Kids, News

More Canadian Kids Taking French Immersion

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École Sunny Brae is a school with French immersion in Moncton, New Brunswick. Image: J. J. F. Nau.
École Sunny Brae is a school with French immersion in Moncton, New Brunswick. Image: J. J. F. Nau.

More Canadian students are signing up for French immersion, according to a report by Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada (also known as StatsCan) is a government agency that collects information about Canada’s economy and society.

Even though the number of students in Canada is going down, the number of students taking French immersion has gone up by 12 per cent in the last five years. That information is based on the 2011 census.*

The trend is particularly strong out west. Over the past 12 years, the number of students in British Columbia and Alberta taking French immersion has risen steadily. The number in Saskatchewan and Ontario are also climbing.

French immersion is when a student whose first language is not French, studies in French. The program began outside of Quebec in the late 1970s. At that time there were 45,000 students in French immersion in Canada. By 2011, more than 342,000 students were enrolled in elementary and secondary school immersion programs.

French immersion classes are more popular than they were, but they are not always available; for instance, in some areas there are not enough teachers trained in French to accommodate all of the students who want French immersion.

Often, spots are provided through a lottery system. If there are too many kids for the number of spots available, names are chosen at random to see who gets to go.

*A census is a very detailed government study about who the people in Canada are and how they live. The census happens every five years; many Canadians fill out a questionnaire asking about family size, habits, income and more. Statistics Canada gathers that information and writes reports about it so people can understand how Canada is changing.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The article states, “Even though the number of students in Canada is going down, the number of students taking French immersion has gone up by 12 per cent in the last five years.”

Why do you think this is the case? Why do you think more students are deciding to take French immersion?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Can you think of the pros (benefits) and cons (challenges) of learning all of your subjects in French when French is not your first language?

Primary
Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Junior
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Intermediate
Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Demonym
A demonym is the name for people who live in a specific place. For example, people who live in Toronto are called “Torontonians” and people who live in Halifax are called “Haligonians.”

What is the demonym for people who live in the following places?
1. Vancouver
2. Calgary
3. Cape Breton
4. Edmonton
5. Fredericton
6. Iqaluit
7. Laval
8. North Bay
9. Regina
10. Whitehorse