Frequently Asked Questions | Foire aux questions

Click on a question to expand it and reveal the answer.

How can I support my child even if I don’t speak French?
Showing interest in what your child is doing at school and providing encouragement and support is of the utmost importance.  Your attitude will influence how your child sees him/herself as a learner and, in turn, will influence success. Success in school is strongly influenced by activities in the home and community which stimulate a child’s imagination and intellect, enhance self-esteem, teach good work habits and provide motivation to learn and succeed as well as provide a good foundation for academic learning. Good development of oral and listening skills in your child’s first language will be a good foundation for learning a second language. Here are some suggestions to help support your child/children:

  • children need many opportunities to experience language at home.  He/she needs to practice expressing his/her thoughts, ideas and feelings.  Sharing your thoughts by “thinking aloud” as you go about completing routine tasks helps develop your child’s listening skills as well as exposes your child to new ideas and information
  • parents can help by reading with their child in English, visiting the public library, going on family outings, ensuring homework is completed, and communicating regularly with the teacher
  • enrol your child in music lessons. Music will enhance listening skills and help develop the brain areas involved in language and reasoning
  • your child should be free to read for pleasure in French or in English and be encouraged to talk about his/her experiences at school
  • encourage your child to read French books, watch French television, listen to French radio and;
  • expose your child to French outside of school through participation in the French arts and French cultural events in the community
  • consider taking a French course for adults
  • at any age, watching a TV program together and then discussing it can help to develop analytical and debating skills
  • playing games of all kinds, at all ages can develop hand-eye coordination, observation and reasoning skills, memory, vocabulary  and math skills
  • while a trip to the zoo or museum is a wonderful educational opportunity, your child can learn as much during a shopping trip

Remember to learn alongside your child.

Will my child need French resources?
French resources are a definite must when helping your child at home. Here is a list of some practical resources for you to use with your child/children:

  • French books that are accompanied by CDs so that your child can listen to the story while following along in the book. This will help your child learn new vocabulary and attune his/her ear to the sounds of French.
  • French comic books and cartoons that your child will enjoy
  • French DVD’s or books about Tintin, Astérix, Lucky Luke or Boule et Bill
  • a  French dictionary including a picture word dictionary for SK-1
  • a good French dictionary for everyday use
  • a good French/English dictionary
  • a French dictionary that divides words into themes (sports, clothing, home) for elementary students
  • a French dictionary with a small encyclopedia section for secondary students
  • a French atlas to help in Social Studies or Geography for topographical terms as well as place names in French (i.e., Germany = Allemagne)
  • French educational software
  • French resource books listing French verbs such as the bescherelle
  • a book of French synonyms to help with writing just like the thesaurus does in English
  • French music CDs

Although French resources are important, English books are necessary to help
build your child’s reading skills and reinforce reading strategies in English.

Are experiences in the French language or in the French community important for my child?
French is alive and using French outside the classroom reinforces your child’s language learning as it helps develop an appreciation for the language.  It is important to enjoy French in your community and attending different French cultural experiences will provide your child with opportunities to practice his/her listening and French speaking skills.  Some of these experiences may include:

  • participation in visits to the public library for French story time
  • participation in French summer camps
  • participation in French plays and musical events
  • participation in Language exchange programs
  • participation in French clubs, organization and teams
  • visits in Canada and abroad where French is spoken

French activities during the summer help your child/children retain the language.

How can knowing my child’s learning style help with homework?
In order to instil a love of learning in your child, it is important to know how he/she likes to learn and process information. Every child learns differently. Understanding how your child learns can help reduce frustration, improve achievement and help develop effective study habits. Discovering your child’s particular learning style will help to better coach him or her throughout the various learning experiences. It will also help you and your child plan learning strategies to help with studying, reading and completing homework tasks more effectively.

Research has shown that learning is not a “one size fits all” approach. There are three main types of learners; kinesthetic, auditory and visual. Kinesthetic learners learn by hands on experiences, visual learners learn by seeing and auditory learners learn by hearing. Most learners adopt the style that best suits them and may use a combination of styles but they generally have a clear preference for one. It is important for parents to pay attention to the ways in which their child learns best. Several studies have shown that accommodating your child’s learning style at home can significantly increase his/her performance at school.

