Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT) / Association canadienne des professeurs de langue seconde (ACPLS)
Identifying Requirements and gaps in French second language teacher competency: Recommendations and Guidelines
French second language (FSL) teacher training programs in postsecondary institutions vary both in language proficiency requirements and in pedagogical content. Furthermore, they are frequently not aligned with teacher hiring requirements in school boards and provincial ministries of Education. Additionally, hiring requirements for FSL teachers can vary between provinces and territories, between ministries and school boards. When education graduates do not meet school board or education ministry standards for language proficiency and/or second language pedagogical competencies, it negatively affects the pool of available FSL teachers. FSL teacher retention rates are also negatively affected by the misalignment between second-language teacher training and employer needs and expectations, as teachers that lack proficiency in French and specialized second-language pedagogical training are more likely to quit teaching French.
This project is being implemented in three phases: CASLT establishes a pan-Canadian overview of present practices and standards based on documentary research and data from stakeholders; analysis of the data collected to identify challenges and gaps in order to draft recommendations and guidelines to be shared with stakeholders for discussion; and production of final documentation and dissemination of results. Various partners have been identified, namely universities across Canada who are involved in the research component to gather information. Other stakeholders such as ministries of education, faculties of education, school districts, and language teacher associations are involved in round table discussions in order to provide feedback and ensure successful completion of the project. All partners are involved in different stages of the project for the promotion and dissemination of the materials.
To counter the teacher shortage in immersion and in French as a second language programs, CASLT is providing a pan-Canadian perspective in order to highlight similarities, differences, gaps, challenges and different opportunities. Through this project, CASLT is developing customized recommendations and guidelines to improve the expertise of FSL teachers based on the geographical location across Canada.
Main takeaways (learnings)
- There are no guarantees that participation in surveys and focus groups—especially amongst school boards and teachers—will be adequate. It requires a lot of promotion.
- Faculties of education seem interested in the project as well as discussing teacher training, research, recruitment initiatives, language competencies, and collaboration (ex.: forums, panels, etc.).
- To reach researchers
- Once the study has been published, all stakeholders will be invited to discuss its conclusions and their applicability.
- They will be encouraged to help disseminate the report and its conclusions.
- Employer support is crucial to new teacher onboarding, as well as their long-term success.
- To share information and encourage dialogue amongst membership.
- To share information and encourage dialogue amongst stakeholders.