The FRENCH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE THREE-YEAR PROGRAM OF STUDIES
(GRADE 10 TO GRADE 12) is a legal document that specifies the minimum
performance outcomes for student learning within a three-course
sequence. These outcomes are defined in terms of the contexts for
language learning, the communicative acts that students will engage in and
the repertoire needed to carry out these acts.
This document contains an introduction, a list of underlying assumptions,
philosophy statements, and general and specific outcomes for the
following three courses:
An appendix is provided as supplementary information.
The FRENCH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE THREE-YEAR PROGRAM OF STUDIES
(GRADE 10 TO GRADE 12) defines outcomes for students in their study of French
over three courses: French 10–3Y, French 20–3Y and French 30–3Y.
The overarching goal of this program of studies is that by the end of
French 30–3Y, students can understand and express themselves in basic
situations, provided the language they encounter is clear and based on familiar
topics and structures, and can use the cultural and strategic knowledge they have
gained to sustain their communication.
The intent of this program of studies is to develop the following skills,
understandings and attitudes in students:
Students at the high school level may choose to learn French for a range of reasons.
These may include the reasons listed below.
The learning of a second or additional language involves risk-taking and adapting
to the unknown. As a result, second-language learners tend to be more flexible
and able to adapt to new situations, which is an asset in an ever-changing world.
The learning of additional languages can also result in enhanced cognitive
functioning, such as an increased ability to conceptualize and think abstractly.
Second-language learners often demonstrate a greater degree of divergent
thinking and creativity.
Learning about other languages and cultures allows students to gain a deeper
insight into their own language and culture. It also fosters understanding and
respect among peoples, cultures and countries.
Furthermore, learning additional languages provides students with a broader
range of educational, career-related and leisure opportunities.
The following are statements of assumptions that have guided the development
process of this FRENCH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE THREE-YEAR PROGRAM OF
STUDIES (GRADE 10 TO GRADE 12).
This program of studies reflects an action-oriented approach to language
teaching and learning. In second-language learning, as in first-language
acquisition, the use of language is an active endeavour. The act of learning
language and the act of using language engage each other reciprocally. As
students use language, they learn it and as they learn language they use it.
An action-oriented approach to language learning recognizes that language is
used to carry out specific actions related to various purposes or functions of
language within specified contexts. These actions involve any combination of
language skills. Users of a language draw on a large repertoire of linguistic,
interpersonal and sociolinguistic knowledge when comprehending and using
This program of studies is comprised of three components: Contexts (language
experiences in context); Communicative Acts (language skills and functions for
communicative purposes); and Repertoire (linguistic, intercultural and cultural
repertoire needed for communicative purposes). It is based on the premise that
students acquire language knowledge, skills and attitudes over time, but that
within a three-course sequence students can access and gain sufficient language
in French to communicate basic needs, express desires, and use it for creative and
aesthetic purposes. Although each component is described separately, they in fact
work as a cohesive entity that supports students in their understanding and use of
French within the reality of a three-course sequence timeframe. The following
illustration depicts the essence of this program of studies.
In this program of studies, language experiences, which give rise to different
communicative acts, are situated within one of four contexts: the personal,
educational, public or occupational context.
The personal context includes
aspects of the students’ lives that have a direct influence on who they are, the
relationships they have with others (family, friends, classmates) and their areas of
personal interest. As such, for this context teachers will need to be sensitive to
students who may not wish to share personal information about who their family
members are or on aspects of their home or personal life.
The educational context refers to the students’ school-life and the activities related to school such as
school sports teams and clubs, in addition to future educational plans or training.
The public context includes activities that occur within shared public spaces such
as stores or restaurants or that involve the media or popular culture.
The occupational context refers to the area of jobs, employment and careers and to
related experiences such as researching different occupations, career planning and
Certain language experiences have been identified for particular attention in each
course in order to provide a degree of commonality and continuity within the
three-year course sequence. However, the program of studies does provide for
flexibility and choice when it comes to the selection of additional language
experiences students can undertake to develop a wider range of communicative
acts. The choice of these experiences will be left to the teacher and the students in
terms of needs and interests.
In day-to-day life, people draw upon their experiences as they carry out
communicative acts. A communicative act consists of a language skill
(comprehension skills and/or oral or written expression) used to achieve a
particular purpose, that is, to carry out a specific language function. These acts
always occur within a context.
