How Will French Help My Child?

How Will French Help My Child?

As we all know, Canada is a legally bilingual country where French holds equal status to English. This is enshrined in our constitution and mandates both languages in all official documents, publications and curriculums. This is due to many factors, rooted in our nation’s history and our desire to integrate both languages into our public domain. This does not mean that they are spoken equally, with Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Hindi being more dominant in areas outside of Quebec and New Brunswick. While the demand for French speakers is high in all areas, there is a limited number of qualified applicants, giving them priority in education, employment and government postings.

Educational Mandates and Challenges

French is mandated for all non-Quebec students, with course working spanning from early elementary school right through to grade 9. While all students are expected to fulfil this expectation, grade 9 graduates are given a basic understanding of the language, finishing up around B1 or so. Due to the nature of the curriculum, few are able to have a conversation in French, making their efforts futile, at least in their pursuit of the benefits expressed above.

French is mandated for all non-Quebec students

Beyond Grade 9: The Pursuit of Fluency

In order to really take advantage, students will need to either enrol in French immersion or take it beyond the grade 9 level, a feat that can be difficult for those without a parent to help them out. This is where Inspiration comes in, giving students the chance to develop their skills and become immersed in the culture, literature and spoken format.

Like all European languages, French is broken down into levels, ranging from A0 (complete beginner) right through to C2 (mastery). In general, B2 is the level needed for civic participation where C2 affordings complete access to all the benefits, even getting elected in federal politics. In other words, in order to become a federal leader, like Justin Trudeau, one must be sufficiently fluent in order to represent the millions of French speakers who make up the majority of speakers in both Quebec and the minority population in New Brunswick, Eastern Ontario and other regions of the country. While not everyone dreams of leading the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canadians employers (generally) pay a bilingual bonus with qualified candidates not only being given preferential status but also a sizable increase on their base pay. This advantage is nothing to laugh at and can help your child stand out from the crowd.

Putting aside the financial incentives, there are a plurality of cultural opportunities for French speakers, whether it be subsidised travel, enrichment programs and the chance to navigate interesting terrain like a pro. Imagine your child negotiating prices in Paris, making your hotel reservation in Morocco or understanding “everything” on French TV. This does much to increase their self esteem and will facilitate social opportunities, opening doors that they didn’t know exist. For those with ambition, the United Nations considers French a diplomatic language and they offer internships and jobs translating diplomats and other people of interest. This is rooted in this historical record that places French as a lingua franca, or a common language among those with diverse mother tongues. This does not take away from the ubiquity of English but rather compliments it. With mastery of both English and French, your student is set up for a world of possibilities, far outstretching the minor achievements that they can make while honing their skills. While it is a long journey, the path is enjoyable, especially if paired with a supportive and capable team. Here at Inspiration, we are proud of our French program and our students have gone on to do great things.

We would love to get to know your family and see how French can improve your children’s lives, for both the short and long term.

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