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Francophone Education

francozone

A matter of habit
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The basic reason for creating FrancoZones is to help children learn, improve or master French. Ideally, they’ll become so comfortable in the language that the words will simply flow because they've developed the habit. It all depends on the frequency and quality of the time they spend inside their Zones.

Here are some ways to ensure that your family’s FrancoZones help your child develop the positive habits that will lead to fluency in French and full bilingualism:

Clearly identify your goals

How much French does your child understand, speak and perhaps write today? Are there particular areas that you and your spouse think you should concentrate on? For example, can your child communicate easily with French-speaking relatives on the phone? If he or she is attending a francophone daycare, preschool, kindergarten or school, are there key words or concepts that you could help him or her learn? Identifying goals, especially when they directly affect someone else, takes a lot of reflection and discussion. But the more you think about and visualize what you want to achieve, the more solid your FrancoZones’ foundations will be.

Make an enlightened commitment

Making an enlightened commitment means first familiarizing oneself with the long-term advantages and the short-term challenges of an undertaking. Some people like to write down their ideas, if for no other reason than to clarify and organize them. Regardless of the process you use, once you and your spouse have understood what you’re in for, you must both make a firm commitment to ensuring that your family’s FrancoZones work — or they simply won’t.

Be realistic

No matter how pumped you are about creating FrancoZones, take it easy at first. This is a marathon, not a sprint! So start out at a comfortable pace and monitor your progress carefully. It might help to set mini-goals along the way, just to make sure you don’t run out of steam before reaching the first significant results. (Actually, there’s a major difference between a marathon and the FrancoZone approach: long-distance running eventually tires a person out, whereas each milestone you reach in your family’s FrancoZone adventure fills you with energy to go even faster and farther!)

Be consistent

This really is the key to FrancoZone success. It’s hard enough for adults, let alone for kids, to form positive habits. Yet youngsters will adapt, provided you’re consistent in your words and actions. For instance, if your francophone spouse has never really spoken French to your child, it will probably take weeks or months before it becomes natural for them to speak the language together. If that sounds like work, well, it certainly can be at first. That’s why your self-discipline and consistency will make all the difference between success and failure.

Let others know what you’re doing

If your extended families and friends know that you’ve created FrancoZones for your child, and why you’ve done so, chances are they’ll want to join in, too. This is something to celebrate and share with others, not hide! That said, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of a FrancoZone extending into the public sphere, or if you spouse is, then you’ve got something fundamental to work out, individually and together.

Make it fun!

Always remember that kids learn much through play. And FrancoZones can be a lot of fun not just for your child but for you and your spouse too. So why not let your inner child out whenever you enter the Zone? You and your child will be glad you did!

 

 
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