The Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board is proud to offer French as a Second Language instruction from Kindergarten to Grade twelve in both the Core and Immersion Streams. The Ontario Ministry of Education provides funding for Core French programming from grade four to grade twelve however, the BGCDSB recognizes the many benefits of early exposure to a second language and allocates special funding to ensure that students begin their FSL education in Kindergarten.
The ability to speak and understand French allows students to communicate with French-speaking people in Canada and around the world, to understand and appreciate the history and evolution of their cultures, and to develop and benefit from a competitive advantage in the workforce.
While the knowledge of any additional language has value, French is not only a global language, but the mother tongue of many Canadians and an integral part of the Canadian identity. Learning French equips students with the ability to communicate with French-speaking Canadians and millions of French speakers around the world.
In addition to strengthening students’ ability to communicate, learning another language develops their awareness of how language and culture interconnect, helping them appreciate and respect the diversity of Canadian and global societies. When a student is exposed to another culture through its language, he or she begins to understand the role that language plays in making connections with others. Learning an additional language not only challenges a mind, it also teaches understanding, encourages patience, and fosters open-mindedness.
The Goal of our FSL Programs
Regardless of the FSL program (Core or Immersion), the goal is same; to develop students’ communication skills in French.
Although Core and Immersion programs differ in intensity, both programs teach students to read, write, listen and speak in French through real, world learning opportunities. Our FSL programming is founded in the three core values and priorities that are outlined in A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools:
- Increase student confidence, proficiency, and achievement in French as a Second Language (FSL)
- Increase the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation
- Increase student, educator, parent, and community engagement in FSL
We believe with these principles guiding our program development and instruction, we will ensure our students have the skills and confidence in their ability to communicate in French.
Core French at BGCDSB
Students learn French as a subject. At the elementary level, students must accumulate a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8. In primary French, our students learn French through the use of gestures, visuals, songs, repetition, games and through play-based learning opportunities. In junior and intermediate core French classes, our students are working on developing basic communication skills so students can interact in authentic real-life situations. The program also begins to focus more on French culture both within Canada and around the world. At the secondary level, academic and applied courses are offered for Grades 9; university preparation courses are offered for Grades 10, 11 and 12. Core French programming is taught in all schools, Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.
French Immersion at BGCDSB
Students learn French as a subject and French serves as the language of instruction in two or more other subjects. From Kindergarten to Grade 6, French is the language of instruction for all subjects except for Core English and Religion. In Grades 7 and 8 French is the language of instruction for 50% of the day, with Math, Religion, and Core English being taught in English. At the secondary level, academic courses are offered for Grades 9 and 10; university preparation are offered for Grades 11 and 12. In the French Immersion program, students accumulate ten credits in French: four are FSL language courses and six are other subjects in which French is the language of instruction.
French Immersion programming is offered at the following Elementary schools:
- St. Joseph's School (Port Elgin)
- St. Anthony's School (Kincardine)
- St. Basil's School (Owen Sound)
- Notre Dame (Owen Sound)
- École Immaculée-Conception (Formosa) is a single-track French Immersion school.
French Immersion programming is offered in both Secondary schools:
- St. Mary's High School (Owen Sound)
- Sacred Heart High School (Walkerton) offer French immersion programming.
CEFR - Common European Framework of Reference
The Common European Framework of Reference is an internationally recognized standard for describing what second language learners are capable of communicating and understanding at each stage of their language development.
The CEFR identifies a continuum with six levels that are described in the table linked here from the Council of Europe website.
As discussed in the Framework for FSL and outlined in our three core values the revised Ontario FSL curriculum is informed by the CEFR. FSL programming in the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board is based on "asset model" assessment of what students are capable of communicating and understanding in French, and then next steps for instruction are planned to help students move through the continuum as their abilities improve.
Teachers plan and use Action Oriented Tasks in both Core and Immersion programming at all levels to give students the opportunity to learn and experience the French language in a meaningful way using the four strands identified in the FSL curriculum (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing).
The criteria for an Action-Oriented Task is as follows
- Learners are social agents who use the target language in order to carry out a predefined task with tangible results
- Oral communication is spontaneous, purposeful, and set in the context of everyday life
- The goals of the task are clearly identified and use verbs of action, (give, make, explain, persuade, etc.)
- The task requires a problem to be solved, an objective to be achieved or a goal to be accomplished, subject to certain parameters and constraints
- Authentic texts, language competencies, and learning strategies are integral to accomplishing the task
DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française)
The DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française) is a French language proficiency test offered to FSL students in grade 12 at the Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board. The DELF examination evaluates students using criteria set by the Common European Framework of Reference in four language competencies:
- Oral Expression
- Listening Comprehension
- Written Expression
- Written Comprehension
At BGCDSB we offer three independent levels of evaluation (A2, B1 and B2). Students wishing to be evaluated through the DELF should discuss with their FSL educator which delf level best suits their FSL competencies. DELF examinations are held yearly in Hanover at the Catholic Education Centre.
Why Take the DELF?
From the Association canadienne des professionnels de l'immersion (ACPI):
International recognition of French proficiency:
- Life-long certification, whether obtained in the candidate`s country or another country.
- Based on the same international standard used in 164 countries (CEFR).
- Facilitates interprovincial dialogue across Canada.
A testimonial to one’s success in learning French:
- Recognition of the candidate's accomplishments to date on the path to French proficiency.
- Represents an official document, recognized internationally, that enriches the candidate's school or professional portfolio.
Advantages for postsecondary education:
- Recognized internationally by francophone postsecondary institutions, including a growing number in Canada.
- Acceptance into a university in France (B2 or higher level).
Enhances one’s resume:
- A description in meaningful terms what the candidate is capable of doing in French.
- Helps to open doors to a wide range of career and recreational opportunities throughout Canada and around the world.
- An aid for professional advancement.
For additional information concerning the DELF at BGCDSB please contact the French as a Second Language Consultant (519.364.5820)