Effective Language Training Practices: On-line Tool for Federal Institutions

My Language Training Model

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Roles and Responsibilities of the Deputy Minister and the Champion

  • The Deputy Minister develops a policy or directive on language training for the institution, in consultation with Human Resources, the Champion, the management team and the regional team.
  • The Deputy Minister sets out the language training objectives of the institution in relation to the official languages vision.
  • The Deputy Minister ensures accountability at all levels, holding managers responsible for their contributions to the defined language training objectives, and taking them into account in their performance evaluations.
  • The Deputy Minister ensures good institutional succession planning by:
    • making knowledge of both official languages an essential component of this planning; and
    • making language training an integral part of professional training from the beginning of an employee's career.
  • The Deputy Minister personally invites all employees to become aware of the language training activities and resources offered within their institution and on-line.
  • The Deputy Minister insists that imperative staffing be the norm.
  • The Deputy Minister shows leadership by:
    • using both official languages when speaking to employees; and
    • publicly stating that the institution values the respect for and use of both official languages, both in communications with and services to the public and with respect to language of work rights.
  • The Deputy Minister ensures that language training is taken into account during financial and human resources planning.
  • The Official Languages Champion demonstrates leadership by:
    • using both official languages when speaking to employees; and
    • publicly stating that the institution values the respect for and use of both official languages, both in communications with and services to the public, and with respect to language of work rights.
  • The Official Languages Champion ensures language training information is disseminated throughout the institution.
  • The Official Languages Champion provides support and advice to the management team on official languages and language training issues.
  • The Official Languages Champion networks with the champions of other federal institutions to share best practices.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? In English, when we fall helplessly and hopelessly in love with someone we've just met, it's “love at first sight.” In French, it's “un coup de foudre,” quite literally, a lightning bolt.
  • Did you know? You can “flirter” in French. This playful verb is one of those words that the English and French have been trading back and forth for centuries. While the modern “flirter” in French has been borrowed from the English, “flirt” originally descended from the old French word “fleureter.
  • Did you know? A Torontonian would “whisper sweet nothings” to someone who had “caught their eye,” while a Montrealer would “chanter la pomme” to someone who had “tombé dans son œil.
  • Did you know? In English, some people “wear their heart on their sleeve” when they can't help but show their feelings. In French, having “le cœur sur la main” means you are inherently generous, having “le cœur sur les lèvres” means you're sincere, and having “le cœur sur le bord des lèvres” means… you're about to throw up! Similarly, being “heartsick” is not quite the same as having “mal au cœur” (being nauseated).

Roles and Responsibilities of the Institution and the Language Training Unit

  • The institution establishes a language training unit or a coordination function that includes employees specifically assigned to language training tasks.
  • The language training unit is present in the regional offices or offers them customized services.
  • The language training unit's staff ensures quality control of language training suppliers.
  • The language training unit's staff ensures that employees honour their commitment to learn and attend language training.
  • The language training unit's staff participates in the development of individual training plans, plans the training and coordinates activities, from the beginning of an employee's career.
  • The language training unit's staff follows the learners' progress and gives them educational advice.
  • In the absence of a language training unit, the coordination function is integrated into the institution's human resources unit or official languages division, as appropriate, thereby becoming a part of the professional training activities or the entire official languages process.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? Chiac, the language spoken mostly among Francophones who live in the area of Moncton, Shediac, Dieppe and Memramcook, is characterized by French syntax that includes English vocabulary and expressions. “J'ai wiré ma satellite dish avec mes own mains” or “j'ai crossé la street,” are just a couple of examples of how the two languages intersect.
  • Did you know? All over Canada, there are people who speak English and French. One million Anglophones live in Quebec and about the same number of Francophones live in the other nine provinces and three territories.
  • Did you know? According to the 2011 Census, 17% of all Canadians speak both official languages.
  • Did you know? The Translation Bureau translates 1.7 million pages each year.
  • Did you know? Bouctouche, New Brunswick is the birthplace of novelist and playwright Antonine Maillet. Its original name, Chebooktoosk, means “great little harbour” in Micmac.

