Français langue première

Introduction

The aim of the Français langue première (French Language Arts) curriculum is to help students become informed and educated citizens, capable of exerting a positive influence on the society in which they live.

Through the discovery and exploration of literature, art, and culture, students will deepen their understanding of general culture. By developing critical and creative thinking, they will demonstrate discernment, sensitivity, insight, and open-mindedness.

The curriculum presents what students should Know, Do and Understand, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Teaching is student-centred, allowing for greater flexibility based on individual learning modalities. Students are guided in their learning to think critically, creatively, and reflectively, in order to construct a personal and cultural identity and to respect a variety of perspectives and world views.

Characteristics of the Français langue première Curriculum

Literary and Artistic Openness

Starting in Grade 3, the Français langue première curriculum encourages the use of various types and genres of texts, with the word text referring in this context to any oral, written, or visual medium. Drawing on a variety of texts, educators can convey their unique characteristics. A text is a coherent set of written, oral, or visual elements which conveys meaning and communicates or conveys a message. Texts can take many forms, including First Peoples stories, articles, advertisements, novels, albums, tales, legends, comics, biographies, correspondence, invitations, instructions, diagrams, graphics, news reports, films, songs, poems, nursery rhymes, photographs, totem poles, images, artworks, oral presentations, blogs, surveys, reports, text messages, videos, and television shows.

Cultural Components

The curriculum fosters the development of both Francophone identity and intercultural sensitivity. By speaking and living in French, students develop a sense of belonging to the Francophone community of British Columbia.

Flexible Instruction and Learning

The various components of the curriculum function together in a dynamic and flexible manner to facilitate in-depth learning. Within each grade, there is no single or “correct” way to combine pieces from each of these components. Instead, the structure allows for a great deal of choice in the ways in which these pieces can be combined to create lessons, units, and learning experiences.

The curriculum remains flexible, allowing for a variety of program structures in the context of the school or community. This open design promotes the creation of instructional approaches that combine two or more areas of learning, without mandating any particular form of interdisciplinary learning.

A Holistic Approach to Instruction and Learning

The Français langue première curriculum represents an integrated and holistic approach to teaching and learning. In this curriculum, the six language arts elements (reading, listening, viewing, writing, speaking, and representing) are inextricably interconnected. Increased competency in one of these components supports an increased competency in another, often simultaneously.

The curriculum retains the organization of Curricular Competencies according to the two modes of language use: “understanding” (which corresponds to “Exploring and Reflecting”) and “expression” (which corresponds to “Creating and Communicating”).

The benefits gained by students through the Français langue première program go beyond learning how to communicate effectively in class: they also receive knowledge, skills, and understanding that can be applied to the curriculum as a whole, as well as to life outside school.


A Conceptual Framework

The Concepts and Big Ideas components foster a deeper level of reflection by encouraging students to associate several concepts in order to understand the underlying elements that link them together.

Students will discover and expand their knowledge of language and literary concepts, including structure, meaning, interpretation, emotions, and identity. Once these concepts are familiar, students will be able to make generalizations and identify recurring phenomena and implied connections between concepts. For example, by exploring the concept of image in association with the concepts of message and interpretation, Grade 6 students will discover that images – like texts –  contain information and clues that reveal their meaning and the artist’s intentions.

The various elements of this curriculum will therefore lead students to develop competencies by applying them to concepts and to specific content. In this way, students become able to identify patterns so they “understand” rather than merely “become familiar with” fundamental notions of the French language.

Design of the Français langue première Curriculum

The Français langue première curriculum follows the same format as all other areas of learning, inspired by the Know, Do, Understand (KDU) model. Students learn through Content (Know), Curricular Competencies (Do) and Big Ideas (Understand). More information about this model is available at https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/overview.

Big Ideas

Big Ideas represent the fundamental notions students should “Understand.” Students discover or grasp Big Ideas through the “Do” aspect of the area of learning, by associating the Content with the Curricular Competencies to reach a conceptual understanding.

The example below illustrates the progression of Big Ideas and how some of the sociocultural elements studied in various texts evolve over the years, increasing in both complexity and scope.

