Turnbull School

A Private Elementary School in Ottawa

Excellence and Caring since 1992

Enriching French

Turnbull School strives to graduate students from Grade 8 with strong and pragmatic conversational French skills, solid French reading, writing and grammar skills, and both the desire and the confidence to pursue further French studies beyond the basic requirements of high school. The achievement of these goals is dependent on the number of years the student is at Turnbull School, as well as the student’s language aptitude and motivation. We maintain a French only environment in French class, with an exception for students newer to French. 

"The French Program at Turnbull School has turned out to be one of the best French Programs we have ever experienced in the educational system."

Full Story

French is not merely a subject at Turnbull School; it is celebrated outside the classroom in various ways, including French clubs, choir and assemblies hosted in French by student MC’s. Performances are brought to the school by community French theatre and musical groups. French book sales and French reading buddies promote reading in French for enjoyment. Our annual Carnaval Glace et Neige is very popular with all students and is yet another way that French comes alive in the school! Senior students organize and run the activities for Carnaval, developing their fluency and enjoyment of the language and culture.

Many other motivational resources are used, including story books, songs, videos, software and Smart Board activities. The School Library also offers many books written in French.

Kindergarten

The goal of our students’ early French learning is to experience and enjoy the language in a natural way each day without compromising the development of English literacy and numeracy skills.

Primary

Primary students spend 30% of their weekly class time in French. Our approach embraces the philosophy that it is effective to intensify exposure time to a second language when children are young and most receptive to it. This is accomplished without taking away from the essential skills being developed in English and before the curriculum in other subjects intensifies in the junior grades.

Junior and Senior Levels

Turnbull School provides an engaging and challenging French program, regardless of prior knowledge or fluency. For students in Grades 4 to 8, our French classes are streamed into three skill levels. All classes are taught at an age appropriate level, using current resources and focusing on topics that reflect real life situations. All three programs offer speaking, listening, reading, writing and cultural components in French, providing students with a well-balanced understanding of the language at each level. Field trips in the spring to Quebec City for Grade 7 students and to Montreal for Grade 8 students greatly enhance their experience. Below is a brief description of the three levels of streamed French instruction.

Level 1: Beginner

Level 1 is designed for the beginner French student who has no previous exposure to French instruction or only a basic understanding of the language. Even though this is a beginner program, it is taught using age appropriate materials. The teacher models the language, using many visual cues to help students gain confidence and understanding.

Desired outcomes of Level 1:

Listening:  Students follow simple instructions given orally by the teacher.
Speaking:  Students speak French using simple forms and on topics such as themselves, their family and friends, personal interests and their immediate environment.
Reading:  Students recognize relationships between words with common spelling and sounds. They use various strategies, such as the visual cues of illustrations, photos and charts, to facilitate their comprehension of written material.
Writing:  Students write a variety of simple text forms using a model and familiar vocabulary.
Culture:  Students explore French culture and traditions through reading, videos and discussion and make connections with their personal experiences.

Level 2:  Core French

Level 2 follows the Ontario Ministry of Education Core French curriculum and is designed for students who have some prior knowledge of the language through participation in a previous core program. Current resources which follow the new FSL curriculum are used in the classroom, covering themes and topics that are age appropriate and engage the learner in everyday situations. At this level, the teacher continues to model the expectations with visual cues; however, more independence is expected of each student.

Desired outcomes of Level 2:

Listening:  Students follow simple multi step instructions given orally by the teacher.
Speaking:  Students use familiar words and expressions to produce planned and rehearsed messages in French. Topics include themselves, their family and friends, their personal interests and their immediate environment. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of structured or guided social interactions.
Reading:  With minimal support, students read a variety of text forms and learn strategies to understand the information. Students begin to read texts composed of familiar words and language structures with more fluency and ease in conveying meaning.
Writing:  Students write texts to convey information, ideas and opinions, and are expected to begin to generate, develop and organize their ideas with little support.
Culture:  Students explore French culture and traditions through reading, videos and discussion. The emphasis is on la francophonie dans le monde and making connections with their personal experiences.

Level 3:  Rigorous Enriched

The Level 3 program is designed to challenge students who already have a strong understanding of the French language. Students arriving from French Immersion or students with a francophone background will find this enriched course to be an engaging and rewarding experience. The teacher uses current resources and provides students with an exclusively French learning environment. Emphasis is placed on gaining confidence in oral and reading fluency, writing skills and an overall solid comprehension of the French language. One of the goals of this program is to prepare students who would like to pursue their secondary education in a French Immersion program.

Desired outcomes of Level 3:

Listening:  Students use a range of listening comprehension strategies to understand a variety of oral French texts. They are able to recognize and interpret gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice to facilitate their understanding.
Speaking:  Students express themselves clearly and coherently in French for a variety of purposes and audiences. They speak with a smooth pace, appropriate intonation and accurate pronunciation in planned, rehearsed and increasingly spontaneous communications.
Reading:  Students are exposed to a variety of text forms at each grade level, including age appropriate class novel studies. They understand the intent and meaning of a variety of French texts about familiar, academic and personally relevant topics, with some contextual and visual support. It is often by reading French novels that students continue to expand their vocabulary.
Writing:  Students write a variety of text forms to convey information, ideas and opinions. They confirm word meanings and review, refine and vary word choices using a variety of resources. Students plan, produce drafts following set criteria and revise their writing to improve the content and clarity.
Culture:  Students explore French culture and traditions from around the world by reading, watching videos and in group discussion. They make connections with their personal experiences and identify and understand some sociolinguistic conventions used in diverse French speaking communities.

Beyond Grade 8

Many of our students enter high school with a high level of both oral and written proficiency and are prepared for an enriched stream of French. Some of our students have returned to French Immersion in high school. Since our Grade 8 students complete the Grade 9 French program, they may be able to start with Grade 10 French in high school, depending on the school’s ability to schedule it for them. This is handled on an individual basis by the high school.

Our goal is to make the acquisition of the French language an enjoyable and natural experience within a school environment that is enthusiastic about French.

To discuss our enhanced French program, please contact the Registrar, Joyce Walker-Steed, at 613-729-6099 ext. 212 or visit us.

 

The French Program at Turnbull School has turned out to be one of the best French Programs we have ever experienced in the educational system. By the end of my son’s term at Turnbull, with just one year in the program, he was able to converse in simple conversation, understand written text as well as write paragraph essays with enthusiasm, and without help of any sort of translator. He can now answer questions verbally in a variety of tenses, as well as write short stories in French.

Being able to complete the Grade 9 curriculum in Grade 8 is a huge benefit. It has even given my son a great foundation and the confidence to succeed in Grade 9 where high school can be intimidating and a whole new world. Having this foundation and confidence to succeed dissipates through all the disciplines and is nothing other than good all around. Because of the knowledge and success my son had gained from the French program at Turnbull, he has done extremely well in Grade 9 and plans to continue on with French throughout his high school years. I commend all the French teachers at Turnbull. You should be proud!

Parent of Grade 8 student

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