Roles and Responsibilities of Human Resources and the Manager or Supervisor

  • Human Resources ensures that all employees receive announcements and reminders about the language training activities and resources offered within the institution.
  • Human Resources prepares the information on language training, which is posted on the institution's intranet.
  • Human Resources provides new employees with information on the language training policy and the availability of language training, as well as on the learning plans. This information can be included in the welcome kit or letter of offer.
  • The manager or supervisor shows leadership by:
    • using both official languages in the workplace; and
    • publicly stating that the institution values the respect for and use of both official languages, both in communications with and services to the public and with respect to language of work rights.
  • The manager or supervisor disseminates language training information to employees.
  • The manager or supervisor is aware of his or her employees' language training needs.
  • The manager or supervisor creates a work environment conducive to the use of both official languages, and particularly favourable to learning both languages and language retention.
  • The manager or supervisor participates in the development of employees' learning plans and ensures language training objectives are included.
  • The manager or supervisor is involved in the development of a language training policy or directive, and communicates the team's needs in this regard.
  • The manager or supervisor provides opportunities for language retention to all employees.
  • The manager or supervisor promotes senior management's vision with respect to language training and official languages.
  • The manager or supervisor follows the allocation criteria for language training set out in the Policy on Official Languages.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? 40% of positions within the public service require knowledge of both official languages.
  • Did you know? In Canadian society, 2.4 million young Canadians are studying English or French as a second language in school.
  • Did you know? 300,000 Canadian students are enrolled in French immersion each year.
  • Did you know? 50,000 direct and indirect jobs are tied to Canada's language industry.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Employee

  • The employee shows initiative in continuing language training, to strengthen his or her second-language skills.
  • The employee includes language training in his or her professional training plan, if desired.
  • The employee who knows both official languages values his or her own language retention.
  • The employee discusses his or her language learning plan during annual performance evaluations.
  • The employee contributes to the institution's official languages and language training vision.
  • The employee who is in training to meet the language requirements of a position or for career development makes a formal commitment. For example:
    • An agreement between the employer and the employee clearly states everyone's expectations during and after training; and
    • These expectations focus on training activities as well as learning and second-language retention efforts.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? 66% of the world's population is bilingual or multilingual.
  • Did you know? 341 million people in the world speak English as their first language. 220 million people in the world speak French as their first language.
  • Did you know? According to Loraine K. Obler, a linguistics professor at the City University of New York, bilingualism helps children understand language structures and adults delay dementia. She says research suggests bilingualism improves a person's ability to concentrate and multi-task. Using different languages helps the brain practise shifting its attention from one task to another.
  • Did you know? According to Loraine K. Obler, a linguistics professor at the City University of New York, bilingual children are better equipped to acquire other languages, because they understand early on that objects can have different names.
  • Did you know? Professor Ellen Bialystok, of Toronto's York University, has undertaken research that suggests bilingualism can delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Based on the study of the medical records of 400 Canadian Alzheimer's patients, Professor Bialystok found the symptoms emerged five or six years later in bilinguals than in unilinguals.
  • Did you know? Louis St-Laurent, 12th prime minister of Canada, whose mother was Irish and whose father was Québécois, once said “I didn't know at first that there were two languages in Canada. I just thought that there was one way to speak to my father and another to talk to my mother.”

Language Training Policy or Directive

  • The language training policy or directive has clearly defined objectives.
  • The language training policy or directive clearly describes the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in the institution.
  • The language training policy or directive clearly describes the language training allocation process.
  • The language training policy or directive clearly describes the training methods, for example, on-line, in the classroom, in the workplace or through private courses.
  • The language training policy or directive clearly provides details on selecting service providers, for example, selection criteria or procedures to follow.
  • The language training policy or directive clearly describes accountability through performance evaluations.
  • The language training policy or directive clearly describes the data collected on language training, for example, the number of employees in training or related costs.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? Stuart Keate, a Canadian journalist, once said “In any world menu, Canada must be considered the vichyssoise of nations: it's cold, half-French, and difficult to stir.”
  • Did you know? Michel Ouellette, an Ontarian playwright, once said “When you have two languages, you always have the option of hiding behind one of them.” [translation]
  • Did you know? Just before the Official Languages Act was passed, then Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, said “Of course a bilingual state is more expensive than a unilingual one—but it is a richer state.”
  • Did you know? Quebec singer-songwriter Plume Latraverse once said “An accent is not in the mouth of the speaker, it's in the ears of the listener!” [translation]
  • Did you know? Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and symbol of the anti-apartheid movement, once said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
  • Did you know? Jack Kerouac is an American novelist who was born in the United States to French-Canadian parents and didn't learn English until he was six years old. He once said “The reason I handle English words so easily is because it is not my own language. I refashion it to fit French images.”

