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This episode, Steve talks to his granddaughter Annie about her experiences in French Immersion.
Steve: Hi Annie.
Steve: I’m sitting here with my granddaughter Annie.
Annie, I want to talk to you as well about your school.
And what kind of a school do you go to?
Annie: Ah, French Immersion.
Steve: And what grade are you in?
Annie: Grade 5.
Steve: So how many years have you been going to this same school?
Annie: Well, I have been going since preschool, but I guess that’s…that’s in English, so kindergarten to grade 5.
Steve: What’s the name of the school?
Annie: Pauline Johnson School.
And what is its official name in French?
Isn’t it called “L’école”?
Annie: ”L’école Pauline Johnson.”
Steve: Okay. And do you enjoy school?
Annie: Ah, I guess, sometimes.
Do you speak to your friends in class in French ever?
Steve: In class though, if you’re there with the teacher?
Annie: Well, if she can’t hear…well, if she can hear us, um, then we speak in French.
But if she’s…like, yeah.
So, for example, does it ever happen in class that the teacher asks one pupil to speak to another pupil in French?
You know, Annie would you please ask Mary a question?
Is there no conversation in French between the students and the class?
Annie: Well, um, I don’t know, she doesn’t really ask.
She doesn’t ask one person to ask someone else something.
But we do sometimes because she sometimes has these programs that if you speak French you get like points and the tables and stuff and so you want to speak French if she can hear you.
Steve: And do you ever ask the teacher questions in French?
Annie: All the time.
Annie: Except in English class.
Steve: And what kinds of questions would you ask her?
Annie: I don’t know, like I don’t have my book.
And how would you say that?
Annie: “Je n’ai pas mon livre.”
Steve: Okay and then what?
That means what?
Then you have to go home and get it or you…?
Annie: No. Well I guess if it hadn’t been passed out or something maybe.
Steve: Oh I see, okay.
Annie: Or if you lost it.
Steve: And so what kinds of things do you do mostly in the class in French?
What’s your typical class?
Annie: Ah, well we do Math.
Steve: In French?
Annie: Yeah, in French.
Well everything’s in French, except for once a day…
(CELL PHONE RINGS)
Steve: Never mind that, go ahead. Okay.
Can you turn it off?
Oh, that’s, that’s…
Annie: That’s my dad’s cell phone ring.
Steve: Oh no, that’s his ring?
Annie: That’s my sister.
Steve: Okay, that’s fine. Alright, so yeah, typical class, so you do Math and French?
Steve: So you do all your multiplication, division and everything in French?
Annie: Yeah and we do Science in French.
Steve: And the teacher explains things on the blackboard all in French?
Steve: And you sometimes see movies in French about Science, for example?
Annie: Yeah, um, yeah.
Steve: And you do your assignments, you have to answer in French?
Steve: Do you have poems to recite like Kylie?
Annie: I did in grade 3.
Steve: Aha, but not now.
Annie: Not now.
Steve: So do you ever read poems?
Steve: Not in English, not in French.
Steve: Do you like to read?
Steve: Do you like to read in English or in French?
Annie: In English.
Steve: Do you like to read in French?
Annie: No, not so much.
Steve: But you also enjoy reading in French.
Annie: Um, it depends on the book.
Steve: It depends on the book. Now are you allowed to choose what to read?
Annie: Yeah, well there’s a school library and we go there once a week or something and we go and we get to pick out three books.
Steve: In French.
Annie: Well yeah, there’s English books too, but like you have to get at least one French chapter book and, yeah.
Steve: And when you read the French book does the teacher ask you questions about the book?
Annie: Um, no.
Steve: Do you like it better when you are just allowed to read whatever you want or do you like it when you read and then you’re asked questions about the book or does that even happen?
Annie: It does happen.
Um, I don’t know, I like reading just alone, but every day, every day, there’s like 20 minutes every day and it’s for reading in French and you just read your own book.
Steve: In the class.
Annie: In the class.
Steve: That’s good.
