Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) Position Paper on Second Language Learning

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Link: http://atwork.settlement.org/downloads/atwork/Second_Language_Learning_Position_Paper_OPSBA.pdf
Org: Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA)
Date: 2005

In response to concerns from school boards and in support of the work of the Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth and the Canadian School Boards Association, the Ontario Public School Boards" Association (OPSBA) has conducted a review of issues affecting Second Language Learning (i.e. acquisition of one of Canada"s official languages) in Ontario"s public school system.

This review considered the language support needs of the following student populations served by Ontario schools:

  • Immigrant students whose first language is neither English nor French
  • First Nations students
  • Students born in Canada whose first language is not English/French
  • Students who speak a version of English/French different from the standard English/French used in school

Participants in the review included trustees and senior staff from school boards that are highly representative of the communities where these students attend school. Experts in Second Language Learning were consulted throughout.

Summary of Immigrant Children and Youth-related Recommendations:

  1. Federal government funding of initial language assessment be extended, as part of the settlement process, to school-aged children of immigrant families to ensure assessment not only of the level of proficiency in English or French but also first language literacy to support the development of an academic assessment profile;
  2. The Federal government fund, as part of the settlement process, the resources necessary to support the integration of newcomer children and their families into the school system, including such initiatives as first language services in school board Reception Centres, translation and interpretation services to promote parent engagement in their children"s education, community programs to promote school readiness and to accelerate the pace at which newcomer students catch up to their peers;
  3. The Federal government support the integration of immigrant children and their families by funding dual language materials for use in newcomer Reception centres and in schools;
  4. A national Language Benchmarks program with exemplars for school-age immigrant children and youth, funded by the Federal government, be established to provide standards for measuring acquisition of proficiency in English or French;
  5. The provincial funding formula for ESL/ELD recognize the five to seven year period involved in achieving academic proficiency in English and that eligibility for such funding extend equally to children born in Canada but whose first language is neither English nor French and to children whose education is interrupted because, for example, their parents are seasonal migrant workers;
  6. A provincial tracking system be established to follow newcomer children and youth from their entry into the school system through to high school graduation;
  7. All Ontario teacher pre-service education programs include a specific component, and integrated beliefs and understandings in all other components, on how to address the needs of ESL/ELD students;
  8. Ongoing professional development in ESL/ELD issues be mandatory for all Ontario educators involved in the education of ESL/ELD students.
This position paper is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (215 KB, 33 pages).