Core French

Introduction

The Core French curriculum presents what students are expected to know, do, and understand in Grades 5 through 12. It provides teachers with a framework for engaging students in learning experiences through which they can become proficient users of French, gain new perspectives, and engage with Francophone communities.

Features of the Core French curriculum

Integration of components

The Core French curriculum represents an integrated approach to language acquisition. In this approach, the following components of language acquisition are viewed as interconnected rather than in isolation:

  • Reading, writing, listening, speaking, and interacting – These essential competencies are the foundation of language acquisition. As they rarely exist in isolation in authentic communication contexts, they are integrated throughout the curriculum. Each element of the curriculum supports the simultaneous development of multiple competencies.
  • Grammar – With a focus on the purposeful use of language to communicate meaning, grammatical instruction plays a supportive role.
  • Culture – Language is inextricably bound to culture. Culture is a vehicle for acquiring a deeper understanding of a given language, of others, and of oneself. Authentic communication always takes place in a cultural context, and language acquisition activities in the classroom must therefore be situated within such a context. As students explore the French language and the Francophone world, they simultaneously acquire both the language and an understanding of the many varieties of Francophone culture – and the relationship between the two. This contributes to their appreciation of other cultures as well as their own.
  • Language-learning strategies – Language-learning strategies are seen as a vehicle for helping students succeed in their language acquisition journey and are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Flexible teaching and learning

The Core French curriculum allows for instructional flexibility. For example, the curriculum components can be combined in different ways to provide a diverse range of learning opportunities. Within each grade, there are multiple ways to combine Content, Curricular Competencies, and Big Ideas to create lessons, units, and learning experiences. The curriculum encourages the use of a range of approaches that support language instruction and acquisition, and supports students learning in a manner best suited to their diverse abilities.
 

Core French Introductory 11

A new course, Core French Introductory 11, has been developed to offer an opportunity for students who did not begin Core French in the elementary grades to enter Core French at the secondary level. Core French Introductory 11 is an intensive course, designed to cover essential learning standards from Grades 5 to 10 in an accelerated time frame in order to prepare students for Core French 11. It should be noted that this course does not replace the richness of the regular Core French 5-10 curriculum.

It is assumed that students will have limited to no background in Core French prior to enrolment in Core French Introductory 11. However, as contexts vary, districts may use their discretion with regard to admission criteria for this course. Enrolment in Core French Introductory 11 is not limited to Grade 11 students, and there are no prerequisites for this course.

Use of a wide variety of text types

The Core French curriculum encourages the use of a wide variety of text types. “Text” in the Core French curriculum refers to all forms of oral, written, visual, and digital communication, including authentic or adapted texts (e.g., advertisements, articles, biographies, blogs, brochures, cartoons, charts, conversations, diagrams, emails, essays, films, forms, graphs, indigenous oral histories, instructions, interviews, invitations, letters, narratives, news reports, novels, nursery rhymes, online profiles, paintings, photographs, picture books, poems, presentations, songs, speeches, stories, surveys, text messages).

Teachers are encouraged to use a wide range of grade-appropriate text types in their classrooms. Teachers may choose to use authentic and/or adapted texts with their students. Purposes for using adapted texts include increasing:

  • student comprehension
  • student exposure to target vocabulary and patterns
  • the saliency of high-frequency vocabulary and patterns

Infusing Aboriginal content and perspectives

The Ministry of Education is dedicated to ensuring that the cultures and contributions of First Peoples in British Columbia are reflected in all provincial curricula.

First Peoples Principles of Learning

The First Peoples Principles of Learning have been affirmed within First Peoples societies to guide the teaching and learning of provincial curricula. Because these principles of learning represent an attempt to identify common elements in the varied teaching and learning approaches that prevail within particular First Peoples societies, it must be recognized that they do not capture the full reality of the approach used in any single First Peoples society.

The First Peoples Principles of Learning greatly influence the Core French curriculum and are woven throughout. They lend themselves well to second-language learning as they promote experiential and reflexive learning, as well as self-advocacy and personal responsibility in learners. They help create classroom experiences based on the concepts of community, shared learning, and trust, all of which are vital to second-language acquisition.

