CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Toronto, Ministry of Education, c1983.
Distributed by OISE Press.
55pp, paper, $3.00.
ISBN 0-7743-8652-5


Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott.

Volume 12 Number 6
1984 November

The present volume contains the material presented on March 2, 1983 by the research branch of the Ontario ministry of education. The topic under study, in this second colloquium, was the research done in the area of French as a second language (FSL) in Ontario. The principal investigators of four different research teams were invited to present their reports. Dr. Merrill Swain and Dr. Sharon Lapkin of OISE's Modern Language Centre presented findings from their study Bilingual Education in Ontario: A Decade of Research. Dr. Michael Canale of OISE's Franco -Ontarian Centre discussed the purposes and theoretical framework development of the Ontario Assessment Instrument Pool for an FSL project and the material in Communicative Approaches to Second Language Teaching and Testing. Dr. Frances Morrison of the Ottawa Board of Education Research Centre discussed French proficiency and the progress among students in early-entry and late-entry immersion programs. Dr. Ronald L. Trites of the University of Ottawa gave a detailed account of research with children having learning disabilities. Finally, Professor Françoise Howard of McArthur College, and Dr. Pierre Calvé of the University of Ottawa were invited to comment on the research presented and the issues raised. The participants in the colloquium included those in all phases ajid levels of education across Ontario.

Each of the chapter summaries make for easy and interesting reading. Except for a bar graph on page 4 showing French immersion data, the reader is spared the highly technical language of educational research. The five tables included are easily understood at a glance. The large type and wide margins facilitate reading and note taking. Each chapter contains a select bibliography at the end, for those readers who wish to survey the research.

Drs. Swain and Lapkin (1981) make the point that the early immersion students exhibit a positive self-concept, favour increased contact with francophones, and show a tendency to develop more positive attitudes toward the French and French-language skills.

Dr. Michael Canale reports the positive consequences the research has shown in the use of the functional approach to FSL as opposed to a merely grammatical-centred one. The student is better equipped to learn a language through using it, and not simply by learning about it.

Dr. Calvé is more pessimistic about the functional approach and suggests that it may be simply a question of more exposure to the language. He continues that although the functional approach has been found useful in adult education, since adults have well-defined needs, the case is not that clear in regard to younger students. Perhaps further research should be done in the area of teaching another subject in French. This seems to be fertile ground for the functional approach to be assessed from yet another angle, other than from teaching adults. For those teachers involved in any second language teaching, this report will prove helpful and encouraging.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H.S., Chomedey, QB.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works