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English Language Learners in French Language Programs

No matter when the student enters a classroom, teachers are able to offer them the required support in order to be successful.

The Ministry of Education policy document The Ontario Curriculum French As a Second Language: Core French Grades 1-8, 2013 (p. 15) states that Core French is mandatory for all students in Ontario from Grades 4-8. 

“Core French is mandatory from Grades 4 to 8 for all students in English-language elementary schools. Students entering Grade 4 must receive French instruction in every year from Grade 4 to Grade 8 and must have accumulated a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8. Once an instructional sequence has begun, the program must continue uninterrupted to Grade 8.” 

The document Supporting English Language Learners: A practical guide for Ontario Teachers: Grades 1-8, 2008 (p.31) presents the idea that learning English and French at the same time is helpful in reinforcing the skills that students learn in English. Reinforcing the use of oral language by exposing the students to “practical, everyday French” helps to contribute to their ability to learn language.

"Questions parents ask…

 I worry about my child learning French at the same time as learning English. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on only one language?

You might think that he would get confused if a child learns French at the same time as learning English, but, in fact, the opposite is true. Many of the items taught in French may parallel what students are learning in English, so learning French can help to reinforce the English that they are learning. Children who are learning the English language are likely to feel successful since all students in Ontario are learning French as a second language, and the focus is on oral language using practical, everyday French. Students are able to transfer knowledge about how language works and this may contribute to their overall academic success.” 

English Language Learners in Secondary French Courses

Most English Language Learners can be served in the secondary French course of their choice. If students have had fewer than 600 hours of exposure to French, they are able to enroll in a beginner French course called FSF1O  (dependent upon availability of the course at the school). This is not a Special Education course, it is a course intended for students who did not complete 600 hours of instruction in French between Grades 4-8.