Why learn French?
French opens the door to travel and work in all parts of Canada and in any of the 30 countries around the world where French is spoken. French helps children develop learning skills they can use for the rest of their lives. Researchers say that children who learn a second language have better problem-solving skills. French is a stepping stone to learning other languages, particularly similar languages such as Spanish and Italian. For more reasons to learn French visit www.majbill.vt.edu/fll/french/whyfrench.html
Why should students stay in immersion until they graduate?
While it is true that students can communicate well in French by the time they reach junior high, they need the senior high school years to give them a broader vocabulary, more complex constructions, and greater familiarity with the social usages of the language. The longer they continue to learn in the French language and the more subjects they take in French, the more fluent they will become.
Can students continue French study at the post-secondary level?
Opportunities vary across Canada. Some post-secondary institutions offer special courses for graduates of Immersion programs. Bursaries are available for those wishing to study at French language institutions.
Is there assistance for students in French Immersion who are experiencing difficulty?
The level of learning assistance, whether in English-stream or French immersion programs, varies from one district to another and from one school to another. Depending on the available resources, children who are in need of learning assistance in French immersion should normally receive the same level of help as that available in the English stream.
Teachers work in cooperation with other specialists, where available, to provide help to students in French Immersion who are experiencing difficulty. Parents are encouraged to participate in this process. In some areas, peer help may also be available through such programs as “Tutoring for Tuition”.
How can I help when I don’t speak French?
You can start by establishing a good rapport with your child's immersion teacher. Through regular communication with the teacher you should become familiar with the curriculum and be able to help your child as effectively as possible.
At home, your child should be encouraged to read for pleasure in French and be encouraged to talk about his/her experiences at school. Showing interest in what your child is doing at school and providing encouragement and support is very important.
You may wish to join Canadian Parents for French, which is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and creating opportunities for young Canadians to learn and use French as a second language. CPF helps organize basic French classes for parents in many communities around the province and provides a network of support for parents with children in the various French programs.
Will my child be able to speak French fluently at the end of his/her schooling??
The level of French will vary from one child to another in the same way as performance in mathematics, for example, will vary from child to child. Some students speak French making many mistakes while others might be taken for mother-tongue French speakers.
The language skills of French immersion students are consistently superior to those of core French students (who study French for 20 to 50 minutes per day). In general, immersion students' French oral and reading comprehension skills (receptive skills) will be almost on a par with those of native French speakers. Speaking and writing in the second language (productive skills) may not be as advanced as their comprehension skills.
French immersion teachers and parents should constantly seek out opportunities for the children to use their French with mother-tongue French speakers. The new technologies (Internet, videoconferencing, multimedia materials) will help students to establish links with Francophone communities around the world. These opportunities for interaction should help students to improve their skills.
What additional opportunities exist for students in the Newfoundland and Labrador school system for further French language exposure?
The following opportunities exist through government programs:
* Grants for school organized trips to Quebec and New Brunswick
* Grants for school-organized trips to St. Pierre
* Summer program in French for Grade 9 students
* Summer program in French for Grade 10 students
* Explore-Summer Language Bursary Program
* Student Fellowship Program
In addition, bilingual exchanges through organizations such as SEVEC are available.
Where can I find information about these programs?
Information about the government funded programs is available at http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/french/bursaries.html
Your child’s teacher may also be aware of other school-based opportunities, such as EF trips.
Canadian Parents for French Newfoundland and Labrador. FAQ’s. (2006). Retrieved from : http://www.cpf.nfld.net/FAQs.html#faq3.
Canadian Parents for French Okanagan Skaha Chapter. FAQ's on French Immersion. (n.d.). Retreived from : http://okskaha.shawwebspace.ca/pages/view/faqs_on_french_immersion/
Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education. School Trips, Bursaries, and Fellowships/Voyages et Bourses. (2010). Retreived from : http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/french/bursaries.html