Dissemination of Language Training Information

  • The institution's intranet has a space dedicated to language training in the section on professional training activities and the Policy on Official Languages.
  • A variety of methods are used to disseminate information on language training in the institution, for example, electronic bulletin boards, e-mails and signs.
  • Internally, information on language training is communicated by employees at various levels, for example, supervisors, human resources employees, directors, the Champion or the Deputy Minister.
  • Externally, information on language training is disseminated through various networks, including regional managers' networks (National Managers' Community) and federal councils.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? About one million Francophones live in Canada's 12 majority-Anglophone provinces and territories. There are about half a million Francophones in Ontario. Therefore, as you can easily calculate, half of the French Canadians outside Quebec live in the province that is “yours to discover.”
  • Did you know? 88% of Franco-Ontarians can hold a conversation in both official languages.
  • Did you know? A mission that later became the first permanent French settlement in the territory of present-day Ontario was established in the Windsor area in 1741. The Ottawa region was colonized in the early 1800s, and the Sudbury region in the late 1800s.
  • Did you know? In absolute numbers, Ottawa has the most French-speaking people in Ontario (140,000). However, if we consider percentages, Greater Sudbury wins the prize for the largest proportion of Francophones (28%) in a major Ontarian city. The Town of Hearst holds the record for the highest percentage of Francophones (89%) of all municipalities in Ontario.
  • Did you know? American actress Jodie Foster is a highly advanced speaker of the French language. As a child, she attended the Lycée français de Los Angeles. The star of Silence of the Lambs has made a few films in France, including Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement), and it's her voice that we hear in most of the French versions of her American films. As a teenager, she sang a duet on television with Claude François.
  • Did you know? Viggo Mortensen is an American actor of Danish origin who speaks seven languages. In high school he developed a passion for hockey and, in particular, for the Montréal Canadiens. The star of Lord of the Rings is still a Habs fan, and in 2009 he took part in a ceremony at the Bell Centre before the game marking the team's centennial. Speaking fluent French, he introduced his idol, Guy Lafleur.
  • Did you know? Meryl Streep dubbed her own character for the French version of Sophie's Choice, speaking French with a strong Polish accent. Quite an achievement for an Anglophone! She was awarded a César d'honneur in 2003 and, during the ceremony in Paris, she gave a charming thank-you speech in “halting schoolgirl French.”

Allocation of Language Training

  • For other employees, the following considerations are taken into account when a language training request is reviewed:
    • The budgetary resources required are available;
    • The employee has demonstrated motivation or initiative and commitment through concrete actions;
    • The learning methods needed by the employee are available; and
    • The language training can aid in succession planning.
  • Priority is given to employees who must meet the language requirements of their position.
  • The manager or supervisor gives the employee the time needed to take language training during work hours.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? According to the U.S. media, Angelina Jolie, along with her children (including the twins born in Nice), has begun studying the language of Molière. After all, her own mother, Marcheline Bertrand, was of French-Canadian descent on her father's side.
  • Did you know? In 1985, in between the filming of two Alien films, Sigourney Weaver appeared with Gérard Depardieu in a French film, Une femme ou deux (One Woman or Two). She played an American in the film, but some of the lines she delivered in French reveal her mastery of the language.
  • Did you know? According to Census data, Newfoundland and Labrador's Francophone community increased by 780 members between 2006 and 2011. The community went from 2,230 people who had French as a mother tongue to 3,020 people. This is particularly encouraging given that the community had lost 335 members between 2001 and 2006.
  • Did you know? Affectionately called the “Pays du bon Dieu,” the Port-au-Port peninsula is home to one of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest Francophone communities.
  • Did you know? After a shock to the brain, some people develop foreign accent syndrome. This explains why one British woman wakes up every morning with a different accent—sometimes Jamaican, French-Canadian, Italian or Slovakian.
  • Did you know? According to a recent study, the human brain can learn one new word in a foreign language in less than 15 minutes, if it is heard 160 times in that interval.
  • Did you know? 66% of Canadian children who attend an all-French school come from bilingual households.

