Education and immigration (écrit séries générales LV2)

Merci !

Annales corrigées
Classe(s) : Tle ES - Tle L - Tle S | Thème(s) : Espaces et échanges
Type : Écrit LV2 | Année : 2013 | Académie : Afrique
Unit 1 - | Corpus Sujets - 1 Sujet
Education and immigration

Séries générales • LV2



Espaces et échanges



Afrique • Juin 2013

Séries générales • LV2

text 1

A Chinese family

Frank McCourt tells of his experience as a teacher at Stuyvesant High School, New York.

When the class ended Ben Chan lingered in the room. Mr McCourt, could I talk to you? He knew what I was saying about poverty. The kids in this class didn’t understand anything. But it wasn’t their fault and I shouldn’t get mad. He was twelve when he came to this country four years ago. He knew no English but he ­studied hard and learned enough English and mathematics to pass the Stuyvesant High School entrance exam. He was happy to be here and his whole family was so proud of him. People back in China were proud of him. He competed against fourteen thousand kids to get into this school. His father worked six days a week, twelve hours a day, in a restaurant in Chinatown. His mother worked in a downtown sweatshop. Every night she cooked dinner for the whole family, five children, her husband, herself. Then she helped them get their clothes ready for the next day. Every month she had younger ones try on the clothes of the older kids to see if they’d fit. She said when everyone was grown and none of the clothes fit anymore, she’d keep them for the next family from China or she’d send them right over there. Americans could never understand the excitement in a Chinese family when something came from America. His mother made sure the children sat at the kitchen table and did their homework. He could never call his parents silly names like Mom or Dad. That would be so disrespectful. They learned English words every day so that they could talk to teachers and keep up with the children. Ben said every­one in this family respected everyone else and they’d never laugh at a teacher talking about the poor people of France because it could just as easily be China or even Chinatown right here in New York.

I told him the story of his family was impressive and moving and wouldn’t it be a tribute to his mother if he were to write it and read it to the class?

Oh, no, he could never do that. Never.

Why not? Surely the kids in the class would learn something and appreciate what they have.

He said, no, he could never write or talk to anyone else about his family because his father and mother would be ashamed.

Frank McCourt, Teacher Man, 2005.

text 2

Why immigrants’ children do better in school

Children who immigrate to the United States with their families are likely to outperform kids with a similar background who were born here. And when they grow up, their own children are also likely to do better than their peers. But by the third generation, that advantage will be gone. […]

That may fit a pattern some Americans see of so many kids from Asia who excel in everything from music to science as they embrace a new culture. But it holds for all immigrants, including those from Mexico who often arrive here in a desperate flight from poverty.

It doesn’t mean that a poor kid who arrives here as a preteen will do better than an American kid from a wealthy family that values education, of course. But compared to an American youth with a similar background, the immigrant will have certain advantages.

“They have higher expectations, they make a higher effort, and they have better cultural tools,” sociologist Lingxin Hao, lead author of the study, said in a telephone interview. “Their culture is not just American.”

They have the experience of living their first years in a very different culture, “so they have cultural diversity and they are able to take the best part of both and use it while in school,” she added. That will continue to help them transition into adulthood.

The study indicates the immigrants are more likely to succeed because they arrived here with high expectations, their parents expect them to work harder, and it’s likely they will have a stronger relationship than their American peers with their teachers.

In most other countries, particularly Asia, “teachers are somebody,” Hao said. “They educate you, so you have to respect them.”

Lee Dye, “Why Immigrants’ Children Do Better in School”,, Sept. 21, 2012.


Text 1

1 Copy the table below and write what you know about Ben Chan:




Father’s occupation

Mother’s occupation

Other family members



2 Where does the scene take place? (3 items)

31. Who is Ben engaged in conversation with?

2. What started this conversation?

41. What is Ben’s parents’ attitude to work?

2. Select from the list below three values which are important for Ben Chan and his parents:

individualism, ambition, respect, competition, solidarity, tolerance.

In each case, justify your choice with a quotation from the text.

Text 2

1 “Why Immigrant’s Children Do Better in School”. Pick out from the text four characteristics which, according to the report, help these children to succeed.

2 Is such success specific to children from certain countries? Justify your answer by quoting from the text.

Both texts

1 Find quotations to match those indicated below (there is no need to copy the given quotation):

1. Text 1: “They’d never laugh at a teacher” (l. 24-25).

Text 2: 

2. Text 1: “He knew what I was saying about poverty” (l. 2-3).

Text 2: 

3. Text 1: 

Text 2: “Their parents expect them to work harder” (l. 23-24).

4. Text 1: 

Text 2: “Children who immigrate to the United States with their families are likely to outperform kids with a similar background who were born here” (l. 1-3).

