“How am I supposed to teach them French when they can’t even speak English?”: Unpacking the Myth of English Proficiency as a Prerequisite for French Immersion

STEPHEN DAVIS, McGill University

ABSTRACT. French immersion in Saskatchewan has traditionally served predominantly Anglophone student populations; however, recent trends in immigration have contributed to increasingly diverse linguistic backgrounds of students throughout the province. The high levels of motivation, family support, and academic achievement of Allophone students learning French as an additional language in Canada have been documented extensively (Dagenais & Jacquet, 2000; Mady, 2013b, 2015). However, Allophone learners often face greater obstacles accessing French immersion programs throughout Canada than their Anglophone peers, and such students are sometimes excluded on the basis of their supposedly lacking English proficiency (Roy, 2015). Indeed, many teachers believe that French immersion is an unsuitable program for Allophone students, and school administrators sometimes discourage families from enrolling due to limited English language ability (Lapkin, MacFarlane, & Vandergrift, 2006; Mady & Masson, 2018). Through online surveys and semi-structured interviews, this mixed-methods study explored educators’ perspectives on the perceived suitability of French immersion for Allophone students in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the extent to which English proficiency is perceived as a determinant of success in the program. In this article, I share the findings of this study, unpack the beliefs of French immersion educators in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and offer recommendations for such programs in order to provide a diverse student population with equitable education and support.

RÉSUMÉ. Historiquement, les élèves anglophones nés au Canada sont ceux qui ont le plus fréquenté les programmes d’immersion française en Saskatchewan dans le but de développer des compétences langagières et scolaires dans les deux langues officielles du Canada. Cependant, on observe une hétérogénéisation de la population d’élèves inscrits dans ce programme grâce à une augmentation récente de l’immigration dans la province contribuant à sa diversité grandissante tant sur le plan linguistique que culturel. Plusieurs études ont examiné la motivation des élèves allophones envers l’apprentissage du français au Canada, leur capacité à acquérir simultanément le français et l’anglais, et l’importance que leurs familles accordent au multilinguisme (Dagenais & Jacquet, 2000; Mady, 2013b, 2015). Malgré leur succès bien documenté en immersion, les élèves allophones sont parfois exclus de ces programmes à cause de leur niveau jugé insuffisant en anglais (Roy, 2015). Plusieurs enseignants considèrent que l’immersion française n’est pas un programme approprié aux besoins des apprenants allophones, et les administrateurs d’écoles vont parfois jusqu’à décourager leurs familles de les y inscrire (Lapkin, MacFarlane, & Vandergrift, 2006; Mady & Masson, 2018). Cette recherche vise à explorer divers discours au sujet des élèves allophones en immersion française ainsi que l’importance accordée à leurs compétences langagières en anglais. L’étude adopte une méthodologie mixte, menée par l’entremise de questionnaires et d’entretiens, afin d’examiner les perspectives d’enseignants et de directeurs, tous provenant de plusieurs écoles de Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Cette étude disséminera les résultats de la recherche, ainsi que certaines recommandations pour les programmes d’immersion dans le but d’offrir une éducation équitable à une population de diversité croissante.

Keywords: FSL, French immersion, Allophone, inclusive education, multilingualism.


Notwithstanding the diversity of languages spoken by Indigenous communities and newcomer populations throughout Canada, the country’s linguistic identity has been shaped significantly by a nationaldiscourse of dualism between its two official languages, English and French (Haque, 2012). Thus, language programs in Canada have traditionally provided French instruction for students whose first language is English (Anglophones) and English instruction for students whose first language is French (Francophones) (Roy, 2010). However, the imagined binary of Anglophones and Francophones in Canada has been criticized within the field of sociolinguistics for failing to recognize the growing number of citizens who speak a first language that is neither English nor French (Lamarre, 2002). The increase of such students (hereafter referred to as Allophones) in Canada has critical implications for French immersion; indeed, such learners are sometimes excluded from immersion on the basis of their limited English language proficiency, as documented by Roy (2015) in the province of Alberta. In this article, I explore the perspectives of educators (teachers and principals) on the suitability of French immersion for Allophone students in Saskatchewan, and examine the widespread myth of English fluency as a prerequisite for success in French immersion programs. 


French immersion originated in St. Lambert, a predominantly English-speaking suburb of Montréal, Québec, in 1965, in response to the concerns of Anglophone parents who felt that their children were ill-equipped to compete in the increasingly French-dominant workforce of the province (Lambert & Tucker, 1972). In addition to serving the political goal of preparing Anglophone children to work in French, the program embodied a pedagogical shift towards content-driven language education, which has yielded positive learning outcomes. Specifically, Lyster (2008) noted that French immersion students develop curricular knowledge and skills that are equivalent to those of non-immersion learners studying in English; Genesee and Lindholm-Leary (2013) found that French immersion students regularly outperform core French students in areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking; and Lindholm-Leary and Genesee (2014) reported that immersion students attain English language abilities similar to or greater than those of learners in regular English programs. In Saskatchewan, there are currently 85 public schools offering French immersion, and demand for the program is increasing (Bonjour SK, 2018). Learners often begin French immersion in Kindergarten or Grade 1, but some school divisions offer late French immersion programs in Grades 6 and 7 (Saskatchewan School Boards Association, 2017). French immersion programs are united in their endeavour to provide French language instruction to learners of diverse linguistic backgrounds, and prior exposure to French is not required for enrolment or success.  


