Student Retention

///Student Retention
Student Retention2018-07-03T11:14:50-06:00

At all levels

I’m staying in French because….

CPF Alberta has created an information package that includes handouts, ads for school newsletters, and quotes promoting the continued study of French (core French or immersion).

Contact your local CPF chapter about the pamphlet Stay in French!

Adademically challenged students

Academically challenged students and French-second-language (immersion and core French) programs – a national roundtable of experts held in June 2012:

The State of French Second Language Education in Canada 2012 executive summary of the six presentations and the recommendations

full proceedings of the roundtable

Factsheet for Educators

Inclusive Practice in French Immersion by Martine Pellerin, PhD

Diversity in French Immersion: Can French Immersion offer an appropriate quality education for a student with special needs?

What School Administrators Need to Know about the Inclusion of Students with Diverse Needs in French Immersion Schools

Diversity in French Immersion Classrooms: A Quick Inclusion Guide for Teachers Alberta Education

L’inclusion en immersion: Guide de différenciation pédagogique pour répondre à divers besoins d’apprentissage


Faire une différence the French version of Making a Difference: Meeting diverse learning needs with differentiated instruction – provides teachers with an Alberta context for differentiated instruction, and information and strategies for implementing differentiated instructional practices to better meet the diverse learning needs of all students – Alberta Education

Révéler le potentiel: Éléments clés de la programmation à l’intention des élèves ayant des difficultés d’apprentissage

Other resources:

Support for immersion parents

Yes, You Can Help! Information and Inspiration for French Immersion Parents 

Ask your local CPF chapter about CPF Alberta’s French for Immersion Parents course. It offers an introduction to French; helps parents feel comfortable with the immersion approach; offers hints, strategies, and resources for parents to support their children; and (in Level 2) explores reasons for students to remain in immersion through Grade 12.

Immersion teachers in Lethbridge have developed a theme-based French program for immersion parents, which is available through the ATA library.

Supporting and Working with Parents” in the Handbook for French Immersion Administrators

Encourage parents to visit the “For parents” section of this web site!

Grade 2/3

The Peer Tutoring Literacy Program is aimed at fostering literacy in French immersion. It is designed for Grade 2 and 3 students who are experiencing moderate difficulties with French reading who would benefit from extra reading support.

Grade 5/6

  • Suggestions for Grade 5/6 French Immersion Teachers

    While students leave French immersion at all grade levels and for a variety of reasons, we know that the transition between school levels (elementary to junior high and junior high or middle school to senior high) are peak times for attrition. Efforts to improve student retention need to start with information and support for parents and ensure that older students have good information about the opportunities that will be open to them after grade 12. These efforts also need to involve students at a stage when they are old enough to influence decisions about continuing in immersion but young enough that life after high school or postsecondary can seem very far off. Language and cultural enrichment activities are extremely important to help motivate students to continue learning French. However, another dimension must also be addressed. All too often immersion students are not aware of the unique opportunity they have been given. To teachers and parents immersion is special while to the students it's often just school! To teachers and parents, learning a second language has intellectual, personal, and financial rewards; to students approaching junior high, it can seem like just a lot of extra work. Following is a list of suggested activities which could be undertaken in the grade 5 or 6 immersion classroom to get the students:

    • reflecting on their second language learning,
    • celebrating their accomplishments, and
    • thinking about the benefits that come from being in French immersion
    and to set the stage for a more in-depth consideration of personal, postsecondary, and career opportunities in late grade 8 or early grade 9. If you are a grade 5 or 6 immersion teacher, we hope you will print out this page and consider our suggestions. Feel free to choose the one or two activities that best fit your circumstances, and to adapt our ideas to suit your class. If you know of parents with questions or concerns about continuing immersion, refer them to the CPF Alberta web site at Work with your local CPF chapter to help parents understand what the research says and learn about the long-term benefits of bilingualism. CPF Alberta also offers you a series of handouts suitable for both students and parents as well as public service announcements for use in school newsletters and other publications: see I'm learning French because.... Follow-up: for possibilities at the grade 8/9 and senior high levels, click here

    Activity Ideas

    After a regular "buddy reader" activity, the teacher could lead a discussion about the differences in the second language levels between the two groups, emphasizing the progress made by the older “buddies” since they were in kindergarten or grade 1. Then have the students draw a comic strip or write a letter, paragraph, or poem:
    • about what it was like to start in French immersion (in kindergarten or grade 1) (note: many of the students won’t remember, but it's okay for them to communicate what they think it was like)
    • explaining to someone who knows nothing about the program what it means to be in French immersion

    Prepare a television commercial or create a magazine advertisement or a pamphlet selling French immersion to: ?parents or ?preschoolers or ?their peers

    Research and/or interview and write about one of:
    • the history of French immersion
    • where French immersion is offered within the city, province, country
    • immersion programs in other countries
    • French around the world
    • how French was taught in my parents' day
    • the personal benefits of French immersion (cognitive, leisure, travel, etc.)
    • jobs where bilingualism is an asset
    • postsecondary opportunities
    • an immersion student who did something special with his/her French
    • a French immersion graduate
    • someone in your community who works in both French and English

    Create a class newspaper and include the above articles. Incorporate pictures, maps (original student work or from the internet).