Homework tips to help your child based on his/her preferred learning style:

Learning Style

Homework tips

Kinesthetic Learner
Your child learns by doing and touching
  • When reading have your child track words on a page with his/her finger
  • Have your child write information down multiple times to help them memorize
  • When reading, have your child highlight and underline important facts, information or new vocabulary words
  • Have your child play with a stress ball, play dough etc. while studying
  • Have your child take frequent breaks by moving around
  • Provide learning opportunities for hands-on activities, such as building models or designing games

Visual Learner
Your child learns new information by reading and looking at graphs/charts or watching demonstrations
  • Have your child make and use flash cards, index cards, cheat sheets for review
  • Have your child use charts, tables, and maps to reinforce concepts
  • Have your child use graphic organizers to organize thoughts and ideas
  • Have your child draw illustrations, maps, charts, diagrams
  • Have your child highlight and underline and colour code information

Auditory Learner
Your child prefers to listen than to read and often studies by reciting information aloud
  • Have your child talk about and explain what they are learning
  • Have your child recite important information aloud, maybe recording it and playing it back
  • Have your child read a book and listen to the audio book at the same time
  • Have your child set facts and information to familiar tunes or create raps to help remember new content more easily
  • Limit noise that could distract your child

How can I further support my child in developing his or her learning skills and work habits at home?
Learning skills are study skills and thinking skills that are an integral part of your child’s learning.  Developing these learning skills will help prepare your child for life-long learning as well as fostering independence in learning, problem solving, decision-making and organizing. They are skills and habits that can be demonstrated across all subject areas and all homework tasks.

The six skills and work habits as seen in your child’s provincial report card are: responsibility, organization, independent work, collaboration, initiative and self-regulation.

Learning Skills/ Work Habits

Sample Student Behaviours
in the Classroom

Parent Supports at Home

  • Fulfills responsibilities and commitment within the learning environment
  • Completes and submits class work, homework and assignments according to agreed-upon timelines
  • Takes responsibility for and manages own behaviour
  • Help your child set goals
  • Take a few moments every day to chat about the school day and be a good listener: “How was your day?”
  • Make sure to always check and sign the agenda
  • Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher
  • Monitor and encourage your child’s progress and homework completion
  • Establish a balance between homework and other activities

  • Devises and follows a plan and process for completing work and tasks
  • Establishes priorities and manages time to complete tasks and achieve goals
  • Identifies, gathers, evaluates and uses information, technology and resources to complete tasks
  • Provide your child with a suitable environment for working at home
  • Work out a specific time for studying and homework completion
  • Provide your child with the proper tools and supplies to complete their homework (i.e. computer access, pen, pencil, eraser, pencil sharpener, scissors, tape, paper clips, ruler, highlighters)
  • Establish a balance between homework and other activities

  • Independently monitors, assesses and revises plans to complete tasks and meet goals
  • Uses class time appropriately to complete tasks
  • Follows instructions with minimal supervision
  • Check in occasionally by asking questions and talking about how the work is going
  • Make sure a routine for completing homework is well established
  • Participate appropriately in homework experiences and provide guidance as needed
  • Promote independence as much as possible
  • Create a checklist of work to be completed
  • Help your child refer to and or access assignment criteria or rubrics

  • Accepts various roles and an equitable share of work in a group
  • Responds positively to the ideas, opinions, values, and traditions of others
  • Builds healthy peer-to-peer relationships through personal and media-assisted interactions
  • Works with others to resolve conflicts and build consensus to achieve group goals
  • Shares information, resources, and expertise and promotes critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions
  • Establish a balance between homework and other activities
  • Provide your child with extra-curricular activities
  • Provide opportunities for your child to practice his/her French listening and speaking skills with others
  • Help your child to build healthy peer-to-peer relationships by visiting the public library for French story time, attending summer camp, French plays and musical events
  • Encourage your child to work with others in group settings such as clubs, organizations and teams

  • Looks for and acts on new ideas and opportunities for learning
  • Demonstrates the capacity for innovation and a willingness to take risks
  • Demonstrates curiosity and interest in learning
  • Approaches new tasks with a positive attitude
  • Recognizes and advocates appropriately for the rights of self and others
  • Promote risk-taking learning activities
  • Encourage curiosity and questions
  • Encourage your child to start asking questions
  • Turn everyday activities into homework such as searching newspapers, reading recipes, creating shopping lists, plotting out routes on a map, reading directions on how to set up a game console
  • Visit places in Canada and abroad

