The French immersion faculty is evolving. While it was once predominantly composed of people with French as their dominant language (L1), a recent study by ACPI (2019) points out that, in fact, the majority of today’s French immersion teachers outside of Quebec speak French as an additional language (L+). For those who work in their non-dominant language, the experience can include feelings that are complex and sometimes contradictory.
The powerful experience of learning French in immersion is what makes a career in immersion appealing to so many graduates of the program. That being said, the decision to teach in immersion is often accompanied by a certain amount of stress that arises as these teacher-graduates attempt to integrate into the immersion language community. These feelings go beyond personal linguistic insecurity to concerns around legitimately belonging to the immersion language community.
Despite a desire to belong, new French L+ teachers can feel a strong sense of non-belonging when the only aspects of linguistic identity that are considered are accent and French-language proficiency. Teacher-graduates seek to assert their contributions to the immersion program and to have a voice within this community. Collectively, we need to reflect on our perception of what defines the legitimacy of L+ teachers and ask ourselves how our perception of this legitimacy can affect their access to this community.
This workshop will explore the complexities of bilingual life through the story of a French immersion teacher and suggest ways to support the legitimacy of bilingual teachers.
The session will recorded and posted on the CASLT CoLab afterwards.
Language Program Administrator
Sarah Fedoration is the Language Program Administrator at Edmonton Catholic Schools. In her role, she collaborates with teachers and principals to enrich French language learning through the curriculum. A doctoral student, Sarah is a lifelong learner who is passionate about teaching and learning French as a second language.
Monica Tang has been teaching French Immersion for almost 20 years. She currently works with French teachers in graduate programs at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Through her doctoral research on the bilingual identity of French teachers in British Columbia, she created a new course for future and pre-service teachers at SFU that offers them linguistic and identity support. From kindergarten to graduate school, she seeks to help plurilingual teachers and students thrive and find joy in language learning. Monica was also interviewed by CASLT as part of the Languages Build video series.