The new curriculum describes the Core French, Extended French and French Immersion programs with a few changes, the most significant being the Core French program’s new focus on oral production. The Ministry has introduced a new CORE French Grade 9-10 OPEN course that will provide a much needed entry point for older students who are new to the province or the country. There is also a new French Immersion Grade 9-10 Applied course.
Will the new FSL Senior Curriculum support the goals of the Ministry of Education’s Framework for FSL in Ontario schools. Those goals are to:
- Increase student confidence, proficiency, and achievement in FSL
- Increase the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation
- Increase student, educator, parent and community engagement in FSL
The outcome of those goals will be measured over time, but the curriculum does makes connections to the existing Ministry policies, programs and strategies that are guiding education in broad terms in Ontario. These include: Equity and Inclusive education, Environmental education, the First Nations, Métis and Inuit policy framework, financial literacy and 21st century learning. Links to all of these documents can be found on the ministry website.
The FSL curriculum document provides examples and French prompts, making it easier for teachers to make connections and tie in real-world events to demonstrate the lessons found within each of those guiding documents.
What will your children learn?
If parents are curious enough to dive into the curriculum document looking for a specific lesson plan for week 9 of the semester, they will surely be disappointed. None will be found. On the other hand, you can expect your child to be engaged, in the moment, where the content of the classroom activity is relevant to life all around them. It is up to the teacher to source the content through a variety of resources.
Tip for parents: Ask your child what was discussed in their French class. Stay abreast of current events and keep reading material around the home to trigger discussion (in your home language) at the dinner table on what’s in the news .
What language and literacy skills will be developed? How will students learn? Teachers will work through seven enduring ideas: Authentic oral communication; Listening; Speaking; Reading; Development of language learning strategies; Interdependence of language and culture: Emphasis on critical and creative thinking skills; Goal setting and reflection; Making real world connections.
Tip for parents: Prompt your children with open-ended questions when at the dinner table or travelling in the car. What did you think about the outcome of that story? What could have been done differently? Why? How? What information is missing?
There is a fresh emphasis on bringing French to life by encouraging participation in French opportunities outside the classroom, such as field trips, exchanges, camps, community events and arts and cultural events of all kinds.
Tip for parents: Take part. Bring your child and his or her friends to Francophone festivals. Take pride in hearing them communicate in French and…stay for the evening performances!
The achievement chart provides an understanding of how well your child is learning. The connections to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) are evident in the chart (pages 32-22) but it is still difficult for a parent to understand how proficient their child is in French. The chart will include a description of what your child can do in the section on “Communication”, for example, but without a framework of reference as to where that lands along a continuum, it will likely leave a parent wanting.
Will this new curriculum support the goals of the Framework? We will hold on to the principle that if children are engaged, interested in what they are learning, provided with sound guided instruction, they will do well, stay in the program and have the confidence to use their French in the real world.