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Province launches website to boost French skills of Anglo students

“Many stakeholders and rights holders expressed a need for better access to culturally authentic <a href=language learning in French and more learning resources,” said Education Minister Bill Hogan. (Roger Cosman/CBC – image credit)” bad-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Mp23lmjMmSvHi7__LYlgVA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/cbc.ca/4fb0e496f3f4889b35cd5a0cd7b75372″ src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Mp23lmjMmSvHi7__LYlgVA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/cbc.ca/4fb0e496f3f4889b35cd5a0cd7b75372″/>

“Many stakeholders and rights holders expressed a need for better access to culturally authentic language learning in French and more learning resources,” said Education Minister Bill Hogan. (Roger Cosman/CBC – image credit)

The New Brunswick government has launched an online portal it says will bolster French-second-language learning resources for students in the anglophone school sector.

Education Minister Bill Hogan announced Tuesday in Hampton that the new “centre of excellence” website is now up and running.

This online centre was one of a number of initiatives announced last summer to improve education.

“Many stakeholders and rights holders expressed a need for better access to culturally authentic language learning in French and more learning resources,” said Hogan.

They also wanted to celebrate educators and successes in French-language programming, he said.

Site offers options for students, teachers

The website features many ideas for learning activities and opportunities for experiences for students and teachers at various grade levels.

For example, there’s a bilingual comedian doing a show next month about his personal experience learning about Acadian culture.

There’s a link to a YWCA program through which students can apply for summer jobs in French-speaking areas.

There’s an activity idea for elementary students to talk about winter clothing and outdoor activities and then get a free field trip to a provincial park.

Partnered with tourism industry

The Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick is one of the partners in the new program.

“We need workers,” said Luis Cardoso, the group’s interim CEO.

“The sky is really the limit when it comes to careers in tourism and you can really elevate that experience through bilingualism," said Luis Cardoso, interim CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick.

“The sky is really the limit when it comes to careers in tourism and you can really elevate that experience through bilingualism,” said Luis Cardoso, interim CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick.

Luis Cardoso is the interim CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

“The sky is really the limit when it comes to careers in tourism and you can really elevate that experience through bilingualism,” he said.

“You can work outdoors, have fun adventures and get paid or you can work indoors if that’s more your style … maybe manage a hotel or a cool new restaurant that’s opening.”

‘Dire need’ for teachers, NBTA says

When asked for comment, the president of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association provided a brief statement by email saying the group is pleased the new website would “promote real-life experiences in French through community partnerships and support students, families and teachers.”

However, the group also took the opportunity to restate its position that “New Brunswick schools are in dire need of certified teachers.”

“A comprehensive teacher retention and recruitment strategy was also one of the recommendations from last year’s public consultations and must be prioritized,” said Peter Lagacy, NBTA president.

“One year later, teachers are still waiting for action backed by a financial commitment from the government on this issue,” he said.

Five others already launched

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has previously launched five other centres of excellence as part of a joint initiative with the private and non-profit sectors and educational institutions, called Future NB, to create more experiential learning opportunities.

The other centres focus on energy, entrepreneurship, health, digital innovation, and skilled trades and manufacturing.

The centres provide students with ways to explore career paths they may not have otherwise considered, Hogan said.

He said the French-language centre of excellence will give students a chance to see how being able to speak and understand French can help their career.

The lead for the new centre of excellence, Jenny Steeves, said its goal is to “enhance, elevate and support” the education system and teachers will be able to use it to share best practices and innovative methods.

The lead for the new centre of excellence, Jenny Steeves, said its goal is to “enhance, elevate and support” the education system and teachers will be able to use it to share best practices and innovative methods.

The lead for the new centre of excellence, Jenny Steeves, said the program will allow students to connect with French speakers and have ‘real-life language experiences.’ (Roger Cosman/CBC)

The lead for the new centre of excellence, Jenny Steeves, said its goal is to “enhance, elevate and support” the education system.

She said the program will allow students and teachers to “go beyond the conventional classroom setting.”

“Imagine students engaging in real-life language experiences, connecting with French and other language speakers and immersing themselves in authentic cultural contexts,” said Steeves.

The superintendent of the Anglophone South School District said the centre is a win for the whole province, but especially important in his area because there are fewer francophones around and therefore students get less exposure to the French language.

Our children need to hear more than their parents and teachers speaking in French, said Derek O’Brien.

Our children need to hear more than their parents and teachers speaking in French, said Derek O’Brien.

Derek O’Brien, the superintendent of the Anglophone South School District, said in his days as a French immersion teacher in Charlotte County, he dreamed of having this type of resource. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

Our children need to hear more than their parents and teachers speaking in French, said Derek O’Brien.

He said in his days as a French immersion teacher in Charlotte County, he and his colleagues dreamed of having this type of resource.

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