    Develop questions and then interview peers, parents, teachers, or administrators (for radio, television, newspaper, or magazine) about French immersion: likes/dislikes, positives/negatives, why the interviewee is in the immersion program, etc.

    Break into groups to brainstorm and research various ways to enjoy and practice French outside of school, and then have each group report to the class on one of:
    • leisure reading, television, radio
    • local entertainment (theater, festivals, etc.)
    • summer camps
    • exchanges
    • the internet: interesting web sites, online games, pen pals, etc.
    • summer jobs during high school or postsecondary

    Prepare a bilingual skit to present to another class or at a parent information night, such as:
    • what is immersion?
    • our immersion experience
    • how we're learning French
    • what we would like to learn
    • what we'll be able to do with our French when we grow up
    • the difference between how our parents learned French and how we are learning it

    Have your students read about the differing goals of the various French programs in Alberta - core French (FSL), early immersion, late immersion, and French first language - and then lead a class discussion. Or have the class break into four groups to each investigate one of these programs and then report back to the class on:
    • the goals/outcomes of the program
    • the students for whom the program is designed
    • reasons for selecting a particular program
    • whether the program is offered in your community and whether it should be offered

    If your class has an opportunity to interact with Francophones (a field trip to a French community center, through an internet chat room, etc.), do a follow-up activity which has them thinking about, writing about, and/or talking about how their language skills have allowed them to meet and interact with people from another culture.

    If your class starts a pen pal or video exchange program, have them begin by sending an explanation of French immersion to their Francophone counterparts.

    Have the students investigate and analyze immersion statistics. For example:
    • do the calculations and prepare a graph that compares hours in instruction in French to students' "waking hours" in English, kindergarten through grade 12, in your immersion program (see graph on page 48 of Yes, You Can Help!)
    • graphing the enrolments over time for your school, district, or province
    • computing the percentage of immersion students versus the total enrolment (district or province) and how that has changed over time
    • analyzing changes in enrolment as students move through the grades

    Some immersion students believe the English program is easier because you don't lose marks for not speaking French. Help your students look at it the other way: that they can easily get “bonus” marks just for speaking French. The English program students don’t have this opportunity to get 5 or 10% extra!

    Some of the above topics could also be tackled through debates, and some would make interesting presentation subjects if your students participate in a public speaking competition.

    Before doing one of the activities listed above, have the class develop a "Top Ten" list of reasons to continue in French immersion. After doing the activity(ies), repeat this exercise and compare the two lists. Discuss the reasons for any changes. (If you want, you might also have them compare their final list with CPF Alberta's Eight Great Reasons.)

    Information sources to help with these activities

    CPF Alberta receives and distributes news of many resources and products designed to be of interest to students of French, their teachers, and their parents.

    Publication does not imply CPF endorsement.

    Benefits (personal, intellectual, postsecondary, career) of learning a second language / learning French What Alberta Education says: benefits of L2 and information for students CPF Alberta web site: benefits postsecondary opportunities "Why learn another language?" in Yes, You Can Help! Extra-curricular activities, exchanges, summer work opportunities "The importance of French outside of school" in Yes, You Can Help! CPF Alberta web site Exchanges and excursions Enrolment statistics The CPF national web site offers statistical tables Statistics for your school district will be available from your district office Explaining immersion Alberta Education web site "A Made-in-Canada Solution" in Yes, You Can Help! French programs: core, immersion, first language What do I want for my child? What Alberta Education says French in Alberta and around the world Francophonie in Alberta L'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie Where French immersion is offered CPF Alberta's list Alberta Education's list Other sources Alberta Teachers' Association library Articles by Fred Kreiner, Directeur du Bureau de la pratique Faculté Saint-Jean
    • Poor Nathaniel!
    • But Mom…!!!
    • French Immersion is a Lot Like a Swimming Pool
    CPF videos Click here to preview, download, or order either of these videos. Proud of Two Languages (revised 2009, English, 12.5 min) showcases young Canadians who are using French a second language. Canada's new generation of bilingual young people speak for themselves in this video about their hopes and dreams and experiences. They talk about the benefits - professional and personal - of becoming bilingual. You will meet seven young people who are working, playing, and studying in French as well as English. They have learned their French through Early Immersion, Core French and then Late Immersion, and in bilingual 50-50 programs. Their interests range from business to the arts, from international affairs to the professions. French is part their lives. What do they have to say about their experiences? Was it tough? At times, yes. Was it worth it? Let's let them speak for themselves... I Want to Become Bilingual Because... (2009, English, 12.5 min.) honours the many hardworking students studying French as a second language across the country. Students of all ages fill in the blanks to the title statement: “I want to become bilingual because…” The answers are as varied and engaging as the students themselves, who represent the diverse and multicultural voices of elementary, middle and high school students in every province and territory. These students want to be functionally bilingual for all the obvious reasons and more—not just to have more university choices and career opportunities, but also to make more friends, have more fun, and even gain more knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself. Both videos are also ideal for use by parents, teachers, administrators in:
    • parent information nights
    • community outreach programs
    • professional development
    • inservice training

