More to my last post…

I am struggling because have had 1 parent approach me about removing their child from French, 1 teacher approach me asking for names of students who shouldn’t have to take French and another teacher suggest that maybe one of her students not take French as it is a struggle; over the course of the last 3 days!

We wouldn’t dream of removing students from Art or Music or PE or the core subjects because it was a struggle for them so why are we removing them from French? Could we not provide the same supports for those students in the French classroom with an EA as we would by pulling them? According to research,

1. Students who take a second language show gains in comprehension and abilities in reading, writing, math, and other subjects. (Savelle-Troike 1984) Additionally, students learning a foreign language have greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher order thinking skills (Hakuta 1986) as well as better listening skills and better memories than their monolingual peers. (Lapkin et al 1990, Ratte 1968)

2. There is a correlation between second language learning and the knowledge of English structure and vocabulary (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004). Learning a second language helps you to understand your native language structure better and increases the scope of your vocabulary! In fact, students of foreign language consistently score higher on tests of English vocabulary, especially when the language being studied has Latin roots. (Masciantonio 1977)

3. Learning a second language correlates with a more positive attitude toward the culture related to the language. It enables you to have a global awareness and a unique insight into that culture as well as view your own language and culture from a unique perspective. Language is a means of unification and relationship building with a diverse, global community. How can communication, negotiation, and understanding occur if we can’t understand each other?

(Taken from http://languageteacherscafe.blogspot.ca/2014/08/why-study-foreign-language.html?m=1)

This is the exact reason I didn’t want to teach French. It is not valued at all and it is very hard to build a culture of acceptance for learning a second language when we readily pull students from it because it is “too hard”. (2 days a week is also not sufficient but that is a different conversation). Learning should challenge you and learning anything new is hard; that’s why it is called learning.

The students who should be pulled from French are those that are:
1. native speakers of the language and
2. former Immersion students who can prove their proficiency with the language via a test.

Others should be examined on a case by case basis and those discussions should include me since I am the French teacher.

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