will address some major issues in the mono- and bilingual education continuum. Understanding that practitioners play a central role in language policy and implementation in Belgium, the third chapter lays out an empirical research plan to qualitatively study the perspectives of school directors vis vis minority student integration. The fourth chapter presents the empirical ndings in a thematic analysis which enables a constant comparison

Chapter One 10

of the French and Flemish participant views. The fth chapter shows where these views t in with the historical discourse context of defensive monolingualism and modern multilingualism. Using Jim Cumminss framework for analyzing socio-emotional and intellectual empowerment of minorities in schools, I discuss the implications of the ndings in the second half of fth chapter (Cummins, 1986). Higher-order social themes and directions for further research are discussed as well. The following two research questions and sub-issues give specic guidance to the investigation to follow.

I.

How do primary school directors guide minority language speaker integration into the language of instruction? What practices do French and Flemish schools employ to help their non-native speakers reach uency? To what degree is there a monolingual school culture?

II. Why are school directors motivated to teach French and Flemish to minority language-speaking students? For practitioners, is the defense of French and Flemish language and culture a pressing concern? To what degree do practitioners engage in progressive, multicultural discourses? ___________________________________________________________________________

1.3 Commonalities between Belgium and Other Countries


While this research presents a detailed study of participant perspectives in Belgium, the themes touched upon are relevant in other contexts, especially multilingual and multicultural urban areas. The forces of immigration, globalization, and linguistic transition have created a world where heterogeneity is the norm (Anderson-Levitt, 2003). In Europe, approximately 55 million students are students with minority language backgrounds (COM, 2003). Yet minority students fail -- or are failed by their schools -- at disproportionately high rates. In the US, Europe and many other places, the achievement gap between majority and minority language speakers is huge (Luciak, 2004; McKinsey, 2009; Rampey et al., 2009). Even very progressive communities seem to experience systemic discrimination. Explanations for this phenomenon range from a lack of multilingual teachers, to inadequate funding, to a lack of coordination between social service agencies. Jim

Chapter One 11

Cummins, a leading contributor in the eld of bilingualism and language instruction, suggests that interpersonal relationships and power dynamics between teachers and minority language children are a signicant factor (Cummins, 1986). Whatever the cause, minority language speakers end up being over-enrolled in Special Education, concentrated in low-performing schools, and under represented in higher education. Systemic socio-economic disadvantage is certainly an impediment to many minority language speakers educational attainment. But monetary inequality should not be used as a deterministic explanation for educational inequality. The two types of inequality do not necessarily need to go hand in hand. It is inspiring to see that some societies have been successful at decoupling wealth inequality from educational performance (See Appendix I). Belgium, unfortunately, has not succeeded at reducing the percentage of variance in student performance due to socio-economic status (OECD, 2010b). I want to suggest the need to take seriously the particular (not the universal) challenges and historical trajectories that contribute to the global education gap. ___________________________________________________________________________

1.4 An Intra-National Perspective in a Globalized World


In the dawn of the twenty-rst century, ethnographic, linguistic, and geographic differences delineate cultural and educational boundaries within countries as dramatically as between them. No longer tied to the twentieth century notion that national governments are the sole purveyors of culture and education, there is an increasing necessity for educational research to follow the uid lines of cultural difference. Belgium, which is a country so internally fractured as to have eliminated a national education altogether, is a ready-made case for a sub-national neo-comparative analysis. Following Carney (2010), Cowen (2002), Larsen (2010) and Broadfoot (2000), I shift my comparison away from the nation-state to smaller and more cultural units. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of comparative education, specialists in the eld have a unique vantage point to examine and critique longstanding social patterns. Educationalists observe one of humanitys most intimate cultural experiences: the passing on of knowledge, language and cultural priorities to children. Comparative educationalists, because their position is both embedded in, and nestled between, cultures have a responsibility to challenge the dominance of prevailing discourses about what is desirable and how it may best be achieved (Broadfoot, 2000). Following Thomas Kuhn (1962), I believe scientic evidence -- such as the signicant failure of an education system to

Chapter One 12

address inequality for a vast number of its students -- is reason enough to ask bold, paradigmatically-critical questions. Could we consider multilingual instruction even though it has been resisted for 180 years? Could we imagine Arabic, Turkish and Italian being used in Belgian primary school classrooms? How far are we willing to go to help all children succeed? And if we are not willing to go further, why? I take as an assumption that individuals create the meaning of their lives through a rich interaction of their experiences, beliefs, and cultural situations. Speaking with people in an interview setting will elicit an account of their social reality -- one among millions of social worlds that represent the objective reality common to all of us. I take a structuralist instead of a positivist perspective on truth statements, which seems to be most relevant for qualitative research of this kind. ___________________________________________________________________________

1.5 The Opportunities for Research in Belgium


There is a special opportunity to compare two different education systems who educate students from the same population in the city of Brussels. French and Flemish schools operate side by side in the citys 19 municipalities, yet are nancially and administratively completely separate (Swing, 1988). It is not the aim of this work to deliberate about which education system is more successful -- that would in fact be an ironic contribution to the domestic acrimony that has impeded minority language policy from improving. Rather, this dissertation dives into the cultural aspects of French and Flemish communities, asks how they have arisen, and uses that history as a starting point to question the purpose and method of schooling for minority language speakers today. This research is being done by a single researcher in Oxfords Department of Education over the span of a year and will take a qualitative approach. Probing deeply into a smaller number of cases grants me the time and space to authentically record each practitioners perspective. I hope that this will be a boon for the validity and usefulness of this research. Insight into practitioners perspectives who are on the front lines of language policy is increasingly useful as decentralized decision-making is gaining prominence as a global norm (Dale, 2000; Karlson, 2010; McGinn, 1992). As an American woman, I do not have an afliation with either the French or the Flemish communities. While in some sense this is a cultural liability, it also is an opportunity to carry out interviews without an assumed bias in the eyes of my participants. Being

Chapter One 13

somewhat uent in French will help me to navigate the city, but conducting all interviews in English improve the neutrality of results with all participants. ___________________________________________________________________________

1.6 Three Research Goals


I have several goals for this dissertation. One is to bring critical attention to a longstanding issue to which many people have become desensitized: namely that of minority student underperformance. But why should this be so? Why should educators expect a lower margin of success from minority language speaking pupils? Following Patricia Broadfoots (2000) bold call to examine our latent assumptions and question our static social institutions, I bear witness to one type of systemic discrimination, and suggest that in this instance the familiar is strange. A second goal is to disrupt the notion that Belgium is a French/Flemish dual society. Censuses and polls in Belgium do not collect information on ethnic and linguistic diversity due to French-Flemish compromise legislation. Tracking linguistic demographics has been outlawed for decades in Belgium. So I hope that by gathering ground level perceptions, this dissertation will bring attention to the relevance and widespread presence of minority language pupils in Belgian primary schools. They deserve to have their presence legitimized, and their role as consumers of educational services recognized. A third goal of this dissertation is to give real value to the perceptions and opinions of primary school practitioners. Realizing that in an ever-more decentralized school administrative landscape, practitioners play a dramatically important role in shaping the futures of their students, and that their views are often not heard loudly enough. Their views on assimilation, integration, the language of instruction, parent involvement, and pedagogical practices are crucial for understanding how to improve the educational experience children have in school. In the next chapter, I present a brief literature review on monolingual and bilingual instruction practices, and explore some of the historical background on Belgiums language laws in education.

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___________________________________________________________________________ As we have seen from the rst chapter, Belgium is an richly heterogeneous country, not the dual language society which the media overwhelmingly portrays. Children speak a wide variety of languages, and it is not uncommon for schools to have 30 different nationalities represented. Thus, the inclusion and integration of minority language speaking children is critical. The rst part of this chapter gives an introduction to the efcacy of monolingual and bilingual instruction for minority language speakers in primary school, showing that leading experts on language acquisition have converged to something of a consensus: children excel academically when they are procient in their mother tongue (Baker, 2011; Ramirez et al., 1991; Cummins, 1979). While it is not in the scope of this dissertation to dive deeply into this topic, I show that most experts now concur that some incorporation of native languages in primary school is an important aspect of the responsible integration and inclusion of minority language speakers into the dominant culture. Next, I present several issues and caveats related to the implementation of bilingual programs. The second section of this chapter introduces Jim Cumminss 1986 framework for analyzing minority student empowerment practices, which will be used for data analysis in Chapter 5. The third section of this chapter asks what the policies for mother tongue use in primary schools are in Belgium and how they arose. Currently, both the French and the Flemish communities insist that schools ought to be bastions of linguistic homogeneity in the language of instruction. To understand why this is so, I give a brief history of language policy reforms in education since the countrys founding in 1830. Witnessing the language policy debate emerge as a binary debate between French and Flemish interests explains, to a large extent, why the communities have been so resistant to bilingual or multi-lingual instruction, and why a defensive and distrustful relationship has emerged around language teaching in Belgian schools. The fourth section of this chapter shows to what extent Belgian language policy in schools aligns with pedagogical best practices. Interestingly, high level control has stepped back into the French and Flemish education ministries to allow individual school practitioners

CHAPTER TWO: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 15

to drive curricular implementation and enforce language use as they see t (Rapporteur et al., 2007). The last section of this chapter lays out the importance of primary school directors in mediating their communitys monolingual school policy, the enlightened international discourse, and the local reality of their specic community. Understanding that school directors make decisions about hiring bilingual teachers, classroom congurations, and whether to pull children out of classes for extra tutoring, we see that the discourse that takes precedence in their minds determines where actual practice lies. I use the rest of this dissertation to pursue a case study of twelve primary school directors perceptions on the role of minority languages as a medium of instruction, obstacles to minority students success and other social factors related to minority bilingualism. ___________________________________________________________________________

2.1 Language Instruction of Non-autochthonous Speakers: an Ideological Spectrum


Philosophies concerning minority pupil language instruction are as varied as the practitioners who implement them. Personal, professional, and societal inuences color teachers and administrators ideas about the appropriate use of mother tongues. Richard Bourhis (2001) describes a spectrum of acceptance of native languages in schools and details four milestones on that continuum for points of reference.

pluralism ...... civic ....... assimilation ........ ethnicism


On one end of the spectrum, pluralism validates students' right to gain and maintain literacy in their native languages. Pluralism seeks to grant an equal status to each language, and support diversity in a deep cultural sense. The civic ideology suggests that while learners have the right to speak their native language, they have a responsibility to learn the national or community language in order to participate fully in society. A civic ideology gives preference to the dominant language, but does not act to repress minority languages. An assimilation ideology asks students to shed their previous culture and identity to the extent that they can t in to the dominant culture. Assimilation has the goal of increasing equality of opportunity for all students by placing them on level ground,

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 16

and by reducing different standards for different types of students. Ethnicism takes a very strong exclusionary stance against minority groups and states that even attempted assimilation is not sufcient; only native majority members may be a part of the accepted dominant group (Bourhis, 2001; Baker, 2011). The use of two or more languages as media for instruction -- generally including the pupils native language -- is a practice associated with pluralism since it necessarily supports the use of more than one language. In contrast, monolingual instruction is the practice most closely associated with assimilationist ideology, since it only sanctions the use of the dominant groups language. Media and policy debates paint a dichotomy between pluralism and assimilation (Baker, 2011; Watereld, 2008; Traynor, 2010). Yet the issue is certainly not black and white as this depiction suggests.3 School practice varies tremendously; time allocated to native language (L1) instruction, speed at which subjects are transitioned to the target language, the age at which literacy skills are introduced, the balance of oral and reading skills and other elements of instruction may differ. The idea that teachers and administrators either unconditionally support or outright reject childrens native language development is an articial simplication. However, investigating the two ideological camps as foci in the debate is useful for unraveling the trends in best practices across the eld. ___________________________________________________________________________

2.3 A Brief Introduction to Monolingual and Bilingual Instruction in Primary Schools


The efcacies of various monolingual and bilingual practices have been studied extensively over the last several decades. Neither monolingual nor bilingual processes are simple or uncontested, and both can be implemented well or poorly (Brisk, 2005; Baker, 2011: 256). In what follows, I review several expert positions on mono- and bilingual education for the general purpose of understanding the benet that exposure to home languages in primary school can provide for minority language speakers. Monolingual immersion was initially believed to offer a superior environment for nonautochthonous children. Proponents traditionally defended it on the basis that it gave students more exposure to the target language and time on task (Imhoff, 1990; Porter, 1990). Bull (1955) and others suggested that giving students a fuller immersive experience
3

See Mackey (1970) for a thorough typology of bilingual education practices.

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 17

would equip them with tools for admission to the dominant culture and a means for economic self-sufciency. This assumes, of course, that monolingual immersion is the best mechanism for teaching second language (L2) uency. In 1975, Engle reviewed the literature on direct method monolingual instruction and natural language bilingual instruction and determined that the extant research insufciently accounted for all confounding sociological, economic, and quality variables. In the 1980s, Keith Baker and Adriana de Kanter conducted a large meta-analysis of the literature on bilingual education and concluded that structured immersion education was no less effective (and signicantly cheaper) than transitional bilingual education (Baker and de Kanter, 1981). Revisiting the data that Baker and de Kanter used, Willig (1985) concluded that a better interpretation was that bilingual transition did in fact signicantly benet minority language students. Keith Baker rebutted Willig, and made criticisms about Willigs meta-analysis methodology (Baker, 1987). The debate became a heated one, and showed, if nothing else, that comparing bilingual and monolingual instruction is fraught with issues of research comparability, study contextualization, generalizability, and socio-linguistic dominance. Bilingual instruction that uses the pupils mother tongue as a medium of instruction in tandem with the target language, or in transition towards the target language, has been studied in a wide range of academic reports around the world (Greene, 1998). To a large degree, success of bilingual education depends on high quality implementation. However, the question as to whether some exposure to L1 instruction in school settings is benecial has been answered fairly authoritatively in recent years. In 1991, Francisco Ramirez et al. published an eight-year longitudinal study of bilingual education in the United States. Methodologically vetted by proponents and detractors of bilingual education alike, and funded by the US national government, the Ramirez Report stands as a strong refutation to the theory that immersion instruction (and the maximal time of exposure philosophy) is the optimal way to teach minority language speaking children the language of instruction (Ramirez et al., 1991). They concluded that late-exit bilingual instruction signicantly improved minority language students math, English reading and English literacy scores in comparison to full-time English immersion for Hispanic students (ibid.). They point to the long time frame that it takes students to catch up to their native language peers, and suggest that offering bilingual exposure through elementary and secondary school is the most benecial type of bilingual instruction for student achievement. Even immersion advocates Baker and de Kanter have admitted that

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 18

late-exit bilingual education is more effective than either short-run or monolingual immersion (Baker, 2011). The perils of monolingual instruction are most acutely felt by immigrant and otherwise vulnerable populations. Dodson does not mince words when he describes the harm that monolingual instruction may have on students. Undoubtedly the most damaging effects of total second-language immersion programmes are to be found amongst migrants and immigrants in developed and, more recently, developing countries. Here, suppression of bilingual mediumorientated communication results not only from the mistaken methodological principles[...], although this alone would be enough to thwart successful secondlanguage acquisition, but also from general prejudice in the community as a whole against the new languages. (Dodson, 1985: 343-4) One way in which monolingual instruction harms minority students is by forcing minority students to remain disproportionately silent in school -- a common scenario when students are uncomfortable expressing themselves in the dominant language. He says that this will not only further impede minority students scholastic success, but it will also establish in their minds an acceptance of cultural hegemony that will discourage them from questioning their social status and seizing greater opportunities (ibid.). Jim Cummins says that the preponderance of evidence shows that minority language students excel when they have rst developed prociency and literacy in their mother tongue (Cummins, 1979, 1983). Cumminss concept of common underlying prociency and interdependence may explain why establishing solid L1 prociency benets L2 acquisition (Cummins, 1985). He posits that there are types of basic intellectual skills (such as critical comparison, analysis and synthesis) which undergird all language learning. By mastering these underlying prociencies through the development of uency and literacy in L1, a student will be able to learn a second or third language and transfer those metalinguistic capabilities to the process of L2 language acquisition (Cummins, 1984).

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 19

Figure 1: The Linguistic Interdependence Model

Source: Cummins, J. (1989) Extending Cumminss work further, Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas discovered that using a bilingual approach allows minority language children to learn faster -- reducing the time it takes to catch up to majority language speaking peers by about three years (Collier, 1995). Undertaking numerous studies over the course of many years, they have concluded that two-way bilingual education at the elementary school level is the most promising program model for the long-term academic success of language minority students (ibid.). Dodson concurs, saying that children would have a far better chance of developing into balanced bilinguals if their entire curriculum had an integrated bilingual approach (Dodson, 1985: 343). This very brief treatment of the efcacy of mono- and bilingual instruction has shown that exposure to academic instruction in mother tongues does not harm, and in many cases benets, the general academic performance of minority language pupils and expedites L2 acquisition.