Steve: And do people sometimes ask the teacher questions if they don’t understand something?
Annie: No, I don’t think so, maybe.
Steve: You don’t.
Annie: No, I don’t.
Steve: So what do you do if you’re reading in class and there’s something you don’t really understand?
Annie: Well I kind of just keep reading; I keep going to see maybe if…what makes sense in that sentence, yeah.
Steve: So, I mean, if you’re reading and you find parts that you don’t understand you just keep reading and eventually you kind of get a picture of the overall?
Steve: Even though there’s a few words or sentences that weren’t so clear?
Steve: That doesn’t bother you.
Steve: Me neither.
That’s good, that’s exactly how I am when you’re reading in another language.
It’s even true sometimes reading in English, you might come across a sentence that’s just not very clear, right?
Steve: And I think good readers just read on.
Did you have the same strategy-type classes that Kylie had?
Annie: With the numbers kind of?
Annie: Um, I don’t really remember that, I might have.
Steve: If you come across a word and it’s a new word, do you try to go through those same thought processes as Kylie described to try to see whether it’s a word within a word or whether it’s similar to an English word or do you just either understand it or not understand it?
Annie: Well, if I don’t understand it then maybe I’ll like try a little, I don’t know.
I guess, um, well if it’s like an English word I’ll kind of know right away and if not I guess I just keep reading.
Steve: But sometimes a word that looks like an English word, in fact, might mean something different from an English word.
Annie: Yeah, I know, yeah it does.
Steve: So… No, that’s interesting. And do you do grammar in French in class?
Steve: What sorts of grammar study do you do?
Annie: Verbs, like “conjuguez le verbe.”
Steve: And how do they handle that?
What do you do?
You have to look at lists?
Annie: Yeah lists; “je”, “te”.
Steve: Right. And then do you have to use verbs in sentences to make sure you remembered them?
Annie: No, I don’t know. I don’t know…
Steve: So you just study the tables?
Annie: Well we don’t really study grammar that much, but we do have them in our Spelling tests.
She gives us a verb and we have to do the list of it.
Steve: The whole list.
Do you have dictation where she reads something out and you have to write it down in French?
Annie: Yeah, yeah.
Steve: “Dictée” as it’s called?
Annie: Yeah, we’ve been doing that since grade 1.
Steve: And do you like doing that?
Steve: What do you like most in class other than recess?
What do you like most at school?
Annie: English class.
Steve: English class.
Annie: Um, I don’t know, I guess I understand it the most and most of the work’s actually quite easy.
The teachers, I don’t know, they…I don’t know, they kind of go easy since we’ve been doing the last five years or so in English, I mean in French.
They kind of assume you’re not that good and they…
Steve: In English you mean.
Annie: In English. And like the Spelling tests are so easy like “car” and “log”.
It’s kind of funny.
Steve: But you read a lot.
Annie: Yeah, I do, yeah. My English is really…
Steve: So your English is probably quite good.
Steve: And that’s interesting; probably a lot better than your French?
Steve: Because you read all the time.
Annie: Yeah, it is.
Steve: Yeah, that’s interesting.
And would you rather be studying Science in English or in French?
Annie: I don’t know.
Well, um, I’ve never studied Science in English, so, I don’t know.
Steve: Do you sometimes read books about Science in English?
Steve: So you read your lesson in French?
Annie: Actually, maybe, like if I find a book in the library or something and it’s about Science; if it’s in English then I guess I do.
Steve: You wouldn’t, for example, read… If you really had to understand this English subject on Science, say the parts of the body or something and if you didn’t understand it so well in French, would you then go and read about it in English just to make sure you understand it?
Or you don’t need to do that you basically understand it just from the French text?
Annie: I basically just understand it from the French text.
Steve: Okay, well thank you very much.
We’ve had a little discussion about school and stuff.
And so what are you going to do for the rest of the afternoon?
Annie: I don’t know, I guess play with my dog.
Steve: Play with your dog? Okay, well say goodbye to everyone.
Steve: Bye, thank you for listening.