More New Brunswick students taking an interest in learning French (09/09/23)

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Sept. 23, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - More New Brunswick students are taking an interest in learning French under the government's new approach to second language learning.

Enrolment in the Grade 6 late immersion program is up 19 per cent over last year. The increase is being attributed in part to the Grade 5 Intensive French (IF) program, which was put in place provincewide last year. IF takes a new approach to learning French as a second language.

"We know from evaluations done with our IF teachers in June that they are seeing a new enthusiasm and interest in learning French because of the new approach," said Education Minister Roland Haché. "It is a positive sign that more students are taking an interest in learning another language, especially since the ability to speak more than one language is an essential skill in the worldwide economy."

The provincial government overhauled its French second-language programs last year to give anglophone students, particularly those in rural areas, better access to quality French language programs. It eliminated the former ineffective core French program and replaced in with IF for all non-immersion students. The provincial government also moved the early entry point for immersion to Grade 3.

All students in kindergarten to Grade 2 are now being introduced to French language, history and culture through a series of learning experiences linked to curriculum outcomes. After Grade 2, students have three options:

"Whatever program or combination of programs that parents chose for their child to learn another language, it is important that they understand how each approach works, what they can expect from that approach and what approach would most benefit their child, based on what kind of learner their child is," said Haché.

The provincial government will launch an information campaign later in the school year to help parents of Grade 2 and Grade 5 students make the best choice for their child.


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