Design of the Core French curriculum

The Core French curriculum follows the same format as is used in all other areas of learning and is based on the Know-Do-Understand model of learning. Students learn through Content (Know), Curricular Competencies (Do), and Big Ideas (Understand). More information about the model is available at https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca.

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas are generalizations and principles discovered through experiencing the Content
and Curricular Competencies of the curriculum – the “Understand” component of the Know-Do-Understand model of learning. Big Ideas represent the “aha!” and the “so what?” of the curriculum – the deeper learning.

From year to year, students discover new Big Ideas and also build on the Big Ideas from previous years. The example below, concerning the theme of culture, illustrates how the curriculum grows with students and expands the scope and depth of learning as students progress through the grades.

 

5

7

8

10

12

Big Ideas

Each culture has traditions and ways of celebrating.

Deepening our knowledge of Francophone communities helps us develop cultural awareness.

Our understanding of culture is influenced by the languages we speak and the communities with which we engage.

Cultural expression can take many different forms.

Exploring diverse forms of cultural expression promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of cultures worldwide.

Curricular Competencies

Curricular Competencies are what students should be able to “Do” with their Content knowledge. Language acquisition is very process-driven, and “Doing” plays an important role. Since the goal is proficiency in using the language rather than learning about the language, more elements are included in the Curricular Competencies column of the Core French curriculum than in the Content column. Through purposeful communication in class, learners develop competencies in listening to understand, in communicating effectively, in presenting their ideas in French with confidence and fluency, and in understanding the connections between language and culture.

Students also build on their Curricular Competencies from year to year. The example below illustrates how the curriculum grows with students and expands the scope and depth of learning.

 

 

7

8

9

10

Curricular
Competencies

Comprehend simple stories

Comprehend and retell stories

Narrate simple stories

Narrate stories

Explore the importance of story in personal, family, and community identity

Narrate stories, both orally and in writing

Explore the importance of story in personal, family, and community identity

 

Content

Content represents the core knowledge students will have – what they are expected to “Know.” In language acquisition, Content represents the pieces students must have to be able to use the language at a given grade level (i.e., to apply the Curricular Competencies). In each grade, each of the Content learning standards supports multiple Curricular Competencies (the “Do” component of the curriculum). Students build on their Content knowledge from year to year. Some Content learning standards appear over more than one year because they may take longer to fully acquire or they may support increasingly complex Curricular Competencies. When identical Content learning standards appear across multiple grades, Elaborations further clarify how deeply the Content learning standard is expected to be covered at each grade. The examples below illustrate how the curriculum grows with students and expands the scope and depth of learning.

 

 

5

7

8

10

12

Content

likes, dislikes, preferences, and interests

 

reasons for likes, dislikes, and preferences

descriptions of items, people, and personal interests

 

hopes, dreams, desires, and ambitions

 

explanations of needs, emotions, and opinions

 

 

Elaborations

Elaborations have been provided (as hyperlinks) in many places throughout the curriculum. They offer additional clarification and support for teachers, including definitions, examples, and information regarding the depth and breadth to which topics should be covered at a given grade. Examples provided in the elaborations are not intended to be comprehensive lists of what must be covered in a given grade; they are simply examples. Elaborations may be particularly useful to teachers who are new to teaching Core French.

  

Big Idea

Curricular Competency

Content

      Grade 8

We can share our experiences and perspective through stories

Explore ways to engage in experiences with Francophone communities and people

a variety of questions

 

Elaborations

stories: Stories are narrative texts that can be oral, written, or visual. Stories can be simple or complex and may be derived from real or imagined experiences. They can be used to seek and impart knowledge, entertain, share history, and strengthen a sense of identity. Examples are indigenous oral histories, personal stories, skits, series of pictures, songs, student-created stories. 

ways to engage: for example, blogs, classroom and school visits (including virtual/online visits), clubs, concerts, courses, exchanges, festivals, films, pen-pal letters, magazines, newspapers, plays, social media and other online resources, stores/restaurants with service in French

questions: for example, Combien…?; Comment…?; Est-ce que…?; Où…?; Pourquoi…?; Quand…?; Quel…?; Qu’est-ce que…?; Qui…?