Anglophones make up the vast majority of Saskatchewan’s population (82.4%), whereas Francophones represent only 1.4% of the province; thus, French is clearly a minority language in Saskatchewan, demographically (Government of Saskatchewan, 2017). In terms of Indigenous languages, Plains Cree and Dene represent the third and seventh most commonly spoken first languages in Saskatchewan, respectively (Government of Saskatchewan, 2011). Importantly, the number of Allophones is rising throughout the province, largely as a result of increased immigration. Specifically, the population of Saskatchewan residents who claim a first language other than English or French is 14.5%, up from 12.7% in 2011 (Government of Saskatchewan, 2017). The five most common first languages of Saskatchewan newcomers in recent years were Tagalog (26%), Chinese (8%), Punjabi (8%), English (8%), and Gujarati (6%) (Government of Saskatchewan, 2014).


Official Language Education Policy for Allophone Students

The Government of Canada has stated that increasing the number of citizens who are bilingual in the country’s official languages, French and English, is a high priority. To this end, three federal policy documents, The Next Act: New Momentum for Canada’s Linguistic Duality (2003), Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the future (2013), and Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future (2018), advance the goal of increasing the rate of official language bilingualism throughout the country. Nevertheless, there is little policy in place to support Allophone students learning both official languages (Galiev, 2013). Specifically, Mady and Turnbull (2010) noted that in English-dominant regions of the country, “immigrants must learn English, but their access to also learn French at school is not guaranteed by Federal policy documents” (p. 5). Indeed, although the Government of Canada promotes official-language bilingualism for its citizens, the extent to which it has addressed this goal for Allophones is negligible. Likewise, official language bilingualism as it pertains to Allophone learners is seldom discussed at the provincial or territorial level, and there is significant discrepancy amongst provinces and territories as to whether French education is mandatory or optional (Mady & Black, 2011). Notably, Saskatchewan students are not required to study French or other languages beyond English, and there is no policy that ensures the inclusion of Allophones in the study of languages other than English. 

Allophone Perspectives and Outcomes in French Language Education

Regardless of the absence of policy support, the motivation and success of Allophone students studying French in English-dominant regions of the country have been documented extensively in recent studies. Mady (2010) found that newcomer Allophone students in core French programs viewed official language bilingualism as an indispensable element of Canadian identity, whereas their Canadian-born Anglophone peers were less likely to espouse this view. Similarly, Carr (2013) noted that many Allophone parents considered French-English bilingualism a valuable avenue towards their children developing a sense of Canadian identity, due primarily to the official status of the two languages. Moreover, Allophone learners are more likely than their Anglophone counterparts to believe that official-language bilingualism will provide employment opportunities in the future (Dagenais & Jacquet, 2000; Dagenais & Berron, 2001; Mady, 2003). In summary, Allophone students and families are often highly motivated to learn both French and English in Canada, both for intrinsic reasons pertaining to identity, and for extrinsic reasons, such as economic opportunity. 

In addition to the strong motivation of Allophone families to pursue official language bilingualism, Allophone students often attain noteworthy academic achievement and language proficiency. Carr (2007) found that Allophone students who study French and English simultaneously developed higher English language proficiency than those who were only studying English. Bérubé and Marinova-Todd (2012) concluded that Allophone students with alphabetic first languages were at no disadvantage learning French compared to Anglophone learners. Mady (2007) reported that the French language skills of newcomer Allophone students in core French programs in Ontario were stronger than those of Canadian-born students, even though the Allophones in question had received significantly less instructional time. Subsequently, Mady (2015) observed stronger French language abilities amongst newcomer Allophone students in French immersion than their Canadian-born Anglophone and Canadian-born multilingual classmates, both at the elementary and secondary levels. Mady’s study advanced the important notion of there being an advantage to learning languages, not only for Allophone students in immersion, but for newcomer Allophones in particular. Thus, the language repertoires of Allophone students should not be viewed through a lens of deficiency in language learning programs (García, 2002); rather, such learners tend to have distinct advantages compared to their Anglophone peers, including high motivation and prior language learning experience.

Perspectives of French Language Educators

In light of Allophone families’ high motivation for attaining official language bilingualism through French immersion, and the demonstrable successes of such their children in the program, it would seem to follow that educators would embrace the growing presence of Allophone learners in French-language programs. However, several studies that have examined the perspectives of French teachers and principals have found that educators sometimes espouse exclusionary views towards Allophone students. In a survey that examined the beliefs of 1,305 teachers in different French language programs throughout Canada, participants indicated that student diversity was among the greatest challenges they faced as educators, noting specifically the increase of Allophone learners (Lapkin, MacFarlane, & Vandergrift, 2006). Furthermore, Mady (2013a) found that, in Ontario, immersion teachers were generally less inclusive of Allophone students than were core French teachers. Specifically, several French immersion teachers believed that immersion was too difficult for Allophone students and would instead recommend core French for such learners, with the rationale that the students should develop English language skills before studying French (Mady, 2011). In a more recent study that examined the perspectives of principals in Ontario, Mady and Masson (2018) found that participants expressed divergent views with respect to their roles as gatekeepers in French immersion programs. Notably, principals interviewed in their study disagreed as to whether Allophone students should attain a high level of English proficiency before beginning immersion programs, and some corroborated previous research by suggesting that core French would be more appropriate for such learners. Evidently, the diverse perspectives of teachers and principals regarding the perceived suitability of French immersion for Allophone students underscore the contentious nature of this issue. In terms of research on Allophone learners in immersion programs, it is also noteworthy that, as Mady and Turnbull (2012) indicated, “the few studies that exist have almost all been completed in Ontario or in larger urban centers where many immigrants live” (p. 134), and that many regions of Canada remain unexamined.

