MONTREAL, JANUARY 7, 2010- The English Montreal School Board today launched a new video, promoting the excellent level of French education offered at its primary and secondary schools.
“We are very proud of the quality of French instruction our students receive,” EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini stated at a press conference held at Dunrae Gardens Elementary School in the Town of Mount Royal.
The strictly French language video was produced by Productions Oracle and features EMSB students, staff and parents from a number of primary and secondary schools. It will begin running on the home page of the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca and promoted in advertisements placed in the French and English press. Copies are also being provided to schools.
"I was really impressed with the quality of the French programs,” said Alyssa Kuzmarov of Productions Oracle. “The teachers are excellent and very passionate about their work and dedicated to their students. I was equally impressed with the variety of activities students are exposed to - outings, after-school programs, cultural and community projects.”
Number of EMSB French Mother Tongue Students
With Elementary School Registration Week for the EMSB scheduled to take place February 1 to 5, Ms. Mancini says the timing of the video’s release is meant to send a message to parents still thinking about where to enroll their children for the 2010-11 academic year and beyond.
According to the EMSB records, 1,775 students out of total of 22,299 at the primary and secondary levels identify French as their mother tongue.
Under the Charter of the French Language, a certificate of eligibility is generally granted to children who did the majority of their elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada; whose mother or father did the majority of his/her elementary studies in English in Canada or whose brother or sister did the majority of his/her elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada. “There are about 14,000 students across the province who have at least one parent who had their education in French and another who had the majority of theirs in English’” said Ms. Mancini. “That adds up to a lot of students who can choose the English system. There are also parents raising their children in an English home who have chosen the French system. They do so because of a belief that their children will graduate speaking a superior French. That is not necessarily correct. By attending an EMSB French immersion program we guarantee your child will graduate fully bilingual.”
The Primary Level
At the primary level, the EMSB offers three models of French: core, bilingual and full immersion. After spending seven years, including kindergarten, in a school offering a core program, a student will have received 32 percent of French-language instruction. According to the same calculations, students who attended schools with bilingual and immersion models will have received a total of 47 and 68 percent of French language instruction respectively.
Several French programs are available at the secondary level and the amount of time complements the programs at the elementary level. Secondary I, II and III have extended French programs which vary from 38 to 72 percent.
In February 2005, the EMSB reviewed plans to harmonize its French Second Language (FSL) instruction at the high school level. The fundamental principle underlying this process was to qualify students as proficient in French, as well as English. The goal was to allow students to achieve success in français langue d’enseignement at the Secondary IV and/or V levels. This level of achievement identifies students as bilingual and biliterate.
“Although our secondary schools do not offer similar programs, an extensive analysis of the different models of French instruction at the secondary level revealed that schools provided increased time for French instruction, above the requirements of the Basic School Regulation,” commented EMSB Director of Pedagogical Services Sandra Furfaro. “ As part of our commitment to bilingualism, the grid was modified in Secondary IV and V to six units of French as a Second Language. This study also revealed that students following the different models at the elementary level moved to français langue d’enseignement instruction at the secondary level. It also recognized that partial immersion instructional models provide language learning in meaningful contexts through various subjects other than language arts.
As Ms. Mancini points out,“It is interesting to note that immersion students have been found to perform as well as native French students on tests of reading and oral comprehension. Whether students are enrolled in this type of program or another one, their linguistic deficiencies are generally not a serious obstacle to their effective use of French for academic or interpersonal purposes.”
In Canada, French-English bilingualism carries a number of cognitive, cultural and socioeconomic benefits. Bilingual individuals have enhanced problem-solving skills because of their ability to attend to relevant information and disregard misleading information. French-English bilingualism enhances Canadians' ability to participate fully in Canadian society. Canadians who speak both official languages also have, on average, better job opportunities.