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  1. #1
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    Question fluency in english for F1 students?

    do french first students speak english as well as students from english schools? would it be a pickle for them to go to an english hs or university later on??? thoughts? anyone have personal experience?

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    My SO's daughter is in grade 4 at F1st and this year was the first year she started to be taught English as a subject in the english language. Despite that, she speaks English quite well due to the fact that it is spoken at home and she still reads books and watches English t.v. I have confidence that she will be fine going to an english highschool...I am more worried that as she advances and her homework gets harder, that SO and I as well as her mother won't be able to keep up with her as none of us speak french fluently.

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    I went to a French-first-language school from Kindergarten to Grade 11 (I only took a few credits in English (not the subject English, but taught in English) in Grade 12/OAC.

    Based on all the research I've heard (both from proponents of FFL schools and also from professionals such as psychologists), people who speak two or more languages are often better in their first language than people who only speak that language.

    Throughout high school, English was always been my strongest subject and in Grade 12 and OAC English I often got marks in the 90s or 100% on essay exams (this was in an English school, during my last year, not a French school, although their level of English is exactly the same).

    I had planned to major in English in university, but I changed my mind and did an Honors Specialization in Psychology; however, I always got very good marks on my essays. I didn't take any English courses but I did have to take either a first- or second-year Writing course. I decided to take the second-year course since I enjoyed writing, and I got a 97% in the course.

    (I'm not exceptional -- as I said, people who speak two languages often do very well with their first language).

    (As far as not being able to help children with their homework -- my children both go to a FFL school and although I speak French fluently, I don't help with their homework much. My mom used to help me too much, which I think often happens with well-meaning parents, and I don't think that was a positive thing for me. My daughter (in Grade 5) is very independent and does her homework completely on her own. If there were big problems, the children can call their friends or you can write a note to the teacher or call/meet with the teacher to talk about things; the teachers in my children's FFL school are much more accomodating to English-speaking parents now than I remember them being in the past).



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    my daughter is only 5 but is fluent in both English and French. She goes to a FFL school and I thought it would be interesting to bring home an English language book that the SK's are reading at the school I teach. DD was able to read it with no assistance at all. Shocked me to see her reading in both languages knowing that only French was taught at school, but she must have been focusing on what we were doing at home aswell (read in English, workbooks in English, etc.)

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    My friend's kids go to FFL school and you would not be able to tell, they speak perfect English. In fact they speak a 3rd language at home. My son will go to FFL this Fall as well. There may be an initial delay in the English speaking/reading/writing skills but once you know one language well, it is actually easy to master another. You just need the foundation. Here in Ontario kids will be “immersed“ in English even if they go to FFL so there is nothing to worry about. One of the things FFL school boards say is that their students graduate fully bilingual. They are able to do their post-secondary studies in either official language.
    When registering my DS at the FFL school, the principal told me that it's unbelievable how quickly the kids pick up both languages. She said they are usually able to read/write in English well before it is officially taught starting in Gr. 4.
    BTW English is not my first language and yet English was my strongest subject throughout high school and Univ.

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    thanks ladies, sounds like we're making the right decision!

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    I wanted to add this last night and forgot. I have a few friends who went to FFL schools to gr 12. They had to take some senior science and math courses in English and they found it challenging to translate some difficult concepts. For example, mathematical word problems were difficult, and terminology in biology was a challenge. Nothing that they couldn't do, but it added some stress to already difficult subjects. Just some things to think about for future subjects. Learning another language far outweighs these challenges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BemusedMom View Post
    I wanted to add this last night and forgot. I have a few friends who went to FFL schools to gr 12. They had to take some senior science and math courses in English and they found it challenging to translate some difficult concepts. For example, mathematical word problems were difficult, and terminology in biology was a challenge. Nothing that they couldn't do, but it added some stress to already difficult subjects. Just some things to think about for future subjects. Learning another language far outweighs these challenges.
    I believe in high school FFL you can choose which subjects you will take in English. I could see this be an issue for some kids, but my friend's son (in grade 10 right now FFL) has no problems with science, math or any of these subjects and he's taking them in English too. I believe it will depend on your child. It's possible the students having issues with this would be having issues in either language. I would have to admit though that this has crossed my mind when choosing FFL for our DS. For now .. we are taking it one step at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kikky2319 View Post
    I believe in high school FFL you can choose which subjects you will take in English. I could see this be an issue for some kids, but my friend's son (in grade 10 right now FFL) has no problems with science, math or any of these subjects and he's taking them in English too. I believe it will depend on your child. It's possible the students having issues with this would be having issues in either language. I would have to admit though that this has crossed my mind when choosing FFL for our DS. For now .. we are taking it one step at a time.
    You can't choose to do any subject in English at all, except for “English“; FFL is not the same as French Immersion.