In this program of studies, these communicative acts are defined in terms of the
language skills being developed and the language functions required to
understand and communicate messages orally and/or in written form. These acts
range from simple, concrete messages to language used in more complex ways, in
keeping with what is attainable within a three-course sequence. This means that
students in this course will develop the four language skills using French
language structures that will permit them to communicate effectively with other
speakers of the language, albeit in a limited fashion. The language skills are
developed through the fulfilment of language functions, which are encountered in
contexts that are familiar to the students. These language functions also increase
in number as more vocabulary and language structures are added to the students’
The language skills are divided into two skill sets: comprehension and
expression. Comprehension involves deriving meaning or significance for a
particular purpose from a spoken text (listening comprehension) or a written text
(reading comprehension). Expression involves the creation of spoken or written
text for a particular purpose and audience. At the point where comprehension and
expression intersect is the negotiation of meaning which involves an interactive
process between these skill sets. This interactive process requires the individual
to glean meaning from what is being said or read, to interpret it and to react to this interpretation orally and/or in written form, often in alternation with other
individuals who may or may not be physically present.
Native speakers are continuously involved in communicative acts that require the
use of different language skills in order to achieve specific purposes within a
particular context; e.g., they use their reading comprehension skills to gather
information when scanning a Web site related to travel information; or they use
their speaking skills to give a stranger directions to a specific location. Similarly,
language learners make use of their developing language skills, i.e. listening
comprehension, reading comprehension, spoken and written expression, in order
to carry out a range of communicative acts for different purposes and in varying
Communicative acts, then, involve the comprehension and expression skills in conjunction with the functions of language, which fall into five main categories:
personal function, interpersonal function, referential function, directive function and imaginative function, each of which forms the basis of a separate stream of outcomes within this section of the program of studies.
These categories are defined in the following manner:
Personal Function = language used to express personal thoughts, needs, emotions, perspectives and beliefs
Interpersonal Function = language used to socialize; i.e., to form, maintain, sustain and change interpersonal relations
Referential Function = language used to seek, gather, process and impart information
Directive Function = language that is used to direct, influence and manage one’s own or others’ actions
Imaginative Function = language used for creative purposes, for entertainment and personal enjoyment
The categories are then further subdivided into the specific communicative acts that define the reason for the communication. Although not specifically identified in the program of studies in this manner, these functions may be categorized as follows:
The purpose of this table is to provide teachers with the breadth of functions in
which students can engage. The list is by no means exhaustive; rather, it
represents the functions that students in this course sequence will more than
likely encounter and develop.
While some communicative acts clearly involve a single language function, more
commonly a range of functions are employed within a single spoken or written
exchange. For example, someone may ask a question of someone else about their
state of being (interpersonal function). The respondent would issue a reply
(personal function). The topic may turn to a request for information about
something (referential function) or to a request to do something for someone
(directive function). The exchange could also involve a brainstorm of ideas
related to the writing of a simple poem for a friend who is sick (imaginative
function). As a result, students could engage in the use of a number of language
functions depending upon the context and the communicative needs. Therefore,
contexts will set the stage for the types of communicative acts in which students
In order to carry out communicative acts, users of language draw from their
repertoire of linguistic and intercultural elements as they express their meaning
and comprehend the meanings expressed by others. An individual’s repertoire
expands with each communicative act, as it is through language that awareness,
knowledge and skills are developed and expressed.
In this program of studies, the repertoire component is comprised of two facets:
the Linguistic subcomponent, consisting of the Vocabulary, Language Structures
and Discourse Development categories; and the Intercultural subcomponent,
which includes Sociocultural Interactions, Sociolinguistic Awareness and
Cultural Knowledge. Together, these subcomponents contain the elements
required for communication.
In the Repertoire section, each category is identified by the letter R, representing
the word Repertoire and a number which simply signifies the category. The
numbering system is used to assist teachers in their instructional planning and
assessment processes. The numbers are in no way indicative of a sequential or
hierarchical ordering to language learning; rather, the linguistic elements have
been grouped and organized so as to facilitate the presentation of the elements.
A distinction is also made between understanding a linguistic concept and its use.
The purpose behind this distinction is that in certain cases the understanding of
the concept will occur well before the student is able to apply it. For example, the
concept of gender is easily acquired; however, its application takes much longer
as students need to learn the gender of each and every word they encounter
before they can apply the concept in a consistent manner. It is important that
teachers are cognizant of this distinction for assessment purposes.
