Bernard Drainville wants to improve students’ French with daily exercises

The success rate of the written exam in the 5th year of secondary school went from 79% in 2019 to 69% in 2022, a trend that cannot continue, says the Minister of Education.

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QUEBEC — To improve French proficiency among elementary and secondary school students, Education Minister Bernard Drainville wants to have daily writing exercises.

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The success rate of the written exam in 5th year of Secondary went from 79% in 2019 to 69% in 2022. Only 48% of students passed the grammar and spelling rules.

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This “fall” cannot continue, Drainville said in Quebec City on Monday.

He revealed the “guidances” he will give to a group of experts tasked with reviewing French programs by 2025. Among other things, he will ask them to discuss the benefits of daily writing exercises for children.

The minister also wants teachers of all subjects to pay attention to French mistakes made on assignments and tests, and to give students feedback on the quality of their French.

He gave the example of a history teacher who might decide not to correct a paper full of misspellings.

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The ministry will identify the most frequent mistakes made by students in French tests and will share this portrait with teachers so that they can better guide the actions to be implemented.

Drainville also promised to add French pedagogical advisers to schools who, in particular, will “support and accompany” teachers who teach other subjects.

At the moment, however, Quebec is struggling to find enough qualified teachers to teach classes.

“It’s a big challenge,” Drainville said.

He also indicated that he wants to integrate Quebec culture more into the teaching of French.

“We cannot afford to see the results fall. … We need a recovery. Everyone has to get their hands dirty,” she said. “French teachers need more support. We have to help them and also help all the other teachers, because the quality of French at school must become the concern of the entire school team”.

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For the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), it is a series of “intentions” and “orientations”.

“So we’ll see what happens next in the next few months. … We want to be part of the discussion at all stages of the process,” CSQ President Éric Gingras responded in a statement.

“It is the whole of society that must mobilize for the protection and sustainability of French,” he added.

Québec Solidaire’s spokesperson for education, Ruba Ghazal, also welcomed the minister’s desire to review the programs in French.

“Despite these good intentions, the minister must not forget that if we want to improve the teaching of French in our classes, we must act against the shortage of personnel in the network,” she said.

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