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 20

i. Issues of Implementation As suggested above, either monolingual or bilingual educational practices may be properly or poorly implemented. Issues such as the relationship between the minority culture and the dominant one, teacher preparation, the initial linguistic status of the child, and the linguistic relationship between the two languages are important factors to take into consideration when comparing mono-and bilingual programs (Engle, 1975). Conditions that are necessary for either successful mono- or bilingual education to be implemented well include adequate funding, dedicated leadership, and community participation (Brisk, 2005). One misconception, however, is that bilingual education requires teachers to be uent in their pupils native language. Nancy Hornberger shows in her thoughtful Continua of Biliteracies how it is possible for teachers to encourage children to speak and express themselves in their native language, and even to read books in their home language with the support of their peers and family. The most important thing is that teachers value and recognize their students home languages. This is the way to foster a healthy ecology of languages (Hornberger 2003).

Nadine Dutcher (2003) writes about the opportunities (and challenges) for implementing bilingual language programs. Taking some lessons from her work in the highly linguistically diverse settings of Vanuatu, Eritrea, and Guatemala, she advocates for student peer-to-peer teaching, adequate provision of multilingual books, teacher-training in facilitation techniques, and administrative commitment to the program. Dooly et al. (2009) concur with Dutchers recommendations and add that teachers and administrators should: be prepared to understand language diversity be accepting of all languages in the classroom, whether a prestige or non-prestige language legitimise the presence of multiple languages accept language-switching learn to recognize learners use of interlinguistic strategies and do not label them as errors or decient use of the language of instruction provide a space for sincere reection on traditional practices encourage multidisciplinary work teams, both inside and outside the school context.










(Dooly et al., 2009: 32)

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 21

Spotti (2007) makes a strong case for the need to partner with parents and assure them of the quality of bilingual instruction. Parent-held prejudice against using minority languages is strong in some communities who want their children to achieve academic success within the dominant cultures paradigm (Spotti, 2007; Agirdag, 2010). ___________________________________________________________________________

2.4 A Framework for Understanding Linguistic Empowerment of Minority Students


The serious issue of systemic minority underperformance has been explained by many people in many different ways. John Ogbu (1978) makes a compelling case for understanding the problem not as endemic to minorities themselves but to the society in which they live. For example, the dominated Burakumin ethnic group underperforms compared to Japanese students in Japan, but both ethnic groups fare equally well as immigrants in the United States (Ogbu, 1978). It is the majority culture that closes out opportunities for minority group advancement through inattention to the specic challenges minority group members face. Poverty, lack of books in the home, and inexperience with the majority communitys social expectations may all predispose children to academic failure before they even start school (Dodson, 1985). Therefore, the onus is on schools to counteract pre-existing disabling social forces so that minority language speakers can recoup lost ground. This is not an impossible hope. Schools play an incredibly important role in childrens lives and are generally well equipped to offer chances for skill development, critical thinking, and exposure to new ideas. They have the ability to reverse social handicaps that set children back by providing encouragement, social empowerment, and a validating environment for students self-worth. I turn now to the idea of empowerment as a means to understand the way in which school systems are able to support intellectual and socio-emotional development. In Jim Cumminss terminology, empowerment refers to the ability of a school to counteract socially constructed disadvantages. He lays out a framework for minority student empowerment, which is a valuable lens through which to conceptualize the relationship between school performance and social context in Belgium (Cummins, 1986).

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 22

Figure 2: Minority Language Empowerment Framework SOCIETAL CONTEXT Dominant Group Dominated Group SCHOOL CONTEXT Cultural and Linguistic Incorporation Community Participation Pedagogy Additive Collaborative Reciprocal Interaction Oriented AdvocacyOriented Subtractive Exclusionary TransmissionOriented LegitimizationOriented

Assessment

EMPOWERED STUDENTS

DISABLED STUDENTS

Source: Cummins, J. (1986) This framework provides a method for analyzing school empowerment by examining four categories of practice: Cultural/linguistic incorporation, Community participation, Pedagogy and Assessment. Cummins suggests that taking an additive cultural/linguistic approach is empowering because it supports holistic identity development and a respect for students home cultures. Collaborative community participation is empowering insofar as it encourages regular feedback and interaction with parents, which creates a seamless learning environment for students in school and at home. Interactive (activity based) lessons are empowering because they prompt students to engage with language in a plethora of situations while offering space for self-expression and critical reection. Advocacy-oriented assessments offer constructive feedback to students so that they can grow and improve. In contrast, legitimacy-oriented assessments seek to nd aws and

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 23

discredit effort, which is disabling for students who are vulnerable to the penalizing effects of high-stakes testing. I will use Cumminss framework to analyze the degree to which French and Flemish Belgian primary schools empower minority students in Chapter 5. ___________________________________________________________________________

2.5 Four Waves of Language Policy Reforms in Belgian Schools


I turn now to the story of Belgian education since 1830. Ever struggling to resolve disagreements about language and religion, Belgian education today is characterized by absurd complexity, duplication of effort, and administrative bureaucracy. No place is it more evident that education is but the drama of culture set upon a small stage (Stenhouse, 1967: 37). The Belgian education system resolves conicts in much the same way that other Belgian institutions do: by granting groups increasing degrees of choice and autonomy. While this has managed to keep the most rancorous of the battles under control, it has resulted in some inequalities in education provision and learning outcomes across the country. The 1963 language laws still govern language choice in schools and stipulate that only one language may be used as the medium of instruction per school -- either French, Dutch or German -- unless special dispensation is given. Minority languages are not used as a medium for instruction. Notable exceptions to the practice of strict monolingual instruction include the Foyer Project that attempted to use minority languages in schools and private international schools, but bi- and multilingual efforts have remained on the fringe of practice (Byram and Leman, 1991; UCL, 2006). The following section summarizes the most signicant historical events leading to the prominence of monolingual instruction seen in Belgium today. Four waves of language policy reforms mark the tides of language acrimony and compromise since Belgiums founding in 1830. Ever-deepening regional, religious and linguistic separation have led to in-ghting between French and Flemish language communities and an entrenched feeling that French and Flemish identities are at odds. It is in this context that we can begin to understand how domestic French/Flemish acrimony is affecting minority language speakers caught in the crossre today.

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 24

i. Wave One (1830 - 1914) The modern Belgian state was established in 1830 with French as its sole national language. The founding educational mandate provided in the Belgian constitution states Lenseignement est libre; toute mesure prventive est interdite.4 (See Appendix J for the full text of Articles 24 and 127 of the current Belgian Constitution, relating to education). This clause was a compromise for Catholic and State school advocates and was intended to reduce tension by reducing constitutional involvement in school decisions (Hooghe, 1993). While it permitted educational freedom, it also established a constitutional mandate of noninterference that encouraged Belgians to demand segmentation instead of compromise time and time again. From the 1830s to the end of the 19th century, French elites suppressed Flemish cultural activity and social representation by prioritizing French education and delegitimizing Flemish as a high-value identity (Swing, 1988). For these sixty years, anger bubbled against French domination. In 1898, the Flemish community succeeded in seeking emancipation by gaining Flemish as an ofcial language of Belgium (Hartig, 1985). It was not a uniform national adoption of Flemish, however; the Equalization Act of 1898 established the northern region of Flanders as ofcially bilingual -- French and Flemish -but maintained the rest of Belgium as unilingual French. While this was certainly a victory for Flemish speakers, its effect was much less dramatic than policy makers had hoped for (Swing, 1988). During this time, French was still seen as the language of the educated elite, and transmutation schools attempted to convert Flemish speakers into Francophones (Bollen and Baten, 2010; van Velthoven, 1987). Operating from 1881 to 1914, these transmutation schools gave young primary school children 100% Flemish instruction when they entered school, transitioned them to bilingual instruction between the ages of 8 and 10, and then switched 10-12 year olds to monolingual French instruction. The result was not a strengthening of Flemish, but a Frenchication of Flanders and Brussels. The Poullet Law of 1914 mandated compulsory education in Belgium and access to schooling in the childs mother tongue, but loopholes in the law enabled municipalities to avoid compliance if providing mother tongue access was too difcult (Bollen and Baten, 2010). In addition to legal foot-dragging, the popular perception that French schooling at this time was that it was higher quality, creating a scenario in which upwardly mobile parents did not want to enroll their children in Flemish or Dutch medium schools for fear
4

Education is free; all preventative measures are forbidden.

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 25

of being left behind (Bollen and Baten, 2010). All in all, the early stages of language laws in Belgian schools were driven by a hegemonic French elite; meanwhile Flemish educators and politicians struggled to bring equal status to the Dutch language and Flemish schools. ii. Wave Two (1914 - 1963) The Second Wave of Reforms was marked by the division of the country into two unilingual partitions. In the period between 1932 and 35, laws were passed that declared the medium of instruction in school ought to to be the language of the municipality, which itself was determined by the linguistic majority in each census (Hooghe, 1993). This led to an uneasy truce, each side fearing the possibility that municipalities might switch to the other community in the next census if population growth occurred (Bollen and Baten, 2010). Flemish speakers were not happy because legal loopholes in Brussels allowed French schools to continue operating in Flemish municipalities, and transmutation classes were still common which attempted to Frenchify native Flemings and phase out Flemish (Swing, 1988). French speakers were also unhappy because they feared the political necessity of converting the whole country to a bilingual state (Hooghe, 1993). The ferment came to a head in 1963 with drawing of the Linguistic Line. This formally split the country into Flemish and French communities, each with responsibility for cultural affairs, including education and use of languages in schools (Bollen and Baten, 2010). The motto of the time was Dutch in Flanders, French in Wallonia. Even though municipalities had been linguistically separated since the 1930s, the 1963 legislation froze language municipalities, so they could no longer switch between French and Flemish community membership based on the percentage of adults professing uency in each language (Swenden and Jans, 2006). The law also forbade schools from teaching foreign languages before the third year of primary school in Brussels, in an effort to prevent Frenchication or Flemishication in French or Flemish schools. This defensiveness and distrust of the other community manifested itself in an increasingly non-negotiable approach to monolingual instruction in primary schools (Witte and Baetens Beardsmore, 1987). Crucially, the language laws of 1963 determined that Dutch was the only ofcial language in Flemish schools, French was the only ofcial language in French schools, and German was the only ofcial language in German schools. This is still the case today.

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 26

iii. Wave Three (1970 - 2000) To get around the problem of parents living in a language municipality that was not that of their mother tongue, the 1970 Freedom of Educational Choice Law granted Belgians the right to choose to enroll their children in the (linguistic) community school system of their choice. Although initiated as a French attempt to sidestep Flemish majority municipalities, the Flemish community actually seized this opportunity to transform their schools into highly-desirable schools and develop the Flemish-speaking community from the ground up (UCL, 2006). Investing rst in their preschools and then in their elementary schools, the Flemish community methodically improved the quality of their schools and swelled their enrollment (ibid.). Over the next several decades, Flemish schools improved so much that they now (in the year 2011) attract many non-Dutch speakers who formerly would have gone to French schools. 18% of all pupils attend Dutch language schools in Brussels even though only 10% of Brussels residents speak Dutch at home (UCL, 2006). This has presented a problem for Flemish schools, who struggle to maintain Dutch immersion when the percentage of children who natively speak Dutch is very low. Flemish policy makers, however, generally see the quality and prestige of Flemish schools as a victory; at a macrolevel, increased school enrollment translates to great population-wide understanding of the Flemish culture and greater representation in Flemish politics. The story of Belgian discord continued to what might be described as its inevitable climax: formal Federalization in 1993 (Jacobs, 2004a). By this time, French and Flemish politicians decided that their differences were irreconcilable, and that a full separation and compartmentalization of cultural affairs into each community would resolve the battles for which national compromise had proved impossible. Federalization granted near-sovereign powers to the communities, so that there would be no hierarchical precedence granted to either national or community legislation (De Rynck, 2005). Thus the French and Flemish communities took over full responsibility for education. The Belgian national government still collects taxes and allocates undifferentiated budgets to the communities. But all toplevel educational decisions such as building new schools, setting teacher salaries, determining professional qualications and establishing standards of educational quality are the individual communities responsibility now (Poirier, 2002; EURYDICE, 2006). With federalization, the formerly unitary national education system diverged into three separate, culturally embedded systems. Almost immediately, the Flemish community began to decentralize authority to local neighborhood and school levels (De Rynck, 2005). It

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 27

formed an Autonomous Council for Community Education (ARGO) that radically empowered lower levels of organization and gave responsibility to parents (ibid.). The French community did not make those same changes, retaining its centralized education administration and assessment systems. Traditionally more Socialist-leaning, the French community continued to maintain its strongly state-supported school system, and insisted that maintaining a central authority would maintain a more equitable distribution of resources. Despite this divergence in administrative autonomy, both the French and Flemish communities started increasing their dependence on school inspection as a means to ensure quality. The Flemish community was the rst to separate school inspection and (municipal) school management (De Rynck, 2005). This ensured that the Flemish community treated Catholic and state schools equitably, since it was not involved in running state schools (ibid.). The French community soon followed suit by divorcing management and inspection, partly in response to budgetary constraints of the postfederalization period. Thus, the Flemish and French communities both began to put increasing responsibility on local administrative bodies and school directors to self-direct. The communities demanded that schools meet community-mandated standards, or else face intervention, but this was a major turning point for the decentralization of language policy implementation. iv. Wave Four (2000 - Today) As we have seen, French and Flemish language policies moved in a similar direction these past two decades -- both toward decentralized authority. Yet rather than viewing this as a re-convergence, it is probably best understood as a parallel construction arising from a shared inherited Belgian approach to conict resolution that favors fragmentation over compromise. Isomorphic international norms may have played an inuential role as well (see Dale, 2000; Hutt, 2006, Weiler, 1990; Steiner-Khamsi, 2002). Decentralization as a mechanism for conict resolution has been studied in many contexts, and Belgium is an exemplar of decentralization as devolution (McGinn, 1992). In Belgium today, French and Flemish communities set benchmarks for performance but have stepped back from giving specic direction on how to achieve them. Community and municipal intervention only comes when performance dips, and in the form of increased inspection, not curricular control. The language laws of 1963 are still in effect, however, and all schools are expected to maintain the language of instruction as that of the language community of which they are a part. Specic exemptions, such as the STIMOB and Foyer

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 28

Projects, have had to be granted permission individually (UCL, 2006). Novel partnerships -- the French communitys 2001 Charter for Partnership and the Flemish communitys 2002 Equal Educational Opportunities Policy -- have initiated talks with the Greek, Italian, Moroccan, Portuese and Turkish Belgian embassies to consider hiring bilingual teachers in schools with high percentages of these minority speakers (Geyer, 2009). While very progressive in theory, the foreign embassy is tasked with nding appropriate teachers and paying their salary, so it is unclear what progress has been made to actually increase bilingual teachers (ibid.). The reception of newly arrived non-autochthonous students into the French education system is primarily governed by the 1998 Equal Opportunities Decree and the 2001 decree that addresses the situation of newly arrived students (National Focal Point, 2004). Provision is made for newly arrived asylum seekers to attend separate classes to bring the student up to speed in French before joining their peers, known as classes-passerelles. But only students who have been living in Belgium for less than a year and who live in a district with a refugee center are eligible (Decree of the French Community, 2001). This leaves out the majority of students who still need language help beyond 12 months, or who do not live in a qualifying area. Second and third generation students are completely excluded, regardless of language capability (Collective, 2006). The assumption is that students will quickly assimilate to Belgian life and catch up with their native-speaking peers in the span of one year -- a awed assumption in the literature comparing late-exit transition classes to early-exit ones (Ramirez et al., 1991). The result is that many minority language students are forced to repeat a year or more of school for linguistic, not cognitive, reasons, which jeopardizes their likelihood of remaining in school and nishing with success (Jacobs, 2004b). It should be noted that these classes-passerelles are administered at the discretion of school directors, however, who may choose to refuse money for these classes and decide to integrate students immediately. Reception education in Flemish schools is primarily governed by the Non-discrimination Declaration of 1993 (National Focal Point, 2004). Flemish schools are given additional teaching hours -- extended funding for current or new teachers -- to help nonautochthonous children learn Dutch. The amount of funding granted to each school is determined by the number of qualifying children with a disadvantaged background. School directors design an individual plan for how to administer those extra hours, the size and conguration of extra classes, the type of instruction given to non-autochthonous children, and the spread of resources between students (Rapporteur et al., 2007).

