French as a Second Language Advisory Committee (FSLAC) Newsletter

Bonjour from Sindy Preger, Parent co-chair FSLAC

Please find attached and below a copy of our latest FSLAC newsletter highlighting issues and opportunities related to French language learning for TDSB students in Toronto.

1.New ‘Road Map to Bilingualism’

Minister of Canadian Heritage (and French Immersion graduate) James Moore released the new ‘Road Map to Bilingualism 2013-2018’ – ‘Our Official Languages: Fundamental to Canada’. Under the Education section, the federal government commits to continuing its support for second language learning including the development of evaluation tools to measure proficiency and expanding immersion opportunities: pch.gc.ca/eng/1358263602229/1358263791285. Funding allocated for second language learning has increased slightly.

2. New FSL Framework for Ontario

The Ministry of Education’s new Framework for FSL in Ontario schools is ‘to help school boards and schools in Ontario maximize opportunities for students to reach their full potential in FSL’. Read this ‘Call to Action’ at edu.gov.on.ca/eng/amenagement/frameworkFLS.pdf .

 3. Teachers Talk- interviews at William Tredway JR PS

Teachers Madame Jones(SK) and Madame Ristuccia (grade 2/3) share their perspectives on teaching French Immersion.

A bit about the teachers –

Madame Ristuccia has been studying French since she was 4-years-old. She attended Georges-Étienne-Cartier and Le Collège Français.  She studied French Literature, Italian Language and Literature as well as Linguistics at the University of Toronto.

Madame Jones has been teaching French immersion to senior kindergarten students for her entire teaching career – 13 years. Her first language is Italian and she learned French in elementary school, then continued through high school and university, where French was her major.

Teaching tips and skills for success –

Madame Ristuccia believes the key to effectively teaching FSL is to speak as much French as possible to truly immerse students.  Also, it is important to differentiate instruction in order to engage all the students in your class.  This means using many different techniques to interest different types of learners in your class:  lots of movement for kinesthetic learners, charts for visual learners, discussion for verbal learners etc. If there is a student who likes to move around a lot, then find activities that have him/her moving.  If there’s a student who is introspective, then assign an activity where the student can personally relate to the subject matter. It pays to know HOW your students are smart.

Madame Jones looks for a variety of indicators to gauge success including number and letter recognition, ability to complete tasks, assessing knowledge versus ability and parental involvement. She keeps parents informed of the French vocabulary that is introduced via a monthly newsletter.  Early in the school year, she provides a “phonetic” aid to help in the pronunciation of the French alphabet and reading booklets that incorporate new vocabulary which are sent home so parents are aware of the vocabulary and language patterns being practiced in class.

How can parents help?

Find out your child’s schedule and ask specific questions such as, “What did you do in Math today?”  Or “Did you do anything interesting in Science?”  If your child gets homework, see if your child can teach you how to do it so that they are truly mastering the work by explaining it in your home language.

Parents can look for French programming on television that caters to young viewers and sit with them while it is on.  When the parent expresses an interest, it shows the child that language learning is valued.  It offers an avenue for discourse between parent and child while they are viewing a program that uses a different language.

Merci Beaucoup enseignantes Jones et Ristuccia! Thanks to our Tredway teachers!

4. Twelve Great Reasons to Stay in French to Grade 12!

High schools across the province are receiving ‘Pathways to Bilingual Success’ packages to help educators and guidance counselors encourage students to stay in French to grade 12. There are posters, lesson plans and a DVD with interviews of students and employers. The package, sponsored by the Ministry of Education and produced by Canadian Parents for French includes information on exchanges, post-secondary education, employment and the benefits of bilingualism:

•            Broadening post-secondary education options

•            Developing critical thinking

•            Opportunities to win scholarships and bursaries

•            Enhancing career opportunities

•            Boosting 21st century communication skills

•            Developing cultural sensitivity

Great Programs for Teens: There are many opportunities for teens and young adults to participate in  exchange programs, internships and other bilingual/French work programs: afscanada.org , iseontario.on.ca , nacel.org sevec.ca , bilinguallink.com , myexplore.ca jobs-emplois.gc.ca/fswep-pfete/index-eng.php and the YMCA’s  summer-work.com.

Post-Secondary French:  Along with the 67 Canadian colleges and universities offering FSL/French Studies/Literature degrees (25 in Ontario), 32 also offer degrees in other disciplines in French (10 in Ontario).  As many as 42 schools offer graduate degrees in French.   See the Planning Ahead interactive map for more information: ocol-clo.gc.ca/twolanguages_deuxlangues/index.html?L=Ea

Ipsos Reid Survey of Non-federal Government Employers:  Research on selected occupations in the service sector showed that 20% of their 17,400 employees are bilingual.  “Of these bilingual employees, nearly one in three is required to be bilingual as a condition of employment”. The research also indicated that contrary to what many people believe, these bilingual jobs are not only at the entry-level, but are also at mid-level positions.  “Nearly half the respondents who are involved in hiring decisions (49%) consider bilingualism to be either very or fairly important when making hiring decisions…71% say even a basic ability to communicate in French is an asset”. The study suggests that there will be even greater demand for bilingual employees in the future: cpf.ca/en/files/IpsosReid_FSL2008_E.pdf

5. French Summer Camps in Toronto

Alliance Française de Toronto (ages 5-11)  alliance-francaise.ca

Camp Baby Point En Français (ages 5-10) FrenchSouthWest.com

Camp Tournesol (bussing is offered)  camptournesol.ca

École Napoléon (ages 5-14) ecolenapoleon.com

French Immersion Summer Camp (ages 3-8) thebusygenie.com

Gotta Love That French…Activity Club (ages 5-14)  helenenicole.com

La Muse (ages 4-12) studiolamuse.blogspot.ca/

Harbourfront (ages 8-12) harbourfrontcentre.com/camps/summer/

For more camps in Quebec and beyond, check cpfont.on.ca  under “French Resources”.

6. FSLAC Meetings – All Welcome – New April Date!

Parents, students, trustees, teachers and staff are invited to attend and participate in FSLAC meetings. Meetings start at 7 pm at the TDSB offices at 5050 Yonge St., ground floor. Meeting notices, reports, newsletters and minutes are posted on the TDSB website: tdsb.on.ca/fslac .

Upcoming meetings are: April 15, May 23 and June 25, 2013.

7. Email List

This list is being maintained by FSLAC parent volunteers and will be used for this newsletter and occasional FSL news for interested community members. To get on the distribution list or to get in touch, please email fslactoronto@gmail.com, please provide your first and last name and the name of your child’s school.

Parent Councils: This email has been sent to TDSB school email addresses with the request to forward it to parent council chairs. Please share this newsletter with your school through your own distribution network. If your parent council has its own permanent email address, please let us know at fslactoronto@gmail.com.

All the best,

Sindy Preger

FSLAC Parent Co-chair