Why implement Intensive French?

Intensive French gives students the opportunity to learn to speak French while participating in their regular school program. It also encourages social development and working with others.

Who can participate in Intensive French?

IF is a program for all students. Students with diverse learning needs can cope successfully with the program. See Results on Parents’ Page

Student motivation for learning in general, and for learning French in particular, is enhanced by participation in the program. Motivation is created by the feeling of accomplishment students develop once they are able to communicate with each other and the teacher in French.

Is it difficult to implement?

The most significant change is for the five months of IF instruction in Grade 5 (10-11 years old) or in Grade 6 (11-12 years old). This portion of the program requires the students to have uninterrupted instruction by the French teacher every day for five months (approximately 300 hours or 65% of the school day). Sample timetables and percentages for organizing this part of the program may be found in the handbooks mentioned below.

What changes to report cards are necessary?

Another important change in the school operations when implementing IF is the change in reporting. Report cards in the IF program consider French as a Language Arts experience, and the three skills (oral production, reading and writing) are treated separately. In the intensive year, at Grade 5 or 6, there is a further change in report cards: in the intensive semester, the report card is limited to French, Mathematics and the other subject(s) taught in English that the school has decided to retain in this semester. In addition, the dates for sending out report cards may need to be adjusted from those used regularly. Examples of report cards may also be found in the handbooks.

Which subject areas are compacted in the intensive semester?

An important aspect of implementing the intensive year of the program is the need to compact certain subjects, or to develop an integrated program for some areas in the regular program. Each jurisdiction makes its own decisions about the subjects to be retained in the intensive semester although it is recommended that Mathematics be retained in all cases. Various ways of compacting, or integrating, the curriculum have been adopted by different jurisdictions. Information about the process of compacting subject areas can be found in this document.

How many hours of instruction are required?

Generally, the intensive semester requires a minimum of 300 classroom hours devoted to second-language acquisition. This is followed by at least 45 classroom hours during the non intensive semester. The 45 hours are offered in larger blocks of time, for example, 80-minute periods every second day.

Does Post-Intensive French require a change in timetabling?

For the Post-Intensive years of the program (from Grade 6 or 7 to Grade 12), the number of hours of instruction in French can remain the same as is normally the case for French instruction each year. Some districts add extra time, which will give even better results in French.

Periods of French, though, should be offered in concentrated blocks of time in order to give students sufficient time to interact in French and develop their internal grammar. Periods of 80 minutes two to three times a week are recommended rather than short periods of 30 or 40 minutes offered more frequently during the week. Sample weekly timetables giving an idea of how these periods can be arranged may be consulted in the handbooks mentioned below.

Is Pre-Intensive French necessary?

A Pre-Intensive French program may be implemented in the year before the intensive semester. It is recommended in order to help the students become accustomed to using of French as a means of communication. The activities also introduce students to the new type of teaching strategies and resources that the IF program uses. As a result, the intensive semester begins more smoothly, and the students make more rapid progress.

There are no changes required to the timetable for this year, although blocking of periods is always recommended. Thirty to forty minutes of French two or three times weekly is more effective for developing non-conscious grammar than twenty minutes more frequently; students have more time to use the language themselves.

Pre-Intensive French is offered province-wide in New Brunswick to Grade 4 to students who are not enrolled in French Immersion. Yellowknife Education District #1 offers a Pre-Intensive program in Grade 5.

Communication With Parents

Community support for the program is an important factor in ensuring a successful implementation of Intensive French. Parents need information in order to be able to make an informed decision about registering their child in the program. They also need regular reports from the school about what is happening in the Intensive French classroom. Where such communication is maintained, the program generally receives greater support from the parents and the community.

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For More Information

Further information pertinent to school operations is available in the documents listed below:
Saskatchewan Handbook for Leaders of FSL

New Brunswick has prepared three curriculum guides for Intensive French: One for the Grade 5 intensive semester; one for Post-Intensive French, Levels 1, 2, and 3, for Middle School, and one for Post-intensive French, Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 for High School. The New Brunswick Post-Intensive French Curriculum Guide, Grades 6, 7 & 8 may be consulted here: N.B. Post-intensive French 6, 7 & 8

Note: The New Brunswick Curriculum Guide is provided only as an example, as it was written to meet New Brunswick needs. It may however prove useful as a model for other jurisdictions seeking to develop their own curriculum. Jurisdictions may use or adapt this document on condition that New Brunswick’s contribution is recognized.

Other Sources of Information

Departments/Ministries of Education (all provinces and territories)

Independent Consultants

For information on contact information for independent consultants, please write to info@intensivefrench.ca.