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 29

Autonomy to manage their school as they see t is a highly guarded right of Flemish directors (ibid.). As such, collaboration is at the discretion of individual directors, and large scale information-sharing initiatives are rare. While this is empowering for directors, it means that individual school successes often go unreplicated, and failures are not learned from. Unfortunately, general anti-discrimination efforts have been uncoordinated and ineffective at reversing the disadvantage minority-language speaking children experience (Mano and Harou, 2009; Luciak, 2004). In summary, both French and Flemish primary school directors enjoy a signicant amount of autonomy within their school (See Geyer, 2009 for a full discussion of specic authorizations according to administrative level). Their professional success is largely determined through an inspection mechanism and student exam outcomes, both of which are highly dependent on students uency in the language of instruction. Feeling already over-burdened with the necessity of teaching their language of instruction and the other national language to students who arrive speaking neither, many directors feel that incorporating the plethora of minority languages into their school is beyond their scope. ___________________________________________________________________________

2.6 Ofcial Monolingual Policies and Dominant Linguistic Discourses in Belgium


To put it simply, French and Flemish education policies support monolingual instruction. Beyond very limited reception education programs for newly arrived direct immigrants, French and Flemish schools use a full immersion approach. Both systems take a generally negative view of students home languages being used in school and in some cases prevent it. As shown earlier in this chapter, this policy conicts with the signicant and evergrowing body of literature that supports bilingual instruction and the use of pupils native languages for improved academic performance. Yet the degree to which these monolingual policies are enforced depends on the belief systems and actionable possibilities of each school director. Agirdag (2010) reports that there is a widespread belief among Belgian teachers and administrators that monolingual instruction yields better or faster uency. This may not be true across the board, however. Shaped by the discourses that they encounter culturally, in the media, and in their professional circles, school directors make different decisions about hiring bilingual teachers, offering small transition classes, and stocking bilingual books. Directors are toplevel decision makers at the school level, and are in a powerful position to navigate the

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 30

conicting linguistic discourses that are swirling around Belgium. I outline the dominant monolingual and multilingual discourses below: i. Assimilation-Oriented, Monolingual Discourses 1. A discourse in the Flemish community that portrays Flemish / Dutch as endangered in Belgium, and in need of protection. 2. A discourse in the French community that implies Dutch is a lesser language. 3. A discourse in both communities of cultural otherness that suggests non-standard dialects of French or Dutch are lesser linguistic variations. 4. A discourse in both communities that describes minority language speakers as sociolinguistically disadvantaged or impoverished. 5. A discourse in both communities that suggests minority languages are a harmful distraction from the goal of gaining French and Flemish uency.

ii. Pluralism-Oriented, Multilingual Discourses Layered on top of these defensive discourses that have been built up by years of internal Belgian conict, is a set of newer international discourses that have gained prominence with the rising visibility and relevance of the European Union and other globalizing factors. These discourses support multiculturalism, intercultural exchange, and respect for mother tongues (Bollen and Baten, 2006; Jacobs, 2004b). Belgian politicians participate in the EU dialogue around a desire for trilingual citizens (COM, 2003). Modern and progressive voices in the media support the idea of a richly heterogenous Belgian community (van Parijs, 2007). As a cross-cutting international force, this discussion has permeated both the French and Flemish communities and runs counter to the defensive monolingual French and Flemish discourses that Belgians have pursued for nearly 200 years. Experiencing both types of discourses in multiple contexts, primary school directors must mediate the conicting demands for monolingual immersion coming from their French / Flemish community administration, and the pedagogical needs of their minority students. ___________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Two: Historical Context and a Review of the Literature 31

2.7 Moving towards Field Research: The Central Role of Belgian Primary School Directors
The previous sections of this chapter have shown that while French and Flemish education policies demand a monolingual school culture, school directors independently manage the resources, teachers, and curricula in their schools as they see t. We might posit then, that if particular school directors were inclined to support multicultural and multilingual environments (or at least use empowering practices), their schools might look very different. Their students might perform differently as well. In any scenario, school directors are certainly a focal point for minority language integration. Therefore, probing the degree to which directors participate in defensive discourses versus multilingual / multicultural discourses would shed tremendous light on the reasons why and ways that non-autochthonous pupils are integrated in Belgium. In the following chapter I lay out a research direction that will attempt to answer these questions. I hope to gain a meaningful glimpse into primary school directors views and practices beyond what can be gleaned from an armchair policy analysis.

32

CHAPTER THREE: Methodology


__________________________________________________________________________ The research focus on How and why primary school practitioners use monolingual and multilingual pedagogical approaches with minority language speakers guided the selection of all aspects of methodological choice. This chapter describes the case-based qualitative research design and reasons for its selection. In brief: data were gathered using a semi-structured interview format with specic thematic prompts combined with an openness to organic participant content. Selection of participants was done according to the a priori groups of French and Flemish school directors in order to open the possibility for comparison. Limitations to the study due to case selection and issues of language and translation are discussed. Quality was ensured by a constant comparative process, and an open consultative relationship with research participants who validated the authenticity of their responses. This was important not only for the reliability and validity of the data, but also for ensuring that the meaning generated was ethically sound, and did not manipulate participant viewpoints. Data analysis was done using thematic coding, a process developed by Uwe Flick (2009), which is a modication of Strausss grounded theory process (Strauss, 1987). The process allows for a more systematic comparison between cases, and aims to analyze the variety and distribution of perspectives across distinct social groups (Flick, 2009). The broader utility of my data is not made through statistical generalizability, anthropological thick description, or direct case transferability, but rather through a set of delicate case explorations, which aims to inform and develop theory (Yin, 2003). I address some issues of reliability, validity and generalizability in the nal part of this chapter. __________________________________________________________________________

3.1 Selection of Research Methodology


Semi-structured interviews were used to collect the empirical data for this study. The research questions, in conjunction with an assessment of participant proles and desired case generalizability were the legitimizing factors in determining the concrete analytical methods (Yin 2003). Given the complexity involved in perceptual accounts, interview methods were deemed more appropriate than quantitative or survey methods for assessing the views of principals (Blaikie, 2007; Byrne, 2005; Ragin, 2004; Dyson and Genishi, 2005). The clarity of an interview narrative is an elegant way to weave through densely tangled political and historical context (Cillers, 2005). The decision to conduct the

Chapter Three: Methodology 33

interviews in person, as opposed to over the telephone, was made so that I could put the participants at ease, introduce them to the study, and absorb a bit of their professional context. __________________________________________________________________________

3.2 Participant Selection


I restricted my potential interview participants to the set of primary school directors working in publicly funded schools within the 19 municipalities of the Brussels capital region. Looking specically at schools with a high percentage of non-native speakers, I contacted 63 school directors by phone and mailed letters and nally recruited 12 directors to participate: six from each of the French and Flemish communities. For the purpose of isolating, to the degree possible, the themes relevant to minority speaker integration, I used purposive sampling to select cases (Malmberg, 2011). All school directors freely chose to participate, and were offered their choice of time to meet. In an effort to reach a variety of socio-economic contexts, social heritages, and linguistic contexts, I made a deliberate attempt to reach out to directors working in a variety of neighborhoods across Brussels. While I make no claims of representativeness of my sample, I do think that the wide selection of neighborhoods and student demographics broadens the validity and enriches the portraiture aspect of my study. Directors came from 5 municipalities: 1000 Bruxelles-Ville / Stad Brussel, 1020 Laken / Laeken, 1040 Etterbeek, 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean / Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, 1030 Schaerbeek. __________________________________________________________________________

3.3 Semi-Structured Interviews


Fieldwork occurred between May 10 and May 19, 2011. Each interview lasted between 40 minutes and 70 minutes, and was conducted in the school directors ofce. Every effort was made to put participants at ease concerning the use and publication of their responses. See Appendices A, B, and C for the Participant introductory letter, consent form and CUREC approval. See Appendices F and G for sample interviews. A total of six French and six Flemish directors were interviewed. I conducted all interviews in English, following a desire to treat all participants equitably, and to eliminate the need for a translator. There were two exceptions: one Flemish interview was conducted in Flemish through a translator since the participant told me when I arrived that she not feel comfortable speaking in English, and one French

Chapter Three: Methodology 34

interview was done in French (without a translator) because the director decided that my French was stronger than her English. I audio-recorded all interviews, transcribed them, and sent them to the interviewees for conrmation. I piloted my interview schedules with comparative education masters students in England and made modications to my questions before arriving in Brussels based on their constructive feedback. __________________________________________________________________________

3.4 Methodological Limitations


As a small, case-based study, there are certain unavoidable limitations to the study. Time and nancial restrictions necessitated a manageable number of participants. The process of opinion formation could not be studied over time because of the snapshot of views at the time of the interview. Lack of biographical information prior to meeting school directors meant that I could not control for differences in age, experience, and personal history that may have shaped participants opinions regarding instruction for non-autochthonous children. This study should not be seen as a representative sampling of Belgian primary school directors views, but rather as an exploratory and descriptive study that moves participant perspectives into focus for theory development. i. Recognizing, Addressing, and Minimizing Methodological Risks To mitigate my methodological risk factors, I attempted to codify them and anticipate them. Methodological aws are artifacts of both human and design errors which can never be fully eliminated, but when properly brought to light, can enrich the validity and reliability of research results. Viswanathans taxonomy of sources of research error differentiates two types: researcher-related sources of error, and data-related sources of error (Viswanathan, 2005). I treat each one in more depth below.
Random
Researcher-related
Errors of execution or interpretation Personality traits of interviewees

Systematic
Case Selection Bias; Reliability of interviews (interview protocol and meaning transmission); Inappropriate certainty assumed Social Desirability; Language / Translation (English medium); Selective memory

Data-related (interview respondents)

(Adapted from Viswanathan, 2005)

Chapter Three: Methodology 35

ii. Case Selection Bias The issue of sampling is the single largest concern for this study, which is so heavily casebased. Setting the boundaries for case inclusion is a theory-laden, concept-intensive process (Ragin, 2004: 133). To make the most of my limited time in the eld, I used purposive sampling so as to ensure participants would have something to say about minority language speaking students and inclusionary practices (Flyvbjerg, 2006). Of course, I cannot report on the views of people I did not interview. So my participant selection was the single largest determination of the results uncovered. I mitigated case selection bias by reaching out to all state-funded primary school directors in the city of Brussels who fullled my criteria. The individuals who were willing to participate in a one hour long interview in English were enrolled in the study until six of each community were enrolled. The participant group may be less representative of the entire set of primary school directors in Brussels because willingness and ability to speak English was an inclusion criterion. For instance, we might hypothesize that these Englishspeaking participants might have a more favorable opinion of multi-lingual instruction.The exploratory and descriptive nature of this study is not diminished, however, by lack of representativeness of the participant group. The systematic and standardized format of the interviews (in English as opposed to a mixture of languages which would necessitate translators) was important for maintaining an unbiased methodology. Despite the small number of participants, over the span of my 12 interviews, themes and responses began to repeat in such a way as to suggest further interviewing would conrm the responses already recorded. By no means do I claim to have fully saturated the full range of participant views on multilingual and monolingual instruction for nonautochthonous children in Brussels; however, my participant group offered a diversity of viewpoints, and this suggests that the goal of exploring and describing a wide range of views was accomplished.

iii. Reliability of Interviews As some theorists suggest, interviews are a meaning-making activity that transcend the transmission of objective fact. John Schostak (2006) describes an interview as: not a tool but an encounter, an event amongst other events in the lives of people. Each encounter involves negotiations, calculations, interpretations. [...] At the heart of the interview, therefore, there are essential (or necessary) discrepancies,

Chapter Three: Methodology 36

differences between views, a continual postponement of certitude and comprehensibility. (Schostak, 2006: p15) Interviews navigate the distance between fact and meaning. So while the interview may be an imperfect medium for uncovering objective reality, it is appropriate for recording opinions, subjective knowledge, and perspectives (Yin, 2003). The communicative aspect of the interview necessitates interpretation and permits the possibility of misunderstanding the intent of the interviewee, however within a structuralist theoretical framework of meaning-making, interviews are a theoretically sound methodological choice. The skewedness that may result from participants feeling pressured to give socially desirable responses is, however, a real challenge to the in-person interview (Viswanathan, 2005). Participants may wish to present themselves in a favorable light. The pressure to shade truth to t the status quo is a certain methodological risk that I attempted to mitigate by developing a relaxed, friendly and professional rapport. I assured participants that their responses would not be reported in the media, would always remain anonymous, and would not be delivered to their superiors. I emphasized in my letter of introduction and opening remarks that I was interested in their honest opinion, and was in no position to judge their views or the efcacy of their actions. iv. Language and Translation The issue of language medium was a methodological risk that I approached with delicacy, considering language was a central issue of the interview and highly politicized. I settled on conducting all interviews in English both because English is a neutral lingua franca in Brussels (van Parijs, 2007), and because I would have been unable to conduct interviews in Dutch with my Flemish community directors. This seemed preferable to the error that would be introduced in using translators. __________________________________________________________________________

3.5. Quality Management: Procedural Audit for Data Collection


To improve the quality of my data, I undertook reasonable measures of cross-interview standardization. My semi-structured interview schedule used the same introductory comments and introduced the same themes to participants for consideration. This was done to guide a homogenous tone between the interviews and improve consistency of results (Robson, 1993: 238). After gaining permission, I audio-recorded interviews to reduce the interpretive bias and loss of information. I also took notes in a specially

Chapter Three: Methodology 37

designed data collection grid which ensured that I would touch on each important theme (Evangelou, 2011). After conducting the interviews, I transcribed them and emailed my transcripts to participants for their review. Some minor corrections were offered, and I included those changes in the nal version of the transcripts. __________________________________________________________________________

3.6 Ethical Considerations


I designed the research program according to BERA guidelines and obtained CUREC approval from the University of Oxford prior to conducting interviews. No vulnerable populations were included in this study. There was a low risk of physical or emotional harm during the interviews. In general I felt that my subjects rather enjoyed their time speaking with a junior researcher in education who showed an interest in their work. The ethical challenges involved in the conceptualization and interpretation of interview data need to be considered, however. As Shastok (2006) points out, listening to an interview, reading a transcript, and synthesizing data are not innocent activities. By creating an interpretation of their words, I necessarily bring my own personal history and set of assumptions to the project. To mitigate unconscious bias, I took a neutral approach of recording interviewee responses and a exible interview technique that allowed participants to guide the path of the interview within the guided themes of the study. My analysis, which is detailed in the next section, used a naturalistic coding approach that built upon the themes that the participants presented. __________________________________________________________________________

3.7 Data Analysis: Thematic Coding


I analyzed my data according to the thematic analysis procedure developed by Uwe Flick (2009). Derived from Strauss and Glasers widely used Grounded Theory approach, this procedure deepens the analysis of the single case and improves the comparability of data across groups. Flick says it is a well-suited procedure for analyzing the distribution of perspectives on a phenomenon or process (Flick, 2009: 318). By distilling interview results to summarized form, this process emphasizes rst deep individual case analysis and then group comparison (ibid.).

Chapter Three: Methodology 38

The steps of the process are: 1) develop a short summary and tag line for each case, 2) continually check and modify these summaries as necessary, 3) afx codes to observed themes in each transcript and summary with an open mind to continual change and
improvement of interpretation, 4) coalesce the assembled themes into a single thematic

coding base 5) present the results and thematic patterns, for instance in a table that separates participant groups (Flick 2009). This method is not so different from Miles and Hubermans (1994) qualitative data analysis whereby a gentle sifting of data renders themes, relationships between themes and differences between subgroups. Gradually patterns emerge which, depending on the theoretical framework employed, may contribute to generalizations, an improved relatability of case presentation, or theory development (Miles and Huberman, 1994). __________________________________________________________________________

3.8 Quality: Reliability, Validity and Authenticity


For small-scale research studies such as this one, the main indicators of overall quality are the authenticity of the data, the clarity of the data presentation, and the soundness of the data analysis (Bush, 2002). A deep investigation into the ontological, epistemological, and philosophical basis of truth is beyond the scope of this project. Hammersley (1987) rightly points out that there is a large body of often conicting literature on the denition of reliability and validity in qualitative research. However, I wish to lay out a rubric for assessing the quality of this work. Using Lincoln and Gubas (1986) concept of rigor that assesses the authenticity and trustworthiness of qualitative research, I modify the conventional notions of internal validity, external validity, reliability, and objectivity for a constructivist / naturalist paradigm. Objectivity in the positivist tradition is concerned with reaching absolute truth statements (Flyvbjerg, 2006). It is translated to conrmability in a theoretical framework that understands multiple subjective realities to exist as a matter of social and contextual constructions (Lincoln and Guba, 1986: pg 77). Qualitative research quality can be improved by ensuring data is conrmable: making data freely available for internal and external audit. High quality research accurately records data, and fairly and neutrally represents all participant responses. This study employed pre-eld work piloting, duringinterview accurate recording, and post-interview transcript conrmation. Always striving to use a transparent and conrmable research design, I attempted to capture the subtlety of qualitative data and to create what Dyson and Genishi (2005) would call a quilt of persuasive images.

Chapter Three: Methodology 39

Internal validity, the degree to which research measures what it purports to measure, is difcult to assess in qualitative research (Robson, 1993: 70). Lincoln and Guba (1986) suggest using credibility as an alternative to the quantitative / conventional notion of internal validity. There are two aspects of credibility in my research study: 1) the degree to which recorded opinions are true representations of participant opinions, and 2) the degree to which the data analysis is a credible interpretation of the overall opinions of participants. To address the rst: it is my belief that participants were at ease, and understood their freedom and anonymity well enough to offer honest answers to my questions. Of course validity on this count may uctuate on an interview by interview basis (see section on social desirability risk mediation above). Most participants opened up and became quite friendly to me, frequently offering to show me around their school, stay in contact via email, and offering me documentation of their school processes. To address the second aspect: Words are rich data. Their interpretation will always be open to some degree of exibility, but the meaning that they create in the listeners mind is a valid interpretation in its own right. The interviewer inuences the meaning-making (Schostak, 2006), and this is not a aw of the research design. I improved the neutrality of my interpretation through a constant comparative process whereby I often revisited thematic codes and summaries (Flick, 2009: 407). Case studies that explore causal processes gain internal validity through triangulation (Bush, 2002). This case study, however, was a descriptive analysis that aimed to record perceptions faithfully and to make thematic comparisons. Therefore my internal validity was improved by subtle observations, good listening and accurate reporting, but triangulation which takes aim at an objective truth record was not necessary to ensure good quality analysis (Yin, 2003). Reliability, which in the positivist tradition refers to the reproducibility of research results under similar conditions by another researcher, is a contentious idea in the context of qualitative research (Hammersley, 1987; Lehner, 1979). There is of course no way to conduct semi-structured interviews in an identical way; each one will be different by nature of the rapport that I am able to establish with my interview subjects and the content of their responses. Lincoln and Guba suggest analyzing the dependability of the process in a naturalistic paradigm. They suggest creating an audit trail for the research process so that readers may understand the exact process that led to the results and interpret them themselves (Lincoln and Guba, 1986).

