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French department to debut new graduate certificate program

by Megan Hunt January 16, 2018
French department to debut new graduate certificate program

Students will learn to teach French as a second language in one-year program

Concordia’s French studies department is introducing a new certificate program for graduate students interested in teaching French as a second language. Department chair Denis Liakin and assistant professor Diane Querrien said they are hopeful the one-year, 15-credit program will be open to students in time for fall 2018.

According to Liakin, the program, called the Microprogramme en didactique et linguistique appliquée à l’enseignement du français langue seconde, will include four newly developed courses and two interactive learning opportunities.

“It is designed to meet both the requirements of quality on an international scale, as well as situate French teaching and learning in Quebec and in Canada,” he said.

During the fall semester, students in the program will gain experience serving as tutors for Concordia’s Centre d’apprentissage et de promotion du français (CAPF). Funded by the French department, CAPF has been offering free conversation groups and one-on-one tutoring sessions to Concordia French language students since 2015.

During the winter term, students will complete a three-credit course requiring them to observe French classes at Concordia, as well as a three-credit course in which they will design French classes and their curricula. Other courses incorporated into this program are focused on technology, linguistics, didactics and how they all relate to French education.

Although courses on French linguistics are already offered at the undergraduate level, Liakin said the department is designing and implementing four new courses specifically tailored to graduate students.

“The entire teaching team is involved in [structuring] the certificate. Each course will be designed by a professor [who specializes] in the field,” Liakin said. “As we work in a spirit of collegiality, an academic committee will approve course outlines and student admissions in collaboration with the graduate program director.”

Despite the proposal for the program only receiving senate approval in December 2017, Liakin said developing the program has been a two-year-long effort. Although the certificate alone will not make students eligible to teach, Querrien said she believes it can help aspiring educators gain a competitive edge in the job market.

“In Quebec, French teachers face a variety of [students], such as immigrants, allophone children integrated into francophone schools or university students [seeking] to expand their linguistic and cultural repertoire,” Querrien said. “In other Canadian provinces, qualified educators with a high-level specialization in French language teaching will distinguish themselves in the labour market.”

According to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), French was the second-most learned language in the world in 2014 and the third-most prominent language in the business world. This is a statistic Querrien claimed shows this program is aligned with an international demand for qualified French teachers.

Since the program is a graduate certificate, interested applicants would need a bachelor’s degree to be eligible. All courses will be taught in French.

Liakin added that, while the French department is already equipped with the resources required for this program, the department is currently in the process of hiring another tenure-track professor. He did not specify what role this new instructor will have in relation to the certificate program.

Although the program’s official start date has not been announced, Liakin and Querrien said they are hopeful the program will offer students the skills and experience necessary to build a successful career in French education.

“We believe that this [graduate certificate] will be a major asset for students who already own their authorization to teach or who want to pursue graduate studies in French language teaching,” Querrien added.

A previous version of this article misspelled Denis Liakin’s name. The Concordian regrets the error.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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