Over the past 6 months I have been working with a fabulous team of educators from the French Language School Boards of Ontario in conjunction with Unité de la littératie et de la numératie, Direction des politiques et programmes d’éducation en langue française Ministère de l’Éducation, Ontario and GIARE.CA . Project C.O.P.E is designed to research and develop a French language version of the Receptive Oral Language Assessment (Crévola, 2008) and implement and adapt the Crévola approach to Oral Langauge instruction in kindergarten French Language schools. It is interesting to consider the statistics of French language speakers in Canada and the history of the language to understand my interest in this project.
The project is now in Phase 1 (Sept 2012 – June 2013) with funding to develop the assessment and to run a small trial in a sample of schools. This is currently underway and I have been so impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the educators involved. There was a job to be done, developing the French sentence types, the group assigned to this task just jumped in a gave it their best shot. I was not involved directly in this development aspect, but supported from afar and guided their process. They did all the work. A prototype was developed and then came the crunch, a linguist was needed to validate the sentence types. This was a learning curve for all. But everyone was willing to take the feedback and the resulting changes. Congratulations to the team, who demonstrated superb reflective practice and showed us all that when we work as a team of reflective practitioners we can achieve more than one or two people alone. The development team engaged in a process that took courage and a willingness to expose their beliefs and understandings, and to allow them to be challenged.
The OÉAL (Outil d’évaluation des acquis langagiers) has been born! We are now collecting the data from the first round of assessment in the sample classes and we are all excited to look at the implications from the assessment data.
Our next steps are to develop the French Language versions of The 4 Oral Language Teaching Foci and Oral Language Teaching Prompts and the Oral Language Teaching Strategies (Crévola, 2009). This is proposed to be C.O.P.E Phase 2 (sept 2013 – June 2014).
The other aspect of this work that is different to my previous research work in SIP (The Self Identification Project ) in Ontario and other research pieces in Australia, the USA and UK, is the use of Web-based tools to promote the Professional Learning opportunities for those involved. This is proving to be both economically viable and easily assessable. Going down this road means that I can be based in France and yet connected to the educators in the field in Ontario, via the interactive wed-based services that are being developed. This has a huge economic impact and it allows the money available to go directly to the school based work in the classrooms rather than the extraordinary amounts of money for teacher release and air fares and accommodation. The need for face-to-face exists when it comes to teaching and implementing strategies to improve learning for all, this is a challenge in restricted budgets, but these are areas that we are working on as we move to establish a foundational set of tools and practices that can be replicated in the wider French Language context.
I will be sharing more later, but I wanted to express my admiration of the project C.O.P.E educators and administrators and share my excitement in being a part of this amazing learning journey.
Merci beaucoup team. C.O.P.E