Chapter Three: Methodology 40

Interesting to consider is the potential tension between validity and reliability in interviewbased data (Bush, 2002). Honest answers depend on a good rapport between interviewer and participant, which in turn depends on non-rigid (non-formulaic) human interaction. Deviation from an interview schedule may in fact increase the validity of the results (the honest divulging of information and opinion) while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of replicability by another researcher following the same procedure (ibid.). I managed this tension by using a semi-structured interview with similar thematic questions and framing, but approached participants with a exible and friendly demeanor. External Validity refers to the degree to which the case is relevant or useful to the interpretation of other cases, or the degree to which a case speaks to theory. Working from a constructivist / naturalistic paradigm, I do not suggest that my data speak to universal truths or generalizable facts; however, I do suggest that my data have the potential to reect subjective truths, which can be instructive and relevant to cases beyond the ones here. I give this more attention in the next section. __________________________________________________________________________

3.9 Generalizability and Theory Development


The nature and scope of insights that can be gleaned from small-scale studies such as the present study are often misunderstood (Flyvbjerg, 2006; Hammersley, 1987). Whereas quantitative research has been traditionally marked by efforts to make generalizable statements about a universal truth by examining a representative instantiation of a phenomenon, qualitative research is more often used to uncover a deeper understanding of reasons, rationales, and interactions between actors and their contexts. Therefore, application to theory, transferability and authenticity of representation are better metrics for the worthwhileness of a qualitative study such as this one (Lincoln and Guba, 1986). The relevance of this study to others will be through an extrapolation of knowledge from case to theory, not from case to case, or from case to universal truth. The themes I will be exploring are perspectives on monolingual instruction, the role of multilinguality in highly diverse school settings, the role of domestic political discourse on minority populations, and the role of parental engagement. Working within a paradigm that understands individuals to be accurate purveyors of their own contextualized truth, I attempt to give a true reading of my participants self-described nested societal, personal, and networked realities. Context-specicity increases the relatability of my work, not decreases it.

Chapter Three: Methodology 41

In general, the broader use of this study is in how it illuminates themes, generates questions in the mind of the reader, and prompts further exploration of theories (Yin, 2003). In the following chapter, I elaborate the results of my research, and gradually tease out thematic patterns, ultimately bringing attention to the distinct differences and similarities of views held by French and Flemish school directors vis vis their relationship with minority pupils.

42

CHAPTER FOUR: Results and Findings


___________________________________________________________________________ This chapter presents the results of my eld research. I present my ndings in a thematic analysis; French and Flemish interviewees being agged separately. All interview summaries can be found in Appendix E, and two sample interviews in Appendices F and G. I elicited responses on how schools taught the language of instruction to nonautochthonous pupils (Research Question 1), and reasons why French and Flemish ought to be taught to minority language speaking pupils (Research Question 2). Overarching these concerns was the relative importance of maintaining a monolingual environment and the role of multilinguality and minority language use in schools. The rst ve subsections of this chapter describe themes that emerged organically from participants responses. In the second section of this chapter, I offer a presentation of the similarities and differences observed in the practices and opinions of French and Flemish primary school directors. In the third section, I offer a higher level analysis of the socio-cultural patterns that are gradually emerging with an eye toward uncovering the discourses that are actually used. Investigating the degree to which domestic political tension and international multiculturalism trickle down to school director speech, will be instructive for the purposes of uncovering the reality of minority student education. ___________________________________________________________________________

4.1 Views on Maintaining a Monolingual Environment


i. Flemish All of the Flemish principals in my study expressed the view that school ought to provide a linguistic immersion experience for children. My participants worked with, and in some cases had created, ofcial policies of 100% Flemish usage in school during the school day. Using French or other languages was seen as a weakness, or an inability to maintain the monolingual environment, and was portrayed as detrimental to the long-term linguistic development of non-autochthonous children. Participants said that the Flemish community

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 43

did not forbid the use of French or other languages in school, but that the community expected all instruction to be carried out in Flemish. In an effort to increase the depth of Flemish immersion, two Flemish school directors said that they chastised children in the halls for speaking their mother tongue (Flem 1 and Flem 3). The remaining four participants said that they simply remind children that they ought to be practicing Flemish if they heard a child speaking a non-Flemish language. Three participants said that they would prefer to have more students who came from Flemish speaking families enroll in their school. An increase in the overall percentage of uent Flemish speakers would help non-autochthonous children learn Flemish faster, they felt. One director (at a school in a wealthier district) had even gone so far as to insist that at least one parent of each student know Dutch. In our school parents speak Dutch. One or both of them. That is a rule I made at this school (Flem 3). The phenomenon of concentration schools is prevalent in the Flemish community network. Neighborhood factors as well as an old rst-come-rst-served enrollment process used to enable well-prepared parents to enroll their children in higher-performing schools that they preferred. The result was a stratication between highly competitive, nearly homogenous native Flemish schools, and schools full of students with a foreign background (Luciak 2004). While concentration schools are still a phenomenon in Brussels, participants in this study said that the situation was changing, due to a new online school registration system. The system asks parents to rank ve schools and then automatically assigns children after all preferences have been entered. Flemish school directors interviewed here specically mentioned that this was improving the balance of the student population and was helping minority language speakers learn Flemish faster. Despite the improving situation, however, native Flemish dominated schools still exist. They have a very high reputation, are academically challenging and predominantly send their students to university-track high schools. In contrast, majority minority schools are have lower socio-economic background families enrolled, and overwhelmingly send their students to technical and vocational high schools (Leman, 1991; Luciak, 2004). Two Flemish school directors (Flem 2 and Flem 5) said that attending Flemish preschool (maternelle) was exemplary preparation for primary school. Exposure to Dutch starting at 2.5 years old completely leveled the playing eld with native Flemish families, they felt, since children that young are like sponges. They suggested that strong outreach to encourage minority language parents to enroll their children in preschool would improve minority students success. Of course, recent immigrant families who have not had the

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 44

chance to send their children to Flemish language preschool would not have this advantage. ii. French All of the French school directors in this study attempted to give monolingual French instruction in their schools. School directors felt that surrounding children with good French -- as opposed to street French which uses slang words and elements of other languages -- was the best way to inculcate good speaking and communication habits. One school director (Fren 2) disagreed that French immersion bath classes were the best for all students, however, since every student learns at a different pace and needs personalized attention. None of the participants offered transition classes (bilingual classes that are designed to acclimatize students to a new language of instruction) for non-autochthonous students, yet ve schools employed specialist teachers who would remove children from their classes on a regular (weekly or biweekly) basis to work on basic French until adequate uency was achieved. Many students with minority language speaking parents have a base of French because they hear French on the streets of Brussels, and because many minority cultures in Brussels have francophone roots (francophone African cultures in particular). Participants in this study felt that childrens minority identities were not at odds with the French Belgian identity, and that they could in fact be blended. Thus, offering monolingual French instruction was not seen as counter to supporting students individual cultural identities. ___________________________________________________________________________

4.2 Views on Multilinguality and the Role of Minority Languages in School


i. Flemish All Flemish directors said that they supported their students becoming or maintaing multiple language uencies. There was a gap, however, between their professed positive views on minority language bilingualism and the school activities undertaken to support it. Some schools invited students to present their culture in interdisciplinary World

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 45

Orientation classes.5 One school (Flem 6) had organized a Day of Languages in September where all students were encouraged to share aspects of their home culture, and all 30 languages spoken by students were represented. Other directors said that there was not enough time in the day to allow students to talk about mother culture and language. In an effort to increase equity, they tried to give minority language speaking children a maximally immersive environment (free of their mother tongue) so that they could catch up with autochthonous Flemish children. Flemish directors described the daunting challenge of maintaining a Dutch language environment where students are more likely to speak French in the playground and after school. Three Flemish school directors said that learning three languages simultaneously (the mother tongue at home, French on the street, and Dutch in school) was too much or too difcult. Their intentions were very good; they feared their students would not succeed if pulled in too many directions at once. The general sentiment that zerolinguality was a real possibility pushed directors to redouble their efforts to teach minority students uent Flemish. One participant said that the single greatest reason children struggled in school was their linguistic deciency. Pulling out a sheet of test scores from a class, she said: Lets see who has problems. Yassin, Arabic. Maire - thats something else. Elliot Speaking French at home. Zacharey - Arabic. Hajar - Arabic. Sarah - Arabic, Nordin- Arabic. Loubna - Arabic. Imam - Arabic, Yassin - Arabic. You see? (Flem 3).

ii. French The French directors I interviewed all heralded multilinguality as a richness. In the words of one director Of course multicuturality is a plus. It is a richness, really! Speaking different languages is of course extraordinary! Who would say the opposite? (Fren 2). Indeed. The threat of being perceived as discriminatory prevents school directors from denigrating the importance of multilingualism. Three French school directors said that it was much easier to teach students French if their home language was already strong, so one reason for supporting mother tongue uency was that it aided French language acquisition. There was also a general sense that Integrated biology, geology, history, civics, technology and society classes in Flemish Primary schools
5

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 46

the French Belgian identity was blend-able with minority identities. French, because it is spoken on the streets and in many of the students countries of origin, is seen as already consistent with minority cultures. There were differences in the enthusiasm with which directors embraced minority language use in school. Some directors felt that there was a space for linguistic and cultural sharing during the school day, while others thought it could only happen extracurricularly. Participants felt that when children spoke minority languages among themselves they were falling back on an easy crutch, shortchanging their time for practicing French, and thus harming their own chances for uency in French. Thus directors said that they encouraged students to speak in French in the halls, during games, and at lunch, yet did not punish children for using their mother tongue. The fact that some students attended Arabic school on the weekends was perceived as problematic by some French principals. They cited a need for students to relax and play, which was made impossible by going to school seven days a week. In the words of one participant: Almost all children [are] coming to school Monday to Friday. Then Saturday and Sunday they go to Arabic school. Most of them. Sometimes Wednesday afternoon. So they are always all the time in school. And that is horrible. For me that is a problem because they are too tired. We cant do that to them. (Fren 5) She felt that parents were disadvantaging their children by prioritizing learning Arabic over French. Not going so far as to suggest abandoning Arabic (or another home language), she did say that French was more useful in Belgium, and was necessary for nding a job whereas Arabic was not. One French school (Fren 6) employed teachers who were bilingual in minority languages (Arabic and Turkish) while the other schools did not. ___________________________________________________________________________

4.3 Views on the Relative Use of Individual and Group Learning


There was wide variation both within and between community groups with regard to the appropriate use of individual tuition. Some participants said that the holistic nature of classes should not be interrupted by removing children for basic language skill development. Others believed that children would benet more from direct work with a

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 47

specialist a few times per week in a small group or one-on-one. All school directors had the freedom to allocate funds to hire language acquisition specialists but not all did so. i. Flemish Flemish directors by and large maintained the integrity of the whole class and eschewed specialists who would remove students to work on Dutch as a subject. Because many of their students had lagging Flemish uency, they suggested that hiring language specialists to work with all of their students individually would be unreasonable. Two Flemish school directors, admittedly working in schools where the general level of Flemish uency was higher, said that they employed specialist teachers to pull children out of their classes for nonlinguistic reasons, namely mathematics and behavioral issues. All Flemish directors in the study said that they provided engaging opportunities to expose children to Flemish throughout their school day in a variety of environments. They described a variety of creative and interactive activities that allowed students to practice their speaking, reading, and writing in applied ways. Extracurricular activities, sports, theater, and computer classes were all often used as fun ways to stimulate children to use Flemish in group settings. ii. French Of the six French school directors I interviewed, ve employed language acquisition specialists to pull children out of their classrooms for targeted basic French language tuition. They described using informal activities, games, and extracurricular programs to help students learn French in both small and larger groups. Money from the French ministry provided through ducation diffrencie (previously called discrimination positive)6 made this possible. These participants said that once children reached a certain level they could join the class normally, and that the job of the specialists was to quickly bring children up to that level. Individual tuition and small group work were both used. One school (Fren 3) attempted to group children by linguistic origin for their French acquisition classes. The one exception was the director of Fren 4 who said We believe in the mixity. We dont want to make children feel apart because they dont speak French. She opted to hire more social workers and general classroom teachers to reduce the average class size instead of hiring specialists to remove students from their classes. She said that keeping the whole
6

differentiated education (previously called positive discrimination)

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 48

class together improved all students skills, made them feel more at home, and encouraged students to teach each other. ___________________________________________________________________________

4.4 Views on the Role of Parents and Community Members in the School
All participants said that involving parents and community members was crucial for helping students secure their language development and succeed in school. i. Flemish All the Flemish participants said that parental involvement in school was important. They said that parents could provide a strong role model for students, so encouraging nonFlemish speaking parents to take Flemish classes would improve the emotional investment of their children in learning Flemish. Parents with at least a basic understanding of Flemish can help their children with homework. And although participants were quick to add that having Flemish-speaking parents was not a prerequisite for success, participants felt that parents who made an effort to learn Flemish helped their children. In the words of one participant: Most of the mothers who follow the Flemish lessons, the results of their children are also better (Flem 4). Three schools offered Flemish language classes free of charge to parents, and the rest advised parents about where to nd other free classes in the neighborhood. Parents were always free to bring a friend to translate in parent conferences. There was an instant translation service that could be accessed via telephone which school directors could use to communicate with minority language parents. This was paid for by the Flemish community or VBB 7. The degree to which school directors were willing to translate from Dutch into French for parents varied. All participants said they preferred speaking in Dutch with parents; however some were willing to translate while others were not. The director from School Flem 5 articulated her complex feelings on the issue:

The The Brussels priority project (VBB) is a Flemish community organization that intends to teach teachers and schools how to cope in a professional way with pupils having learning and developmental disadvantages {...} and optimise the co-operation and co-ordination with the various education actors and to improve the co-ordinating capacity of schools (Ministry of the Flemish Community Educational Information and Documentation Division, 2005)

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 49

The community does not forbid to speak another language, or to speak French. But it is very sensitive in Brussels between French and Dutch. And some French parents they prefer that their children come to a Dutch language school so that they learn Dutch. But then they [the parents] arrive here and they refuse to speak Dutch to the teachers and Director. Then often we only speak Dutch. Because they choose to come to a Dutch school. But when it comes to Arabic or Turkish parents we often try the few things that we have to communicate we will use. So then we will also use the French language. Its difcult to explain.... because its a political thing. And something between Dutch and French actually. As a Dutch person or an organization you always have a feeling that you have to protect your language. Because before you know, you will adopt yourself in French and we will only speak French, and there will be no Dutch. So thats why we are sometimes very strict about it. (Flem 5) Her view reects a broadly felt opinion among the Flemish community that the French speaking majority belittles or diminishes the importance of Flemish in the city of Brussels. Considering Flemish speakers conform to French in many allegedly bilingual institutions, interviewees said that it was not unreasonable to insist on a completely Flemish atmosphere in their own school. ii. French French directors most often said that making children feel comfortable in school was a priority. Directors wanted to improve the connection between school and home, and smooth the transition to school for newly arrived minority students. School directors observed that many of their students faced health disadvantages such as poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and poor hygiene. They suggested that the French community could improve childrens academic performance by investing in social services and parent outreach to educate care-givers about the importance of basic provisions. Participants sought out ways to teach French to parents who did not speak it. Most schools offered free French classes for parents. Some schools offered classes three times a week, while others only offered them once a month. This improved communication efforts with families, assisted children with their homework, and introduced parents to other social services available to them from the French community and neighborhood. Classes for parents (mothers especially) commonly included French literacy, French speaking skills, and the bienitre denfant 8. For health, how to play with the children, how to eat. Spelling games. Correct time to go to bed (Fren 5). Interview participants also cited the
8

wellbeing of the child

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 50

improvement of childrens academic results whose parents were learning Flemish, saying that parents who showed an interest in learning were good role models for their children. Some directors were more willing than others to go out of their way to ensure parents were well connected and informed. Three directors hired translators to be present for parent-teacher conferences with minority language parents. Two directors sent home letters in French supplemented by pictograms, oral communication and translations. All directors said that they were happy to speak to parents to explain school processes, and two directors offered regular open ofce hours for parents to ask questions. ___________________________________________________________________________

4.5 Rationales for Teaching French and Flemish to Minority Language Speaking Students
The above subsections (1.1-1.4) have described how primary school directors went about teaching minority language speaker students French and Flemish in Brussels. I turn now to why directors felt it was important to do so (Research Question 2). Similarities and differences in responses will be treated in the following section. i. Flemish As a group, Flemish directors said that helping their students to succeed in secondary school and nd a job in Brussels were the most important reasons for teaching minority language speakers Flemish. They said that better paying jobs and more advanced opportunities all required uency in French and Flemish, so ensuring their students had a good grounding was essential. Three Flemish directors also said that Flemish needed to be offered in schools since it is a Belgian national language. In the words of one participant: Lets say we have three languages in Belgium! So its important that there are schools in Dutch in the principal city of the country, eh? Its our history that we have three languages! (Flem 6). Only one of the Flemish directors interviewed explicitly mentioned the need to protect Dutch / Flemish against the encroachment of French in Brussels as a reason to teach minority language speakers Flemish (Flem 3). The other Flemish directors felt secure in the established position of Flemish in Belgium. Voicing pride in the very good reputation that Flemish schools have for being higher quality than French schools overall, these

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 51

directors said that they did not wish to recruit more non-Flemish speakers to their school, and would in fact prefer if more native Flemish speakers enrolled in their school to increase the percentage of uent students. This suggests that they do not see teaching Flemish to non-Flemish speakers as an evangelical task, or one wrapped up in political recruitment of sympathetic voters as some have suggested (Pullman 2007). ii. French Functional uency for the purpose of nding a job was the main rationale given by all French directors. Many participants seemed to imply that their students would be entering service-oriented jobs or other employment that did not require a university degree. Thus they often cited the need to be able to speak to customers in both French and Flemish. Directors also said students increasingly needed English to be competitive on the labor market. Two French directors (Fren 2 and Fren 5) said that there was a danger of their students becoming zerolingual if they did not learn to read, write, and speak French uently. They said that if students only knew street French, they would not have a whole language. In general school directors thought that learning French was an obvious necessity for living in Brussels. None of the participants suggested that French should be taught instead of Flemish, however, and all were quite respectful of the Flemish community. Lastly, French participants said that students needed to learn French to reduce their risk of repeating years of school, and of failing the primary school leaving exam. Some directors discussed very high repetition rates among their minority students, and were disappointed with how this prompted students to drop out of school in secondary school. All of the French participants said that at least some of their students were compelled to attend a year-long classe passerelle at age 12 due to failing the primary school leaving exam. Interviewees said that many or most of their minority students entered professional and technical schools, although they were not given ofcial records of their students choices for secondary school.

