What the new government may mean for language rights and education in Quebec

Aaron Rand
October 12, 2012 – Education minister Marie Malavoy yesterday announced she’ll recommend that English no longer be taught in Grade 1. Instead, she wants it pushed back until Grade 6.
At the same time, she also thinks not enough of the current history curriculum deals with the issue of sovereignty. I’m guessing that’s because without knowledge of the struggle for sovereignty, students might not understand why so many of their friends’ families decided to leave the province in the first place.
So basically, the minister of education thinks learning English is a hindrance. And what’s her rationale for reaching this conclusion?  In her own words, ” Children in the first grade, are not ready to deal with the complexities of learning a “foreign” language while they are still learning the syntax, vocabulary, and grammar of their mother tongue.”
Interesting explanation, except for the fact that it flies in the face of all the research that exists on the subject. Professional child educators agree that a child’s capacity to learn a second, or even a third language, is at its highest from infancy until age 6 or 7, and then begins to gradually decline starting at age 10.
But why rely on research when you already have an agenda designed to ignore it ?
So what’s this really about ? The narrow minded, unwavering focus on what this government’s ultimate goal is and has always been – separation. This is not about, as the PQ pretend, the vulnerability of the French language and the risk of its disappearing. It’s about their concerted effort to make English disappear from this province altogether. Why else would you restrict or delay the teaching of English to students, to a point in time where they won’t have the capacity to learn it ?
Here’s the reality … 
The “Window of Opportunity” for early language learning is between birth and 12 years of age – the earlier, the better Research has shown that from infancy to age 6 or 7, many new connections are being formed in the brain, and when exposed to the sounds of a second language during this time, the brain of a young child will actually grow connections that make a new language easy to learn.
As the brain develops most in the first three years of a person’s life, exposing your child to another language during this time actually stimulates the development of brain cells. Around age 10 to 12, the brain not only begins to slow in its ability to develop those connections, but it starts to prune away any that aren’t being used. Thus, children who don’t start learning a second language until later in life will often find it more difficult because their brain will not have developed the necessary connections.
Weekdays 3 to 7pm on CJAD 800 AM Radio in Montreal

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Filed under Canadian Politics, Community Rights, Human Rights, Political Accountability

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