    I personally never had any issues with the math or science terminology. I took a math course and a few statistics courses in university as well as some biology-based psychology courses (such as neuroscience) and never had any trouble. It's the concepts that are most important, and most of the terminology is very similar in both languages.



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    Oh really? I thought my friend's kid takes courses in English, his mom said about 50% of them are now taught in English, in high school that is. Maybe I misunderstood.
    Sorry I didn't mean you can “choose“ what you will take in English, I just meant that certain courses are offered in English.
    Either way you are right, technical terminology is similar in many languages.

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    Please keep in mind that at school your child will only receive language instruction in French, so its up to you, as a parent to ensure that they are exposed to reading and writing in English. I know that *should* be a given.....but as a teacher, I can say that it isn't. I have had 4 students over the years come to my classroom (English) from French for various reasons (divorce, relocated, not academically successful in French). I teach grade 3. None of them could read/write in English, which put them at huge disadvantage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by laurensmom View Post
    Please keep in mind that at school your child will only receive language instruction in French, so its up to you, as a parent to ensure that they are exposed to reading and writing in English. I know that *should* be a given.....but as a teacher, I can say that it isn't. I have had 4 students over the years come to my classroom (English) from French for various reasons (divorce, relocated, not academically successful in French). I teach grade 3. None of them could read/write in English, which put them at huge disadvantage.
    Yeah I could see this in grade 3, FFL students don't formally learn Eng. til Grade 4. They do eventually catch up though, and do just as well. This is at least what I was told. The principal at my son's new school said lots of kids can already read/write Eng. by grade 4. My DH and I decided if we were going to move our child out of FFL to an English school we would do it by gr.1.
    I agree that moving him in gr.3 would put him at a disadvantage at least initially. I hope we won't have to do this, but you never know I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laurensmom View Post
    Please keep in mind that at school your child will only receive language instruction in French, so its up to you, as a parent to ensure that they are exposed to reading and writing in English. I know that *should* be a given.....but as a teacher, I can say that it isn't. I have had 4 students over the years come to my classroom (English) from French for various reasons (divorce, relocated, not academically successful in French). I teach grade 3. None of them could read/write in English, which put them at huge disadvantage.
    There are many children who have gone to English schools from the beginning, are in Grade 2 and can't read or write, so the fact that these children can't read or write in English might not have anything to do with them having come from a French school.

    For the ones who were not successful in French, that's probably one reason they have more trouble in English (meaning that they might have some trouble with reading in writing in general and may have been off to a slow start even if they had started in English right away.)

    If a child would switch to an English school from FFL, it would not be like they have no foundation at all to learn to read and write in English. If they could read and write in French, they would already have a high level of phonemic awareness, would have a good knowledge of many of the letter-sound correspondences since many are the same in English and French, would have had a lot of practice with reading comprehension, etc.

    Also, if those parents didn't take the time to do any English reading or writing with their children at home, the children probably wouldn't have been able to write or read English very well by the end of Grade 2 anyway, even if they were in an English school. In an English school, a child would probably struggle if they only worked on reading and writing in school, and not at all at home. (So you're right, a parent needs to work with their children at home, but this applies to children who are in any school, in any language).
    Last edited by mom 2 two :); 03-17-2012 at 09:42 AM.



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    Quote Originally Posted by kikky2319 View Post
    Oh really? I thought my friend's kid takes courses in English, his mom said about 50% of them are now taught in English, in high school that is. Maybe I misunderstood.
    Sorry I didn't mean you can “choose“ what you will take in English, I just meant that certain courses are offered in English.
    Either way you are right, technical terminology is similar in many languages.
    He must be in a French Immersion school, not French First Language. I understood what you meant about English, but in FFL schools the only course they take in English ever (even in high schyool) is “English“.



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    Quote Originally Posted by BemusedMom View Post
    I wanted to add this last night and forgot. I have a few friends who went to FFL schools to gr 12. They had to take some senior science and math courses in English and they found it challenging to translate some difficult concepts. For example, mathematical word problems were difficult, and terminology in biology was a challenge. Nothing that they couldn't do, but it added some stress to already difficult subjects. Just some things to think about for future subjects. Learning another language far outweighs these challenges.
    My son goes to FI not FFL but just an observation. Maybe the difficulty is the extra step of translation rather than a true delay? I noticed recently with DS1 that he is starting to think in french! Completely blew me away. We were doing simple math exercises(it's in french at school) and while I asked in english he would get flustered and often answer in french first. lol I can completely see how it might look like an issue but it's really just an extra step to think about.
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