Mady and Arnett (2016) explored the perspectives of teacher candidates for French language programsand compared the experiences of teacher candidates in core French and French immersion programs with their university curricula. This revealed significant learning gaps about Allophones, as “the vast majority (7 out of 9 or 78%) could not access any scientific knowledge about these students and their learning needs” (p. 87). Indeed, the disconnect between the theoretical learning and practical experience of French-language teacher candidates in regards to Allophones is disconcerting and must be addressed in light of the increasing student diversity in such programs today.  


Research Questions

In this article, I report on a subset of the data from a broader research project that explored the perspectives of diverse stakeholders concerning the perceived suitability of French immersion for Allophone learners in Saskatchewan (Davis, 2017). The juxtapositions between the beliefs and experiences of educators and Allophone parents are documented more fully in Davis, Ballinger, and Sarkar (in press). In this article, I focus specifically on educators’ beliefs with respect to the importance of English proficiency in immersion and respond to the following research questions: 

  1. What are the beliefs of educators regarding the importance of Allophone students attaining English language proficiency before beginning French immersion?
  2. How do the beliefs of educators regarding the role of English proficiency affect gatekeeping decisions for Allophone students in French immersion?

In order to respond to the selected research questions, I used the methodological framework of a convergent parallel methods design (Creswell, 2014). Specifically, I used online surveys and semi-structured interviews concurrently to generate both quantitative and qualitative data. The rationale for this mixed-methods approach was that the questionnaires would provide quantitative data from larger populations of the stakeholder groups—in this case, teachers and principals—whereas the interviews would generate qualitative data for more thorough analysis of the perspectives and experiences of smaller samples of French immersion educators.

Survey Methods

I was invited to recruit teachers and principals from five elementary schools that offer French immersion programs within the same school board in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Subsequently, I distributed the survey to educators by email. The survey was completed by 56 participants. The following definitions were included in the questionnaire to ensure a mutual understanding of terminology: “In this survey, the term ‘Anglophone’ refers to a student whose first language is English, whereas the term ‘Allophone’ refers to a student whose first language is neither English nor French.” The survey consisted of three demographic questions and 20 five-point Likert-scale statements. Each survey item included a comment box where participants could elaborate on their answers. 

Interview Methods

During the same time period that teachers and principals were completing the online questionnaire (i.e., October to December 2016), I conducted 43 semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews with educators from the same survey population. Participants were interviewed in their respective schools, with the exception of one teacher who was interviewed via Skype. I transcribed and analyzed the interviews with NVivo and assigned pseudonyms to participants. With respect to analysis, I interpreted the survey and interview data concurrently for the purposes of triangulation. I used descriptive statistics to analyze the quantitative questionnaire data, and thematic coding to interpret trends that emerged from the qualitative survey comments and interview data. Specifically, the four themes that emerged in the analysis were as follows: first, the importance of learning English and French in Saskatchewan; second, the perceived role of English language ability in Allophone language learning; third, gatekeeping practices and beliefs in French immersion; and fourth, English language support for Allophone students in immersion. 


Demographic Information

The survey began with demographic questions about the educators’ teaching experiences and careers. Participants were asked to select the answer that best represented their professional position, presented in Table 1 below. Participants included teachers from different grade levels, as well as six principals or vice principals. 

Primary Years Teacher (Kindergarten – Grade 2)1730.36%
Middle Years Teacher (Grade 3 – 5)1425.00%
Senior Years Teacher (Grade 6 – 8)1017.86%
Resource Teacher35.36%
General/Specialist Teacher35.36%
Teacher Librarian11.79%

Table 1: Educators’ Current Position 

Respondents also specified the number of years they had been teaching in French immersion programs, as seen in Table 2 below. 

Years TeachingNumber of teachersPercentage
1 – 53053.57%
6 – 101221.43%
11 – 1535.36%
16 – 2058.93%
21 – 2511.79%
26 – 3035.36%

Table 2: Number of Years Teaching

French immersion teachers from a range of grade levels participated in the study, in addition to six principals or vice principals. Moreover, although participants had varying experience teaching in French immersion programs, the majority had been teaching for fewer than six years at the time of the study. In the next four sections, I present the interview and survey findings according to the four themes that emerged in the analysis. 

The Importance of Learning English and French in Saskatchewan

The questionnaire included two items on the beliefs of French immersion teachers and principals with respect to the importance of learning English and French (Table 3) for Allophone students in Saskatchewan. 