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 52

___________________________________________________________________________

4.6 Similarities and Differences between French and Flemish Respondents


Both French and Flemish schools, despite operating under independent education ministries, share a monolingual immersion approach to teaching non-autochthonous children the language of instruction. All school directors interviewed for this study cited some variance from this monolingual policy, however. Explaining that making children feel comfortable in school was their top priority, both French and Flemish directors took a more lenient approach to children at the beginning of their transition process, or to children who came from disadvantaged backgrounds. Participants in both communities said majority minority schools were a signicant barrier to language acquisition. They strongly emphasized that without a uent student body in the language of instruction, it is harder to achieve an immersive language experience for non-autochthonous students. Remarkably lacking from both French and Flemish participant responses was any articulation of explicit tension between French and Flemish groups. Neither French nor Flemish participants cited a desire to increase the number of French/Flemish speakers for political inuence. In the words of one French participant: I can say to you sincerely, Ive never had one problem with a Dutch speaking person, with a Flemish person. So its strange for us. To hear what we hear on the radio or see on the television. I dont understand. Because between the human beings, there are no problems. But in politics it is so intricate sometimes. (Fren 2) In addition to these similarities, there were some observed differences between the French and Flemish systems: Flemish participants were very aware of their minority status in Brussels (between 10 and 15% of Brussels residents are native Flemish speakers). They appeared a bit more defensive about maintaining a monolingual school environment than their French counterparts did; however, they were not motivated by a desire to close out other cultures.

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 53

There was more fear among the Flemish directors that children might become zerolingual-- only partially literate -- due to the pressures on children to learn three languages. The Flemish system has made primary school enrollment more random through an online inscription system, and has begun to diversify its schools. Neighborhood factors and changing demographics are altering the landscape of school populations. The French participants were slightly more tolerant of immigrant language use in their schools -- perhaps because minority languages are seen as not mutually exclusive with French. A blending was encouraged between francophone African and other cultures with French Belgian culture. It is also possible that French directors felt under less pressure to ensure uency in three languages, which the Flemish directors felt. In the table below, I present a side-by-side comparison of nine objective elements about school governance and educational procedures in the French and Flemish communities, as reported by the 12 interview participants. Table 1: Nine Basic Elements of French and Flemish Schools in Brussels as Reported by School Directors Elements
1. Academic Standards

French
Le Programme sets performance targets and competencies for each grade level. These standards are generally well respected by practitioners.

Flemish
Standards set by the Flanders ministry. Additional standards given in Catholic, and Municipal schools. Seen as more challenging than French standards.

2. Curricula

School director selects curricula (with teachers), although it is guided by Le Programme.

School director selects curricula (with teachers).

3. Reception of Foreigners

Directors employ a variety of techniques. Students usually enter a general class, and are then pulled out for individual basic French tuition. Bilingual transition classes are theoretically available for refugees and children who have been in Belgium less than one year, but they are rare (perhaps a dozen in the whole country).

Usually whole classes are maintained. Often additional oating teachers help classroom teachers if language is a problem.

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 54

Elements
4. Assessment

French
High Stakes testing. Standardized and mandatory Primary School leaving exam at the end of 6th year administered by the CEB (certicat dtudes de base). Formal exam after 2nd year of primary school for literacy. In addition, centrally provided tests administered every year by schools internally.

Flemish
Low stakes testing throughout primary school. Optional primary school leaving exam administered internally by schools.

5.Contingency for failing students

Year repetition. Students failing the primary nal exit exam must take an extra year and resit the exam before starting high school.

Teachers / Director confer with parents and recommend a technical or professional secondary school instead of the Humanura (university track secondary school).

6. Ministry Oversight

Inspection from the French community and the social director from municipality.

Inspection every few years (or as needed). Relatively hands-off approach.

7. Funding for Disadvantage d Schools

Discrimination Positive / Education Diffrencie provides more money and teacher-time for schools with high percentages of disadvantaged children. Extra funding provided proportionately to the number of disadvantaged children.

Extra hours given to schools with high percentages of students fullling 5 criteria of disadvantage. School directors may allocate funds and hours at their discretion. Extra funding provided proportionately to the number of disadvantaged children.

8. Teachers Compensation

All francophone teachers have the same salary regardless of school location or type.

All Flemish teachers have the same salary regardless of school location or type. Flemish pay scale is higher than French one.

9. Bilingual staff in schools

Teachers are supposed to be uent in Flemish, although it is almost never used. Minority language-speaking staff are hired at the discretion of the school director.

All Flemish teachers must be uent in French, and this is helpful for times helping French students transition. Minority languagespeaking staff are hired at the discretion of the school director.

Simplication is both necessary and dangerous. Necessary, because distilling knowledge for the purposes of communication is one of the most valuable contributions research can make. Dangerous because generalizations and imprecise terms can mask the complexity

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 55

across and within groups. Therefore, the very brief tabulated summary below, drafted in accordance with the data analysis procedure given by Uwe Flick (2009), should be seen as a helpful tool for examining the overarching trends presented in this study, but should also be seen as an incomplete representation of the complexity offered in the interview process. Please refer to the detailed case summaries for a better illustrative depiction of the views presented. Table 2: Summary of Thematic Discourse Analysis
Chapter section

Emergent Themes
Views on Maintaining a Monolingual Environment

French
Monolingual instruction is preferable and expected.

Flemish
Monolingual instruction is necessary. Sometimes it is strictly enforced.

4.1

4.2

Views on Multilinguality and the Role of Minority Languages in School

Multilinguality seen positively. Minority languages seen as blend-able with French Belgian identity. Little restriction on the use of mother tongues.

Multilinguality seen positively. Minority languages seen as benecial when home conditions are supportive, but possibly detrimental to Flemish uency. Restriction on the use of mother tongues.

4.3

Views on the Relative Use of Individual and Group Learning

Separated tuition favored (as a temporary solution for nonFrench speakers). Group learning maintained once uency is adequate.

Whole group learning favored. Children with general academic problems (math and behavior) separated for help.

4.4

Views on the Role of Parents and Community Members in the School

Parents seen as useful partners. Often many opportunities for involvement in the school.

Parents seen as invaluable partners. Signicant effort to involve parents and improve their uency.

4.5

Rationales for Teaching the Majority Language to Minority Language Speaking Students

Job preparation.

Job preparation. Because Flemish is a national language.

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 56

___________________________________________________________________________

4.7 Higher Level Analysis of Socio-Cultural Patterns


Overwhelmingly, directors say that the social level (the wealth) of their students, not the students mother tongues, is the largest obstacle to uency. Richer students who have literate parents (in any language) and who have books in the home, are much more able to absorb a new language in school.
Concerns about social welfare emerged in every interview I conducted. Directors showed tremendous sensitivity to the difculties their children face in their home-lives. Remaining overall quite agnostic about their students mother tongues, directors said that they merely wished that their students got more social support, family instruction on health (like nutrition, good bedtimes, hygiene), help with homework, and more exposure to cultural activities like museums and theater. i. Tremors of Domestic Political Unrest Some Flemish participants showed frustration at French Belgian parents who made no effort to speak Flemish, even if they were very patient with non-native students. They found it insulting that French parents would use a Flemish community service and not invest some effort in learning the Flemish language. Three Flemish directors perceived French Belgians as privileged, and therefore were unwilling to accommodate them (speak to them in French). Fascinatingly, these same directors were more tolerant of ethnic minority parents inability to speak Flemish, and would happily speak French with Moroccan, Tunisian, Portuguese parents. They said they would use any means they could to communicate. The other three Flemish directors did not have a problem speaking French to French Belgian parents. Additionally, several Flemish directors raised the issue that to them, French schools in Brussels seemed to take a lackadaisical approach to teaching Flemish as a foreign language. They felt that it was unfair for French schools to give the Flemish language short shrift when they themselves went out of their way to teach French to their students starting in the third year.

Chapter Four: Results and Findings 57

The French directors in this study were overall less inclined to feel threatened by Flemish schools or defensive about the need to learn French. They did not raise as many concerns about the way that Flemish schools were run.

ii. Political Premeditation: Not a Part of Flemish School Directors Rationales The hypothesis that school directors are conscious soldiers of a political cause to recruit more speakers of their communitys language from among immigrant populations is not substantiated by the evidence of this study. While perhaps higher level ministry ofcials made premeditated decisions to increase the political stamina of the Flemish community in Brussels through a improvement of the quality of Flemish schools to persuade minority speakers to learn Flemish (see Jacobs, 2004a and Pullman, 2007), none of the Flemish school directors in this study viewed their job as one of linguistic evangelist. Some Flemish school directors said that they would like to see more Flemish schools open in Brussels, but this was not to swell the ranks of Flemish speakers, it was to improve the quality of education by uncrowding schools and reducing class sizes.

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CHAPTER FIVE: Discussion


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In this last chapter, I recontextualize the ndings presented in the last chapter into the historical backdrop of Brussels and examine where the discourse pendulum has swung with regard to minority language speaker instruction. Returning to Cumminss 1986 Minority Language Empowerment Framework, I investigate how the cases here illuminate and offer new insight to that theory. Finally, I offer a critique of the persistence of monolingual school environments, and suggest further avenues for research.

5.1 Understanding Directors Discourses


Asking how directors views t into a historical backdrop is a challenging question. The group of participants was richly heterogeneous (as were their school contexts), and their views uniquely expressed personal histories and relationships. Additionally, the Belgian historical language discourses are overlapping, subtle, and uid. Yet despite these challenges, it is important to attempt to embed these participant views in a historical context to the extent possible, and compare them for the purpose of furthering the discussion around minority language speaker integration (Research Question 2). Therefore, I return to the discourses listed at the end of Chapter 2, and present a tabulated summary before discussing several implications below. Please note that I intentionally omit numerical frequencies, so as to avoid a misleading impression that these data are quantiably generalizable. See Chapter 3 for a full discussion of generalizability. Table 3: Presence of Articulated Discourses in French and Flemish Participants Interviews
Type AssimilationOriented Discourses 1. A discourse in the Flemish community that portrays Flemish / Dutch as endangered in Belgium, and in need of protection. 2. A discourse in the French community that implies Dutch is a lesser language. Flemish very seldom articulated French

AssimilationOriented

not articulated at all

Chapter Five: Discussion 59

Type AssimilationOriented

Discourses 3. A discourse in both communities of cultural otherness that suggests nonstandard dialects of French or Dutch such as street versions are lesser linguistic variations. 4. A discourse in both communities that describes minority language speakers as socio-linguistically disadvantaged or impoverished. 5. A discourse in both communities that suggests minority languages are a harmful distraction from the goal of gaining French and Flemish uency. 6. A set of discourses that supports multiculturalism, intercultural exchange, and the respect for native languages.

Flemish seldom articulated

French often articulated

AssimilationOriented

seldom articulated

articulated

AssimilationOriented

often articulated

seldom articulated

PluralismOriented

articulated by every participant

articulated by every participant

The spectrum of directors opinions about minority languages ranged from very progressive to very conservative. All participants felt that monolingual instruction was the best method for teaching minority language speakers the language of instruction. Working within the legal framework of the 1963 Language Laws that stipulate monolingual instruction, it is notable that all participants at least mentioned appreciation for the minority cultures that they saw in their school and many took action to support multilingual environments (Discourse 6). Participants in both groups cited the need for monolingual instruction to increase time on task to counteract students linguistic disadvantage(Discourse 4).9 They felt that since students heard so much street French, they should be surrounded by correct French (or correct Dutch) as much as possible (Discourse 3). This discourse was strongest among French participants perhaps because street French is seen as a direct competitor to formal French whereas pidgin Flemish is not spoken in the street very much in Brussels. Participants in both groups expressed very little explicit combativeness against the other Belgian community (Discourses 1 and 2). Only one Flemish director suggested that minority students needed to learn Dutch to protect the Dutch language against
9

See Imhoff 1990, and Porter 1990 for similar defenses of monolingual instruction.

Chapter Five: Discussion 60

Frenchication. None of the French directors suggested that Flemish was a lesser language or less important for minority students to learn. Considering the relatively recent legislation that granted EU immigrants the right to vote in local and regional elections (in 2000) and all ve-year residents (in 2006) this seems quite politically placid (Pullan, 2007; Jacobs, 2004a). The lack of a desire to recruit more speakers to their community suggests that domestic political tensions expressed in the media are not as extreme in the lives of everyday people (or they are socially unacceptable to articulate). Flemish participants were more likely to say that minority languages interfered with learning the language of instruction than French directors were (Discourse 5). They said that for minority language speakers, Flemish was a third language (after a home language and street French). Some Flemish directors even went so far as to say that it was unimportant whether or not students learned their parents language. Two French directors expressed concern about their students ability to manage Arabic school on the weekends, but the general sentiment among these French participants was that minority languages were not an impediment to learning French. Viewed in another way, French participants appeared more interested in assimilating their students into the French culture, and encouraged blended identity formation. The Flemish directors meanwhile articulated a respect for separate cultural identities; plurality was a fact of life for them. Interestingly, in addition to any other views expressed, all participants used a positive discourse around multilinguality and the benets of a multicultural school (Discourse 6). Perhaps this was necessary for social acceptability in the interviews. However, listening to interview recordings again, it really does seem that interviewees valued minority contributions and wanted their children to excel multilingually. Is it possible that having pro-monolingual views is not irreconcilable with also having pro-multilingual views? I would suggest that dual discourse this is perhaps the mechanism through which directors mediate their communitys demands for monolingual instruction, their students multilingual backgrounds, and the increasing international pressure to have uency in more than one language. Perhaps what an outsider would consider two irreconcilable views on language policy and practice constitute the rst step toward recognizing the value of minority languages and legitimizing minority identities (Dooly et al., 2009). These data show that the desire to ensure a monolingual school environment and the desire to support a linguistically and culturally plural school environment appear to be

Chapter Five: Discussion 61

reconcilable within the same person. Further research could be done to examine this dual discourse engagement.
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5.2 Analyzing French and Flemish Practice Using a Minority Language Empowerment Framework
Moving from discourse to action, I now turn to the actual practices that directors described (Research Question 1). I summarize them in Jim Cumminss 1986 Minority Language Empowerment Framework, transforming the two column approach for a comparative use. The two columns no longer represent empowering and disabling factors, but rather Flemish and French practices, side by side, with each practice individually labeled as empowering or disabling. The gure below represents a summary of practice, and the heterogeneity of each group should be remembered. Comments that appear to generalize across all participants or the whole language community language community, should instead be understood as the overall impression that the results created in the mind of the researcher while conducting data analysis on discrete responses. This is done in accordance with Uwe Flicks methodology for qualitative thematic analysis and comparison (Flick, 2009).