Learning Methods

  • The choice of learning method is made with not only the needs of the institution, but also the needs of the learner, in mind, in order to promote learning effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Various technologies, such as videoconferencing, are used to optimize access to language training.
  • When possible, a variety of learning methods is made available to employees, including:
    • on-line learning (Canada School of Public Service tools);
    • less formal courses such as drop-in classes;
    • classroom learning;
    • learning in the workplace;
    • full-time training; and
    • part-time training.
  • Interdepartmental agreements can be beneficial for federal institutions that are interested in setting up classrooms but cannot do so alone because of their small size.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? French is the ninth most widely spoken language on the planet.
  • Did you know? French is the official language of 29 states and 3 governments worldwide.
  • Did you know? There are at least 220 million French speakers worldwide.
  • Did you know? Africa is the continent with the highest number of French speakers, with 96.2 million French speakers in OIF (l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) member countries.
  • Did you know? More than 116 million people are learning French worldwide. French is one of the only languages taught in every country in the world.
  • Did you know? In 1755, the Acadians were deported by order of the British authorities. Many headed for Louisiana, where they created the Cajun culture. Until the beginning of the 19th century, the Louisiana government functioned primarily in French. When Louisiana became part of the United States of America in 1812, it was the only state that did not have an English-speaking majority.

Language Training Plans

  • Human Resources provides new employees with information on language training plans.
  • The employee, with the manager or supervisor, participates in the development of his or her language training plan.
  • The official languages division, the language training unit or Human Resources plans the language training of its employees by using the services of the Canada School of Public Service to develop a language learning plan for each learner. The plan:
    • is based on an evaluation of the employee's existing knowledge and ability to learn the second language;
    • recommends the starting point, the pace of learning and estimated duration of training; and
    • describes the learning objectives and the process for evaluating their attainment.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? Kellogg's was one of the first companies to see the advantages of marketing to Canadians in the official language of their choice. In 1907, just one year after it was founded and some 60 years before the Official Languages Act was passed, this U.S. corporation decided—completely of its own volition, despite popular belief—to print information in both English and French on its cereal boxes sold in Canada.
  • Did you know? St. John's is the commercial and political capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. According to one theory on the origin of its name, John Cabot founded it the night of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
  • Did you know? The Port-au-Port peninsula is where the first French fishermen settled. It is considered to be the cradle of the Francophonie in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Did you know? Louisbourg, Nova Scotia is the site where the French came after ceding Acadia and Newfoundland to the British. Today, it holds the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America.
  • Did you know? Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia is a town located near the original site of Port-Royal, a colony established in the beginning of the 17th century by the French. It was the capital of Nova Scotia until Halifax was founded in 1749.
  • Did you know? The town of Church Point, Nova Scotia is located in the region with the largest concentration of Acadians in Nova Scotia. The main campus of the province's only Francophone post-secondary institution, Université Sainte-Anne, is also located here.

Choice of Training Service Providers

  • The institution uses the Public Works and Government Services Canada standing offers for the region in question to identify a qualified service provider.
  • The institution uses various service providers, as needed.
  • The institution develops a process for evaluating independent service providers.
  • The institution hires one or more permanent qualified teachers for the workplace to meet various needs.
  • A smaller institution or regional office signs an agreement in principle with other institutions in order to share their resources and create a critical mass of learners. The regional federal council may facilitate this sharing.
  • An institution with a language training centre accepts employees from other federal institutions, on a cost-recovery basis, to optimize its investment.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? The Evangeline Region in Prince Edward Island is mostly made up of people of Acadian ancestry and where singer Angèle Arsenault comes from.
  • Did you know? Moncton, New Brunswick is the birthplace of the singer and actor Marie-Jo Thério, who has written a song in its honour.
  • Did you know? Fredericton, New Brunswick is the capital of the only officially bilingual province in Canada.
  • Did you know? Magdalen Islands in Quebec are an isolated archipelago located in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence with a population of 13,000 people, the majority of whom are of Acadian origin. About 6% of the population is Anglophone, mostly of Scottish origin.
  • Did you know? The oldest daily newspaper in North America is an English-language newspaper, published in Québec City. It is the Chronicle Telegraph.
  • Did you know? Singer-songwriters Sam Roberts, Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen and Patrick Watson launched their careers in Montréal, Quebec.
  • Did you know? The University of Ottawa is a bilingual university attended by some 40,000 students.

