To date there have been 90 students involved in the elementary school Intensive French program who could enroll in the high school post Intensive French course. Only 15 students have enrolled in the 2017/2018 high school Post-Intensive French course at Miller, and at the elementary school level interest in the program has also dwindled. Our grade 6 cohorts are becoming smaller, making it unfeasible to offer the grade 6 program at St. Gabriel or St. Theresa in the 2017/2018 year.
Effective in the 2017/2018 school year, Regina Catholic Schools will begin to phase out the Intensive French program. There will be no grade 6 offering at either St. Gabriel School or St. Theresa School. We will honor the existing students in the grade 7 and 8 post Intensive French program at the schools and at Miller, providing enough students enroll in the course.
The Regina Catholic School Division is the only school division in the city of Regina that offers the Intensive French Program. It was implemented at St. Gabriel School in 2012-2013 school year, and at St. Theresa School in 2014-2015 school year.
Intensive French (IF) is a second language model where French is taught intensively in Grade 6 for roughly 70 per cent of the day over a five-month period, for about 270 hours. The Intensive French semester is followed by about 45 hours of French instruction in the second half of the year, offered in blocks of time throughout the week. The two semesters result in roughly 315 hours of second language instruction during the Grade 6 year. During the five-month IF semester some subjects are not taught to allow for 270 hours of Intensive French. Math is taught in English throughout Grade 6, as well as music and physical education. During the semester after the IF term, all subjects are taught according to the recommended time allocations. During this time, students study a compressed curriculum for their English subjects, with the exception of an enriched Core French program that is called Post Intensive French. It incorporates the teaching and learning strategies of Intensive French and is aimed at maintaining and further developing second language skills.
Benefits to learning another language through this program:
- Many students will be able to carry on a conversation in French on specific topics;
- Will be able to write at a level of a Grade 3 francophone student;
- Will hear a teacher speak French all the time and be able to talk about activities and events that interest them; and
- Will increase self-esteem, self-confidence and independent learning skills.
What happens to the skill level in English?
Research indicates there will be absolutely no negative effect on the skill level 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. Intensive French is a highly effective way for young students to learn to communicate spontaneously in French, as well as to develop literacy skills in the target language. This can later be transferred to English. Its success is due primarily to the teaching strategies used, which encourages the development of implicit competency for spontaneity in oral communication and which encourages the development of literacy skills. This increase in time and, in particular, intensity enhances the rate of development of these skills.
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