francophoneeducation-logo2014-h

Francophone Education

francozone

A rallying force
PDF Print E-mail

A community FrancoZone

The FrancoZone concept can be applied on the community level. It can also bring francophones and francophiles closer together. Here’s an example:

One fine spring day, my kids took part in a track meet to which students from several francophone schools and immersion programs had been invited. It was an opportunity for the young athletes to make new friends and have fun together. The only unavoidable and incontestable rule was this: everyone had to speak French. If they didn’t, they’d lose the right to participate.

The outcome (which I witnessed as a volunteer) was absolutely positive. The students’ real-life communications in French had an entirely different meaning for them from what many were accustomed to. Speaking French — that is, understanding and communicating well in the language — was really cool that day for those young participants.

It was both a validation for the students in French immersion who were making such an effort to learn French, and a real boost for the young francophones who sometimes felt isolated in their daily lives.

Now, if we were to take that even further?

A Canadian FrancoZone

Where can the FrancoZone concept take us? In a word: far. Far in the transmission of the French language and Franco-Canadian culture to the next generation; far in our children’s francophone identity building; far in reinforcing francophiles’ attachment to French; far in the recognition of our country’s official bilingualism.

Here's how the French language could have a greater presence in Canada through the combined efforts of francophones and francophiles:

The FrancoZone concept lies at the heart of the francophone education system and French immersion programs. When these educational institutions are strong throughout the country, some essential elements are already in place to promote cooperation (that is, the habitual cooperation that makes FrancoZones work) between francophones and francophiles. Together we can exert greater influence on Canadian society in order to create a public space that becomes an “extended FrancoZone” where one can hear and speak French at events, in our institutions and in the media.

When we create community FrancoZones, we help build a society where the presence of French is normal. It’s what happens when francophones and francophiles come together to…

  • commit to passing on French (as a mother tongue or second language) to the next generation
  • enroll their children in francophone schools and French immersion programs
  • demand equivalence between French and English in public, semipublic and private services
  • create and constantly expand their FrancoZones, both at home and in their institutions.

 

If we succeed in these three areas, we can build a society where the French language becomes a force that brings together people and communities across Canada.

 

 
Share