Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Retention of New Teachers in Minority French and French Immersion Programs in Manitoba

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Retention of New Teachers in Minority French and French Immersion Programs in Manitoba

Article excerpt

There is a shortage of teachers in Canada qualified to teach in French; some researchers have suggested that this shortage is due to attrition. This study examined the retention in Manitoba of new teachers qualified to teach in French. Participants were 130 graduates from the only French teacher education program in the province. Attrition was minimal for these graduates. Through questionnaires and a small set of interviews, participants indicated that support from their colleagues and their experience-based pre-service training program facilitated their integration into the profession. They recommended mentorship programs and more attentive administrators to further enhance integration.

Key words: beginning teachers, teacher retention, pre-service training, mentorship, French Education

Il y a une penurie de professeurs de francais qualifies au Canada; certains chercheurs l'expliquent par l'attrition. Cette etude porte sur le maintien en poste des nouveaux professeurs de francais qualifies au Manitoba. Les participants etaient 130 etudiants diplomes du seul programme de formation a l'enseignement du francais dans cette province. L'attrition etait minimale pour ces etudiants. Dans les questionnaires et les quelques entrevues effectuees, les participants ont indique que l'appui de leurs collegues et leur programme de formation initiale avaient facilite leur integration dans la profession. Ils ont recommande que des programmes de mentorat soient instaures et que les directions d'ecole soient plus attentives aux besoins des nouveaux professeurs en vue d'ameliorer leur integration.

Mots cles: enseignants debutants, maintien en poste des enseignants, stage de formation, mentorat, enseignement du francais

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Although English and French are the official languages in Canada, reflecting its linguistic duality, a shortage exists of teachers qualified for minority, French first-language schools (Gilbert, LeTouze, Theriault, & Landry, 2005) and for French immersion programs (Canadian Parents for French, 2004; Veilleux et Trites, 2005). However, almost no literature explains the penury in these two particular contexts. Some U.S. researchers such as Darling-Hammond (2003) and Ingersoll and Smith (2003) suggest that teacher shortages are related to new teachers leaving the profession in the first five years of their career. Considering the importance of these two programs in contributing to the development of Canada's linguistic duality, it is important that educators begin to better understand the reality surrounding the availability of teachers.

The current study examined the challenges facing new teachers who graduated from the only French teacher education program in Manitoba: their attrition rate, the factors that facilitated their integration into the profession, and ways to better support them. In Manitoba, the College universitaire de Saint-Boniface (CUSB) has the provincial mandate to prepare all new teachers who will teach in French in the province. As a result, the majority of new teachers hired in Manitoba to teach in minority French first-language schools and in French immersion programs are graduates of the French pre-service teacher education program offered at the CUSB (M. Bilodeau, personal communication, June 3, 2009). Graduates from 2001 to 2005 were asked to complete questionnaires and some were selected to participate in follow-up interviews.

Minority French language schools are for French first-language students living in anglophone dominated Canada, whereas French immersion programs are for non-French-speaking students in French language schools. Ali provinces except Alberta and Nova Scotia report shortages of qualified teachers in French immersion (Canadian Parents for French, 2006). Shortages of qualified teachers in minority French first-language schools are reported particularly in rural areas and in specialized fields such as special education and guidance (Gilbert, LeTouze, Theriault, & Landry, 2005). …

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