French as a Second Language (FSL)

French as a Second Language Labour Market Partnership

OPSBA has completed a three-year Ontario Labour Market Partnership initiative with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development entitled Meeting Labour Market Needs for French as a Second Language Instruction in Ontario.

This initiative was in response to concerns raised by OPSBA member boards about the growing gap between the number of students enrolling in French language programs and the recruitment and retention of sufficient numbers of FSL teachers and support staff. This issue has become an increasing challenge for all English language public school boards in Ontario. As part of the labour market partnership process OPSBA joined with other committed education partners in a collaborative process to share knowledge, experience, expertise and conduct research to generate workable solutions to this labour market issue.

2020-21 (Phase III)

The Phase III explores effective recruitment, hiring, retention and support strategies for FSL teachers and education workers, following the Partnership’s Phase I and Phase II reports.

The report also includes additional research into three key areas:

  • French-language proficiency for FSL teacher hiring
  • Professional support for teachers, including ongoing language development
  • The important role of leadership in FSL teacher support and retention

Highlights from the report include:

  • Professional learning (e.g. improving educators’ French-language proficiency) can increase educators’ opportunities to be hired into a wider range of FSL positions.
  • FSL teacher retention can be positively impacted by meaningful professional support from school and school board leaders. This support needs to be targeted and focused on specific audiences, such as early-career FSL teachers or those initiating new FSL programs.
  • More collaboration between school boards and faculties of education could bring greater understanding to the French proficiency skills actually needed for FSL teaching.

Read the full report at: Implementation of Evidence-Based Strategies

Read the Executive Summary

Phase III – FSL Labour Market Partnership Pilot Projects

2018-19 (Phase II)

In November 2018, OPSBA received approval for phase two of the initiative, which ran from November 12, 2018, to November 11, 2019, entitled “Moving Forward with Understanding Perspectives Regarding the French as a Second Language Teacher Labour Market Issue.”  This phase focused on action planning and facilitating the implementation of the phase one recommendations as well as research to examine the availability of French-speaking education workers in Ontario schools.

Read the full report at: Moving Forward with Understanding Perspectives Regarding the French as a Second Language Labour Market Issue

Read the Executive Summary 

2017-18 (Phase I)

During 2017-18, OPSBA completed the first phase of the three-year project, producing a report entitled “Understanding Perspectives Regarding the French as a Second Language Teacher Labour Market Issue.”  The report from the first year of the French as a Second Language Ontario Labour Market Partnership Project is available at Understanding Perspectives Regarding the French as a Second Language Teacher Labour Market Issue.

Read the Executive Summary

Pan-Canadian FSL Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategies

In early 2020, OPSBA was approved to lead three initiatives as part of the FSL Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in French Immersion and French Second Language Programs, an initiative funded in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Province of Ontario. These initiatives support the public education sector and are envisioned to be three years in length and pan-Canadian in scope.  The combined executive summaries document and the full reports for Year 1 for each initiative are found below.

Executive Summaries

Recruitment Guide

This initiative’s key objective is to develop a guide for English-language school boards that supports the effective recruitment and hiring of FSL teachers. Research will be conducted to determine higher-yield strategies and explore alternatives that would ultimately increase the overall supply of FSL teachers.

French-Language Proficiency Assessment Toolkit and Resource Guide

This initiative explores existing research on the assessment of second language proficiency in teaching contexts. This information will inform the development of a toolkit of evidence-informed assessment practices that could be used in various education contexts to review current French language proficiency assessment processes as FSL teachers prepare to enter the job market.

Supporting Principals to Address Challenges in Retention and Professional Support of French as a Second Language Teachers

This initiative recognizes the important role of school administrators in facilitating FSL teacher retention and professional support. The overall objective is to conduct research to facilitate school administrator engagement, share innovative practices and ultimately build a compendium of strategies that positively affect FSL teacher retention.


Ministry of Education FSL Professional Learning Resources

In August 2020, the Ministry of Education released a overview of new FSL Professional Learning resources. Access the two-page document here.

Near North DSB produces Transforming FSL Resources

The Near North DSB (NNDSB), with the support of the Ministry of Education, has produced a series of videos to guide French as a Second Language educators throughout Ontario. These five videos capture the professional learning of some French Immersion Kindergarten Teams in the NNDSB.  Through sharing classroom footage and teacher reflection, effective use of pedagogical documentation and strategies to support oral language development, the videos inform and support further discussions among FSL educators.

Entitled `Les petits en maternelle` the videos feature staff and students from the Earning Learning Kindergarten programs at Alliance and Sunset Park and provide an overview of the following:

  • Interacting with the (play-based) environment
  • Interacting with their peers and adults
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Pedagogical Documentation (Making the thinking visible)
  • Reflections on the journey

The videos and additional FSL resources can be found at https://transformingfsl.ca.

Release of Welcoming English Language Learners into FSL Programs document

In September 2016, the Ministry of Education announced the release of Welcoming English Language Learners into French as a Second Language Programs.

It builds on A Framework for French as a Second Language in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12 with additional case studies, research, and strategies relevant to English language learners.

In addition, this Spark slideshow has been shared with school board staff and provides an update on the document, as well as information about new professional learning resources produced in the 2015-2016 school year in support of strengthening FSL in Ontario.

Direct links to the new companion document:

Core French in Ontario Public Schools

OPSBA’s Education Program Work Team has considered the delivery of Core French in Ontario classrooms, drawing information from a range of sources:

Report of the OPSBA survey of school boards