In an effort to explain more about the approach I take to working with clients, I have shared some of my answers to questions frequently asked of me regarding the French immersion consultation services I provide. I look forward to furthering our discussion based upon your child’s individual needs.
What services do you provide?
I provide consultation services that will assist parents who are either considering French immersion for their child or have a child who is struggling in the French immersion program. I also serve as a special education advocate for children with exceptionalities who are enrolled in French immersion. In my role as an advocate, I attend IPRC meetings and advise parents as to how to navigate the public education system in order to access special education programs, services, and/or equipment. I provide information regarding student support services available for French immersion students with academic/behavioural/social difficulties, as well as links to the latest French immersion research. Individual consultations can be arranged in person, by phone, or via Skype.
Do you have expertise in bilingual education programs such as French immersion?
I worked as a special education teacher from 1985 to 2013 for the York Region District School Board. I spent 20 of those years in the French immersion context, advocating for the educational needs of exceptional students and those with learning challenges. Additionally, I have a Ph.D. in Second Language Education and a M.Ed. in Special Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. My doctoral research has been published in peer-reviewed educational journals, and I have presented at conferences organized by Canadian Parents for French and the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers.
How do I decide if French immersion is suitable for my child?
Decisions regarding a child’s placement in French immersion or the English-only program should be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the strengths, needs, and interests of the child.
As a parent who is considering enrolling my child in a French immersion program, how would I benefit from the consultation services you provide?
Deciding whether or not to enrol your child in a French immersion program can be an agonizing process. You want to ensure that you make a decision that is in your child’s best interests, one that increases his/her likelihood of success in the future. You recognize the value of academic achievement and want your child to be successful, not only in school but in life. Once we discuss your child’s strengths, needs, and interests, you will be in a better position to make this important placement decision.
How can I help my child be successful if I do not speak French?
The French immersion program was initially established for English-speaking children with no prior knowledge of French. Increasingly, children from diverse linguistic backgrounds have enrolled in the program. Classroom teachers deliver instruction in such a way as to promote the acquisition of French literacy skills (e.g., speaking, listening, reading, and writing), and that instruction is suitable for children from varied language backgrounds. The best way to support your child is to nurture his/her literacy skills in the language most often spoken in your home, since research has consistently shown that literacy skills transfer from a child’s first language to the language being learned. Your child’s success will be strongly influenced by your commitment to the French immersion program and efforts to encourage positive attitudes towards the learning of French.
Will my child’s English language skills be adversely affected if I enrol him/her in French immersion?
The French immersion program is based on the model of additive bilingualism, which means that your child’s French language skills will develop without detriment to the development of his/her English language skills. Research has consistently shown that by Grade 6, the English literacy skills of French immersion students typically meet or exceed those of their same-age peers in English-only programs.
How can you help me if my child is already enrolled in a French immersion program, and I am beginning to wonder if I should switch him/her to the English-only program?
Most academic/behavioural/social difficulties that children experience in school are pervasive; in other words, they will exist regardless of the language of instruction. That said, we can examine the situation which is causing you to question the suitability of the French immersion program for your child. You will have ample opportunity to discuss all of your concerns and gain valuable insights which will help alleviate your concerns.
Where can I locate your publications?
You can find my publications in the following educational journals, as well as on the Ontario Ministry of Education website:
After our six year old son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD our world was turned upside down. We were faced with many difficult decisions regarding our son’s education and whether to continue with FI. Nancy’s experience, education, publications and council on the subject of French Immersion for all learners, helped us to reach the best decision for our son. Nancy prepared us and supported us throughout the IPRC process. Her research, and advocacy work is helping to change attitudes within the educational system towards French Immersion being available to all students of all abilities. -Jessica & Achim
Our son was having challenges in the FI program and as a result the teachers were sending innuendos to transfer him to the English Language program. Nancy was referred to my husband and I by the Canadian Parents for French. We found her to be very patient, kind and knowledgeable. She listened to our concerns and was able to help us work through our anxiety and fears. She explained to us how the process works and what to expect. Nancy also provided evidence-based research so that we were able to make informed decision in order to ensure that our son would get the necessary assistance he needs in order to be successful. Based on our experience with her, we would recommend her to any parent or parents whose children are having learning difficulties. -Collette
FRENCH IMMERSION EDUCATIONAL CONSULTING INC.
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