How Will French Classes Work for
Students with Language Based IEP Needs?

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FAQ: How Will French Classes Work for Students With Language Based IEP Needs?…

A note from the principal:

All students at Odyssey Heights take French every year because all students are involved in planning the student planned graduation trip to France. We also have yearly trips to Quebec for the Canadian Ski Marathon (a bilingual event). DELF Junior French curriculum and methods are very different than Ontario French. The ratio is much lower (4-8 students/class), and the curriculum and lessons are practical instead of the Ontario method of memorizing verb conjugations and vocabulary lists. Classes are geared to French levels and not grade level. Students who have been excused from French in their former schools would be in an A.1 class (absolute beginner), with girls with her same level of French. 

We believe in empowering girls, and supporting them in learning. Instead of saying that they can't do something, we find ways to facilitate them in learning anything, at their own pace and their own way. (If it takes her two or three years to master one level, instead of one year, that's perfectly fine.) Girls with language based IEP needs could be placed in a smaller class (1:4/1:5), and/or one that goes at a slower pace.  I've worked for almost two decades with students with language based IEPs. There is also the option of private lessons during the same time slot as group French classes, or additional after school private lessons at Alliance-Français. 

Our partnership with Blyth Academy Online provides girls with language based IEP needs the opportunity to take the Grade 9 Open level French credit course to fulfill their Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements (in addition to the 100+ other credit courses in a wide range of subjects). This is ideal for girls who have been exempt from French at their former school(s) because their schools couldn’t provide appropriate accommodations, supports, and teaching styles for them in French class. Students starting at Odyssey Heights in grade 7 will already have 2-3 years of DELF French prior to taking the FSF1O course.

“FSF1O online is an introductory course for students who have little or no knowledge of French or who have not accumulated the minimum of 600 hours of elementary Core French instruction. Students will begin to understand and speak French in guided and structured interactive settings and will develop fundamental skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing through discussing issues and situations that are relevant to their daily lives. Throughout the course, students will develop their awareness of diverse French-speaking communities in Canada and acquire an understanding and appreciation of these communities. They will also develop a variety of skills necessary for lifelong language learning.”

Students with IEPs are underestimated far too often! ! I can't count the number of times I've taught students to do things that they aren't "supposed to" be able to do. Students with dyscalculia can do math, dyslexia can learn to read and write, dysgraphia can learn to write and read cursive handwriting - they just need patience, time, understanding, and creative teaching.

I had a wonderful high school student in my private practice who had multiple language based IEP needs several years ago. She started with me near the end of grade 9, and "graduated" from academic coaching at the beginning of grade 11. She not only took French immersion, and dealt well with the required transition from French Immersion math to English math, but enrolled herself in a German credit course just to prove she could do it - even if it was so hard, and adults said that she wasn't "supposed to be able to" learn languages. She had learned how to learn from a couple of years in academic coaching, and it was amazing to see how empowered she became. She also had the best notes in her classes (her friends started taking photos of them)- yet she wasn't "supposed to be able to" write and organize herself.

(Note: Students are provided with accommodations, including adaptive technology, speech to text, text to speech, and are not prevented from using their accommodations for assessments. They are encouraged and supported in turning "weaknesses" into strengths.)

Also see the Transition Year Program page here: