Students benefiting from revamped French Second Language program (09/08/12)

NB 1107

Aug. 12, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Test results reveal more New Brunswick students than ever before are benefiting from the revamped French Second Language (FSL) program introduced last fall.

Within the first year of the provincewide introduction of the Intensive French program, 58 per cent of Grade 5 anglophone classes selected in a random survey were either at or above the target level of basic - low or above.

Previously, only two per cent of students reached the same target after four years in the former Core French program. The target level of basic - low or above is defined as having the ability to form simple sentences and maintaining very simple conversation with some spontaneity. Core French was eliminated as part of last year's changes to FSL instruction.

"What we are seeing is a new enthusiasm for learning French, both in the early grades and in the Intensive French program as a result of the new approach," said Education Minister Roland Haché. "The methodology being used is engaging to students and is considered a more hands-on type of learning that students enjoy. In fact, the methodology from the Intensive French program has been so successful, that some of the strategies are also being used in the immersion program."

The province's new FSL approach:

"Learning another language has significant academic benefits to students," said Haché. "The skills and learning strategies they develop while learning to speak, read and write another language benefit students academically in all subject areas. In addition, students today need different skills than previous generations. The new worldwide economy requires people who are multilingual and have the ability to adapt to the world around them."

Robert Parkinson, chair of the Council of District Education Council Chairs and vice-chair of the Minister's Advisory Council on FSL, said he expected the new approach would lead to improved results.

"I am seeing great interest and participation in the new French program in our small rural schools and a higher enrolment in late immersion as students receive a better introduction to the program as a result of the Intensive French program," he said.

In the Intensive French program, students learn in French for 60 per cent of their day during half of the school year. The other half is in English, with an accelerated curriculum, and French instruction in concentrated blocks. A Pre-Intensive French program will begin with Grade 4 students starting in September. Students will have 150 minutes per week of French in blocks of 50 to 60 minutes.


MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Kilfoil, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-4919.