“Because it is my life, and I’m the one who makes choices” – Newcomers in the French education system and career guidance

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The chapter analyses the career guidance counselling procedures regarding newcomer students attending &#8220;<i>Classes d&#8217;accueil</i>&#8221; in France. The aim of the research is to question the monolingual ideology pertaining to the educational objectives set out for such students by the Ministry of Education, i.e. the priority set on the acquisition of French as the language of schooling, without acknowledging the learners&#8217; plurilingual repertoires. Based on retrospective interviews with two newcomers, we analyse the gap between their professional aspirations and the possibilities offered to them by the educational and guidance counselling structures in place. We explain how, once students attend mainstream classes, their plurilingual and pluricultural competence is made virtually invisible and they are disempowered by the priority given to high competence in French.


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