Frequently Asked Questions | Foire aux questions
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How can I support my child even if I don’t speak French?
- children need many opportunities to experience language at home. He/she needs to practice expressing his/her thoughts, ideas and feelings. Sharing your thoughts by “thinking aloud” as you go about completing routine tasks helps develop your child’s listening skills as well as exposes your child to new ideas and information
- parents can help by reading with their child in English, visiting the public library, going on family outings, ensuring homework is completed, and communicating regularly with the teacher
- enrol your child in music lessons. Music will enhance listening skills and help develop the brain areas involved in language and reasoning
- your child should be free to read for pleasure in French or in English and be encouraged to talk about his/her experiences at school
- encourage your child to read French books, watch French television, listen to French radio and;
- expose your child to French outside of school through participation in the French arts and French cultural events in the community
- consider taking a French course for adults
- at any age, watching a TV program together and then discussing it can help to develop analytical and debating skills
- playing games of all kinds, at all ages can develop hand-eye coordination, observation and reasoning skills, memory, vocabulary and math skills
- while a trip to the zoo or museum is a wonderful educational opportunity, your child can learn as much during a shopping trip
Remember to learn alongside your child.
Will my child need French resources?
- French books that are accompanied by CDs so that your child can listen to the story while following along in the book. This will help your child learn new vocabulary and attune his/her ear to the sounds of French.
- French comic books and cartoons that your child will enjoy
- French DVD’s or books about Tintin, Astérix, Lucky Luke or Boule et Bill
- a French dictionary including a picture word dictionary for SK-1
- a good French dictionary for everyday use
- a good French/English dictionary
- a French dictionary that divides words into themes (sports, clothing, home) for elementary students
- a French dictionary with a small encyclopedia section for secondary students
- a French atlas to help in Social Studies or Geography for topographical terms as well as place names in French (i.e., Germany = Allemagne)
- French educational software
- French resource books listing French verbs such as the bescherelle
- a book of French synonyms to help with writing just like the thesaurus does in English
- French music CDs
Although French resources are important, English books are necessary to help
build your child’s reading skills and reinforce reading strategies in English.
Are experiences in the French language or in the French community important for my child?
- participation in visits to the public library for French story time
- participation in French summer camps
- participation in French plays and musical events
- participation in Language exchange programs
- participation in French clubs, organization and teams
- visits in Canada and abroad where French is spoken
French activities during the summer help your child/children retain the language.
How can knowing my child’s learning style help with homework?
Research has shown that learning is not a “one size fits all” approach. There are three main types of learners; kinesthetic, auditory and visual. Kinesthetic learners learn by hands on experiences, visual learners learn by seeing and auditory learners learn by hearing. Most learners adopt the style that best suits them and may use a combination of styles but they generally have a clear preference for one. It is important for parents to pay attention to the ways in which their child learns best. Several studies have shown that accommodating your child’s learning style at home can significantly increase his/her performance at school.
Homework tips to help your child based on his/her preferred learning style:
Your child learns by doing and touching
Your child learns new information by reading and looking at graphs/charts or watching demonstrations
Your child prefers to listen than to read and often studies by reciting information aloud
How can I further support my child in developing his or her learning skills and work habits at home?
The six skills and work habits as seen in your child’s provincial report card are: responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative and self-regulation.
Learning Skills/ Work Habits
Sample Student Behaviours
Parent Supports at Home
Does an appreciation and an awareness of culture enhance the learning of a second language?
As students learn French, they also increase their knowledge of the francophone culture in terms of its citizens’ behaviours, customs, traditions, values, attitudes, and beliefs. Students not only discover features, characteristics and facts about the culture of Francophones, but they also increase their awareness of the cultural aspects of the French language. Students learn to recognize the variety of socio-cultural differences and socio-linguistic patterns through various cultural interactions and activities. Students develop an understanding of the differences in speech, courtesies, customs, facial expressions, body language, verbal expressions, accents, and dialects of the French Canadian culture and other French cultures.
Students also develop intercultural competencies that enable them to adapt and act appropriately in different cultural and social situations. They learn to appreciate, respect, and tolerate different view points, values and customs. Students develop a range of intercultural skills that foster:
- a positive attitude towards Francophones and/or other cultural groups,
- an appreciation for the French language,
- a curiosity in regards to the francophone culture and their own culture,
- an openness to new or different perspectives,
- an appreciation of diversity,
- a sense of belonging and of inclusion,
- a respect for others,
- an empathetic spirit.
Students begin by exploring their own culture and are then introduced to the francophone culture (link)in their surrounding areas. The cultural focus then expands to regional, provincial, national and international communities.
Students are encouraged to relate the information to their own culture, to connect their new learning to their personal experiences and to recognize the cultural elements that influence their own lives. They explore their own lives and culture in comparison to the lives and cultures of Francophones from across Canada and the world.
Cultural appreciation and awareness enhance the learning of a second language. These aspects increase students’ awareness of their own culture and that of others’ cultures; further develop the students’ curiosity in regards to their own culture and that of Francophones across the world; build on students’ understanding of the French language and foster intercultural understanding.
What role does oral language play as part of the second language learning process?
Oral language involves both comprehension and production: listening, speaking, negotiating meaning, reacting and acting appropriately. Language proficiency requires students to play an interactive role in their learning and to engage linguistically in social situations while learning the second language. Two key components of oral language development include:
- the spoken production (a planned statement to communicate information to someone) and
- the spoken interaction (the spontaneous use of language in which a speaker listens to another speaker and then responds immediately to that input).
Through spoken productions and interactions, students give, receive and/or exchange information. They listen to, ask questions about, respond to, express and reflect on ideas, knowledge, perceptions and feelings. Students use their prior knowledge, share their personal experiences, think critically, problem solve and move their own thinking forward, in their second language.
Oral language activities that are authentic, meaningful and anchored to students’ lives, personal interests and experiences are highly motivating for students and encourage them to become actively engaged and dynamic participants in the second language learning process. Student engagement is fostered through topics and situations that are:
Authentic and spontaneous oral communication activities also provide students with a variety of opportunities to learn and to use vocabulary, language and socio-linguistic conventions in the second language or to explore intercultural elements in interactive contexts.
Oral language proficiency is the goal for second language learners. As students continue to develop their oral language skills, they become more confident and competent in their use of the French language and better prepared for authentic conversations and real-life interactions.