Intensive French is a literacy-based approach to teaching French as a second language that is implemented in Grade 5 or 6. It is based on the use of French for authentic communication and for developing literacy skills. Classroom activities are related to projects and there is a high degree of interaction between teacher and students, as well as between students.
Intensive French is an approach to language learning where no specific school subject is taught in French. During the intensive French period (5 months) your child is developing spontaneous use of French.
Benefits for Students
- Previous French experience is not required and parents do not need to know the language.
- Learning French offers students significant linguistic, academic and cognitive benefits. It opens doors to knowledge, communication, culture and travel. It also provides the following benefits:
- strengthens English literacy skills
- develops listening and learning skills
- enhances problem solving abilities
- increases cognitive abilities, making the student a more flexible and creative thinker
- broadens students' cultural life through access to literature, art, music and theatre in another language
- helps students to better understand the history, development and government of their country
- increases a student's feeling of self-esteem and pride
Benefits of Intensive French
- Students increase their literacy skills in both French and English. They are able to speak and write with considerable fluency and accuracy in French. They develop a more positive attitude towards French, and there is an increase in their motivation. In addition, the Intensive French approach is an overall enhancement of the regular school experience: children increase their level of self-esteem and self-confidence, their overall responsibility for learning and become more autonomous learners.
- The teacher uses many different learning strategies to ensure that all children are participating in the learning process to the extent of their abilities.
- Students first learn to speak French, using correct forms and structures. In this way they build a non-conscious internal grammar that enables them to express themselves. Once reading and writing activities are introduced, attention is given to the aspects of written language that they must know in order to write accurately, for example, some verb forms, number agreements, spelling, etc.
- The teacher models the language for the students, and engages them in conversations about themselves, using targeted structures and vocabulary. In this way, students develop language through use. Students do not need to analyze the language and it does not need to be learned or memorized. This makes the learning of the language much easier, particularly for those students who experience difficulties with academic learning.
- Results in all provinces have shown that children experiencing difficulty in English are able to cope successfully with the Intensive French approach, and in most cases, improve their English language skills as well.
- Students in Intensive French will be able to carry on a conversation in French on topics related to their age and interests with spontaneity, read short stories in French, grasping the general idea, as well as some details. They will also be able to write two or more paragraphs.
During the non-intensive period, students go back to their regular curriculum, including the regular amount of time for French as a Second Language where students continue with the same kind of learning activities they have used in the intensive period, including working in groups and project activities. The emphasis is still on communicating in French.