    Read More

But Mom…!!!! – what to say to immersion parents, by experienced immersion teacher/administrator and former Director of the Practicum Office, Campus Saint-Jean, University of Alberta

Let your parents know about Alberta Education’s Planning for Post-Secondary Studies – Grade 6 Parent Guide, downloadable from Alberta Learning Information Services

Junior high

Why continue studying French?

Show a video to spark a class discussion: I Want to Become Bilingual… Proud of Two Languages Advantage for Life

“I won’t be able to do it in English!” – Some students transfer out of French immersion from a concern that they won’t be successful at the postsecondary level if they’ve never studied certain subjects in English. They (and their parents) simply aren’t aware of how easy it is to pick up the English terminology! Subject teachers and guidance counselors can help by discussing this question and by acquainting students with the English terms.

Franconnexion Sessions – In addition to its forums for high school students held in major centers across the country, French for the Future now offers resources to help organize sessions where junior or senior high students have the chance to attend creative and inspiring workshops, participate in cultural activities, network with bilingual professionals, share their thoughts and ideas, and become part of a dynamic community. The ultimate goal is to make students realize that by keeping up with their French courses throughout high school, they are opening many doors professionally and culturally.

Campus Saint-Jean staff may be available to do presentations at junior high schools (upon invitation from the school) to encourage students to stay in French immersion. Grade 9 classes can visit CSJ in May and June, and some activities in addition to a tour may be arranged depending on the needs of the school. Contact the Recruitment Office: [email protected] or 780-465-8790

Tell parent and students about Alberta Education’s Planning for Post-Secondary Studies – Grade 6 Parent Guide and Grade 9 Student Guide, downloadable from Alberta Learning Information Services

Senior high

Why continue studying French?

Franconnexion Sessions – In addition to its forums for high school students held in major centers across the country, French for the Future now offers resources to help organize sessions where students have the chance to attend creative and inspiring workshops, participate in cultural activities, network with bilingual professionals, share their thoughts and ideas, and become part of a dynamic community. The ultimate goal is to make students realize that by keeping up with their French courses throughout high school, they are opening many doors professionally and culturally.

Look at Distance Learning opportunities to supplement your senior high immersion program. The Alberta Distance Learning Centre now offers a wide variety of core and optional courses for French immersion students in grades 10, 11 and 12 as well as junior high science. They are available not just to individual students through year-round learning but also via contracted services through schools and via team teaching though the schools. Click on “French Immersion” or contact Carl Asselin, Coordonnateur du programme d’immersion française at 1-866-774-5333, ext. 6115. For a list of courses, click on “Course Options.” To view the Immersion Showcase, enter the username “immersion” and the password “adlc.”

Let your students know about postsecondary opportunities:

French postsecondary opportunities in Alberta

CPF’s Post-Secondary Resources page lists programs available across Canada, what assistance is provided to students for whom French is a second language (e.g., supplementary language courses, tutoring, extra time for exams), opportunities for social interaction (e.g., French-speaking residences, social clubs), exchange programs, and more

Invite Campus Saint-Jean to make a presentation on postsecondary and career opportunities, or arrange for a class to visit CSJ to do a chemistry or physics lab that we can incorporate into their sciences curriculum (from September-November and January-March). For more information contact the Recruitment Office: [email protected] or 780-465-8790.

Invite the French Centre at the University of Calgary to speak to your students about the French Language Instruction Program.

Tell parent and students about Alberta Education’s Planning for Post-Secondary Studies – Grade 12 Parent Guide and Grade 12 Student Guide, as well as Time to choose…a post-secondary education program – all downloadable from Alberta Learning Information Services

Let your students know about employment opportunities:

Work Experience Opportunities

Le Français pour l’avenir / French for the Future offers annual forums for Grade 11/12 students featuring interaction, dialogue and education through workshops, plenary sessions and forum discussion groups. Participants learn the career benefits of continuing bilingual education while relating with bilingual professionals from a variety of career paths.


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