Language Retention Activities

  • The institution provides resources and organizes activities that allow employees to maintain their language skills, such as:
    • mentoring: employees can have colleagues act as their mentor in their second language;
    • pairing: Anglophone and Francophone employees who are learning their second language participate in exchange activities;
    • practice groups;
    • grammar workshops;
    • intensive short-term training;
    • lunchtime conferences or discussions and French Lunch;
    • Let's Speak English / Parlons français days;
    • Toastmasters clubs;
    • movie lunches;
    • radio listening or television watching sessions;
    • reading newspapers or magazines; and
    • pins that say Help me improve my English (or French) or I want to improve my English (or French).
  • The institution offers ad hoc activities to strengthen second-language skills, such as:
    • second-language practice groups;
    • grammar workshops; and
    • short, intensive training courses.
  • Senior management, supervisors, the official languages division or the language training unit, and Human Resources inform and remind employees about the language retention resources available in the institution and on-line.
  • The institution takes measures to promote the use of both official languages in its offices, such as:
    • work meetings in both languages;
    • employee activities in both languages;
    • name tags identifying employees who can speak both languages; and
    • pins for employees that say Help me improve my English (or French) or I want to improve my English (or French).
  • The employee participates in social activities, or activities or courses of personal interest that take place in his or her second language outside working hours.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? Sudbury, Ontario is a city where one can find Collège Boréal, Laurentian University and an over-sized reproduction of the five-cent coin.
  • Did you know? Hearst, Ontario is the moose capital of Canada. This town of approximately 6,000 inhabitants, 89% of whom are Francophone, organizes a comedy festival each year.
  • Did you know? Saint-Boniface/Winnipeg is where the oldest French-language theatre company in Canada, le Cercle Molière, performs. It is also the birthplace of Gabrielle Roy and the location of the Festival du Voyageur, which has taken place annually since 1970.
  • Did you know? Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Manitoba, is a village of approximately 600 inhabitants of French, Swiss and Canadian origins, 98% of whom speak French. It is located south-west of Winnipeg.
  • Did you know? Prince Albert is the third-largest city in Saskatchewan, founded by the Reverend James Nisbet and currently home to approximately 2,000 Francophones.
  • Did you know? Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, has been the home of the only private Francophone college in Western Canada and is named in honour of its founder, Father Gravel. Its inhabitants come from other Canadian provinces, the United States and Europe.

Data Collection

  • The institution keeps a record of its language training activities.
  • The record includes data on:
    • the number of employees in language training;
    • the duration of language training;
    • the number of hours of language training taken by each employee;
    • employees' progress through the levels and the expiration dates for results;
    • the types of training offered (mandatory, professional development, retention);
    • the method used (individual or group courses, at the service provider's facilities, at the workplace or through distance learning, full-time or part-time);
    • service providers;
    • procurement methods (Public Works and Government Services Canada's standing offer, institution's standing offer, calls for tenders, sole sourcing, internal trainer);
    • service delivery costs; and
    • cost of replacing employees in training.

Did you know?

Question Mark
  • Did you know? Founded by Francophones, the town of Legal, Alberta, is famous today for its murals, which depict its Francophone heritage.
  • Did you know? Edmonton, Alberta is home to the Campus Saint-Jean, the Cité francophone and the Francophone Bonnie Doon district.
  • Did you know? Maillardville, British Columbia, is a community founded in 1909 by Francophones from Sherbrooke, Quebec and Rockland, Ontario. The Festival du Bois is celebrated here every year.
  • Did you know? Vancouver, British Colombia is where the Festival d'été francophone, one of the biggest cultural events for the Canadian Francophonie west of Ontario, takes place. It welcomed Francophones and francophiles from the world during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
  • Did you know? Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is home to approximately 700 Francophones. This city grew following the discovery of gold in the 1930s. Today, it thrives because of natural resources such as ore, oil and diamonds.
  • Did you know? Francophones have left a number of emblematic monuments as a legacy to the city of Victoria, British Columbia: Saint Joseph's Hospital, St. Ann's Academy, the Driard Hotel and Fort Victoria.