Chapter Five: Discussion 62

Figure 3: A Parallel Comparative Application of Cumminss 1986 Minority Language Empowerment Framework in Belgian Schools SOCIETAL CONTEXT Dominant Group Dominated Group FLEMISH Context Cultural and Linguistic Incorporation (Additive / Subtractive)
Both Additive and Subtractive: A range of additive actions used, however some schools heavily restricted minority language use and were concerned that studying 3 languages would be overwhelming for minority students. Both Collaborative and Exclusionary: Community participation encouraged, some schools offered Flemish classes for parents. Some directors were inexible with using non-Flemish languages with parents. Reciprocal-InteractionOriented: Many activity based pedagogies reported. Possibility of hidden transmission-oriented pedagogies. Advocacy-Oriented: Low stakes exams. Passing determined by formative assessment and consultation with parents.

FRENCH Context .
Both Additive and Subtractive: Blending of French and minority cultures supported. Pulling children out individually for French tuition may imply a linguistic deciency. approach. Collaborative: Frequent parent meetings, free French classes for parents, invitations to observe childrens classes.

Community Participation (Collaborative / Exclusionary)

Pedagogy (Reciprocal Interaction -Oriented / Transmission-Oriented )

Reciprocal-InteractionOriented: Many activity based pedagogies reported. Possibility of hidden transmission-oriented pedagogies. Legitimization-Oriented: High stakes exams, high repetition rate, failure seen as expected for some students.

Assessment (Advocacy-Oriented / Legitimization-Oriented)

EMPOWERED / DISABLED STUDENTS?

EMPOWERED / DISABLED STUDENTS?

Chapter Five: Discussion 63

Directors in both groups found it difcult to teach and support 30+ mother tongues in their schools. Managing that many different languages for bilingual instruction seemed beyond the scope of possibility for them. Yet some directors were successful in empowering minority children in other validating ways. Practices such as parental communication via oral and visual means, hiring teachers from the local neighborhood, designing extracurricular activities for minority language speakers to practice speaking in a variety of supportive environments, and offering students low stakes testing options all t into Cumminss rubric for empowerment. i. Cultural and Linguistic Incorporation The Flemish practice of keeping whole classes together and refraining from separating children is classied as additive linguistic incorporation because it carries an assumption that language difference does not justify remedial instruction. However, the tendency in some Flemish schools to restrict and criticize the use of non-Flemish languages would be classied as subtractive in this rubric. The French habit of pulling children out of their classroom (several times a week or more) for targeted French instruction is a case of othering that Cumminss rubric would label as subtractive. It breaks up the continuity of the classroom and suggests that minority students are decient due to their linguistic difference. Overall, however, the francophone emphasis on blendable identity formation may be seen as an additive factor. ii. Community Participation Strong collaborative community participation can be seen in both French and Flemish practice. Directors from both communities regularly offered free language classes for parents, engaged parents in meetings, and developed informal relationships with the community. Three Flemish directors insisted that parents speak only Flemish, which would be considered an exclusionary community participation practice, but overall, research participants in both groups at least showed an intention to create a collaborative environment with the community. iii. Pedagogy French and Flemish directors both described wonderful reciprocal-oriented pedagogies and a wide variety of activity-based learning opportunities. It should be noted, however, that no classroom observations were a part of this study, so I cannot deny the possibility of hidden transmission-style practices (banking pedagogy in Freirian terms), which

Chapter Five: Discussion 64

Ramirez et al. found was common in US classrooms with high minority representation (Ramirez et al., 1991). Inexperienced, under-prepared, or over-worked teachers frequently lecture to instead of engage with non-uent students. Cummins suggests that unreported transmission-oriented practices are a major mechanism through which social reproduction across generations occurs (Cummins, 1986). Reciprocal-oriented pedagogical practices are one of the most important parts of an empowering school environment for minority students. Hornberger (2003), Dutcher (2003) and Dooly et al. (2009) suggest training teachers to recognize the challenges minority students face and to refrain from labeling inter-linguistic strategies as errors. They also suggest using peer-teaching among students and lending books in minority languages. Mano and Harous 2009 research-training paper offers other specic strategies for attending to academic and socio-emotional development in Belgium. Their professional-development recommendations strongly support the reciprocal-interactive pedagogies of Cumminss model, theater-action projects being especially empowering and effective for integrating non-native speakers (Mano and Harou, 2009). These strategies are at least somewhat present in Brussels schools but could probably be expanded. iv. Assessment I have classied Flemish schools as demonstrating more advocacy-oriented assessment and French schools as demonstrating more legitimization-oriented assessment. This is because French schools use standardized yearly exams and require students to pass a primary school exit exam to progress on to secondary school. Failure results in nearlyautomatic entry into lower tracked classes, and this leads to a downward spiral for many immigrant students (Kim and Pelleriaux, 2006). In contrast, Flemish schools have no equivalent exam system, and allow entry into secondary school (university-track, professional, or technical) through consultation with parents and the freewill of students. v. Assessing the Degree of Student Empowerment In the end, are minority students in French and Flemish primary schools empowered or disabled? The answer is difcult to make in a binary way. It is possible that schools are empowering their students, but clearly, there is still room for improvement since minority language speaking students are still underperforming at a systemic level (Rampey et al, 2009; Mano and Harou, 2009; Luciak, 2004). Also, it may not be useful to make a black and white determination, but rather to show how specic practices are either empowering or disabling, and to suggest that this sort of reection inform directors

Chapter Five: Discussion 65

decisions moving into the future. Robert Cowen says educational form reveals power (Larsen, 2010). This seems to be true in the Belgian context, where French and Flemish schools maintain native speaker dominance through a system of monolingual instruction. Critically questioning how education is administered using Cumminss framework might reveal some of the mechanisms of social control and disempowerment that ripple in larger ways through Belgium.
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5.3 Application to the Theoretical Framework


Keeping in mind the limitations of this small qualitative study, the generalizability of these results is gained through the application to theory and the inspiration that it provides for further research (see Chapter 3, for a fuller discussion of generalizability) (Yin, 2003). The twelve cases here have demonstrated the conicting demands placed on school directors for linguistic maintenance and inclusivity. The cases have also highlighted the ambiguity that is inherent in analyzing educational practice. To take one instance, the Flemish practice of consulting with parents to suggest the type of secondary school best suited for a child (hitherto labeled advocacy-oriented) may in fact be legitimization-oriented if the director in question held discriminatory views on minorities, or was otherwise predisposed to suggest the student follow the technical / professional track. This dissertation has made good use of Cumminss minority student empowerment framework, and conrmed its applicability to the highly diverse setting of Brussels primary schools. Further, the analysis undertook a novel application of Cumminss framework as a comparative tool. The framework proved to be valuable for systematizing and methodically comparing complex qualitative responses. As an exportable lesson for other researchers in comparative education, I can recommend using Cumminss framework for comparative purposes, beyond its helpful application to single cases. Just as Uwe Flicks (2009) thematic analysis methodology guides users to generate comparable terms, I would also encourage comparativists who use Cumminss framework to approach their data with an eye toward generating like descriptors and parallel categories.
__________________________________________________________________________________

5.4 A Critique of Belgian Monolingual Practice


It is difcult to be critical of the directors in this study, all of whom were seemingly competent, reasonable and good-hearted. Yet it is important to bring attention to the fact

Chapter Five: Discussion 66

that the school-based monolingual ideal that they espoused and implemented may be contributing to the disablement of their minority students. Experts have shown that monolingual immersion will likely handicap minority language speakers who are not given a multiculturally supportive environment (Greene, 1998; Willig, 1985; Dodson, 1985; Baker, 2011). Too short reception timeframes for immigrant children and almost no late-exit bilingual classes may be contributing minority student underperformance (Ramirez et al., 1991). Rejecting outright the possibility of using pupils mother tongues is something that I would argue should be reconsidered. Weve seen that facilitated peer-topeer instruction, the use of multilingual books, collaborative instruction with parents, and educating teachers about how to positively correct students are all practices that can support minority language speakers with a relatively low overhead (Dutcher, 2003; Hornberger, 2003; Spotti, 2007). Belgian monolingual instruction is a vestige of old historical conicts between French and Flemish groups (see Chapter 2). While it is understandable how the country arrived at the current policy scenario, ongoing binary political stalemates prioritize domestic politics over minority childrens opportunity for success. Current Belgian monolingual instruction does not honor the spirit of the UNESCO Convention Against Discrimination in Education, Article 5, which defends the right of minorities to learn in their own language (UNESCO, 1960).10 Thankfully there is optimism in directors freedom to self-direct schools. Many directors want to make children feel at home and to give their students a strong sense of self. Directors who value the cultural heritage of their students can provide positive learning environments that have the potential to counteract systemic minority socio-economic disadvantage. Opening the discussion to the possibility of including minority languages in schools at an institutional level may start to shift the status quo away from its rather static insistence on monolinguality and toward a reduction in the marginalization that minority students encounter.

Anecdotally, I would mention that some participants suggested nonstandard languages such as dialects spoken by the Roma people, or unrelated languages such as Arabic and Berber (Fren 2) were more problematic than European languages (languages that have a history and literature). I picked up repeated themes that subtly hinted at widespread low appreciation for Arab, Turkish, and some other non-European identities. More research would have to be done to disambiguate directors perspectives on differing minority groups, and to determine if there is reason to believe that institutional discrimination is occurring. Dened as the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin, institutional discrimination does not peg individuals, but rather critiques the system as a whole (MacPherson, 1999: 28).
10

Chapter Five: Discussion 67

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5.5 Conclusion and Directions for Further Research


This dissertation presents a reading of the complexities involved in urban primary education in Brussels, and provides insights into how French and Flemish primary school directors perceive, negotiate, and mediate the roles of monolingual policy in a context of linguistic plurality. Differences and similarities have been qualitatively discussed. This work has shown that while language acquisition is a signicant obstacle facing minority childrens success in school, reducing the complex set of problems they face to just a uency problem, denies deeper social issues that maintain systemic educational inequality. Primary school directors in this study articulated an appreciation for monolingual immersion practices, a desire for more holistic social support services, and deeper community engagement. Educating educators about the historical reasons that monolingual instruction is a current status quo, and about research-based best practices for empowering bilingual students would be two progressive steps toward improving educational equity and reducing systemic discrimination. Resolving the larger political rift between French and Flemish communities would probably lessen the top-down insistence on monolingual instruction. However, Belgium does not need to wait for a political reconciliation to empower minority pupils through pedagogical practices which support identity development and biliteracy. Additive, collaborative, reciprocal and advocacy-oriented practices can be used to empower minority children in Belgium, support French and Flemish acquisition, and improve minority student academic performance (see Cumminss 1986 framework). Suggestions for Further Research This small study has only begun to unpack the perspectives of educationalists who teach minority language speakers. Further research should be done to deepen the understanding of the complex realities of Belgian education. Seemingly fruitful lines of inquiry are: A deeper qualitative investigation into how school directors mediate the seemingly contradictory aims of monolingual instruction mandated from the community level and linguistic empowerment of minority / bilingual students.

Chapter Five: Discussion 68

A comparative study assessing the relative impact of individual tuition through specialist language teachers and whole class instruction in Flemish and French schools. Do Flemish schools in fact benet from more whole class instruction? Does the percentage of native speakers in the class determine the relative usefulness of pull-out approaches? A further analysis of practitioner perspectives and discourse types as they affect learning outcomes. A quantitative study examining the correlation between positive director opinion of minority language use in schools and student learning outcomes success would be fascinating.

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___________________________________________________________________________

APPENDICES

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Appendix A. Participant Letter

10 April 2011 Dear Madame ______, My name is Rachel Dowling and I am a student in the Education Department at the University of Oxford with recent experience in early literacy and language acquisition in California, USA. To complete my Masters degree, I am writing my dissertation on non-native language instruction in Belgium under the supervision of Professor David Phillips. I have received some funding from Oxford to do a comparative study of policy implementation in early language acquisition. To do this, I will conduct a series of interviews with principals of community-run primary schools in the capital region of Brussels. Your experience with children who are non-native speakers of the language of instruction, and your position as a principal give you tremendous insight into these complex issues. I would be delighted to have you participate in the project. Participation would involve an interview with me (approximately one hour in length) in a relaxed setting of your choice. I hope that conducting the interview in English will not pose a problem. I am most interested in how you perceive your communitys policies for language instruction, and how rigid or exible you nd them. This is a small, qualitative study, which I hope will be useful for mapping the landscape of language instruction practices in Brussels. All information collected would be anonymous, condential, and stored securely for the use in this research project only. No one will be granted access to your responses who is not directly involved with the data analysis of this particular project. Transcripts of the interview will be made available to you for factual checking, as will drafts of written papers prior to publication. I am hoping to conduct interviews in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of May, 2011. I will reach out to you next week to see if we might schedule a time to chat some time between May 8th and May 20th (or later if that is more convenient). Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions! Email is the best way: rachel.dowling@education.ox.ac.uk or on my mobile at +44 (775) 840-7921. My supervisors email address is david.philips@education.ox.ac.uk if you have any questions for him directly. Your sincerely, Rachel Dowling Oxford University, M.Sc. Candidate
cc:


Professor D. Phillips Tutor for Graduates, St Antonys College Philippa Moss, Administrator Dept of Education

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Language Instruction for Non-Native Speakers in Belgium: Policy implementation in French and Flemish primary schools Information for Participants Invitation You are being invited to take part in a research study. Before you decide to participate, it is important to understand why the research is being conducted and what your participation entails. Please take time to read the following information carefully. Please ask if there are any aspects of the project that are unclear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether or not you would like to take part in this research. What is the purpose of the study? This study is an exploration of educational language instruction for non-native speakers. It attempts to understand what language instruction policies and practices are in place in Belgium in both the French and Flemish systems. The study attempts to build theory around how and why such practice is done, and how the different approaches succeed in specic cultural contexts. Why have I been chosen? For this study, we are seeking the perceptions of those with a role in language instruction policy implementation and with experience with non-native speaking student populations. You have been identied as someone with insight into these complex issues. The hope is that by interviewing a range of primary school principals in the city of Brussels, a well-rounded picture of language instruction practice can be explored. Do I have to take part? What are the risks and benets of taking part? It is your decision to take part in this study. You can decide to stop participating at any time. You do not need to answer questions that you do not wish to. Every effort will be made to preserve condentiality but as this cannot be fully guaranteed by the nature of this research it is possible that you may be able to be identied in the nal report. Other than this, there are no known risks to taking part. The benets are helping to create a holistic picture of language instruction in Brussels and the processes of educational innovation. Your participation as part of this study will benet those trying to understand and plan nonnative language instruction policies and those interested in understanding the complexity of a dual national education system. What will happen to the results of this research? The results of this research will form the basis of an Oxford masters dissertation. Some results maybe published in academic journals concerned with exploring educational policy. If you wish to obtain a copy of the published results, please inform the researcher. The study will take place over the next two to three months after which time the published results will be publicly available. Who is funding and organizing the research?

80 The research is funded and organized as an independent masters research project in conjunction with the Department of Educational Studies, Oxford University. Contact for Further Information or Follow-up Should you have any further questions about this research, please feel free to contact

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Appendix B. Participant Consent Form

Language Instruction for Non-Native Speakers in Belgium: Policy implementation in French and Flemish primary schools Interview Consent Form

This research study seeks to explore the dynamics of educational decentralization policies across selected national contexts. This is a study undertaken by Rachel Dowling, M.Sc. student at that Department of Education, University of Oxford. 1. I have read and understood the information about this study and have had the opportunity to ask questions. I have considered all the risks involved with this research. 2. I understand that I can withdraw from the study without consequence at anytime simply by informing the researcher of my decision. 3. I understand who will have access to identifying information provided and what will happen to the data at the end of the project. 4. I am aware of who to contact should I have questions following my participation in this study. 5. I understand that this project has been reviewed by and received ethical clearance through the University of Oxford Central University Research Ethics Committee.