2 What do both texts present as the keys to successful integration in American society? (4 items)

Seuls les candidats de la série L répondront à la question suivante.

3 Text 1: “I told him the story of his family was impressive and moving” (l. 27).

Text 2: “by the third generation, that advantage will be gone” (l. 4-5).

Say what these sentences reveal about the role of schooling in the integration of immigrant populations in the USA.


> Les candidats de la série L traiteront deux des trois sujets ci-dessous. (total pour les deux sujets : 250 mots au moins)

Les candidats des séries ES et S traiteront un seul des trois sujets ci-dessous. (150 mots au moins)

1 An American High School has offered five places for international students. You are interested. Write a letter explaining why you are the best candidate and should be selected.

2 Write about how a friend or someone you know has had to overcome difficulties to achieve a goal.

3 Education is the only ticket to success. Discuss and justify your opinion.

Texte 1


Frank McCourt (1930-2009) est né aux États-Unis de parents irlandais. Sa famille a dû rentrer en Irlande suite à la Grande Dépression des années 1930, et c’est donc là que s’est déroulée son enfance, dans un contexte familial de grande pauvreté. Il est ensuite retourné aux États-Unis et a enseigné à New-York, épisode de sa vie qu’il raconte dans Teacher Man. Son premier livre, le roman autobiographique Angela’s Ashes, a obtenu le prix Pulitzer en 1997.

Pour en savoir plus :

Le thème

Le narrateur – qui est aussi l’auteur, nous dit la ligne d’introduction – est professeur dans un lycée. À la fin d’un cours, un jeune Chinois, nommé Ben Chan, s’attarde pour lui parler. Le professeur a apparemment terminé son cours contrarié que ses élèves ne comprennent pas ce qu’il leur dit de la pauvreté. Ben Chan, lui, comprend : il est arrivé de Chine quatre ans auparavant, a dû étudier de façon intensive pour être accepté dans cette école, pendant que ses parents travaillaient eux-mêmes dur, sur de longues journées : son père dans un restaurant de Chinatown et sa mère dans un atelier clandestin. Ses parents font tout leur possible pour s’intégrer et pour que leurs enfants réussissent. Lorsque le professeur suggère alors à Ben qu’il raconte l’histoire de sa famille à la classe, celui-ci refuse, persuadé que ses parents en ressentiraient de la honte.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

To linger, l. 1 (s’attarder) ; to get mad, l. 4 (se mettre en colère) ; to pass an exam, l. 6-7 (réussir à un examen) ; proud, l. 8 (fier) ; a sweatshop, l. 12 (un atelier clandestin) ; to keep up with, l. 23 (se maintenir au niveau / suivre) ; moving, l. 27 (émouvant) ; a tribute, l. 28 (un hommage) ; to be ashamed, l. 34 (avoir honte).

Texte 2


Lee Dye est journaliste scientifique à ABC News, l’une des grandes chaînes d’information américaines créée en 1948.

Pour en savoir plus :

Le thème

Selon cet article, les jeunes immigrants ont davantage de chances de réussir leurs études aux États-Unis que leurs pairs de milieu semblable nés sur le sol américain. Mais cet avantage disparaît à la troisième génération. Les atouts de ces élèves dont la famille est récemment arrivée aux États-Unis sont divers : compétitivité et pugnacité, soutien des parents, multiculturalisme. Autre facteur : les enseignants et plus globalement l’éducation dans les pays dont ils sont originaires, sont respectés.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

To be likely to, l. 2 (être susceptible de) ; to outperform, l. 2 (être plus performant que) ; background, l. 2 (origine sociale) ; peers, l. 4 (les pairs) ; to fit a pattern, l. 6 (correspondre à un schéma) ; preteen, l. 10 (pré-ado 9-12 ans) ; expectations, l. 14 (des attentes) ; tools, l. 15 (des outils).

Les points de convergence

L’article (texte 2) traite de la réussite scolaire des immigrants aux États-Unis, en exposant leurs atouts, en regard des difficultés de leur situation d’arrivants. L’extrait de roman (texte 1) illustre ce thème, en rapportant l’exemple de l’élève Ben Chan et de ses parents.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Pistes de recherche

Dans votre lettre de candidature pour intégrer un lycée américain, vous pouvez avancer plusieurs types d’arguments. Dans un premier temps, le fait que vous connaissiez déjà les États-Unis, ou bien que vous n’y soyez jamais allé et que vous souhaitiez découvrir le pays. Dans un second temps vous pouvez exposer votre envie d’apprendre, notamment de découvrir la culture américaine et approfondir votre connaissance de la langue. Enfin, vous pouvez souligner que vous aimeriez aussi transmettre aux Américains quelque chose de votre propre culture.

