FSL Advocacy: What you can do

Renée Meloche

FSL teachers in the Halton Teacher Local set up an ad hoc committee that began meeting two years ago. We will soon be submitting a resolution to the local to become a permanent FSL standing committee – our time has come.

During the past two years, we identified and began to address issues particular to FSL education in our board.  We formed subcommittees to focus on specific areas of concern: promoting French as a core subject; mentoring; professional development and networking; newsletter; policy and procedures (e.g., special education students); French immersion timetable (and parent interviews); and dual-track vs. single-track schools.

At this point, we are polishing a presentation to use at school staff and parent council meetings to raise awareness of teaching from a cart.  We have circulated three issues of our newsletter and provided three workshops – one each for core French, Primary immersion, and Junior/ Intermediate immersion.  We also subsidized a networking session for immersion teachers. We have had, and will continue to have, conversations with school board officials about operational procedures and programming policies.

Our own sense of professional esteem has increased as we have begun to organize ourselves and to take steps to increase the respect and support necessary to improve the working and learning conditions for FSL teachers and their students. We encourage everyone to take action and participate in the process.

What are some things you can do?

  • Write letters:  the ministry needs to hear about the impact our working conditions have on student learning and achievement.
  • When collective agreement bargaining surveys are circulated, express your views and offer suggestions for negotiations.
  • Ask your ETFO local to start an ad hoc FSL committee; participate in the discussions and voice your opinions.
  • Ask your ETFO local to organize professional development and networking sessions for FSL teachers and be sure to attend.
  • Ask your school board consultants to provide these sessions, along with meaningful activities during school-based PD days.
  • Participate on school committees, especially those dealing with literacy initiatives.
  • Make the French language visible around your school; use posters and student work for visual displays, and student presentations for schoolwide assemblies.
  • Keep your administrators informed of your challenges and document your attempts to solve problems.
  • Promote your subject: attend a parent council meeting and distribute materials from Canadian Parents for French, Ontario Modern Language Teachers’ Association, and the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers.
  • Join Canadian Parents for French; this organization’s support and lobbying efforts often have a significant impact on FSL teaching and learning.

Resources for FSL Teachers

ETFO curriculum resources

Transformer sa pédagogie is a practical resource for grades 4 to 6 FSL teachers that provides up-to-date teaching and learning strategies.

Eaçons les préjugées pour de bon is a comprehensive, literature-based anti- bias curriculum resource.

Le Cercle du savoir discusses how Aboriginal people are portrayed in the media.

These are available from shopETFO. Go to etfo.caEshopetfo or call 416-962-3836; toll-free, 888-838-3836.


Other resources

Monthly five-minute podcasts featuring research concepts and strategies to support FSL programs are available (in both English and French) in the online newsletter on the website of the CanadianAssociation of Second Language Teachers (CASLT ), caslt.org.

eworkshop.on.ca/atelier.on.ca provides feature modules in both English and French on numeracy and literacy. Included are printable classroom resource materials and links to additional educational resources. Also included are materials on health issues and daily physical activity.

The Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers journals are available on its website acpi-cait.ca.

Canadian Parents for Frenchcpf.ca

Ontario Modern Language Teachers Association, omlta.org