Welcome to Canada, the country where both French and English are the official languages. Indeed, English is the most spoken one with. Approximately 73% of the Canadians speak English and only 17,4% is bilingual. How comes Canada is not bilingual all over the country?
Second-language learning was settled in Canada’s schools in the 60’s. This period of time was considered as a “worldwide concern for issues of social inequality and institutional response, or lack of response, to inequality in a number of different spheres, including language and culture” (Dual Language Education in Canada and the U.S.A., Fred Genesee). The program done at this time was specific to Canada. In fact, the goals were shaped to the needs and the forms for a dual language education. At this period of time, they created a program that permits students to learn a second language and to travel at the same time. This program was called “immersion program”. This program was shaped for Canadians to learn either English for French Canadians or French for English Canadian.
Due to the rise of the importance of French in the community, the English alone “would no longer assure social economic success in the province” of Quebec, English speakers had to give up to their dream of being an English language empire in Quebec. A group of parent of the community of St-Lambert, outside of Montreal were determined to improve their French language skills (their offspring’s too). Their relationship with francophone Quebecers had a lack due to their incompetence in French. The first ideas of improving the quality of a second language instruction in English schools and immersion were developed then. This same group of people, insured that French Quebecers do the same way as English Quebecers do. In other words, to improve their English language skills without putting away their culture and their root language. There is more information on the web site of the University of McGill (http://www.psych.mcgill.ca/perpg/fac/genesee/21.pdf)
In 1997, Quebec adapted the “charter of the French language” which means that teaching in French school must be in French. And allowing to an article of this charter, English must be taught according to the dispositions of the pedagogical system and the law on the state education. This meant the end of the English immersion programs, as a second language, in the French schools. This end led to a new beginning. Moreover, we assisted to the first intensive English class in Quebec.
Nowadays, English language has never been more important. In fact, since the Official Languages Act (1988-1989), the government of Canada has embarked to promote the French or English as a second language learning by creating a program that cooperate the promotion of bilingualism in the education field toward the Canada.
Back in the days, when I was in elementary school there were no intensive English program and we started to have English class in grade 4. Today, pupils start to learn English as a second language in the first year of elementary school. And according to some schools, they have intensive program. These programs lead to increase and to improve young adults’ English skills.
Currently, there are many ways to learn a second language without being an elementary, high school, or university student. Internet is an accurate and a fast way to learn a second language. In fact, there are many resources like translators, dictionaries, and videos giving a hand for learners.
2006 Census: The Evolving Linguistic Portrait, 2006 Census: Highlights”. Statistics Canada. 2006 (2010). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
Genesee, Fred. Dual Language Education In Canada and the U.S.A..
Quebec Government, http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=2&file=/I_13_3/I13_3.html