Fifty years ago, a group of parents on Montreal’s South Shore wanted their children to thrive in Quebec and thus created the first French Immersion program in the country in order to help youth become bilingual. Over the years, many similar programs were implemented and French second-language learning has become increasingly valued in the English School Boards.
To celebrate how far these programs have come, a conference called “Perspectives d’Avenir – Looking Ahead: What now for French Immersion?” will be held on Nov. 18 at the Vanier College Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Organized by Canadian Parents for French, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and Vanier College, this conference will examine the immersion programs and their effectiveness among Anglophone youth.
In the morning, some of the topics that will be discussed include Quebec’s Anglophone youth becoming more bilingual and aware of the Francophone culture, the attitudes of English-speaking children toward learning French, and what can be done outside of school (extracurricular activities) to respond to the challenges Anglophone kids face in Quebec. In the afternoon, two moderated discussions offer educators, community members and researchers a chance to share their opinions.
The first panel takes place at 1 p.m. and is entitled “How can we make French Immersion better.” The second panel is “Are we asking too much of the schools? What role can the community play,” which will take place at 2 p.m. After each panel, there will be an audience Q&A, during which parents will be able to ask questions.
Marla Williams, coordinator at Canadian Parents for French, says the conference is a chance for parents to learn about some programs and to find out what the schools and communities can do to improve French skills for the English-speaking youth.
For more information, visit qc.cpf.ca