Incorporating international best practices in adult language learning would benefit Quebec’s French language learning infrastructure

2023 - 11 - 3 Research

Since the 1970s, the Québec government has made significant investments in the development and implementation of French-language training programs. In 2022, Québec updated its Charter of the French Language and committed to expanding the provision of adult French language learning services with the goal of helping individuals acquire sufficient French language skills. New investments in adult French language training have been accompanied by a public re-examining of the effectiveness, quality, and accessibility of French-language training in Québec. This is particularly important given that French is the language of work in Québec, and individuals with low French language proficiency can face barriers to
navigating the labour market.

We have just released the second of two reports examining the most effective approaches in adult language learning. The latest report, entitled “Québec and the rest: A survey of national and international approaches to adult language training,” presents examples of successful adult language training programs across six international and Canadian jurisdictions.

Although Québec’s unique linguistic landscape cannot be mapped neatly onto another jurisdiction, examining other jurisdictions can be valuable in identifying policy approaches and innovations that can be adopted into the Québec context. In this report, the adult language training approaches of New Brunswick, Ontario, Wales, Catalonia, Basque Autonomous Community, and Finland are surveyed. Secondary research and qualitative interviews with subject matter experts are used to develop overviews of each jurisdiction’s government-sponsored adult language training framework. Focus is placed on language
programs for individuals in the labour market in order to examine how jurisdictions address both language planning and labour market integration priorities. These jurisdictions and their experiences are analyzed and used to develop recommendations for Québec policymakers and stakeholders.

The report presents seven key recommendations to help improve Québec’s adult language learning infrastructure:

  • Increase collaboration between the government, the community sector, and the private sector to expand the provision of adult French-language training programs.
  • Leverage the private sector to increase workforce-oriented French-language training:
    • Establish bridging programs that combine language training and work experience to help language
      learners transition into the labour market.
    • Develop programs to support linguistic minorities with previous professional experience in
      transitioning directly into their professional field.
  • Regularly collect and publish linguistic data in Québec to track French-language competency levels.
    • Data collection should include speaking, listening, writing, and reading competency level changes
      across the population.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to better leverage technology to improve learner outcomes.
    • Increase production of and access to online French-language training content.
    • Invest in learning technologies to facilitate autonomous learning.
    • Improve digital literacy among all Quebecers.
    • Expand high-speed internet infrastructure across Québec.
  • Improve the francisation website by enhancing its usability, navigation, and comprehensiveness as a one-stop-shop online government platform that provides all resources and information related to adult French-language training in Québec.
    • The platform should provide diverse learning resources for all stakeholders, with sections
      dedicated to different stakeholder groups, including employers, volunteers, employment services
      providers, language training providers, teachers, and learners.
    • The platform should direct learners toward language assessments and provide up-to-date information on French-language training programs.
    • Information on French-language training should be made available in multiple languages to increase accessibility for linguistic minorities.
  • Establish a province-wide network of French-language assessment and referral centres to provide free and affordable assessments for all Québec residents in partnership with community organizations, schools, and language centres.
  • Create volunteer language training programs to match language learners with fluent French-language speakers
    • Fund formal and informal language-learning programs, including book clubs, conversation circles,
      and cultural events.
    • Develop multi-level volunteer-based programs to accommodate learners with different levels of

Read the full report here.

TAGS: french language training