For language lovers, growing up and taking education in Canada is a fortunate experience. For example, in the city of London, except from French, various language courses are available at Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB). Native language program are also offered at select schools.
Matt Reid is Chair of TVDSB, he said, “They (curriculums) definitely evolved over the years and I think everyone knows that French is a required course. A lot of our schools give Spanish as an option, but we have actually been moving to other languages and there is a lot of Indigenous language classes that are happening in our schools. ”
A document issued by TVDSB reads, “We recognize the importance of Native language and the connection these languages have to the preservation of First Nations cultures and how language contributes to a students’s understanding of self and pride.”
Reid said, “Some languages you wouldn’t necessarily expect, we have weekend programs that are happening at one of our schools where you can be learning German…there is a lot of diverse communities in our area that definitely benefit from having language courses.”
He added French Immersion is one of their fastest growing programs.
“French Immersion program is actually one of our fastest growing program in the next 10 years. If you look at the projections, they expect thousands of more of our students to be in our French Immersion program.”
“A lot of parents look at it as a way to ensure opportunities for jobs in government or internationally, if you want to become a flight attendant now, having a second language like French is a huge benefit for you to be hired by Air Canada… Having French definitely opens up a lot of doors for individuals.”
For new immigrants in Canada, there are services available for you to improve your language command to better fit in your new home as well.
Salvina Lauricella is the manager of Language Assessment at London Cross Cultural (CCLC) Learner Centre. She said, “LINC stands for Language Instruction for Newcomers, it’s sponsored by the federal government, more specifically IRCC, which stands for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. And it’s free to clients.”
Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) is a nationally-recognized standard of language proficiency that is used in language testing all across Canada. CCLC website reads, “When you have an assessment at the LINC Assessment Centre, you will receive a score from 1 to 8 on your listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. These scores are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks.”
The website also reads, “A person who has not had a chance to learn any English might be level 1; someone who can use English like a native speaker may be Level 8. Most newcomers are somewhere in between.”
The manager said, “Once we are done with the clients (after finishing the test), we encourage them in assistance with school that they would like to go for English language training.”