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Education Minister Holds Q & A On Proposed French Immersion Changes

By News Jan 17, 2023 | 1:40 PM

(Photo: GNB YouTube)

The first of several consultations addressing proposed changes for French learning was held last night.

Education Minister Bill Hogan answered questions from social media on YouTube.

One comment was on the topic of the level of bilingualism this proposed framework will create in the province of New Brunswick.

It asked about whether this new program will prevent students from being fully bilingual, “As Canada’s only officially bilingual province we want everyone in our communities to be able to have real conversations, meaningful interactions in both their official languages. The current way of doing things has worked well for some students, but this has not been the case for each student. We want to ensure all Anglophone sector students have the opportunity to learn French no matter where they live or their learning preferences. The proposed New Brunswick innovative immersion framework aims to provide Anglophone sector students with early high-quality learning using a balanced approach. This is in line with the philosophy of earlier research introducing students to immersion learning at such an early age, and we will be building their confidence.  We hope that fosters interest and makes them want to pursue more language learning opportunities in later years. We know the earlier students start learning French, the easier it is for them to adapt and develop their skills.”

Another person raised concerns about children who are on the spectrum, and how this new program would affect them.

“I know it’s a concern for many families with students who need extra support and resources, but plenty of data shows children with additional social, emotional or behavioural needs are currently disproportionately enrolled in the English Prime Program. That has been creating imbalances between classrooms, behavioural challenges, and increased pressure regarding inclusive education practices for years. We have a concentration of students and English prime personalized learning plans or PLPS. Our goal is to create a common learning environment that benefits all students. That’s what giving students an inclusive education is all about. To that end, humans who currently have a PLP will continue to follow their plans and modifications are made for learning preferences now, staff on site will continue working closely with families to develop a path that works.”

The proposed French learning program is expected to be phased in this fall and will impact students in Kindergarten and Grade 1.

With the new program, students will be taught in French 50 percent of the time and English the other 50 percent.

In grades 6, 7 and 8, it would be reduced to 40 percent.

Public consultations are planned over the next couple of weeks:

Sessions will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in different locations across the province over the next few weeks.

  • In Bathurst at the Gowan Brae Golf Club on January 17th
  • In Moncton at the Delta Beauséjour on January 19th
  • In Saint John at the Delta Saint John on January 24
  • In Fredericton at the Delta Fredericton on January 25

Two virtual sessions will also be held on January 31 and the other on February 2.

Sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:30.

You can also submit your feedback by emailing consultation.eecd.edpe@gnb.ca

The full Q & A on YouTube can be viewed HERE.


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