Chateauguay students have no French teacher, learn using Rosetta Stone

Quand les anglophones se plaignent de ne pas avoir suffisamment de cours de français

Grade 11 student Andrew Gagnon has had his struggles in French class, but lately his marks have never been so high.
Since November, Gagnon and his peers have been without a French teacher. The substitute? A computer and Rosetta Stone computer software.
Even though Andrew isn’t strong in French, he noticed when his Rosetta Stone French classes started that it was far below his level.
“It starts off with really easy things like saying ‘bonjour,’” he explained.
Andrew is in the alternative program at Howard S. Billings High School in Chateauguay, and they’ve had had an exceptionally difficult time with French teachers this year.
According to the school board, since September, two have left on maternity leaves, one on paternity leave and a fourth did not work out.
The Rosetta Stone classes, supervised by someone who isn’t a French teacher, started in late November. Andrew’s mother Nancy Landrigan said she wasn’t notified about the change.
“I said to him a few weeks ago, ‘You know, I noticed you haven't had any homework in French, are you sure everything is okay?’ And he said ‘Oh of course we don't have homework we don't even have a teacher’ and I was floored,” she said.
The school board says it's doing everything it can to find a new teacher.
“It's difficult especially at this time of the year. It's even more difficult with an alternative type of program,” explained Rob Butters, director general of the New Frontiers School Board.
Andrew's mom worries her son will fail the final exam, which is a ministry exam for secondary five students.
“According to the education act, they are supposed to have a minimum, a minimum of 100 hours of French language education. If I look in that Rosetta Stone program since the beginning of December … the maximum that any kid has had on Rosetta Stone was five hours,” Landrigan said.
The school board insists students will get their one hundred hours and will be prepared for the exam.

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