Pilar Cucalón Gets her PhD in Social Anthropology

Aulas de Enlace [Linking Classrooms] is an educational program developed by the Board of Education of the Community of Madrid to address the needs of migrant students recently arrived in the Community of Madrid, who are 9 to 16 years old. The Program aims at facilitating the learning of Spanish, at easing the transition into the Spanish education system and the society at large, and at promoting these students’ cultural identity.

This PhD thesis has addressed the issue of the meaning of the Linking Classrooms Program as a new policy recently implemented in schools. In order to achieve this goal, the study, first, analyzes the logic of the Linking Classrooms regulations, and the changes and fluctuations in the total number of Linking Classroom units funded by the government; second, it deals with teachers’ discourses and practices the arrival of migrant students in schools in general, and the program in particular and; third, it inquires about students’ academic trajectories, once they finished the program; and finally, analyzes students’ own discourses regarding their experiences in the program.

This research has been carried out along three academic years, and in two different Linking Classrooms. Each one was located in a different city, and managed differently, also: the first one was a public school located in Parla, and the second one was a chartered school located in the city of Madrid. Both schooled secondary students.

Regarding Research techniques, the most broadly used have been: Participant Observation, In-depth Interviews, quantitative analysis of statistical data, and analysis of official regulations.