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Francophone Education

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Rules
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All parents know that children need rules. Rules provide the structure that helps us grow, learn, build our character and form our identity. But that doesn’t mean they should be set in stone! On the contrary: a certain amount of flexibility, where appropriate, allows both children and parents to adapt to our constantly changing environment.

One of the most important components of the FrancoZone concept is that it includes rules. Here’s the first one: “Whether the Zone is a space, time or activity, everyone who enters or participates in it must always speak French as much as possible.” Let's call this the first Golden Rule.

On the other hand, the second rule states that “A person (especially a non-French-speaking parent) may temporarily exit the FrancoZone if he or she feels too uncomfortable or needs to pass on some information in his or her mother tongue.” This may happen quite frequently at first, but over time it’s very possible that this person will withdraw less and less often from the Zone.

Golden Rule #2 is particularly important for parents who aren’t at ease in French. If you’re not comfortable in a given situation, you’ll likely avoid it or try to lessen its impact on you. It’s perfectly normal that parents who don’t speak French well enough — according to their own criteria, expectations, aspirations or wishes — wouldn’t want to put or find themselves in a situation where they don’t understand what’s being said or have to express themselves being able to do so easily.

The second Golden Rule offers these parents not so much an escape hatch as an invitation to participate in the FrancoZone knowing that their feelings are respected and their language skills don’t constitute a barrier.

Only two rules?

If you really like making rules, you could decide that the French-speaking parent must always speak slowly in the FrancoZone, or use the simplest words, and so on.

As for your child, she or he must always communicate in French as much as possible with every person who enters the FrancoZone… and stay in the Zone for as long as agreed (or as long as you decide). It’s kind of a deluxe version of Golden Rule #1.

Making rules so that a FrancoZone works well doesn’t mean imposing a whole bunch of constraints. It’s up to every family to establish the parameters for each of their FrancoZones. That being said, there’s little chance of success unless both Golden Rules are in place and followed.

 

 
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