Table 3: Importance of Learning English and French

Evidently, the educators demonstrated that although it was beneficial for Allophone students to learn both languages, the importance of learning English was paramount. In the interviews, participants added nuance to the belief that learning English was considered to be of greater importance than learning French, as seen below:

I just think, give them a head-start in the language that they’re going to hear and use most of the time in Saskatoon, which is going to be English, and then let them get to grips with that, get ahead with that, see how well they’re succeeding in the learning.

(Andrea, Grade 2 Teacher)

I think it makes sense to first master the language that you need to get by in Saskatchewan. And French is awesome, and it’s going to be really useful in life. So, get it, but just make sure that you get that one that you need to survive first, I think.

(Jocelyne, Grade 2 Teacher)

The data from both the survey and interviews indicate that certain teachers believe that although it is worthwhile for Allophone students to learn French, there is greater urgency to learn English because of its pervasiveness throughout Saskatchewan.  

In the interviews, I asked teachers and principals why they thought Allophone families were enrolling their children in immersion. Several of them stated that Allophone families were interested in French immersion because of the official status of the language in Canada:

I think that when they come to this country, they really believe that, you know, we have two official languages and that it’s important—very important—for them to learn those two languages. I don’t know, like, people that are from this country—it’s not that they forget about the French, but they just—I don’t know. It’s almost like people coming from these other countries value it way more, coming in. They go, ‘Oh, it’s French and English! You need to do both! This is important!’.

(Britney, Grade 2 Teacher)

You know, they want to embrace the culture of Canada, and they say, ‘Well, we are a dual-language country and so we feel like it’s important for our child to learn the two official languages of this country. That’s often the statement that I get, like, ‘This country speaks French and English. We want our children speaking both of those languages’.

(Josephine, Vice Principal)

In summary, French immersion educators generally considered learning English to be of greater importance than learning French for Allophone students in Saskatchewan, but also noted the significant motivation of such families to learn both official languages. 

The Role of English Proficiency in Allophone Language Learning

The second theme that emerged in my analysis of the data was the role of English language ability in the language learning of Allophones in French immersion. Survey results indicated that the respondents were divided in their belief that Allophone students require a high level of English proficiency before learning French and that Allophone students should focus on learning English before learning French (Table 4, below). 

Table 4: Role of English Proficiency in Allophone Language Learning

Interview responses corroborated the survey results, as seen in the following excerpts:

Well, I think if they’re, if they’re increasing their fluency and doing a lot better with their reading, I think that fosters a love for reading, right? So, if they’re doing well in that, I think it’s just going to transfer over to English as well.

(Wallace, Grade 2 Teacher)

I’m not of the opinion that languages confuse each other; I think languages clarify each other, you know?

(Darius, Principal)

Furthermore, some participants stated that Allophones with limited English proficiency often made a greater effort to speak French in class than their Anglophone classmates: 

Generally, I find those students actually speak in French more at school than English-speaking students because they don’t necessarily have the English to revert to.

(Lindsey, Grade 3 Teacher)

I think, too, they know that most of us teachers are also English speakers, and so they default to that quickly, whereas I do not speak Urdu. I do not speak multiple languages other than French or English, and so to default to that doesn’t really help us converse or understand each other better. And so, I just find that they try harder in French, because it’s the one thing that we might have in common.

(Jada, Vice Principal)

Indeed, many participants affirmed the language learning aptitude of Allophones, citing the motivation of such students to speak in French and their ability to transfer their learning between languages.

Conversely, several interview participants argued that, in fact, Allophone students should focus on developing some English language proficiency before enrolling in immersion. For instance, some teachers suggested that the late French immersion program was a more prudent choice for Allophone learners than early immersion, insofar as students would acquire English abilities over several years before studying French in Grade 6:  

I think the ideal would be core French and then do late French immersion. I think that’s a perfect transition. Like, get your English, which is, like, what you need to survive in Saskatchewan, and then you can still get French immersion and catch up. 

(Jennifer, Grade 2 Teacher)

With an English language knowledge base, we’re able to relate a lot of the sentence structures and stuff like that to English, which can help them scaffold into their knowledge of French. And I think not having that common base can prove challenging.

(Jesse, Grade 6 Late French Immersion Teacher)

There is some leaning upon English that is used, and if you have no English, then, you know, you don’t have that crutch.

(Carl, Grade 7 late French immersion Teacher)

Finally, one participant even shared that his colleagues believed it was impossible to teach a student French who had no prior English language abilities:

I’ve heard some teachers in the staff room here saying, ‘How am I supposed to teach them French when they can’t speak English?’. 

(Kevin, Resource Teacher)

Indeed, there was a notable range of opinions amongst educators with respect to the necessity of prior English language proficiency for Allophones in French immersion. 

The Inclusion of Allophones in French Immersion

In this section, I share the results of teacher and principal perspectives regarding the inclusion of Allophone learners in immersion. Participants were asked whether they believed that Allophone students should be included in immersion and whether they believed that immersion was a suitable program for such learners (see Table 5, below). 