R 1 refers to the Vocabulary items needed to carry out simple interactions within
each of the contexts and language experiences identified. The vocabulary
includes the most frequently-used words, phrases and expressions used by
speakers of the language. In general, students will recognize and comprehend a
greater number of vocabulary items than they will be able to use. Also included
in this category is the use of cognates for vocabulary development and
knowledge outcomes related to the evolution of the French language.
R 2 outcomes refer to the Language Structures and Discourse Development
elements students will acquire in this three-year course sequence. The elements
have been grouped by major grammatical categories such as prepositions, verb
conjugation patterns by tense and sentence patterns. These outcomes also include
matters related to word and sentence order, as well as the recognition of
grammatical words that function as signposts to aid in the comprehension of
spoken or written texts. These outcomes help students learn how to navigate
within a text.
R 3 and R 4 outcomes relate to the subcomponent of intercultural skills.
R 3 outcomes are tied to Sociocultural Interactions and Sociolinguistic
Awareness. Sociocultural interactions refers to the appropriate language used in
given interpersonal encounters. For example, students need to be cognizant of the
appropriate forms of address used in different Francophone cultures. For
example, they need to learn that in certain situations, it is appropriate to call a
teacher by his or her first name whereas in other situations, to use the teacher’s first name is a sign of disrespect. These outcomes are tied directly to the contexts
and language-learning experiences in which students are to engage. The
sociolinguistic awareness outcomes relate to the rules and conventions governing
oral and written communications. By acquiring knowledge in this area, students
will have an opportunity to gain insight into the cultural workings of the French
language. These conventions include such things as to how the date is expressed
in French; the rules for capitalization, which differ in some ways from English;
and the punctuation marks and spacing rules, which also differ from English.
Exploration of these differences can enhance students’ knowledge of their first
language, whether it is English; or another language, and can help them to
develop a positive attitude toward the learning of languages in general.
R 4 defines outcomes related to the concept of la francophonie by exploring
Francophone cultures at the local, provincial, national and international levels.
Students’ learning will focus on comparing and contrasting their daily lives with
those of Francophones with respect to common themes such as dating practices,
family traditions, leisure activities and other areas of particular interest to the
students. In this way, students are afforded the opportunity to reflect upon other
cultures with a view to understanding other people and, therefore, themselves.
The ability to compare and contrast information helps develop intercultural skills
and promotes greater acceptance of linguistic and cultural diversity. Providing
students with opportunities to view others as they are, helps them become less
ethnocentric while at the same time helping them to confirm their own cultural
identity and promote global citizenship.
An integral part of this program of studies pertains to the recognition,
development and use of strategies. Learners and users of language make use of a
wide range of strategies in order to carry out communicative acts; to learn, retain
and recall linguistic knowledge; and to interact with others. Strategic outcomes
have been embedded throughout the program of studies to demonstrate their
importance in the acquisition of knowledge and language, as well as in personal
development. As students become aware of the range of strategies that can be
used to maximize success in language learning, they are expected to use those
which best match their particular learning needs and in so doing, direct their own
learning. Further, as students acquire an array of strategies, they will come to
recognize their strengths as language learners and learn to overcome their
challenges in areas causing them difficulty.
Outcomes related to strategy use are identified by a key symbol ( ) which
signifies the key to learning and opening up the mind to different ways of
acquiring, retaining and sharing knowledge while developing the language skills.
There are four broad categories of strategies in this program of studies:
communication strategies for the comprehension and production skills; vocabulary development strategies; general strategies that encompass the
acquisition of language structures, interpersonal skill development and
information acquisition and transfer strategies; and metacognitive strategies that
support the other three categories. To become successful learners and users of
French, students will need to employ a range of strategies to facilitate and
support their oral and written comprehension and expression, in addition to their
acquisition of cultural and linguistic information. However, given that every
student is an individual with differing learning needs, the program of studies does
not specify exactly which strategies students are to identify, develop and use; rather, it is expected that students be made aware of what strategies they can use
and which ones they do use, while being exposed to new strategies.
Examples of the types of strategies that students can become exposed to,
experiment with and develop are provided in the appendix. This list is by no
means exhaustive but provides teachers with the most probable strategies that
students can access within the three-year course sequence.
In order to foster learner independence, students are asked to reflect on
themselves as learners, looking at their strengths, their challenges as well as their
learning style preferences as they move through the three-year course sequence.