I agree to participate in this study. Name:_____________________________________ Date:______________________________________ Signature:__________________________________ Researcher: ________________________________ Date: _____________________________________ Signature: _________________________________

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Appendix C. CUREC Application Approval

Dear Rachel Dowling, Application Approval 25/03/2011 Title: Language Instruction for Non-Native Speakers in Belgium: How is policy pragmatically implemented by principals in French and Flemish schools? The above application has been considered on behalf of the Departmental Research Ethics Committee (DREC) in accordance with the procedures laid down by the University for ethical approval of all research involving human participants. I am pleased to inform you that, on the basis of the information provided to DREC, the proposed research has been judged as meeting appropriate ethical standards, and accordingly approval has been granted. Should there be any subsequent changes to the project, which raise ethical issues not covered in the original application, you should submit details to DREC for consideration. Yours sincerely, Justina Kurkova Research Ofce Assistant
Research Ofce Department of Education University of Oxford 15 Norham Gardens Oxford OX2 6PY Email: research.ofce@education.ox.ac.uk Web: http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/

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Appendix D. Map of Belgium with Language Areas Highlighted

Source: Freie Universitat Berlin http://neon.niederlandistik.fu-berlin.de/en/nedling/taalgeschiedenis/ nederlands_in_vlaanderen/

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Appendix E. Participant Case Descriptions


Flem 1 This primary school director oversees a school with a very high immigrant / second generation population. She reported a high incidence of school year repetition. She said just a few students usually go on to university-preparatory high schools; the rest attend technical and professional high schools. The reason children need to learn Flemish is to nd a job in Brussels. She also mentioned that there are many political reasons why the Flanders community has schools in Brussels, but she did not mention defending the Flemish language itself. Dutch / Flemish is taught in monolingual immersion. Teachers chastise children who speak in Arabic or French on the playground (except for the very young children). There are no mother-tongue transition classes, nor formal cultural understanding events. The director said that she felt she had a hard enough time motivating students to speak in Dutch, that it was beyond her to bring in their home cultures. She said that she does signicant outreach to parents and values their contribution. The school loans books to children to bring home, and parents are always invited to visit their childs class once a month. She would like to see more Flemish speaking children enroll in her school; she feels this would help all of the children learn better. Only 5 children in her school come from a Dutch-speaking family. The school receives extra hours money from the Flanders community to help disadvantaged students but if she had more money she would like to pay her teachers more, in recognition of the hard work an inner-city school presents. Additionally, she would like to hire a few social workers to help with her students emotional and behavioral problems. Immersion is the best way. There needs to be a mixture of students. We need Flemish speakers here, maybe from schools that are almost all Flemish speaking

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Flem 2 The director of this Flemish Catholic school estimated that 50% of the students did not speak Dutch at home. That is the greatest difculty she said. She said she was happy with her freedom to choose the methods of instruction. Teachers use interactive activities and informal games to teach Flemish. The school attempts to maintain a fully Flemish immersion experience, even requesting that parents only speak Flemish while in school. She said that the Flemish community was becoming more strict vis a vis monolingual instruction because we have too many French students coming into our schools. She explained that Flemish schools have a reputation for excellence now and they are attracting parents who want their children to get ahead in life. The director seemed to be frustrated with parents (particularly French Belgian parents) who were not willing to make an effort to learn Flemish, but she did not blame the students for their parents decision to enroll in a Flemish school. All letters home are in Flemish. There is a nearby kindergarten then offers free Flemish classes that the director recommends parents attend. So she said she always reminds students to speak Flemish, but does not punish them if they do not. She said that nding a good job in Brussels required French, Flemish and probably English. Preschooling that gives exposure to Flemish starting at 2.5 years is crucial, she said. So we are responsible for the language policy in our school. Now the students speak French and we always have to say to them you have to use the Flemish language here! [but] you cannot punish a child because he speaks his mother language on the playground.

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Flem 3 This director was very straightforward about her unwillingness to accommodate any other languages in her school. She felt that parents knew what they were signing up for and were responsible for speaking Flemish in her school. She said she had a tremendous amount of freedom to run her school the way that she liked; inspectors from the ministry did not bother her since her students performed well. Teachers are not allowed to speak any language besides Dutch. Very strict monolingual policy. She said that only very smart children would be able to handle a bilingual program, and that for most students, two or three languages was too much. She felt that if Flemish schools used French in their school, it was a weakness. Employment in Belgium was the main reason she articulated for students to learn Flemish. She feared that students might become zerolingual if they could not speak, read, and write uently in a single language. Thus she employed activity based methods for teaching Flemish with her students to try to get kids to speak as well as write Dutch. She believed speaking another language at home was the single greatest factor in students lack of success. She said she usually encouraged those students not to attend the university-track high school, and to instead enroll in technical or professional high school. In our school parents speak Dutch. One or both of them. That is a rule I made at this school. Immersion is the best way. Lets see who has problems. Yassin, Arabic. Maire - thats something else. Elliot Speaking French at home. Zacharey - Arabic. Hajar - Arabic. Sarah - Arabic, Nordin- Arabic. Loubna - Arabic. Imam - Arabic, Yassin - Arabic. You see?

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Flem 4 This is the director of a Flemish maternelle and primary school with 390 students. All students speak another language besides Dutch at home: Arabic, Turkish, and many dialects. The director suggested that failing to learn French, Flemish, or their home language to a high level would leave her students without a language, since none would be good enough. Employment was the greatest reason to learn Flemish. She felt that the fact that children were trying to learn three languages simultaneously was the problem, and that hearing French on the streets was an impediment to learning Flemish faster, although she conceded that students would need to learn very good French to be employed in Brussels. She offers free Flemish lessons in her school for parents, and opportunities for parents to visit their childs class, and to learn how to help their children with homework. Most of the mothers who follow the Flemish lessons, the results of their children are also better. She is willing to speak in French with parents however, since she prioritizes her relationship with them over a strict monolingual policy. She has several meetings with parents throughout the year to keep them informed of their childs progress She said it would be very difcult to invite students or parents to share their cultural heritage in the school because it would be too easy to give priority to one group, which would cause tension or conict.
She seemed to be upset about the fact that Flemish people often have to speak French in Brussels when confronted with French people. It went against her constitutional right. The school employs two specialist teachers to take struggling kids out of the class, but not for Flemish language skills (since all the children do not speak Flemish natively). Instead for math or general problems. If granted more money from the ministry, she would like more teachers to reduce class size and separate classes according to ability. Its very difcult for children because they hear their own language at home, on the street they hear French, and at school Dutch. Its a fact that when you have two people together, if one speaks French and one speaks Flemish. 90% of the time, the Flemish are speaking French. So its always the Flemish people who switch languages.

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Flem 5 This school director over sees a multi-racial and multi-lingual school of 190 students. Almost all students speak another language besides Dutch at home-- largely Turkish, Arabic, and French -- although the number of Dutch speaking children is increasing due to a gentrifying neighborhood. The school receives extra hours due to its high risk student population. All instruction is in Dutch. Children are reminded and stimulated to speak in Dutch inside and outside of class. She takes a positive approach to encouraging students to speak Dutch, and tries to make dutch cool for kids and fun through extracurricular activities. She actively seeks out parent involvement, and sees tremendous advantage in having positive collaboration between parents and teachers. The school offers free Dutch language classes for parents, invites parents to observe their childrens classes, and hosts weekly bubbleheur to explain aspects of the school and Flemish community. They use pictograms to accompany all letters home -- helping non-Flemish and illiterate parents. She sometimes translates or speaks in French for parents. She does not mind translating into French for Turkish/ Arabic / foreign parents who do not know Dutch, but resents native Belgian French parents who do not make an effort to speak Dutch and refuses to translate into French for them. She articulated a very sensitive feeling of always being subjugated to French speakers in Brussels, suggesting that the Dutch language must be protected for if it is not, then there will be no Dutch in Brussels. However getting a good job in Brussels is the main reason she says individual students need Dutch. She said that many of her students speak improper French on the street and incomplete Arabic at home, so if they do not become uent and literate in Dutch will not have any language at all. The growing number of Dutch-speaking students in her school helps all of her students learn Dutch faster. She says that maintaining concentration schools where the students are homogenous is not good for the children. It should be a good mixture. Its more healthy. She also feels that the increased emphasis on early education (maternel) has helped tremendously in increasing student performance. The school makes a big effort to stimulate the children to work on Dutch in free time. Go to the library, afterschool programs, other activities in Dutch. That helps a lot. ... its a political thing. And something between Dutch and French actually. As a Dutch person or an organization you always have a feeling that you have to protect your language.

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Flem 6 This was a school with 556 students, 30% of whom spoke Flemish at home. It was situated in a relatively wealthy neighborhood, and the director said that parents were well educated. Of the remaining 70% who did not speak Dutch at home, most spoke French, English or another European language. Because the school is so popular, it is always fully inscribed, and they have very few students entering mid-way through primary school. As a result, almost all of their children have been enrolled there since they were 2.5 years old, and have been surrounded by immersive Dutch since that age. Thus they do not have much of a problem with Flemish uency. She said that there are still differences in performance between children who speak Dutch at home and those who do not. The director said that she will translate from Flemish to French for parents when necessary, but always starts her conversation in Flemish. Letters to parents are always in Dutch, but she works with an organization that gives free translation services if parents want to come and talk to her. She responded heatedly to the question of the utility of Dutch, saying that as a a national language it needs to be taught for historical reasons. They use games, activities, and constant reminders of full sentences to help nonautochthonous children learn Flemish. She prefers to keep classes all together; only rarely is a child pulled out of a class to work on Dutch language. She says she never punishes a student for speaking his mother language. Let every person have his own identity. Accept it and validate it. As an example of a multicultrual activity, she told me about the day of the languages in September where they commemorated all the cultural heritages represented at the school. The class worldorientass, is an interdisciplinary class focused on history, society, civics, geology, technology, and biology. She said multicultural awareness is woven into the fabric of every class. Lets say we have three languages in Belgium! So its important that there are schools in Dutch in the principle city of the country, eh? Its our history that we have three languages! It is really important that the child feel good at school. We appreciate their identity. We take it through the whole process of education.

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Fren 1: The interviewee is the director of a school with 250 students. The school is predominantly in an Arabic speaking community where few parents speak French, yet they do not receive discrimination possitif because their school is administratively grouped with a wealthier area. There are no transition classes for non-native speakers; they take an immersion approach. No teachers speak Arabic. With extra funding, she would create a reception class for non-French speakers to focus solely on French language before joining their regular age-appropriate class (anything between 2 weeks and 6 months). In general however, she thinks that non-French speaking students can learn normally in the French Community Programme and dont need special accommodations. Although there were no free French classes at the school, there were in the neighborhood. Parents are very important. They come to runions and to classes once a month. Parents have to learn that an education is important, that having a specialty is important. Yes university too, but also a specialty, like electrician or baker. It is rich for the students to have 2, 3 languages! Arabic is very good for them, but they need French too for a job.

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Fren 2 This participant is the director of a large primary school with a highly diverse student body -- more than 30 nationalities represented. "There are no native Belgians here." He repeatedly referred to multilinguality as a richness, and suggested that preserving diversity in schools is a good preparation for living in a diverse world (thus forcing assimilation into the dominant culture is not helpful for students). He suggested that maintaining diversity and cultural differentiation might help achieving broader understanding and peace in the world. He viewed learning French as necessary in Brussels, for childrens success in further school and their job prospects. He made reference twice to the problem of "zerolingualism" that might arise if children are not literate in their home language and fail to learn adequate French in school. He felt that it was much more difcult to learn an L2 if the mother tongue was not strong. He employed specialist teachers to bring non-autochthonous children out of the class to focus on French (funded through discrimination possitif) because he felt that immersion (bath classes) was not effective for newly arrived (or still struggling) students. In general, the participant felt that the french community had made tremendous strides towards increasing equality in recent years -- since the standardization of primary school leaving exams in the late 1990's. The single policy change that he would recommend would be more parent engagement programs and courses to teach basic health and wellbeing skills to immigrant parents, and to explain to them the importance of school.

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Fren 3 This participant was the director of a school with 550 students in primary and maternelle. She said that all students were of foreign origin, with about half being direct immigrants and the other half being second or third generation. Moroccan backgrounds were predominant. She has 4 specialist teachers to take struggling children out of their classroom to work on basic French skills, grouping students whenever possible according to "home country" origin. She felt that transient child were "a problem for the school" because they often went to Spain or came from Spain and had a background in Spanish, not French. She said about a third of her students fail the primary school leaving exam and must attend a classes passerelle before starting secondary school. Repetition of years is common. Very few children go on to the type of high school that leads to university. She said students "simply must learn French to stay in Belgium," and did not offer further elaboration. She seemed very warm and open to parents, offering two hours every day as open drop in time for parents to ask questions, but she said all letters home were strictly in French. She seemed unhappy with the quality of her teachers and suggested that teachers should get monetary incentives to work in inner city schools to attract better teachers to difcult jobs.

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Fren 4 This participant was the director of a school with 450 students where Turkish and Arabic were widely spoken. She said that the most important thing was for her students to feel happy and at ease in school. Her overarching goal is to involve parents, generate community, and facilitate lifelong learning by ensuring children enjoy their school. She has instituted free parent French classes in the school, coffee of the mother once a week, and frequent parent meetings where translators are always available. She sees no problem speaking other languages with parents though translators if need be. She has hired a teacher who speaks 5 languages and lives in the community who helps her to plan parent meetings at culturally appropriate times. We prefer the children to stay in the classroom because the group is very important. Students should help each other learn and benet from their multilinguality. She sees the problems that she encounters as predominantly socio-economic, not linguistic. Activities, fun times, sports, and computer classes .... its easier to talk French if you are playing football. Her advice to other schools is to improve the friendliness of the leaning environment, and always consider the childs history and family. If we want children to learn French, rst he must be happy in his class and in his school. We believe in the mixity. We dont want to make children feel apart because they dont speak French.

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Fren 5 27 different nationalities represented among 600 students in this school where no one speaks French at home. The directors overall concern was her students poverty. She thought that linguistic differences were secondary to socio-economic factors. She has instituted parent and student classes around hygiene, nutrition, and lifestyle to try to promote whole life learning. Sometimes they can be very dirty, so we teach them how to clean themselves. Its bad for children to see their parents unemployed, drinking, watching television. And then the children are doing the same thing, so ..... She felt that learning Arabic on the weekends was an additional and unnecessary strain on children which prevented them from resting adequately and focusing on learning French. There was a fear of failing to learn either one completely (becoming zerolingual). The school uses a 100% French immersion approach. No translation or transition classes available. Teachers try to make learning fun and use informal games to help children start speaking naturally. They do have one teacher to take children who are behind in French out of their class one, two, or three times a week. Most children probably go on to technical and professional high school. We must be a realist. I dont think we have many in university. To get a job they are obliged to know French and Flemish. This school director would encourage all immigrant children to attend French preschool (maternel). If she could increase spending, she would also pay teachers in inner-city schools additional bonuses and provide more money to schools to bring students to cultural events and museums. Our parents dont push students to make studies, and they dont have money to make long studies. You are here in Belgium, you want to make your life here. If [you] only have the Arab speaking but not the writing that is not a problem for me.

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Fren 6 This was a very multicultural school with 500 children coming from Romania, Turkey, Ginnea, Cote dIvoire, Rwanda, etc. It seemed a warm environment and the director personally invited a group of young students into her ofce during this interview to tape drawings to her wall. The director used a program called Adaption la langue (a small group method that separates students from their class to teach them basic French and not hold back the rest of the class). She would like to hire offer more differentiated classes according to French ability. She felt that if students were at a homogenous language ability they would be able to move faster. Fren 6 employed bilingual teachers (Turkish and Arabic). The director said that she usually invites a bilingual teacher to translate in meetings with parents. She makes almost all of her announcements orally and invites parents to come speak with her, acknowledging that many parents are not literate. The school started an cole des mamans which teaches basic French twice a week for free to parents. The French community supplies money for two specialists in language acquisition as well as a speech therapist, although the community does not mandate this type of instruction. Many students repeat years of school, especially if they come mid-way through primary school. The director had a favorable opinion of the French communitys standardized exams because they ensure that all children have a fair chance at succeeding, and are competency based, not fact based. The most important thing is that children feel comfortable in school. When a student loves school they are ready to learn!

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Appendix F. Example French Interview


Research Aim
Background / school info

Interview Q

Answers (French Director)

How and why do primary school directors deploy language instruction policies to non-native speakers? What are the accommodations for non-native language speakers in each system?

Would you please introduce {omitted here} yourself for the microphone? Tell me about your school. - Last year we tried to know all the - how many students languages of the school, and it was more - % non native than 30. - what are the main - 233 Kinder nationalities represented? - 364 Primary - All come from other places. No Belgian natives. Can you describe for me the - We have special teachers for that. [.....] process that a new nonYou have two possibilities in Belgium, native students would go You can create une class dimmersion, through upon entering your what you would call a bath class. school? Where the pupil is totally soaked into - timeframe of transition to 100% French. But it is for me not the best French instruction solution. Because every child has a -mother-tongue support available? different rhythm, has a pace learning -number of bilingual teachers in the language. your school? - So we prefer to have special teachers -bilingual curriculum available? (classes-passerelles = transition working on different aspects. The rst classes) one: the teacher takes the child out of -classes that emphasize cultural understanding available (for the classroom. When he is coming native speakers)? directly from his country. So the professor can give him all the rst sentences. - We have 4 of these professors. 2 in levels 1-2, and 2 from level 3-6. French-language schools have 22% - We have not more than 20 pupils per of primary school pupils nishing a class. Sometimes 19, 18, 17, but not year behind. Can you describe more than 20. what you do to ensure that students dont fall behind or drop out?

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Research Aim
Understand student success, and progression to secondary school.

Interview Q

Answers (French Director)

Are children all succeeding? Certainly not. There is a big difference of What is the overall success of levels. But with parents helping, they can students in school? reach it. But if you take the French language as a base, it is if course much poorer than a native speaker. When children come back home, they are speaking, reading, living another language. Are your students able to transition smoothly to secondary school? - You have to make a difference between the level at the end of 6th year, and the level expected at the rst year of secondary school. - But the minimum you have to learn is set by the community. - We are on level one of discrimination possitive -- the school with the most difculties. but it is now called encadrement diffrencie,but it is the same thing. So we got extra money and extra time for the children. Encadrement diffrencie is the reason why I have these extra teachers to help them. - In Belgium the number of pupils gives you the number of teachers, but we get extra teachers and more money. - Without this extra help, it would be impossible. In some schools, my daughter is in a class with 29 children, which would be impossible here.

Tease out relationship What are the extra supports, between school and if any, from the French the community community for your school? administration

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Research Aim
Understand the relative autonomy of directors, and their feelings about their autonomy (or lack thereof).

