Brogniezstraat 54, 1070 Anderlecht

Van maandag t/m vrijdag van 9.00 tot 17.00 uur

‘Not being able to read or write creates exclusion’

Byline Ariane joined the alpha team this year. She is an alpha teacher and supervises two groups on a permanent basis. Ariane also worked as a graphic designer in the past. She is constantly looking for digital methods to support the alpha course.
Who belongs to your target audience?

There are adults who have little or no ability to read or write, but still have a good oral level of French. They come from countries where the French language is widespread, such as Morocco, Guinea or Mauritania.

Some have been living in Belgium for years and have learnt French through neighbours, friends, at work or through other activities.

On the other hand, I teach a second group, who cannot read or write but also do not speak French or Dutch. Most trainees are from Syria, but there are also some other nationalities among them. Working with this second group is much more complicated. At the start of the course, they did not understand the verbal instructions.

I therefore work mainly with visual language and pictograms to help them master basic oral French. Moreover, I am dealing with adults who are often not even formally educated in their own language. They also do not master certain skills: arranging sheets of paper, gluing, cutting, etc. In short, things that seem simple to us but are actually not.

What are the specific needs of the people participating in this course?
In western countries, not being able to read or write causes exclusion. It not only complicates access to employment and training, but it makes autonomy of the person impossible.

My trainees really want to be autonomous because they are tired of always having to rely on a third party to read and answer their emails, text messages, etc. Then there is the need to access training leading to a qualification, which often requires a basic knowledge of French. Among women, we also often see the need to be able to attend their children’s schooling.

What does Maks vzw’s specific methodology consist of?
I would say this is the use of tablets. Maks vzw has a lot of digital material and therefore we can provide every student with a tablet during the course. I have prepared a lot of online literacy exercises and we do them together in class in the form of quizzes, which makes the course very fun. For example, we also do dictation tests with the tablets which, besides teaching them to read and write, also teaches them to use the keyboard.

Do trainees feel empowered after the training?
Yes, I get a lot of positive feedback from my clients, although sometimes I feel that my work as an alpha trainer is just a drop in the ocean. One of my former students, who found work afterwards, told me he was happy because he was now able to read the labels on the products he packs. And I think that’s already a great achievement.

“First and foremost, we work on autonomy so they can email or text themselves,” he said.
Full-time alpha teacher