Table 5: Including Allophones in French Immersion 

The data indicate that the vast majority of educators believed that Allophone students should be included in French immersion and that this was a suitable program for such learners. In the interviews, several principals shared that French immersion was historically an elitist instructional stream that excluded Allophone learners, but that such students were included in immersion programs today: 

And the attitude of French immersion not being just an elite program—regardless of what we said it was—it was always kind of an elite, you know, upper-middle-class program. And, you know, if a kid struggles, then you just move them out of French immersion, and if you don’t speak English, well, then you can’t come into French because you don’t speak English. And I still have dealt with that here in the last few years where teachers say, ‘Oh, it would be better if they went and learned English first’.

(Darius, Principal) 

I’m seeing it being less and less of an elitist program. I’ve lived that, you know, that whole attitude for the last 15-20 years. I’m seeing it less and less, and I like that. I think that as long as we’re providing the proper supports for these children, like we would for any program, then there’s no reason why we can’t have students with special needs or Allophones coming in and learning another, like, learning French as opposed to just English.

(Josephine, Vice Principal)

In summary, most participants expressed that French immersion was a suitable program for Allophone students, and several educators indicated that the acceptance of such learners was indicative of a recent trend toward more inclusive attitudes about Allophones in immersion programs.

In the survey, I also asked participants about their beliefs regarding their roles as gatekeepers in immersion, such as whether they would discourage Allophone families from enrolling their children in French immersion and whether they would recommend immersion to a student with limited English proficiency (see Table 6, below). 

Table 6: Educators as Gatekeepers to Immersion

While responses to the first question suggest that the majority of educators affirm the inclusion of Allophones in immersion, the next question generated more negative responses.

In the interviews, some participants noted a disconnect between the school board’s inclusion of Allophones and their own beliefs, as seen in the following interview excerpt:

But then the other thing is that they, oftentimes in many divisions, push French immersion as being for everybody. ‘French immersion is for everyone! French immersion is for everyone! Anyone can take French immersion!’ I just don’t think that’s true! As I said, if you’re already struggling with your first language or your second language, we’re not doing you any favours by starting you on a third, in my opinion. You know? Like, if you’re already struggling with English, or you’re already struggling with Spanish or Urdu, or whatever language you speak, then adding a third is just making less space in your brain, you know?

(Billy, Grade 7 late French immersion Teacher)

Additionally, some educators stated that they would not recommend French immersion for Allophones facing challenges beyond the classroom, such as Syrian refugee students:  

I think a lot of the ones we’ve been getting, like, we’ve gotten lots of families from Syria at this school. I think they’re just struggling to, you know, have proper clothing and lunches. I just think they think, you know, let’s. . . I mean, it’s an old fact, I mean, obviously if they’re teaching in French, it’s just another stress at home, and I think we should just look at it as ‘Let’s learn English first’. 

(Britney, Grade 2 Teacher)

The survey results seem to indicate that participants were generally supportive of including Allophone learners in French immersion, but interview data suggest that the inclusion of Allophones in immersion should be contingent upon their English language proficiency. 

Language Support for Allophones in French Immersion

Participants’ views concerning the language learning support offered to Allophone learners in French immersion also emerged as a theme in my analysis. First, participants were asked whether they believed that Allophone students received sufficient homework support in immersion (Table 7, below). 

Table 7: Support for Allophones in Immersion

Responses varied with respect to the homework support Allophone students received. The divergent results regarding support for homework were reflected in the interview data as well. Notably, some educators affirmed the ability of Allophone families to support their children with their learning, whereas others believed that such families struggled to provide meaningful support, as seen in the following example:

I would say that there would be some difficulty for families to support them in French and in English, because most of our Canadian families have a little bit, Sesame StreetFrench, at the very least, you know? And I think that they can support a little bit differently. Even if they don’t feel bilingual or fluent, they still have knowledge of the French language, whereas some of our Allophone families may have none.

(Yolanda, Principal)

Evidently, although some participants believe that Allophone families supported their children in their language learning, others felt that such families were unable to provide adequate support due to their own lack of English and French proficiency. 

In a similar vein, the survey asked participants about their beliefs with respect to the language resources and support Allophone students received in French immersion programs (see Table 7, above). Whereas the results for this item were divergent amongst survey respondents, interview participants were united in their concern with the limited Resource teacher support provided for at-risk students in French immersion: 

You know, the struggles that some of our kids have are very real, and, you know, the teachers within the classroom, the framework of the classroom, can only do so much, and are doing their very best. But I would definitely advocate for more Resource within French immersion, for sure.

(Phoebe, Grade 2 Teacher)

I would love to be able to say to every family, ‘Absolutely, French is the right place for you,’ and the reason I think that some people can’t say that is because we don’t have as much Resource support.

(Julie, Grade 3 Teacher)

The perception that French immersion learners do not receive sufficient Resource teacher support was a central finding of the present study and was underscored by many participants as a majorshortcoming of the school board’s efforts to create more inclusive immersion programs.

Moreover, participants were demonstrably divided as to whether Allophone students received sufficient English instruction in French immersion (see Table 7, above). Specifically, some teachers agreed that students were given sufficient support, whereas others suggested that the lack of formal English instruction was mitigated by ample exposure to the language beyond the classroom. In contrast, more participants felt that that Allophones should receive greater English language support in French immersion and that this instruction should begin before Grade 3, the accepted practice of the school board. The survey comment below provides greater insight into this pervasive belief:

English is not even provided until grade 3, and at that point it is less about the mechanics of the language and more about how to analyze stories, how to present, etc. The program assumes that students are English speakers who are simply refining their English skills, as opposed to Allophone students receiving instruction for the first time, and for only 50 minutes a day.

