explaining about second-language learning in Canada, it is important to clarify
what the term second language implies. To do this explaining what is considered a
first language is also necessary.
The language that children first acquire
naturally in the home is known as a first language (also . The
official languages of Canada are those that fall under the Official Languages Act;
created the 9th of September 1969 by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and
Biculturalism, English and French. The Official Languages Act was ameliorated the
28th of July 1988, making it clearer toward the responsibilities of federal
institutions with the English and French.
mother tongue and
native language); any language learned after the first language has been
acquired is a second language (Stern). According to Stern and Leblanc, in Canada,
languages can be classified under three categories:
immigrant languages and ancestral language of native peoples
After seeing about the languages of Canada, it is
important to understand the evolution of second-language learning. Before the
1900s, the most used method to teach foreign language was through
translation, ie, the teaching and practice of grammar rules through translation
exercise(Stern). At the beginning of the 20th century, the translation method
was slowly given up for a new better and more direct approach that did not involve
grammar translation. Students learned the second language without the teacher
using their mother tongue.
In the 1960s, the audiolingual method (ie, speaking
and listening in rapid drills) [became also] popular.(Stern)
Other methods such as total physical
response, suggestopedia and counselling learning made their appearance during
those years. Finding better teaching methods for second-language learning was not
always easy and very often new technologies were used to ameliorate methods. For
example, the language laboratory was created around 1950 and thirty years later
microcomputer and videocassette recorders were among the most used tools for
The more common second languages in Canada are
English (ESL) and French (FSL). In the 1960s, a period of social change lead to
the foundation of dual language programs. Indeed, that period
was marked by
concerted political, social, and in some cases militant action in the French
community of Quebec to redress the perceived imbalance in power between the
English and French and to recognize the majority status of French in that
province. This [was] referred to as the ( Genese). As a
way to improve the relations between English Canadians and French Canadians,
English-speaking Quebeckers developed in September 1965 the immersion program.
They aimed to provide students with a written, spoken and cultural understanding
of the French-Canadian culture. They also hoped that this would help close the gap
between the two solitudes. This method quickly went around the country and
immersion program in other languages
than French and English also became available.
In the 1970s and 1980s,
Canadian-style immersion and bilingual education were extended to include both
minority and majority students and the same classrooms ... ; these are often
referred as two-way immersion, two-way bilingual, or dual language programs
(Genese). Three types of immersion programs exist in Canada: early immersion from
when the kids are in kindergarten or grade 1, middle immersion from grade 4 or 5
and late immersion in grade 7 or the beginning of secondary schools.
Even today immersion programs are still fully in use in Canada. While dual language learning may have begun because of the dissatisfaction between the French and English Canadians communities, now, in this era of globalization, second-language learning is viewed as an asset.
Genese, Fred and Kathryn Lindholm-Leary. Dual language education in Canada and the U.S.A. McGill University. 05 Dec.2012. PDF File.
Laurendeau, Paul. Official Languages Act (1969). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Edited ed. Historica Canada. 02 Aug. 2006. Web. 12 March 2016.
---. Official Languages Act (1988). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Edited ed. Historica Canada. 02 Aug. 2006. Web. 12 March 2016.
Stern, H.H. and Raymond A. Leblanc Second-Language Instruction. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Edited ed. Historica Canada. 02 Aug. 2006. Web. 12 March 2016.