Skip to main content

GCSE reading: a Syrian refugee family finds a home in Belgium

This is a text with exercises from frenchteacher.net.

Help yourself if you think it would be useful with your classes. It would suit students aiming for higher tier and could be exploited in a range of ways.


Une famille syrienne réfugiée en Belgique

Le journal DH a rencontré la première citoyenne belge qui héberge des réfugiés dans sa maison, à Schaerbeek en Belgique.

Arrivée il y a deux semaines après un voyage très difficile de deux mois, la famille Mezrab a trouvé refuge chez Marcelle Bennick, une retraité de 73 ans. Elle habite toute seule et elle possède un appartement vide et meublé de 15 m2. Elle raconte : "J’ai pensé que, vu la crise des réfugiés que nous vivons en ce moment, je pourrais héberger une famille de réfugiés. Du coup, ils habitent en bas et moi à l’étage."

Marcelle était la première Belge inscrite sur le listing des citoyens qui acceptent d’héberger des réfugiés. Une première rencontre a été arrangée, un traducteur présent. Marcelle a tout de suite aimé la famille. "Je leur ai dit qu’ils pouvaient venir chez moi quand ils voulaient, d’autant que les centres d’accueil ne sont pas agréables", dit Marcelle.

Latifa et Abderazak sont alors arrivés en Belgique avec leurs trois enfants Farah, Ahmed et Hala, âgés de 6 à 10 ans. Latifa raconte : "Nous avions une vie confortable en Syrie, jusqu’au commencement de la guerre. Nous habitions à Alep, une ville qui a été dévastée par la guerre. Nous n’avons pas eu d’autre choix que de partir. Notre maison et notre voiture ont été détruites, nous n’avions plus rien ! Mon mari a été obligé à quitter son métier de menuisier et aujourd’hui nous sommes en Belgique chez Marcelle. Les Belges sont admirables, on est très reconnaissant de leur accueil chaleureux."

Pendant que les trois enfants jouent et rigolent, Latifa explique son voyage dangereux vers la Belgique. "Nous avons traversé neuf pays dans des conditions souvent inhumaines. Nous avons dépensé environ 9.000 € pour un voyage qui a duré deux mois. Nous avons connu beaucoup de dangers et avons utilisé différents modes de transport : des bus, une voiture, de la marche à pied et du bateau. Notre bateau, remplie de réfugiés, a presque coulé mais par chance nous avons survécu."

Depuis leur arrivée, un lien d’amitié très fort s’est construit entre la famille et Marcelle. "Notre cohabitation se passe merveilleusement bien", explique Marcelle, "les premiers jours, je cuisinais, et un soir Latifa m’a proposé de m’aider. Elle nous a préparé un excellent plat syrien", dit Marcelle, qui encourage tous les Belges d’accueillir des réfugiés.

"Ces gens sont comme nous. Ils avaient une maison, une voiture, un métier. Personnellement, j’ai connu la guerre quand j’étais enfant. Aujourd’hui en Belgique, nous sommes nés au bon endroit au bon moment, mais il faut penser à ce que l’on aurait pu être. On aurait pu, nous aussi, se retrouver sur la route. Ne l’oublions jamais", dit Marcelle qui espère que Latifa et Abderazak pourront facilement s’insérer dans la société belge.

A. Vocabulaire

to meet – r________​​​​citizen (female) – c___________ (f)
pensioner, senior citizen - _________ (m)​unused and furnished – v____ et ______
crisis - ______ (f)​​​​to put up, lodge – h__________
and so - _- ____​​​​downstairs - __ ___
upstairs - _ _’______​​​​translator – t___________ (m)
especially as – d’______ ___​​reception centre - _____ d’______ (m)
war – g_____ (f)​​​​destroyed – d________
grateful – r_____________​​​welcome – a_______ (m)
warm – c_____________​​​to laugh – r________
to cross – t_________​​​to spend – d________
filled with – r_____ __​​​nearly – p______
to sink – c_______​​​​to survive (infinitive) - s________
bond of friendship – l___ (m) d’_______​to cook – c_________
job – m______ (m)​​​​place – e______ (m)
we could have – o_ _____ __​​to forget – o_________

B. Corrigez ces phrases fausses

1.​Marcelle est de nationalité française.
2.​La famille syrienne est arrivée la semaine dernière.
3.​Leur voyage de Syrie a duré deux semaines.
4.​Marcelle possède une maison vide.
5.​La famille syrienne habite à l’étage.
6.​Marcelle pense que les centres d’accueil sont excellents.
7.​Il y deux enfants dans la famille.
8.​La famille est originaire de Damas (Damascus) en Syrie.
9.​Ils étaient pauvres (poor) en Syrie.
10.​Leur maison reste intacte en Syrie.
11.​Le voyage à travers l’Europe était facile.
12.​Ils n’ont pas marché pendant le voyage.
13.​Marcelle et la famille s’entendent avec difficulté.
14.​Latifa ne cuisine jamais.
15.​Marcelle n’a jamais connu la guerre.

C. Explain to a partner in English what this article is all about. Give as much detail as possible.

D. Translate into English the last two paragraphs. Make it read as naturally as possible in English.


Based on information in an article from dhnet.be


Model translation

Since their arrival, a strong bond of friendship has formed between the family and Marcelle. “Living together is going amazingly well,” explains Marcelle. “For the first few days I did the cooking, and one evening Latifa offered to help me. She made us an excellent Syrian meal,” says Marcelle, who encourages all Belgians to welcome in refugees.

“These people are like us. They had a house, a car, a job. Personally, I have known war when I was a child. Today in Belgium we were born in the right place at the right time, but you have to think of what might have been. We could have also been on the road. Let’s never forget that,” says Marcelle, who hopes that Latifa and Abderazak will fit in easily to Belgian society.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tell stories

Introduction

How can we make listening more enjoyable and effective for pupils? How can we turn it from a potential chore to something more memorable (and therefore more likely to stick in their long term memories)? I am of the opinion that since humans are "wired" to engage in personal listening and speaking (the expression "social brain" has been used in this context), they may be more interested and attentive when the message comes from a real person rather than a disembodied audio source. (This may or may not be relevant, but research has been carried out which demonstrates that babies pick up phonological patterns better when they listen to a caregiver rather than listen to a tape or watch a video - see here for summaries of research into this area by Patricia Kuhl.)

One easy way to make listening stimulating for pupils is to tell them easy stories in the target language. I was reminded of this while reading Penny Ur's book 100 Teaching Tips (reviewed here

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…