Tuesday, 12 February 2013 08:59

Activities highlight bilingual week at École Oman School

Written by  Jessi Gowan
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Students at École Oman School in Swift Current celebrated their bilingualism during French Second Language Education Week, with activities and games to help them use their second language more often, and learn a bit more about French culture.

“We celebrate every year, because this is something special about our school and our students,” explained Principal Leanne Marchand. “We get teachers and parents involved, and it really heightens the profile of our programs and gives our students a sense of pride that they have a second language.”
According to its website, the French Second Language Education Week is an initiative of Canadian Parents for French and has been officially endorsed by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Learning and runs from Feb. 4-8.
Throughout the week, teachers in all classrooms focused on using more French to communicate with students – even in non-French speaking classes. Special activities were also scheduled to involve the entire school, and also for French Immersion students.
“All students at École Oman learn French, some take Core French and others are in French Immersion,” Marchand noted. “Each year, we have a school-wide game of Bingo on the Friday of French Second Language Education Week, where everything is called out in French. The older students know the numbers in French, and some of our littler kids have helpers to play with them. Everyone really loves that part.”
French Immersion students took part in a number of French cultural activities, since French culture is an important part of the French Immersion curriculum. Students were able to enjoy French cuisine, learn French Canadian dances, and made French Canadian crafts.
“Learning a second language helps sensitize students to another culture, another way of speaking and expressing yourself,” explained Marchand. “It’s an important part of growing and understanding people, and making connections to our own roots and our own languages.”
Over the past four years, the French Immersion program has seen an increase in numbers. Marchand noted that there are a number of valuable benefits that students can see from learning a second language.
“There’s a lot of research out there that shows how important it is for people to learn a second language for brain development,” said Marchand. “In Saskatchewan, people think you just need one language to get by, but there are lots of places where a second language would really help you out. Future employment, the ability to attend university anywhere in Canada – it’s a huge benefit for students.”
French Second Language Education Week is celebrated at École Oman School similarly to how they celebrate Education Week – to promote the learning of a second language, and help develop their students’ identities as second language learners.
“It’s not something that everyone is doing, and that’s exciting,” Marchand added. “It really helps grow our pride and engagement in keeping with the program, and staying in Core French or French Immersion.”

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