len's masthead




londoner editor pic





We all have heard of parents whose native language is English enroll their children in French schools. In the London area the Thames Valley School Board has ten elementary and five secondary schools that offer up French classes. In the Roman Catholic District School Board they have four elementary and two high school were French language programs are offered.

Females comprise the majority of youngsters who opt to take their studies in French which is their second language. Boys as a rule do not want to be immersed in French preferring to learn in English.

For the most part affluent parents opt to have their children enrolled in a French school curriculum. Check out the school districts in the north of London and you will find that there are many elementary/secondary schools that offer French language studies. As a result the program have become the preferred destination for children from richer, higher educated families. Parents from less wealthy educated homes for the most part opt for English only programs. The parents of students that have higher needs have enough on their plate and choose English language educational programs.

The late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau's vision of a bilingual Canada has changed the face of schooling in Canada. Therefore, it has become part of a good education to be proficient in another language. French is sure a popular choice; enrollment has climbed 40% in the last decade. But, over time, as parents look to give their children a competitive edge, French immersion has unintentionally created divisions in the public education systems.

French First Language studies are reserved for children who has a parent or two whose first language is French.
Check out the cafeterias or school yards and the French language students do not parle de Francais. First Language students are mandated by their teachers not to speak English while they are at school.

I am ok with French First language studies for children whose mom or dad can help with the homework and speak to their children in French. French Language students for the most part have parents who do not/can not relate to their children in French and can not help with their homework.

So you want to know my opinion? English is the international language of commerce, engineering, computers, medicine. Chinese is the first language of thousands of people who live in Toronto and Vancouver. China has the second largest economy in the world with the United States ranked number one where the Spanish language is an advantage. Much smarter to enroll your children in Chinese/Spanish language studies.

French is only spoken in France and Quebec and a few former colonies of France but for the most part English is still the preferred language of instruction. Bilingual French Canadians they are not; for the most part are not proficient in English.

I was a horrible student in French; I failed grade 13 at Central Collegiate and went on to take French 10 at Christ the King’s University College; I failed. Off to Huron College for French 10 where I failed again. Western offered up French 10 at summer school and I promised the professor that if she gave me 50% that I would never ever speak/write French. I aced the final exam with a magnificent 51%. I have kept my word and have not murdered the French language with my horrible phonetic accent.

Please consider the long term welfare of your children when enrolling them in school. French language studies are sure not for every one. Please encourage your children to read for fun. Those who read for fun are 21% more successful in school then those who do not. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are no longer part of their curriculum. Too soon they will be very proficient in short form texting, How are you doing? becomes hw r u dn.

School should be a pleasure for young students to attend. 10 years of elementary. Four or five years of secondary school can be a fifteen year hell, a life sentence for those who are unhappy with the curriculum.

The new data shows that the exuberance fades as the children get older. The latest numbers indicate that about half of the elementary students drop out of the French programs as they move through their elementary-school years to grade eight. Elementary school students and their parents will walk away from their French studies when they are not thriving.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com