1. As parents, do we have to know French?
you do not have to know French. This is a program designed for
children whose families do not necessarily speak French. The best way
to help your child is to support and encourage him or her in the study
of French: watching TV in French, listening to your child read to you,
etc. If you do not speak French, your child may become a more
autonomous learner because he or she will have to call upon friends or
look for other sources of help if there are problems with homework or
2. Will the teacher speak French all the time?
The use of the English language by the teacher will only occur for a
very short period of time at the beginning of the Intensive French
program. During the 80% French part of the day, it is essential that
students be completely immersed in the language for maximum learning.
3. What happens to the skill level in English?
a three-year pilot project in Newfoundland has shown, there will be
absolutely no negative effect on the level of skills in English. This
is because learning a second language, such as French, is an overall
literacy experience. In the teaching of Intensive French a language
arts approach is adopted. Skills in the areas of speaking, listening,
reading and writing are all taught. All the processes involved in the
study of these skills in French are transferred into English during the
last five months of the school year. In effect, there is an increase in
instructional time for language arts and as a result more time is
devoted to actual literacy development.
4. What happens to other subjects?
many processes in the learning of subjects such as science and social studies are the same as the ones used and developed in the learning of
French (generalizing, making hypotheses, etc.), it is not necessary to
relearn these processes. These skills will transfer into the different
subject areas so that, even if time is reduced in these subjects,
student success can be the same.
5. Do students have extra work to do?
Students will not be expected to “do extra work” in order to “cover the
curriculum”. The curriculum for the year will be carefully structured
to cover all the learning outcomes without increasing the workload.
This can be achieved by “compacting” the overlapping learning outcomes,
reducing the number activities used to attain the same learning outcome
and focusing on skill transference from one subject to another.
6. What happens to Mathematics?
will be no change in the learning of mathematics. Students will
receive the same number of hours in math as those in the regular
program. It will be taught throughout the year in English.
7. How is Intensive French different from Immersion?
French immersion, students learn subjects, such as mathematics, science
or social studies, in French. Students learn French while learning a
In Intensive French, the focus is on learning the French
language. Students develop their communication skills, both oral and
written, by working on themes. These themes are drawn from topics
relevant to the students’ lives. No specific school subject is taught
in the second language. However, many of these themes link well with
areas in the grade 6 curriculum. As a result, a large number of the
grade 6 process learning outcomes are covered during the intensive
8. How is Intensive French different from the regular Core French program?
French is taught following a curriculum that emphasizes the ability to
communicate in French through the use of themes and projects centered
around the everyday experiences of students. It is the increase in
intensity and in instructional time in French which will allow students
to acquire skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing which go
beyond the skills acquired in a regular core French program.
shows that students in Intensive French develop spontaneous oral
communication skills equivalent to that of grade 11 core French students
and written skills equivalent to grade 3 Francophone students.
9. What will a student be able to do in French by the end of grade 6 in IF?
At the end of the school year, where Intensive French is offered, students should, among other things, be able to:
- carry on a general conversation on specific topics;
with a reasonable degree of accuracy: for instance, write or reply to a
letter from a friend, write messages to people of their own age;
- ask relatively simple questions;
- read a short, simple novel in French, grasping the general idea;
- read simple articles in a newspaper or magazine at an appropriate age and interest level.
The focus of Intensive French is on the learning of French as a means of communication, and not as an academic subject of study.
10. What happens if a student cannot keep up with the French?
is taught as a means of communication, and not as an object of study.
Because curriculum in Intensive French is based mainly on the everyday
experiences of students, they learn how to speak about things of
interest to them. They become motivated and interested, talking about
themselves, their families, their favorite animals, sports they like,
films, etc. Anecdotal reports from parents and students show that even
students who struggle in academic areas gain more self-confidence and
actually improve their literacy skills generally.
11. What will happen to the student with learning difficulties?
Intensive French program should provide a positive learning experience
in literacy for ALL students. In the three-year experience in
Newfoundland, it has been noted that some students who found learning
more of a challenge made tremendous progress not only in French but also
in English. Furthermore, with the increased time in French, these
students were able to see themselves as “successful” students, at least
compared to other students in French at the same grade level. This
contributed to a significant increase in self-esteem and
self-confidence, important factors for success in learning. In fact, in
some cases, performance in English Language Arts improved
significantly. One hypothesis for this phenomenon is the fact that
students get a “second chance” to learn emergent and beginner level
literacy strategies they may have missed in their primary years.
12. What will happen to Intensive French students after grade 6?
maintain students’ gains in French, schools will be offering a
follow-up program at the grade 7 level. Students will be experiencing
an enriched French curriculum and may be in a position to successfully
complete grade 12 core French in a timely fashion leaving them openings
for more electives during the graduation years. At the very least, they
will have a definite advantage in completing their language requirement
with grade 12 French. Incoming
Intensive French Grade 7 graduates will be assessed at their respective secondary school and an appropriate French Program placement will be