Vocabulaire utile

To apply for (être candidat à) ; to speak fluently (parler couramment) ; the American way of life (le mode de vie américain) ; to exchange with somebody about (échanger avec quelqu’un au sujet de) ; native language / foreign language (langue maternelle / langue étrangère).

Le sujet d’expression 2

Pistes de recherche

C’est un sujet très personnel. Les difficultés à surmonter peuvent être de plusieurs ordres : gros problèmes de santé, relations avec la famille, début d’une addiction, difficultés scolaires…

Vocabulaire utile

Health (la santé) ; hardship (des difficultés) ; to go through an ordeal (traverser une épreuve) ; unfortunately (malheureusement) ; to succeed in V-ing / to manage to V (réussir à).

Le sujet d’expression 3

Pistes de recherche

On dit et répète aujourd’hui que la seule façon de réussir dans la vie, est de faire de bonnes études. Les jeunes ont le sentiment que s’ils ne font pas des études qui se trouvent être de plus en plus longues, ils ne pourront accéder à un métier valorisant, même si en réalité les études longues n’offrent pas toujours de débouchés. Il est crucial dans la vie d’avoir un bon niveau d’éducation, tant sur le plan des études, que sur le plan du savoir-vivre en société. Mais en ce qui concerne les études, maints exemples viennent illustrer le fait que l’on peut réussir sa vie sans avoir nécessairement fait des études brillantes, si l’on est créatif, organisé, tenace. Par ailleurs, on peut mener une vie heureuse et épanouie sans faire une carrière brillante.

Vocabulaire utile

Menial jobs (tâches subalternes, petits boulots) ; a degree (un diplôme) ; level (niveau) ; credentials (références) ; efficient (efficace) ; fulfilling (épanouissant) ; career, career path (carrière professionnelle).



Text 1







Father’s occupation

Works in a restaurant

Mother’s occupation

Works in a sweatshop

Other family members

4 brothers and sisters


Chinese, English


2 It takes place in Frank McCourt’s classroom, in Stuyvesant High School, New York.

31. He is engaged in conversation with his teacher, Frank McCourt.

2. A lesson about poverty.

41. They are hard-working, courageous and determined to succeed.

2. Ambition: “His mother made sure the children sat at the kitchen table and did their homework” (l. 19-20).

Respect: “He could never call […]. That would be disrespectful” (l. 20-22).

Solidarity: “she’d keep them for the next family from China” (l. 16-17).

Text 2

1 “They have higher expectations” (l. 14); “They arrived here with high expectations, their parents expect them to work harder” (l. 23-24).

“they make a higher effort” (l. 14).

“they have better cultural tools” (l. 15); “They have the experience of living their first years in a very different culture” (l. 18-19).

“it’s likely they will have a stronger relationship than their American peers with their teachers” (l. 24-25).

2 No, “it holds for all immigrants”, “kids from Asia”, “including those from Mexico” (l. 8-9).

Both texts

11. Text 2: “In most other countries, particularly Asia, ‘teachers are somebody,’ Hao said. ‘They educate you, so you have to respect them’ ” (l. 26-27).

2. Text 2: “including those from Mexico who often arrive here in a desperate flight from poverty” (l. 8-9).

3. Text 1: “His mother made sure the children sat at the kitchen table and did their homework” (l. 19-20).

4. Text 1: “He competed against fourteen thousand kids to get into this school” (l. 9-10).

2 Use the best part of both cultures (text 2, l. 16-19), work hard, have good relationship and respect, learn to speak English well.

Uniquement pour les candidats de la série L

3 Schooling helps the immigrants’ children climb the social ladder. It is an incentive that helps them to succeed, but once they have integrated, school­ing has less and less effect on their own children.


1 Guidelines

Dear Sir,

I have recently heard about the places reserved in your High School for international students like myself. I would very much like to apply for one of them. Although some relatives of mine actually live in the States (in California), I have never been there and it would be a great opportunity for me to improve my English and speak fluently. I would love to discover the American way of life, culture… and in the context of a High School, it would be all the better. On the other hand, I would be glad to exchange with the other students about France and my native language.

I’m really looking forward to your answer.

Best regards.

3 Guidelines

Nowadays, it is said that nothing can be achieved without a proper education. You must be more and more qualified, even for menial jobs, and teenagers get the feeling that you can do nothing if you don’t have a degree. Which is true, to some extent. You must show your credentials to access some jobs or career paths.

But on the other hand, some people show that a high level of education is not always necessary to succeed in one’s career. For instance, some workers start up their own businesses and become successful businessmen, because they work hard, well, are creative, efficient, serious… In the USA, this idea corresponds to the “myth of the self-made man”.

But we can notice that succeeding in one’s life is not restricted to succeeding in one’s professional life. Some people can be successful in that they lead a happy, fulfilling life, without having brilliant careers.