Interview Q Is this process directed from your central community authority? Or did you generate it yourself?

Answers (French Director) - Im responsible for the law. For the rest I feel quite free to organize my school with my teaching team . The professors are very important to me. - Because when you ask a person to cooperate it is much easier have them work, than to impose a thing. - We have so many migrant children, sometimes only here for a year. So - If we respect the French community law, we are quite free. - The level is imposed but the way to reach that level is totally free. - The WAY you do it does not matter. It is more the level. Of course you are a professional. - The Children have to attend exams from the Community Francaise, so you will quickly see if the situation is quite normal. If you have a majority of children succeeding, then that is good. - We are quite lucky because the teachers are working very hard. To have sometimes poor results but that is the situation. Besides the language, which is not French, which is a foreign language, you have families which are not educated for the school. School is not so important. And you have to ght against that. Because it is so important for a child coming to Belgium to have the tools to grow and to work later in the society, and to take his place in society.

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Research Aim
Prompt directors perceptions of

Interview Q

Answers (French Director)

Do you feel that the French - A long time ago, when I was a kid in communitys policy on nonBelgium, there were big differences between one school and other. We community policies native language instruction is sound? realized that the system was not good. and their views on You used to have poor education if you the degree to which -pedagogically? were poor and if you are rich there is a have autonomy to -works with your student big difference. population? modify the policy for -well enough funded for you to - But with this [Programme], from the implement? their context. 1990s, we began to take control of this situation. - It takes a lot of time to work and to improve this. - With all these evaluations from the community franaise, I think that in time we will be able to have standards. Standards for all the children. - Now if a child failed an exam, you failed at the same level as another child who failed. - It is only from the late 90s that we have this. Understand practices What is the administrative - We are lucky. Because now we have a related to curriculum support you get? What are Programme intgr, Im sure you know the testing arrangements it. That means all the matches that are and assessment. from the Community? to be taught in the classroom are summarized and explained in this big book. - Every year, we have exams from the Community Franaise. Sometimes it is a certication to know how the children are performing. - There is always feedback and this is very important for us. Because besides the comments on the situation, it gives us new ways of working.

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Research Aim
Elicit views on multiculturality / multilinguality.

Interview Q Your students speak such a great diversity of languages, and come from such a diversity of places. What do you make of this?

Answers (French Director) - Of course multicuturality is a plus. It is a richness, really! Speaking different languages is of course extraordinary! Who would say the opposite? - But you have to be very careful, some of my students families dont have from a cultural point of view enough of the original culture. They have only pieces of it. Because the parents didnt study at school even in their country. - You can compare children of the same social level. If you have children from a high social level, theres no problem. Because in their culture, they have many many things. - But if you take children from a low or a poor social level then you realize that even their cultural lives are poor. - A child with parents speaking perfectly their languages, knowing their literature, knowing their grammar, theres no problem to learn a foreign language. Because they adapt the knowledge in the same way. But if the parents for example dont write, dont read. If the language is not a xed language, not an international language if it is a moving language, its only a dialect. For me, it is more difcult for the child. This is a personal feeling. - I wouldnt say that I am a specialist, but I feel it working with the children.

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Research Aim
Prompt reection on the reasons for

Interview Q

Answers (French Director)

Why do you think it is - So for me, having different cultures is important that students learn of course a plus, is very very important for a person. Speaking different teaching French to French? - integration languages is a must now. Who would non-native speakers? multilingualism work with us now speaking a different monolingualism language? pedagogical benets of - If you dont speak Dutch, a little bit of multilingualism English, a little bit of a language of the south like Spanish and Italian. It is quite impossible to work in different places. Here is Brussels you have to speak French, Dutch and English. But you have to be very careful not to make a child incomplete. If the base language is not strong enough, it is very difcult to learn another language. So this part, the cultural part is very very important and must be very strong. It would be much more difcult to learn another language and to grow in another culture if you do not have balance.

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Research Aim

Interview Q

Answers (French Director) To inform the parents. To be with the families. To help them. To give some advice. But strong advice, for example for the health of the child. Most of our children are going to bed very very late in the evening and they wake up quite early in the morning. And food. It is not the original food of the country, which is healthy, but it is junk food of the city. Because these people dont have the ..... its is very difcult to say that-- it can sound racist and I am CERTAINLY not racist. It is a very difcult frontier between helping someone and directing his life. If the authorities were much more pleasant with the parents, saying you MUST be involved in the education of your child. You must be in contact with the school even if you dont speak the language of the school, its not a problem. We have possibilities to communicate. It would help us a lot. Because what is the most tiring thing is that we have a great difculty to have the parents with us. The child, no problem. And it is really tiring, you are working every day, you see the child is reacting in a positive way but the parents dont nd it interesting to follow what the child does. This is from a HUMAN point of view. Not only one country or another.

Flexibly allow How would you improve participant to lead the French community policies? discussion and introduce new themes, views, and desires.

What is your wish list of reforms?

Elicit views on the feasibility of managing a highly multicultural school.

Isnt it too difcult for a principal here in Brussels with so many different cultures? I say no its not difcult. Because we have to reach one point. And we are all going together in the same direction, and if we don't do so, we will have problems.

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Research Aim
Understand intercommunity relations.

Interview Q

Answers (French Director)

Whats your experience with I can say to you sincerely, Ive never had the Flemish community and one problem with a Dutch speaking with Flemish people? person, with a Flemish person. So its strange for us. To hear what we hear on the radio or see on the television. I dont understand. Because between the human beings, there are no problems. But in politics it is so intricate sometimes. But you know, being with different cultures and with different people will maybe help. Because there are so many points of view, you have to choose one to go further. We humans need to follow the children that we have. We need to help them for the future life. Sometimes the parents think the school is accessory, not important. And it is the contrary. It is, I think, the principal way to grow and to be successful in this society.

Flexibly allow Parting participant to lead the discussion and introduce new themes, views, and desires.

Thoughts?

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Appendix G. Example Flemish Interview


Research Aim
Background / school info

Interview Questions Would you please introduce yourself for the microphone? Tell me about your school. - how many students - % non native - teachers

Answers (Flemish Director) [omitted here}

- This is my second year here as director. Before I was a teacher in another school. - 160 little ones (maternel) - 230 primary school students - ALL of the the children here speak another language at home than the language of school. Most of the time it is Arabic, Turkish, Berber, all the dialects. And on the streets its most of the time French. - We are a Flemish school. We speak Dutch. But in Brussels you normally speak both French and Dutch. - Flemish is very difcult for children because its the third language. The second language, is very clear for children, but for the third, its very difcult. Because its only in school that they hear Netherlands. At home they hear their own language; outside its French. - When they watch television, when they read some books its another language. - After a vacation, the teachers say they have forgotten everything.

Elicit views on multiculturality / multilinguality.

Do you think its difcult for those children for whom Flemish is their third language?

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Research Aim
Enabling conditions

Interview Questions What are the things that can help a child learn Flemish?

Answers (Flemish Director) Its very important that one of the parents know the language. To help with the homework, the things they dont understand from school. But thats not possible here. Most of the parents here dont speak Flemish. So its also very difcult to help their children. Also because it is a third language, it is too much for a lot of children. - When it is a child with a normal intelligence, umm its ok. But its very difcult. And a consequence of the situation is that they know three languages, but not good enough. So they dont have good enough the Netherlands because its the third language. French: they can only speak it, but they cannot write it. And their own language I dont know how it is there. Because at the weekend, they go to Arabic schools, so maybe they learn it there.

Prompt reection on the reasons for teaching Flemish to non-native speakers.

Why do you think it is important that students learn Flemish?


- multilingualism - monolingualism - pedagogical reasons

- A lot of jobs here, it is a condition to know the both languages. - Its very difcult for me to say this,a but it is a general thought that Flemish schools are better than the French. They say it, I dont know if it is the truth. But a lot of people think about it like that. - Also, the parents who live here in Brussels know that people need to know the both languages. So thats a reason that they pick the Flemish school.

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Research Aim
Elicit views on multiculturality / multilinguality.

Interview Questions

Answers (Flemish Director)

Are you saying that - I think it depends on the child. One learning three languages is might be better on mathematics, too much? another on the languages. When a child is ready to learn another language, it is a good possibility. - The three languages is too much for many children here. You can hear it when they talk here. The phrases are not that good. They know a lot of words, but they dont feel it-- how to talk in Flemish because its only here that they hear it. What is the administrative support you get? - You get more money and teachers -- oh how do you explain it! Its a part of it. When they are speaking another language at home, and when the mother doesnt have a diploma, or they dont have work, then you get more teachers. - It depends on ve conditions. - The school doesnt get more money. You get more hours for teachers.

Prompt directors perceptions of community policies and their views on the degree to which have autonomy to modify the policy for their context.

Do you feel that the Flemish - Its a good start. It has to develop communitys policy on nonmore. community policies native language instruction - Because when you have more teachers, is sound? and their views on you can separate more classes. You can the degree to which give them more exercises. -pedagogically? - It doesnt resolve the problem. have autonomy to -works with your student population? - We would need more teachers and modify the policy for -well enough funded for you to smaller classes. implement? their context.
Prompt directors perceptions of

Flexibly allow participant to lead the discussion and introduce new themes, views, and desires.

This is a Brussels specic problem. For instance, when you look at Antwerp, they also have many people from other origins. But they dont have French [on the streets]. All the people there hear Flemish all the time. - If we could have the children hear Flemish all the time ....

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Research Aim
Understand parent /community relations.

Interview Questions What sort of outreach do you have toward parents? Any Flemish instruction for them?

Answers (Flemish Director) - Yes! We have a Flemish language class for parents twice a week. On Monday and Thursday. Separate levels: a starters class, and then a group with parents that talk more Flemish. - Related to the class, Mothers can practice in the class with their own children. - And [in the class], they explain the words and homework [that their children are learning] in the class of the mothers. We see that it is good. Because most of the mothers that follow the Flemish lessons, the results of the children are also better. - I have a lot of informal contacts [with parents]. When the school starts, I often go to the door to talk to the parents. To build a relation of condence. Its very important. And we also invite the parents here to talk about the results. Normally its during the whole year. We dont wait until June to tell them that its impossible for their children to pass.

Understand parent /community relations.

But when you know that the parents dont understand you. Allez. You have to choose your principals, or the relations between the parents and me. I go for speaking French with my parents here. Because its very important for the children that there is a good relation between the parents and me. Buts personal also. Some say in my desk here I only speak Netherlands. But the parents who follow Flemish classes, they speak Flemish with me. And they start in Flemish, then they can say in French.

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Research Aim
Flexibly allow participant to lead the discussion and introduce new themes, views, and desires. Elicit views on multiculturality / multilinguality.

Interview Questions

Answers (Flemish Director) The teachers are very good people. They changed the way they give the lessons. We have a History/Science/Social Science class.... and we relate it to the books of the Netherlands.

Im wondering if you make use of the diversity and rich cultural mix here. Do you ever invite the children or parents to give presentations or share their own heritage and background? Can you describe your interactions with French people in Brussels? Do you see your school as an institution that is preserving the Dutch language?

No. No we dont. Its very difcult to nd a way to do it. We have 20 different nationalities. Its difcult to make a good.... how do you say it. You dont want to give a privilege to one culture. Its a fact that when you have two people together, if one speaks French and one speaks Flemish. 90% of the time, the Flemish are speaking French. So its always the Flemish people who switch languages. One reason: Flemish people know better French. But its also another way of thinking. The Flemish people asses-- I can say it quicker in French. It is necessary that I always speak Netherlands here because its a Flemish school.

Understand inter-community relations.

Understand practices related to curriculum and assessment. (for minority language speakers)

Can you describe for me - We dont pull kids out for Flemish. Its the process that a new more when a child has a general non-native students would problem that we take him out of the go through upon entering class. your school? - We dont take kids out of the class for - timeframe of transition to Flemish. Often for mathematics. 100% Flemish instruction - We have two teachers in some class -mother-tongue support available? and they can split the group into -number of bilingual teachers smaller groups. in your school? - We have two special teachers (oating -bilingual curriculum available? assistants) who go between different -classes that emphasize classes. cultural understanding
available (for native speakers)?

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Research Aim
Tease out relationship between school and the community administration.

Interview Questions Is this process directed from your central community authority? Or did you generate it yourself? How free are you to decide the curriculum, the materials used, and the practices of classes?

Answers (Flemish Director) - At the end of primary school, they have to pass tests. - Each grade has its standards. - But they dont tell us how to do it. They just say at the end of the year, it is necessary that children know that. - We have three kinds of schools: Catholic, of the Village, and Government. And each has a different curriculum. But more or less they are the same, just different emphasis. - You can buy some books related to the curriculum. Then as a school, you have to check that it is ok. You have to check that all the exercises match, but normally its ok. - Its my decision with the teachers to choose these books. We sit around a table, we look at whats good and we decide together. - When most children come to this school, they havent heard of Flemish. So when they come here they dont speak like a 2 or 3 years old in Antwerp. But after 9 or 10 years here in school, we see they have learned a lot. - But its not the same here as in Flanders in the North where there is no French on the street. - But we see that they are able to succeed in the rst year of secondary school. - Depends on the year, but last year all the children passed, and are in a Flemish secondary school. -

Tease out relationship between school and the community administration.

Understand student success, and progression to secondary school.

Are children all succeeding? What is the overall success of students in school?

Are your students able to transition smoothly to secondary school?

Source: National Focal Point, 2004

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Research Aim
Understand student success, and progression to secondary school.

Interview Questions So how do children enter secondary school? Do they have to pass a test? Do you just make a decision?

Answers (Flemish Director) - We give advice. Not a decision. We can give only advice. But normally when we have a good relation to the parents, they normally agree with what we say. - Its very important that you have a good orientation to the children. Its not given to each child to study Latin. So its a very responsible thing to point them in the right direction. - If they choose the technical or the professional then they dont go to university. - We have to advise children, to repeat a year. But when the problems are still in the second or the third class, then we ask the psychologist and we now have two or three children who leave and go to a different school for special children for low IQ. - No, I dont think its related to their Flemish skills.

Flexibly allow participant to lead the discussion and introduce new themes, views, and desires.

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Appendix H. Diagrams of the French and Flemish Education Systems

De Groof, J. & Van Haver, T. (1993) De school op rapport. Het Vlaams onderwijs in internationale context, p.21

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Appendix I. Income Inequality in the Population and Strength of the Relationship between Socio-economic Background and Performance in the OECD

Source: OECD, PISA 2009 Database, Note: The Gini coefcient measures the extent to which the distribution of income among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. The Gini index measures the area between the Lorenz curve and the hypothetical line of absolute equality, expressed as a proportion of the maximum area under the line. A Gini index of zero represents perfect equality and 1, perfect inequality. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932343551

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Appendix J. Articles 24 and 127 of the Belgian Constitution, Concerning Education


CONSTITUTION BELGE Article 24 1er. L'enseignement est libre; toute mesure prventive est interdite; la rpression des dlits n'est rgle que par la loi ou le dcret. La communaut assure le libre choix des parents. La communaut organise un enseignement qui est neutre. La neutralit implique notamment le respect des conceptions philosophiques, idologiques ou religieuses des parents et des lves. Les coles organises par les pouvoirs publics offrent, jusqu' la n de l'obligation scolaire, le choix entre l'enseignement d'une des religions reconnues et celui de la morale non confessionnelle. 2. Si une communaut, en tant que pouvoir organisateur, veut dlguer des comptences un ou plusieurs organes autonomes, elle ne le pourra que par dcret adopt la majorit des deux tiers des suffrages exprims. 3. Chacun a droit l'enseignement dans le respect des liberts et droits fondamentaux. L'accs l'enseignement est gratuit jusqu' la n de l'obligation scolaire. Tous les lves soumis l'obligation scolaire ont droit, charge de la communaut, une ducation morale ou religieuse. 4. Tous les lves ou tudiants, parents, membres du personnel et tablissements d'enseignement sont gaux devant la loi ou le dcret. La loi et le dcret prennent en compte les diffrences objectives, notamment les caractristiques propres chaque pouvoir organisateur, qui justient un traitement appropri.

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5. L'organisation, la reconnaissance ou le subventionnement de l'enseignement par la communaut sont rgls par la loi ou le dcret.

CONSTITUTION BELGE Article 127 1er. Les Conseils de la Communaut franaise et de la Communaut amande, chacun pour ce qui le concerne, rglent par dcret : 1 les matires culturelles; 2 l'enseignement, l'exception: a) de la xation du dbut et de la n de l'obligation scolaire; b) des conditions minimales pour la dlivrance des diplmes; c) du rgime des pensions; 3 la coopration entre les communauts, ainsi que la coopration internationale, y compris la conclusion de traits, pour les matires vises aux 1 et 2. Une loi adopte la majorit prvue l'article 4, dernier alina, arrte les matires culturelles vises au 1, les formes de coopration vises au 3, ainsi que les modalits de conclusion de traits, vise au 3. 2. Ces dcrets ont force de loi respectivement dans la rgion de langue franaise et dans la rgion de langue nerlandaise, ainsi qu' l'gard des institutions tablies dans la rgion bilingue de Bruxelles-Capitale qui, en raison de leurs activits, doivent tre considres comme appartenant exclusivement l'une ou l'autre communaut.