Should French be Mandatory to Learn in Canada for Children?

Today we, children, have to go to school and have to take French starting at 4th grade all the way to 9th grade for mandatory reasons. The problem I have with this is why should we? We already have to focus on our studies and you’re just giving us another pile of stress to carry on our backs. I get the idea that they want us to be able to communicate with other provinces in Canada but you shouldn’t force us. We should have a choice. But worst part of it is that this will affect our grade. I don’t want to have to go to school and struggle learning a language that I barely know while my other peers have been taking it since it was mandatory to them. They are levels ahead of me while I’m trying to catch up.
Canada is a very open country to many different types of people. This will lead to children coming in to a country that speaks English, the universal language. The only problem is some of the children don’t know how to speak English. While they are trying to learn that language so they’ll be able to speak to the teacher and the students they also get upheld to learn another language. If they had known English pretty well then they would have been able to understand some relations between the words but they don’t and they have to learn two languages; one that will test their knowledge and put a mark on a piece of paper that will judge you and allow other people (i.e. high schools) to judge you, too.
Based on my school, a lot of people don’t like studying French because it’s a burden. We get a pile of homework a week. It’s pretty embarrassing when we have to do presentations and just having to worry about the language is a burden. I would have liked French a lot better if I were the one that chose to study it instead of having someone force it on me. We also have to go to a portable to learn French which is bothersome because of the cold air in the winter and snow that will have us to bring our snow boots. It’s pretty much how the saying goes: If you force it on someone, they won’t do it. If you give them a path, their decision will decide their own destiny. It’s also that if you tell someone to do something, they most liking won’t do it. But if you tell someone to not  do something  then they’ll go against everything you say, just to be controversial and go forward and do it. That’s why telling someone not to smoke, not to drink, not to stay up too long, not to watch a specific show, not to go to that party, etc. will cause them to do the exact opposite and take the risk just to show they will do whatever they want and that no one can control them. This happens a lot for teenagers in their rebel stage (i.e. Katniss Everdeen a.k.a. the girl on fire or the Mockingjay). Another example is when my cousin (who is also a teen) that was over-obsessive about Facebook and it was time for exams. Her mom was a bit worried about her because she needed to focus. Well, she still has her Facebook but when exams came she (based on information I overheard) gave away her password to a friend so that the friend can take care of her farm in Farmville.

…I am sorry but that is probably the most absurd things I have ever heard. I don’t see the fun in Farmville but I guess that’s just me.

Back to my point, I would suggest the government to change the ways so then the future children don’t have to suffer as much as I did (understatement), and will be able to live a carefree life (overstatement).

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17 responses to “Should French be Mandatory to Learn in Canada for Children?

    • But is forcing another group of people the right thing to do? The french culture will stay in Quebec and the other regions that go crazy about it, but for the other provinces and territories; it doesn’t need to be allowed. I mean I get how Canada says, “If you learn a language it will open up more job opportunities”, but why do you they say “if”? Doesn’t that mean we get a choice. Some employers really don’t care if you know another language so it’s only in specific jobs and most children don’t even know what they are going to do in the future.

      • ok, but the situation is kind of different. nobody ever complains if they’re ‘forced’ to learn english in the us? why? because it’s the official/national language. french is one of the national languages of canada. it’s just as much the national language as english is. and, well, english is mandatory until grade 12. TWELVE YEARS. whereas you only need to take 6 years of french. that’s already a really big blow on the french side of canada. additionally, the only reason canada could’ve built the railway, gotten ‘responsible government’, expanded itself (by quebec/maritimes to join confederation) was the french people (and all those treaties saying that it was to be considered as ‘the language of parliament’ also, etc). i mean, the reason why french isn’t an elective from grade 4-9 is because it’s not spanish, german, chinese, or whatever. those languages aren’t the official languages. plus, by containing the french culture SOLELY in quebec, you’re basically telling them: ‘ hey, why don’t you just go and form your own country or whatever.’. the separatists would be happy to do so. except, slight problem, they actually help the rest of the population of canada. and like, there’s a reason why you only need to learn it up to grade 9. learning a language isn’t something that takes a month to do. (and honestly, what’s the harm?). in grade 10 and so on, you can take the classes you need in order to pursue whatever you want to pursue as a occupation. If you want to become an athlete, than by all means, drop the french. In the US, I agree, you don’t need French for a lot of jobs. But especially in communications and business, by knowing another language, you have the opportunity to reach more people. PLUS, the fact that if you want a government job (and considering the fact that most of them require fluent French as something that is mandatory), it’s kind of helpful to not have to cram an entire language in your high school years. -point proven-

      • The reason why we aren’t “forced” in the U.S. is because English is the only language there. French is one of the languages. It doesn’t necessarily count. I’m saying French should be a choice and if it is a choice then I think more people would react positively towards it. The reason why a lot of people in America want to learn a language when they get to high school or something is because it will only consume to the max. 4 years and it’s a choice. If you want to keep your options open from the time of being a fourth grader then you can do so and take french. It’s all up to you (or your family). It’s won’t remove any Canadian culture, because seriously, we don’t even have one!

