Canada’s Airports to be audited for bilingualism

Todays news story is from Canada where they have a watchdog who will be undercover checking that people have support in English and French.

All airports that serve more than one million passengers a year must provide services in both English and French.


The commissioner will check if signs are in both official languages, if staff offer a bilingual greeting to travellers and if services are available in French in predominantly English-speaking parts of the country and in English in French-speaking parts–canada-s-language-watchdog-going-undercover-at-eight-major-airports

OTTAWA—Canada’s bilingualism watchdog is going undercover at eight major airports to see if travellers are served equally well in English and French.

Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser says his office will conduct more than 1,500 anonymous observations this fall at airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

He says audits of some of those airports have been done in the past, but this will be the first time so many are done at once.

“I’ve been interested in the language rights of the travelling public really throughout my mandate,” Fraser said Wednesday.

“So at different times, we’ve been looking at different aspects of what the traveller’s experience is. We’ve looked at border services, we’ve done an audit of Air Canada’s service to the public, and now we’re looking at airports.”

All airports that serve more than one million passengers a year must provide services in both English and French.

The commissioner will check if signs are in both official languages, if staff offer a bilingual greeting to travellers and if services are available in French in predominantly English-speaking parts of the country and in English in French-speaking parts.

Past audits have resulted in airports becoming more bilingual, Fraser said, pointing to airport bookstores adding French titles to their shelves, or tuning television sets by the baggage carousels to channels in both languages.

The commissioner’s office says the project will include observations of Air Canada’s services on the ground and in the air on flights designated as bilingual.

“We get a lot of complaints about Air Canada,” Fraser said.

“Often there are complaints about announcements that are not made in both languages, services that are not given by personnel. It’s often directed at Air Canada, but sometimes it also applies to the airport authorities themselves.”

It will also look at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s third-party services in security areas.

The commissioner’s office will share its recommendations with the airports after it finishes the survey.

“Once people are aware that this is what they should be doing, they’re often pretty good and pretty imaginative in creating an environment in which both languages are seen and heard.”

School in Devon reports its language teaching to parents

For anyone not sure how to report to parents here is an example from a school in Devon. I hope thy enter the Primary language awards this autumn, they look like worthy competitors.



French continues to be taught weekly by Mrs Holding in Easdon, Shapley,

Mardon and Butterdon.

This term the children will be hosting a visit from a parent who is a native

German speaker. A native French speaker has already visited and took an

active part in some French sessions. The children enjoyed sharing an

afternoon with two visiting children from France this term.

The twinning link with Betton has provided a great opportunity for the children

to develop their cultural understanding and the purpose of learning French.

There has been the opportunity to correspond with the Betton children, giving

a real purpose to writing French. The more able Year 6 linguists have been

required to write more fully and act as a role model in terms of eg accent for

the other children.

The school’s assessment procedures have been developed and regular

assessment is now made on the three strands in the Framework for oracy,

literacy and intercultural understanding. This ensures that the children’s

learning is meeting their particular needs.

For the next academic year, the school plans to:

  • Develop its teaching of French phonics through a new resource called Take 10 Phonics
  • Continue to strengthen the link with Betton and use this as a meaningful learning resource.

June 2012

Science lesson taught in French

Here is news that Chelmer Valley high school taught a science lessons about rockets in french.  Well Done.  Have you taught your subject through another language?

See more here:

This week Year 7 students have been treated to demonstrations of different types of propelled “rockets”, with a twist! The MFL and Science departments joined together again to show the importance of languages within a scientific setting.

The session began with the Ariane rocket countdown carried out in French. Mrs Hammoudi, ably assisted by Mr Harper, then went onto introduce vocabulary in French for students to carry out their own experiments involving “un conteneur en plastique, un chronometre, un alka seltzer, des lunettes de protection et de l’eau”. Instructions were given in French and … up the rockets went!

Students created their own rockets for Mr Harper to “fire”, pumped up water rockets dodging the showers with Mr Smart and Mr Watts, and worked on making helicopters with Mrs Gold.

A good time was had by all and we are looking forward to even bigger and better next year!

As long as the person can speak one of our official languages that should not disqualify them, either way – Ottawa

Canada like Wales has two languages deeply engrained in the country so this is interesting that they are debating whether to become wholly bilingual.

OTTAWA — An internal Conservative party debate on bilingualism in Canada has led  the Harper government to review its options over legislation introduced by the  Opposition New Democrats that would require all Parliamentary officers and  watchdogs, such as the auditor general, to speak both of Canada’s official  languages
Read more:

MFL French Good Practice – Scotland

At last I have an MFL story which discusses good practice in teaching French from a Scottish School.  You can find the opening paragraphs below and then the link if you want to read more.

TES Scotland, the leading magazine for the education profession in Scotland, has an article of 1st June 2012 – Fruit from The Skills Tree– demonstrating a highly developmental innovation.

The article takes takes Kilmodan Primary school in Glendaruel to show how this innovation – The Skills Tree – by ‘education development officer’ Aileen Goodall, is working in its current P6 and P7 pilot, for which Kilmodan is one of the chosen schools.

On the way to that core topic, the journalist mentions that  on arrival at the school, the children are rehearsing a production of Red Riding Hood – in French and for a UNESCO event in Glasgow. Unsurprisingly, the school has won an award for the quality of its French teaching – with even maths sometimes taught through that medium, for variety of language development.

GCSE Success – UK

GCSE results for EAL students are doing well in inner London but not as well in the East of England, the North East and North West. In London English as an addional langauge learners are outperforming native English speakers by 4% points last year.

To support these pupils EMASUK have a set of GCSE Success books.

Every child that sits their GCSE has the same battle, understanding the questions. This is even more difficult if their first language is not English, research has shown that it takes twice as long to answer questions due to the translation and deciphering of terminology. This book supports non English speaking examinees with a simple to understand booklet showing and explaining the term then giving actual exam questions to develop understanding and clarify the response.

In English, French, German, Gujerati, Somali, Polish, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Hungarian, Russian, Turkish and Slovakian.