 

Grade 1

Grade 5

Grade 8

Grade 11

Big Ideas

Through texts, we learn about ourselves and discover the world around us.

Texts create a portrait of an era and a population’s values, practices, and beliefs.

Through their texts, authors share their identity, culture, perception of the world, and portrait of the era with readers.

A text is inevitably linked to the time and space in which it was created and in which it is consumed.


Curricular Competencies

Curricular Competencies describe what students should be able to do with the knowledge they have acquired. The Français langue première curriculum involves an area of learning that is process guided, with student progression occurring through engagement with the language and texts. The emphasis on process is illustrated by the comprehensiveness of the Curricular Competencies learning standards when compared to the Content learning standards. This focus on process reflects the primary goal of the Français langue première curriculum: to enable students to competently and effectively use and create a wide variety of texts, including digital texts, in different contexts. Through conscious communication, learners can develop their ability to listen in order to understand, communicate effectively, present information and ideas with confidence and fluency, and comprehend the connections between language and culture.

The objective of this curriculum is to place students in learning situations that will enable them to acquire the competencies, knowledge, and strategies required to effectively and confidently communicate and interact in French. Students develop Curricular Competencies that will allow them to explore and reflect (“Exploring and Reflecting”) as well as create and communicate (“Creating and Communicating”). The example below shows how the curriculum progresses from grade to grade.

 

Kindergarten

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Curricular Competencies

Recognize and manipulate phonological units

Segment and combine phonological units to develop phonological awareness

Recognize the root of unknown words in order to infer their meaning

Define the meaning of a word based on its root and affixes

Content

The Content represents the “Know” component of the model. This component includes the essential information students must know by the end of the school year in order to develop Curricular Competencies. In every grade, the Content can be applied to multiple Curricular Competencies that foster student understanding of Big Ideas.

Elaborations

Elaborations have been created for the majority of Curricular Competencies and Content, and are accessible via hyperlinks. They contain examples, clarifications, definitions, and any other information related to curriculum components at each grade level. The Elaborations serve as instructional and learning guides.

Important Factors

Grammar, Usage, and Conventions 

It is important that students be knowledgeable about the French language, including grammar, conventions, usage, and how languages develop over time. Learning grammar provides students with a useful metalanguage (i.e., a form of language they can use to talk about language itself). However, research clearly shows that, in order for instruction to be effective, language and grammar competencies need to be taught in a specific context rather than in isolation. Otherwise, little or no transfer occurs between the learning of grammatical and linguistic conventions on one hand and the ability to read or write better on the other.

Critical Literacy

Critical literacy is the lens through which texts are viewed as being constructed for a specific purpose. Students should be taught to call a given text into question, to challenge the authority of the author, to examine the author’s convictions, and to detect biases in the works of others as well as in their own. Critical literacy also enables students to decide whether or not some voices are missing and to examine multiple points of views (David Booth, 2011, Caught in the Middle: Reading and Writing in the Transition Years, Pembroke.)

In order to become active citizens and avoid being manipulated, it is crucial that students know how to evaluate and analyze texts. Teaching students to read critically is especially important in today’s world, where they are being bombarded almost constantly by media and information.

A Special Note For Optional Grade 10 and 11 Courses

A variety of oral, written, visual, digital, and multimodal communication should be explored in each of the optional courses.

First Peoples Principles of Learning

First Peoples communities have contributed to the cultural and linguistic richness of the Canadian Francophonie, and many First Peoples words have found their way into the French language. The First Peoples Principles of Learning were developed with educators and First Peoples community members, and were confirmed by First Peoples societies to guide the instruction and learning of provincial curricula. These principles not only honour the First Peoples of British Columbia and their educational perspectives, but also promote, in the Français langue première curriculum, experiential and reflexive learning as well as the rights and personal responsibility of learners.

The integration of First Peoples principles of learning in the curriculum creates classroom cultures based on community, collaborative learning, and trust. These principles and the First Peoples content are not additions or separate units, but are woven into the very fabric of the curriculum.