(Jennifer, Grade 2 Teacher)

Similarly, there was a common belief that English as Additional Language (EAL) support, an educational service intended specifically for Allophone learners, should be offered to such students in French immersion programs prior to Grade 3, as seen in the following interview excerpts: 

We tried accessing it [EAL] this year for a boy in Grade 2 who does not speak English really well or French. His first language is Serbian, so he has difficulty expressing himself in English and French, which is the two languages we speak here. So, there are some communication gaps with him. We tried seeing if we could access EAL services for him, but we can’t access that until Grade 3.

(Carmen, Resource Teacher)

Support in EAL would be huge for these families. And all it really does is become a disincentive for them to go into French immersion. When a new family, when Syrian families are arriving, and they say, ‘We’d like to go into French immersion,’ and I say, ‘You’re more than welcome, but just so you know, there’s no English language support until the end of Grade 2,’ that becomes a roadblock to them, you know?

(Darius, Principal)

In summary, my study found divergent views regarding the English language support Allophone students receive in immersion, and a feeling that the lack of English instruction dissuaded Allophone families from considering French immersion. 


In this article, I explored the perspectives of teachers and principals concerning the perceived suitability of French immersion for Allophone learners with respect to the role of English language proficiency and whether these beliefs impact their beliefs about the inclusion of Allophones in immersion programs in Saskatoon. The survey and interviews began with questions measuring the perceived importance of learning English and French in Saskatchewan. Although participants indicated that it was worthwhile for Allophone students to learn both languages, there was significantly more urgency expressed for the learning of English than for French. This distinction was due to the prevalence of English in Saskatchewan and the perception that the language is essential for everyday life; in contrast, participants noted that French might afford advantages in terms of employment opportunities, but that proficiency was not necessary for survival in the province. 

There are several interpretations of participants’ prioritization of the learning of English over the learning of French for Allophone learners. First, several educators expressed that it was advantageous to learn multiple languages sequentially, rather than simultaneously. For instance, some participants suggested that learning English and French concurrently would be overwhelming for Allophone learners, as the two languages would be competing for finite cognitive resources. Additionally, for some educators, there is a specific order in which Allophones should learn the two languages, and that English should be used for scaffolding in French immersion. This belief is at the root of one teacher’s question: “How am I supposed to teach them French when they can’t speak English?” Finally, some educators stated that Allophone students should attain English fluency before beginning immersion in order to better communicate with their English-speaking classmates, citing the example of Syrian refugee children. The notion that communication barriers might preclude Allophone families from enrolling in French immersion seems particularly dubious; indeed, any challenges Allophone learners might experience communicating in English would be equally present in non-immersion programs.             

Whether participants believe that languages are better learned sequentially than simultaneously, or that English is necessary for scaffolding when learning French, such views likely stem from educators’ personal experiences with language learning (Cicurel, 2011). Insofar as all teacher interview participants were either Anglophones who had learned French as a second language or Francophones who had learned English as a second language, it follows that they would likely advocate for sequential language learning over simultaneous language learning. Additionally, some teachers might use English for scaffolding in French immersion simply because English and French are the only two languages in which they can reliably make cross-linguistic connections. Thus, educators who recommend that Allophones learn English before French may believe they are acting in the best interest of the students. However, such beliefs unfairly exclude learners from French immersion for reasons entirely unsubstantiated by research, disregarding the growing body of empirical research that demonstrates that Allophone students often experience distinct advantages learning additional languages because of their diverse linguistic repertoires (Bérubé & Marinova-Todd, 2012; Carr, 2007; Herdina & Jessner, 2002; Izquierdo & Collins, 2008; Mady, 2007, 2015). Therefore, while certain multilingual instructional strategies have been effective in French immersion programs and merit further consideration, the extent to which some pedagogical practices privilege English to the detriment of other languages could be considered inequitable and discriminatory.

As it pertains to the second research question that focuses on the inclusion and exclusion of Allophone students in French immersion, there were several findings about the gatekeeping roles that educators play. First, most participants affirmed that Allophones should be included in immersion, and that the perception of the program as suitable for such learners is a recent trend in the school board. Nevertheless, participants were conflicted about whether they would recommend French immersion for a student with limited English proficiency, which suggests that, for some educators, the perceived suitability of immersion for Allophone students is contingent upon their English abilities. This belief corroborates Roy’s(2015) findings with respect to the exclusion of Allophones on the basis of ostensiblyinsufficient English proficiency. Furthermore, there are evidently divergent beliefs amongst teachers and principals regarding the perceived suitability of the program for such learners and the gatekeeping roles that educators believe they should play. This discrepancy of views amongst educators is symptomatic of a school board and province with no discernable policy for the inclusion of Allophones in language education (Mady, 2007). Indeed, the creation and implementation of evidence-based policy for Allophone students would ensure the inclusion of such learners in language education programs and prevent the arbitrary and inequitable practices endemic to Saskatchewan today.  