  1. I agree with this post so freaking much you cannot believe it. Just to clarify, I’m not from Canada, but in the U.S, there is a lot of pressure for us to learn a second language. The main targets are French and Spanish. Sure, it’s nice to learn a new language but the way they carry it out is so tedious. I also believe it should be left to those who actually have an interest in the language. Their claims that learning a new language would open up job opportunities sounds extremely sketchy to me considering how the majority speaks English. I dropped out of taking language after 10th grade to take another art course. You know why? Because I want to become an artist and there’s really no point for an artist to learn another language. Especially when the way another language is taught is basically “memorize random words and then forget them after the summer”.

  2. i don’t think that students should learn french because its the students choice if they want to learn french or not.

  3. 15 year old in Toronto. I can sympathize with your pain of learning a second language and your current view that you should be able to choose the subjects you wish to study. However, your argument could change with time and you may find that learning a second language would in fact have been beneficial to you.

    Times are changing. Employers have new requirements including speaking the second official language in Canada. With your current argument, certain areas of mathematics and science will not be of any use to you in the future but you do not get to choose whether or not to study these subjects.

    A second language helps you understand other cultures which in turn helps clarify how the world works. My guess is your views will change slightly as you experience the real world. One day you may find yourself annoyed that Canadian French wasn’t taught to you from your first day in school because not understanding it means the bilingual person sitting next to you just took your job.

    • Thanks for the comment. I actually have to agree with you in some aspects. Yes, a second language is incredibly beneficial and it can be fun to learn. But to be honest, learning specifically French is a pain in the bun-buns. I’ve started learning Spanish for 10th grade and it is five hundred thousand times more entertaining and exciting. I’m more fascinated by the Spanish culture. I guess if something isn’t forced on me, then I’ll enjoy it.

      • Good for you! I commend you for recognizing this. Any second language will be helpful to you in building your future. I felt the same way as you do when I was 15 and I petitioned my high school to introduce other languages such as Spanish. Since we were learning French so late and with little chance to practice it properly, I decided to study both French and Spanish. Spanish is fun. Stick with it and you’ll find many more opportunities available to you one day. As far as subjects being forced, in my opinion many of our youth are smarter than the officials who run Canada’s public education system. Be clever, be strategic and if you see something you don’t agree with, speak up! It’s your future you are building towards. Be smart :)

  4. Bruh your argument is that if you force us we won’t do it. This isn’t the same thing as your mom saying go clean your room and your not going to do it because she told you to do it. This is like go to that country for a business trip, you can’t be like oh he’s telling me to do it so I’m not going to do it. No kid is going to not do French just because they are forcing us to do it. Also whit your logic your saying we shouldn’t force kids to go to school because since we are forcing they are not going to come to school.

    • Bruh, I’m just saying it’s not something we necessarily need to be taught until we go into high school and get options between other languages. Some people don’t want to learn French, some people want to learn Spanish, like myself.
      And most importantly, I don’t think you’ve realized that this is all my opinion. You don’t have to agree with it. So please try to voice your own opinion instead of bashing others’.

  5. Well, I agree that you should have the freedom to choose, however from my knowledge and I can be wrong Canada is the only country in the world which has a second national language and doesn’t force you to be bilingual. All other countries which have multiple national languages make it compulsory to learn all languages of that country.

    • Learning French is compulsory in Canada but only for a certain amount of time. I’m guessing that’s the same case for all other countries, though most likely for a longer time than Canada. By the way, I’m pretty sure I wrote this when I was fourteen, and a big motive for not enjoying French was the teachers’ behavior.

      What I was trying to say with Canada specifically was that French is not a universal language and therefore not that beneficial. If I was say, in Hong Kong, and had to learn Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, I might hate it. But knowing how creditable it would be for my future, I wouldn’t complain too much.

      • French is a universal language. It used to be more used internationally than English at least until WWI. Still today, it is more present in international institutions than Spanish or Mandarin. It is the only other language than English to hold official status in at least one country of every continent. It is the second most widely learned language in the world, (125 million people studying it now) and the third most present on the internet after English and Mandarin (and about equal to German). Besides, to English speakers it holds the advantage of being one of the closest and easiest languages to learn, since a lot of the English language directly comes from French (1066 and all these things…) It has a rich literature (French writers get more literature Nobel prizes than writers of any other country).

        Besides if Ontarians want to be snobs just because they feel superior to Québécois and because now English is more dominant in the world today than French is, then I would encourage the Québécois to learn Spanish rather than English. Much easier to learn for a French speaker, since those two languages are closely related, and besides there a re nicer things to see in Peru, Cuba, or Spain, than in Western Canada, England, or Florida.

        To trade with the rest of North America, we will just use Google translate, as most Anglo-saxon companies already do.

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