  • Sets own individual goals and monitors progress towards achieving them
  • Seeks clarification or assistance when needed
  • Assesses and reflects critically on own strengths, needs, and interests
  • Identifies learning opportunities, choices, and strategies to meet personal needs and achieve goals
  • Perseveres and makes an effort when responding to challenges
  • Help your child set goals
  • Participate appropriately in homework experiences by clarifying expectations and providing guidance as needed
  • Provide strategies that best suit your child’s learning style
  • Acknowledge your child’s efforts
  • Motivate your child to persevere when responding to challenges

Does an appreciation and an awareness of culture enhance the learning of a second language?
Cultural appreciation and awareness are important elements of second language learning. 

As students learn French, they also increase their knowledge of the francophone culture in terms of its citizens’ behaviours, customs, traditions, values, attitudes, and beliefs. Students not only discover features, characteristics and facts about the culture of Francophones, but they also increase their awareness of the cultural aspects of the French language. Students learn to recognize the variety of socio-cultural differences and socio-linguistic patterns through various cultural interactions and activities. Students develop an understanding of the differences in speech, courtesies, customs, facial expressions, body language, verbal expressions, accents, and dialects of the French Canadian culture and other French cultures.

Students also develop intercultural competencies that enable them to adapt and act appropriately in different cultural and social situations. They learn to appreciate, respect, and tolerate different view points, values and customs. Students develop a range of intercultural skills that foster:

  • a positive attitude towards Francophones and/or other cultural groups,
  • an appreciation for the French language,
  • a curiosity in regards to the francophone culture and their own culture,
  • an openness to new or different perspectives,
  • an appreciation of diversity,
  • a sense of belonging and of inclusion,
  • a respect for others, 
  • an empathetic spirit.

Students begin by exploring their own culture and are then introduced to the francophone culture (link)in their surrounding areas.  The cultural focus then expands to regional, provincial, national and international communities. 

Students are encouraged to relate the information to their own culture, to connect their new learning to their personal experiences and to recognize the cultural elements that influence their own lives. They explore their own lives and culture in comparison to the lives and cultures of Francophones from across Canada and the world. 

Cultural appreciation and awareness enhance the learning of a second language. These aspects increase students’ awareness of their own culture and that of others’ cultures; further develop the students’ curiosity in regards to their own culture and that of Francophones across the world; build on students’ understanding of the French language and foster intercultural understanding.

What role does oral language play as part of the second language learning process?
Oral language plays a key role in the language learning process. Oral communication is the foundation of literacy development.  Verbal communication skills are fundamental in developing proficiency in reading and writing and are also essential for thinking and learning. Students learn, reflect on what they are learning and communicate their knowledge and understanding through talk. Therefore, while learning a second language, considerable importance is placed on developing speaking skills and communication skills in the second language.

Oral language involves both comprehension and production: listening, speaking, negotiating meaning, reacting and acting appropriately. Language proficiency requires students to play an interactive role in their learning and to engage linguistically in social situations while learning the second language. Two key components of oral language development include:

  • the spoken production (a planned statement to communicate information to someone) and
  • the spoken interaction (the spontaneous use of language in which a speaker listens to another speaker and then responds immediately to that input).

Through spoken productions and interactions, students give, receive and/or exchange information. They listen to, ask questions about, respond to, express and reflect on ideas, knowledge, perceptions and feelings. Students use their prior knowledge, share their personal experiences, think critically, problem solve and move their own thinking forward, in their second language.

Oral language activities that are authentic, meaningful and anchored to students’ lives, personal interests and experiences are highly motivating for students and encourage them to become actively engaged and dynamic participants in the second language learning process. Student engagement is fostered through topics and situations that are:

  • purposeful,
  • relevant,
  • interactive,
  • action oriented,
  • contextualized,
  • rooted in a real-world context,
  • familiar,
  • of personal interest,
  • pertinent to everyday life and
  • reflect real-life interactions.

Authentic and spontaneous oral communication activities also provide students with a variety of opportunities to learn and to use vocabulary, language and socio-linguistic conventions in the second language or to explore intercultural elements in interactive contexts.

Oral language proficiency is the goal for second language learners. As students continue to develop their oral language skills, they become more confident and competent in their use of the French language and better prepared for authentic conversations and real-life interactions.