This study has shown that the relationship between the resources provided for Allophones in French immersion and the gatekeeping practices of educators present an interesting dynamic. Specifically, several participants stated that they were reluctant to recommend immersion for Allophone students because of the lack of resources allocated to the program, citing minimal Resource teachersupport and EAL support in particular. It is important to note that Resource teacher support is not offered exclusively for Allophones, but rather provides support for learners of all linguistic backgrounds. Thus, the notion that insufficient Resource teachersupport in French immersion should preclude Allophone families from enrolling in the program is without merit. However, the fact that French immersion programs often provide less Resource teachersupport than non-immersion instructional streams is still deeply problematic insofar as the disparity serves to perpetuate the perception of elitism that has long characterized immersion. To the extent that participants believe that students receive less Resource teacher support in French immersion than they would receive in other programs, and to the extent that some educators perceive Allophones as at-risk learners, it follows that certain teachers consider immersion to be unsuitable for Allophone learners. Additionally, several participants stated that the school board policy that prevents Allophone students from accessing EAL support before Grade 3 deters such families from considering immersion in the first place. Thus, educators argued that EAL support should be provided for students in earlier grades to ensure their inclusion and success in the program. In summary, the data I have shared in this article suggest that many teachers and principals are theoretically supportive of the inclusion of Allophone learners in French immersion, but that the lack of resources offered for such students leads educators to consider excluding them under the assumption that Allophone learners require greater support than is offered in immersion.  


In this article, I examined the beliefs of French immersion teachers and principals in Saskatoon, vis-à-vis the perceived suitability of immersion for Allophone learners and the role of English language proficiency in the program. The findings of the study contribute to the growing body of research that examines Allophone students in French language programs throughout Canada. Although the number of survey participants in the present study is quite small compared to previous questionnaire-based research, such as Lapkin, MacFarlane, and Vandergrift (2006), this limitation is mitigated by the fact that the majority of French immersion teachers and principals in the school board participated in surveys and interviews. Furthermore, the research site was itself important, insofar as the perspectives of educators regarding Allophones in immersion had not previously been explored in Saskatchewan (Mady & Turnbull, 2012). 

In this article, I have advanced several important recommendations for the future of French immersion programs in Saskatchewan. First and foremost, it is critically important for the school division and the Government of Saskatchewan to create policies to ensure equitable access to immersion and other language education programs for Allophone learners throughout the province. Furthermore, my research found that educators believe that greater support is needed for students in French immersion programs. Thus, I strongly recommend that the school board allocate a full-time French immersion Resource teacher in all schools with immersion programs, which would provide learning support for all learners, irrespective of home languages. Furthermore, several educators advocated for Allophone students to be able to access EAL support prior to Grade 3. The extent to which the school division does not offer full-time Resource or EAL support for all French immersion learners erroneously suggests that such support systems are unnecessary in the program, further perpetuating the elitist notion that French immersion is most appropriate for academically gifted, English-speaking learners. If indeed French immersion is suitable for all students, it is high time for school boards to provide the necessary support for all learners to succeed. 

In future research, I would suggest that further attention be given to the perceived suitability of French immersion for Allophone learners, both in Saskatchewan and beyond. Whereas some studies have documented the gatekeeping practices of French immersion principals and kindergarten teachers (Mady & Masson, 2018), researchers might consider exploring this topic in late French immersion programs, given that such programs are also common entry points for immersion students. Moreover, the perspectives and practices of French immersion teachers and principals at the secondary level also warrant further attention. Additionally, research examining policy creation and implementation in French language programs is required (Mady & Turnbull, 2012). Finally, future studies must also explore the underrepresentation of different student demographics in French immersion programs, such as First Nations, Inuit, and Métis learners. Specifically, French immersion programs should be examined through the lens of LangCrit, or Critical Language and Race Theory (Crump, 2014), which would shed light on the intersection language and race in exclusionary practices or ideologies in school boards and classes. Finally, I hope that the present study might encourage researchers and educators alike to explore and implement policies and practices that would foster a more diverse and inclusive immersion in the future. 


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Les défis et les réussites de l’intégration des perspectives autochtones en éducation : synthèse des connaissances dans les recherches menées au Canada

ISABELLE CÔTÉ, Université Simon Fraser

RÉSUMÉ. Dans le cadre de notre recherche doctorale et dans le contexte actuel de réconciliation, nous nous intéressons aux défis et aux réussites liés à l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres et dans les programmes d’études (maternelle-12eannée) de la Colombie-Britannique. Cela nous a amenée à faire une première recension des écrits en anglais et en français sur les recherches menées au Canada. Dans cet article, nous présentons les résultats de cette recension des écrits en mettant l’accent sur les défis et les réussites communs et distincts rencontrés dans les programmes de formation des maitres et dans les programmes d’études (M-12). Quatre défis communs ressortent de l’analyse des résultats : (1) des connaissances très limitées de l’histoire coloniale du Canada, (2) les difficultés d’une réflexion critique sur la décolonisation de l’éducation, (3) l’ajout parfois artificiel des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes d’études et dans la formation et (4) le manque de ressources matérielles et humaines. Du côté des réussites, deux ont émergé de l’analyse des résultats : (1) l’importance de la création et de la redéfinition des relations avec les communautés autochtones, les Ainés et les alliés, et (2) l’utilisation de la littérature comme porte d’entrée à l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes. Les résultats montrent également deux défis distincts : (1) le besoin de formation continue dans les programmes scolaires (M-12) et (2) la question de la légitimité des éducateurs allochtones dans la formation des maitres.

