Promotion of bilingualism |  The Great Seduction of English Montreal

Promotion of bilingualism | The Great Seduction of English Montreal

On the eve of school registration, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) courts families who have the right to send their children to school in English. His message: We also teach in French.

Posted at 5:00 am

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Throughout January, the EMSB is running a promotional campaign to “celebrate the bilingualism and excellence of French” taught in its primary and secondary schools.

Advertisements are broadcast in particular on French-speaking radio stations. “Being bilingual is an asset! ‘ we hear there.

The period in which this campaign is being carried out was not chosen at random. January is the school registration period and the school authorities want to approach parents who are hesitating between a French or an English school.

The latest census showed that more than 230,000 children were eligible for English classes in Quebec. However, “a good proportion [de ces élèves] is either in a private school or in a French-speaking school,” said the president of that school board, Joe Ortona.

These are the young people we want to recruit.

Promotion of bilingualism The Great Seduction of English Montreal

PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

The President of the English Montreal School Board, Joe Ortona

Parents are wondering where To their children for kindergarten. We want to show that English-Montreal is a quality French education.

Joe Ortona, President of the English Montreal School Board

It is also an opportunity for some French speaking children to learn English. On Thursday morning, in a fifth-grade class at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau School, about half the students raised their hands when asked who spoke French at home.

Sandy Lima teaches 5th grade in French. She notes that her class is “a mix of kids who speak French or English at home. Sometimes it’s both.” She shares her job with a colleague who teaches in English: the children learn half the lessons in one language and the other half in the other.

The school’s director, Tanya Alvares, explains that many parents choose their school in the Villeray district “because it is bilingual”.

Sheyma, 10, is a good example. She explains that she arrived from France a year ago. “That’s why I speak French. »

“In the 4th grade I didn’t understand anything in class [en anglais]but I find it easier now, ”the girl continues.

Next to her is Vincent. “My mother was born in English, but now she can speak French,” said the boy.

“reverse perception”

The school board hasn’t set a hiring target for the next year, but the majority of their schools are far from filling with students. At the École Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, for example, there are 337 students for 486 places this year.

The advertising campaign organized this month therefore aims to “reverse the perception that English schools only teach English,” explains Joe Ortona, who cites himself as an example.

“When I started kindergarten, I didn’t speak a word of French. I was in a French immersion program and that allowed me to continue my studies: I went to university in French, I work in French,” explains the lawyer.

The EMSB spokesman argues that this is a unique opportunity for children with one English-speaking parent. It’s about saying, ‘Hey, you have a chance for your child to be bilingual!’” exemplifies Michael Cohen.

“It’s not the same for the school service centers, it’s only in French. That’s the advantage,” he continues.

On Thursday morning, Québec Solidaire parliamentary leader and Gouin’s deputy, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, was at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau school to speak with fifth graders. The discussion took place entirely in French.

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PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

Québec Solidaire parliamentary leader and Gouin’s deputy, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Thursday morning at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau school

In Quebec, the French Language Charter stipulates that children must attend a French-speaking school until the end of their secondary education.

A child can attend school in English if their father or mother received most of their primary education in Canada in English. Newcomers with a temporary residence permit are also allowed to send their children to English schools.