 

 

Important Considerations

Diverse contexts

Throughout British Columbia, students learn French in many contexts. Schools where Core French is offered are organized in different ways – for example, K-5, 6-9, and 10-12, or K-7 and 8-12. Schools also allocate different amounts of time for Core French, and some include programs such as Intensive French. These contexts affect staffing and the types and amounts of resources and supports available to teachers and students. As well, Core French teachers range from beginning generalists to highly experienced specialists. Although these diverse factors may result in variations in instruction, the flexibility of the Core French curriculum is designed to support teachers and learners in a wide range of contexts.

Language of instruction

It is important that French be used as the language of instruction for the Core French curriculum. As French is a minority language in British Columbia, opportunities for students to use the language outside the classroom may be limited. Research shows that increasing exposure to and use of the target language is essential to increasing proficiency. Therefore, while it is also understood that students at times may need some discussions or examples in the prevailing language of the school, both teachers and students are encouraged to use French at every opportunity.

Benefits beyond linguistic ability

The Core French curriculum supports the principle that Core French students gain not only the ability to communicate effectively in French but also many other benefits, including:

  • improved overall cognitive development and creative thinking
  • the development of cultural awareness and understanding
  • a deepened understanding of their own identity
  • an enhanced understanding of their first language
  • language-learning strategies that can be transferred to additional languages

Engaging with the wider Francophone community

In language education, all aspects of learning are enriched when students engage with members
of the target language community. Engagement with Francophone communities, people, or experiences can mean different things in different contexts. It may include, for example, inviting community members into the classroom (in person or virtually); making connections with other French classes and schools; attending festivals, films, concerts, plays, and other cultural and community events; frequenting stores, restaurants, and community centres where French is used; and interacting with the online Francophone community through blogs, chats, and other forms of social media. Teachers are encouraged to provide a variety of these experiences for their students. Students, particularly in the upper grades, are also encouraged to seek and initiate engagement with Francophone communities, people, or experiences to help build their identity as French speakers and to foster opportunities to continue their acquisition of the French language beyond graduation.

Links to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The Ministry of Education remains supportive of teachers who wish to make use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) as a supporting tool in their Core French classroom. The ministry recognizes that CEFR can be a valuable assessment tool for second-language learners and that a number of Core French teachers in the province are currently using it with their students and would like to continue doing so.

Working with First Peoples communities

To address First Peoples content and perspectives in the classroom in a way that is accurate and that respectfully reflects First Peoples concepts of teaching and learning, teachers are strongly encouraged to seek the advice and support of members of local First Peoples communities. As First Peoples communities are diverse in terms of language, culture, and available resources, each community will have its own unique protocol for gaining support for integration of local knowledge and expertise. Permission for the use or translation of cultural materials or practices should be obtained through consultation with individuals, families, and other community members. This authorization should be obtained prior to the use of any educational plans or materials.

To begin a discussion about possible instructional and assessment activities, teachers should first contact First Peoples education coordinators, teachers, support workers, and counsellors in their district who will be able to facilitate the identification of local resources and contacts such as Elders, chiefs, First Nations tribal or band councils, First Peoples cultural centres, First Peoples Friendship Centres, and Métis or Inuit organizations. In addition, teachers may wish to consult the various Ministry of Education publications available, including the “Planning Your Program” section of the resource Shared Learnings. This resource was developed to help all teachers provide students with knowledge of, and opportunities to share experiences with, First Peoples in British Columbia.

For more information about these documents, consult the Aboriginal Education website: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/welcome.htm

Authentic First Peoples texts and resources

In order to present authentic First Peoples content and worldviews, it is important to draw from First Peoples learning and teaching resources. Authentic First Peoples texts and resources are those that:

  • present authentic First Peoples voices – that is, historical and contemporary texts created by First Peoples (or through the substantial contributions of First Peoples)
  • depict themes and issues important to First Peoples cultures (e.g., loss of identity and affirmation of identity, tradition, healing, role of family, importance of Elders, connection to the land, the nature and place of spirituality as an aspect of wisdom, the relationships between individual and community, the importance of oral tradition, the experience of colonization and decolonization)
  • incorporate First Peoples story-telling techniques and features as applicable (e.g., circular structure, repetition, weaving in of spirituality, humour).

Because of the diversity of First Peoples communities in British Columbia and Canada and of indigenous peoples in the world, and the need to provide a relevant context for classroom instruction and assessment, it is suggested that resource selection focus primarily on First Peoples texts and resources from the local community wherever possible.