Given the linguistic complexity involved in the discussion and self-reflection
related to one’s learning, it is expected that this aspect of the program of studies
will more than likely need to be addressed in English.
Integration of Technology
The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the classroom
reinforces students’ technological skills. It also helps students recognize that
French is used in real and authentic contexts outside of the classroom. The
outcomes of this program of studies support the integration of technology into
regular classroom practices. Using communication and information technologies
allows students to tailor their communications to meet specific purposes and
Assessment is the gathering and consideration of information about what a
student knows, is learning to do and is able to do. It is essential to the teaching
and learning process. As students continue to develop their skills and use all of
the facets of their linguistic, intercultural, cultural and strategic knowledge, they
require regular feedback on their progress in order to develop an awareness of the
ways in which they can improve and extend their learning.
The prescribed general and specific outcomes that follow indicate what students
are to demonstrate at the end of each course in the three-year course sequence,
while specifying the corresponding level of learner support that should be
provided for each. These outcomes provide the sole basis for assessment.
Students may benefit from learning or receiving information about additional
linguistic or intercultural elements beyond those which are prescribed within the
outcomes for each course; however, this additional knowledge is not to be
assessed until the year in which it is prescribed. Assessment practices should be
in keeping with the philosophy of this program of studies, should reflect a wide
range of purposes for assessment and should include assessment for learning,
assessment as learning as well as assessment of learning.
Learner outcomes define the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students must
attain. These outcomes emphasize the ability to understand, express and negotiate
meaning through spoken and written texts.
The three general outcomes define the overarching goal of the program of
studies. Each general outcome relates to one of the components: Contexts (language experiences in context); Communicative Acts (language skills and
functions for communicative purposes); and Repertoire (linguistic, intercultural
and cultural repertoire needed for communicative purposes).
The specific outcomes define for each of the three courses the requisite contexts,
language skills and functions students will develop through the acquisition of
linguistic, intercultural and cultural knowledge as well as through the
development of language learning strategies.
Each general outcome is broken down into specific outcomes that students are to
achieve by the end of each course. The specific outcomes are interrelated and
interdependent such that specific outcomes for each preceding course form the
basis for the outcomes in the courses that follow. This progressive and
developmental flow of learning allows students to continue to build knowledge
and skills as they move through each course.
From French 10–3Y through to French 30–3Y, the outcomes increase in scope
and complexity or indicate a progressive increase in learner autonomy. As such,
many of the outcomes relate to targeted levels of learner support that show more
student control over time. For example, specific outcomes in the repertoire
component make reference to the following situations, which describe the various
levels of learner support:
Language growth is demonstrated through these incremental steps, moving from
a high level of support early in student learning to decreased support as students
become increasingly independent in their language use.
Contexts for Language Experiences - Students will use their life and learning experiences related to specific contexts to
understand a variety of messages in French and/or to express messages in French that have personal meaning.
Communicative Acts - Students will comprehend and express oral or written messages involving a variety of language functions related to various contexts and communicative purposes.
Repertoire - Students will use their knowledge of familiar French language structures, as well as cultural and intercultural knowledge and interpersonal skills, to understand and express messages effectively and in context.
General Outcome: Students will use their life and learning experiences related to specific contexts to understand a variety of messages in French and/or to
express messages in French that have personal meaning.
Students will understand and express in French, orally or in written form, a variety of messages related to …
General Outcome: Students will comprehend and express oral or written messages in French involving a variety of language functions related to various
contexts and communicative purposes.
Students will receive, process and/or express in French in familiar contexts, orally or in written form, …
*For a list of the possible functions by category, see "Language Functions" in the Philosophy section of this program.
Students will ...
General Outcome: Students will use their knowledge of familiar French language structures, as well as cultural and intercultural knowledge and
interpersonal skills, to understand and express messages effectively and in context.
Students will, orally or in written form …
Students will, orally or in written form, …
Nouns, determiners and agreement with gender and number
Verbs (present tense)
Verbs (future tense)
Verbs (past tense)
Prepositions and adverbs and related expressions
Patterns for interaction
Word and sentence order
Accessing and sharing factual knowledge
Accessing and sharing information strategies
Verbs (directive function)
Discourse markers and conjunctions
Language learning strategies
Note: There is no “right or wrong way” to organize language learning strategies and general learning strategies.
Different schools of thought use various names and taxonomies for classifying or categorizing these strategies.
For the purpose of this program of studies, the above classification system was adopted.