French as a second language programs
Get information about French as a second language (FSL), including FSL programs available at Ontario schools.
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Since French is one of Canada’s two official languages, French is taught in Ontario’s English-language school boards.
Students in Ontario's publicly funded English-language schools are required to:
- study French as a second language (FSL) from Grades 4 to 8
- earn at least one credit in FSL in secondary school to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Benefits of learning French as a second language
Students have significant advantages when they speak more than one language. Learning another language helps students:
- strengthen their problem-solving, reasoning and creative thinking skills
- develop their understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures
- increase their competitiveness in an increasingly global job market
- enhance their first-language and overall literacy skills
Learning FSL helps students:
- understand Canada’s history
- develop an appreciation of French culture
- participate in an increasingly globalized economy
FSL programs are for all students in English-language boards, including students with special needs and English language learners.
Directions for planning the delivery of curriculum to students with special education needs are included in all curriculum policy documents, including those for FSL.
There are three FSL programs in Ontario:
Students learn French as a subject. At the elementary level, students must accumulate a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction by the end of Grade 8. At the secondary level, academic, applied and open courses are offered for Grades 9 and 10. University preparation and open courses are offered for Grades 11 and 12.
In the extended French program, students learn French as a subject and take at least one other subject where French is the language of instruction. At the elementary level, at least 25% of all instruction is provided in French.
In the extended French program, students accumulate seven credits in French:
- four for FSL language courses
- three for other subjects in which French is the language of instruction
In the French immersion program, students learn French as a subject and take two or more other subjects where French is the language of instruction. At the elementary level, at least 50% of all instruction is provided in French.
In the French immersion program, students accumulate ten credits in French:
- four for FSL language courses
- six for other subjects in which French is the language of instruction
Student's proficiency in French increases based on the amount of time and the level of intensity of instruction in French.
School boards have the option of offering extended French and French immersion programs based on local demands and resources. Decisions to establish these programs and their structure, such as when students can enter the program, are made by the local school board. Students in these programs are not in the core French program.
Talk to your school for more information regarding FSL programs.
Framework for FSL
We released A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12 in February 2013. The framework is a ten-year document that serves as a call to action and a guide to strengthen FSL programming through the cohesive efforts of educators, students, parents and communities.
Vision for FSL in Ontario
Our vision is for students in English-language school boards to have the confidence and ability to use French effectively in their daily lives.
The goals of the framework are to increase:
- student confidence, proficiency, and achievement in FSL
- the percentage of students studying FSL until graduation
- student, educator, parent and community engagement in FSL
Read the framework for FSL in Ontario schools.
Students with special education needs
The resource, A Guide for Ontario Schools: Including Students with Special Education Needs in French as a Second Language Programs, is a companion to the Framework for FSL.
It provides additional research, data and examples of inclusive practice. It focuses on:
- ways to make all FSL programs more available to students with special education needs
- the supports these students need to succeed
English language learners in FSL programs
The resource, Welcoming English Language Learners into French as a Second Language programs builds on the framework for FSL with additional research and strategies relevant to English language learners.