Student engagement in an Ottawa French immersion high school program

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Date: Nov. 2010
From: Canadian Journal of Education(Vol. 33, Issue 3)
Publisher: Canadian Society for the Study of Education
Document Type: Report
Length: 8,327 words
Lexile Measure: 1740L

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This article makes a contribution to the field of French immersion studies by examining the engagement realities of two groups of students in an Ottawa French immersion high school program: those with and without a parent who makes them eligible for minority French language instruction as outlined by Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Findings indicate that students from both official language groups, who came from varying class backgrounds, similarly demonstrated the ability and willingness to follow the secondary French immersion program offered at the university level. Although students with Anglophone parents were found to benefit from cultural capital such as family support and "voluntary minority" belief systems, students with a parent eligible for minority French language instruction benefited from French language capital acquired with family, in social contexts and sometimes in French school. At rimes, students also had overlapping and cross-cutting realities depending whether they came from EFI or LFI programs. To conclude, this article suggests that French immersion programming and related policies should take into consideration the multifaceted engagement realities of secondary student populations from the two official language communities.

Key words: French immersion studies, student engagement, official-language communities, immigration.

La contribution de cet article a l'immersion francaise reside dans son examen des realites relatives a l'engagement de deux groupes d'etudiants inscrits dans une ecole secondaire d'immersion de la ville d'Ottawa : les eleves ayant ou n'ayant pas de parents qui les rendent admissibles a l'instruction dans la langue de la minorite francaise telle que stipulee au sein de l'article 23 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertes. Les resultats de la recherche demontrent que les etudiants issus des

deux groupes linguistiques officielles et ayant diverses profils sociaux font etat d'un interet similaire dans leurs habiletes et leurs desirs de poursuivre leurs etudes au sein du programme d'immersion francaise offert au niveau universitaire. Bien que les eleves ayant des parents anglophones semblent beneficier du capital culturel (tel que le support de la famille, les systemes de croyances associes aux <<minorites volontaires>>), ceux qui sont issus de familles dont l'un des parents est admissible a l'instruction dans la langue de la minorite francaise ont egalement pu beneficier du capital associe a la langue francaise par le biais de la famille, dans les contextes sociaux et parfois dans les ecoles francaises. Les eleves provenant des programmes d'immersion tardifs et precoces peuvent parfois vivre des realites transversales ou qui se chevauchent. En conclusion cet article suggere que la programmation de l'immersion francaise ainsi que les politiques y afferant doivent tenir compte des multiples facettes des realites que vivent les eleves du secondaire issus des deux communautes de langue officielle.

Mots-cles : Etudes des programmes d'immersion, engagement des eleves, communautes de langues officielles, immigration.

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If Canada hopes to have an optimal number of bilingual high school graduates, the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Honourable Graham Fraser, believes that French-Second-Language (FSL) programs need to be strengthened to "produce positive results and support student retention" until students join the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A259841123