French Immersion for All: A Resource to Inspire, Support and Engage Parents of Students with Learning Difficulties in the French Immersion Program in Ontario
Betts, Kimberly S.
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The purpose of this project was to design an accessible, research-based resource for parents1 of children with learning difficulties in the French Immersion (FI) program in Ontario. The resource aimed to provide parents with current, empirical information relevant to the topic of students with learning difficulties in the FI program; to identify the most effective, pedagogically sound remediation strategies for parents to use at home to support their children’s learning; and, to provide a compilation of resources to enhance parents’ involvement and confidence in their ability to support their children’s special learning needs in the FI program. The Overlapping Spheres of Influence model was used as the framework for this project; the model indicates that a child’s development at home and at school overlap and a strong, positive relationship between parents and a school can have a positive impact on student achievement (Epstein, 2001). Information for this resource was collected through a careful selection and analysis of documents, including a variety of handbooks for parents of children in the French Immersion program in Ontario and relevant Ontario Ministry of Education documents. The Backwards Design model was used to inform the structure and design of the resource. Components for the resource were modelled after parent engagement kits developed by the Council of Ontario Directors in Education (C.O.D.E), and include elements such as a parent resource guide, a workshop template and accompanying Blackline master activity sheets, a reproducible fact sheet, and a list of online resources to support parents of students with learning difficulties in the FI program. This resource intends to fill a gap in the current literature for parents of children in the FI program in Ontario, by addressing concerns related to the learning needs of students with 1 In this project, the term parents will be used to refer to all parents, guardians, and legal caregivers who have the primary responsibility of looking after a child with exceptionalities in the French Immersion program. iii learning difficulties, because at the present time, no such document for parents in Ontario exists. This project may be presented to the local school board and will be available to share widely through networks for FI teachers and parents to support their goal to improve parent involvement and the support of students with learning difficulties in the FI programs across Ontario.