ABSTRACT. In the current context of Reconciliation, this doctoral research aims to understand the successes and challenges of integrating Indigenous perspectives in teacher education and K-12 programs in British Columbia. A literature review of Canadian-based research was curated to include in both English and French sources. The results of this review are presented herein and focus on both the common and distinct successes and challenges found in integrating Indigenous perspectives within teacher education and K-12 programs. The analysis yielded four common challenges: (1) a very limited knowledge of Canada’s colonial history; (2) difficulties engaging in critical reflection on decolonizing education; (3) the sometimes artificial addition of Indigenous perspectives in curricula; and (4) a lack of material resources and manpower. In terms of common successes, (1) an emphasis on creating and redefining relationships with Indigenous communities, Elders, and allies; and (2) the use of literature as a gateway were both observed as a means of integrating Indigenous perspectives into the two programs. The results also found two distinct challenges in said programs: (1) the need for in-service professional development (K-12 programs), and (2) the question of legitimacy regarding non-Indigenous instructors in teacher education. 

Mots-clés : perspectives autochtones, éducation, réconciliation, décolonisation, formation des maitres, formation continue.


Dans le contexte de la réconciliation au Canada, les questions en éducation prennent un angle nouveau pour les Canadiens allochtones[i]. En effet, la publication du rapport de la Commission vérité et réconciliation (CVR, 2015) a créé un effet catalyseur sur les questions touchant à des domaines clés tels que la justice, la santé et l’éducation. Le mandat de cette commission est double. D’une part, elle vise à informer les Canadiens sur les torts subis par les Autochtones[ii]dans les pensionnats canadiens et les séquelles intergénérationnelles qui y sont liées. D’autre part, elle veut inspirer un processus de réconciliation « au sein des familles autochtones, et entre les Autochtones et les communautés allochtones, les Églises, les gouvernements et les Canadiens en général », et ce, dans une optique de renouvèlement des relations sur la base d’un respect mutuel (CVR, 2015, p. 37). Dans le contexte de la formation des maitres et des programmes scolaires (M-12), nous nous intéressons particulièrement aux questions liées à l’éducation et à ce que signifie un renouvèlement des relations entre les peuples autochtones et non-autochtones dans ce domaine. Cela est d’autant plus important puisque, selon le juge Sinclair (2012; CVR, 2015), si l’éducation joue un rôle fondamental dans le processus d’assimilation culturelle des peuples autochtones du Canada, c’est également parl’éducation que peut être entamé le processus de réconciliation nationale. En effet, pour qu’il y ait une réelle réconciliation au Canada, un long processus de décolonisation de l’éducation doit s’opérer (Battiste, 2013; CVR, 2015) ; plusieurs chercheurs et éducateurs s’entendent d’ailleurs pour dire que la décolonisation de l’éducation n’est pas que pour les Canadiens-autochtones, mais bien pour tous les Canadiens (Battiste, 2013; Dion, 2009; Regan, 2010; Scully, 2015; Styres, 2017; Tupper, 2011). 

En Colombie-Britannique (C.-B.), une des approches à la réconciliation en éducation est l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes de formation des maitres (depuis 2012) et, depuis 2016, dans les programmes scolaires (M-12) (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2016). Dans le cadre de notre recherche doctorale, nous souhaitons notamment répondre à la question suivante : quels sont les défis rencontrés et les réussites observées dans l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres et les programmes scolaires (M-12)? Dans notre démarche de recherche, nous avons remarqué le manque de synthèse des connaissances sur cette thématique. L’objectif de cet article est donc de présenter les résultats d’une première recension des recherches menées en français et en anglais au Canada sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres et dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). Dans la première partie de cet article, nous définissons tout d’abord deux concepts : les perspectives autochtones et la décolonisation. Ensuite, nous présentons la méthodologie de notre recension des écrits ; suivront les résultats des recherches en formation initiale et dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). Puis, dans la section des résultats, nous discutons les défis et les réussites qui sont communs et distincts au programme de formation des enseignants et aux programmes scolaires (M-12). Nous terminons avec une discussion qui explorent certaines pistes de recherche.


Lorsqu’on parle de décolonisation de l’éducation, on se réfère à « la recherche de la déconstruction des structures idéologiques, législatives, opérationnelles, textuelles et [des] autres formes de structures institutionnalisées qui maintiennent l’inégalité dans les relations de pouvoir entre les Autochtones du Canada et les Canadiens non-autochtones » [traduction libre] (Binda et Calliou, 2001, p. 2). Dans les programmes de formation des maitres et dans les programme scolaires (M-12), la décolonisation est, d’une part, la reconnaissance que le système d’éducation canadien a été fondé pour renforcer la place des Allochtones dans le projet de colonisation du Canada (Battell Lowman et Barker; 2015; Battiste, 2013; Donald, 2009; Regan, 2010; Tupper, 2014). D’autre part, la décolonisation de l’éducation demande à ce que les Allochtones passent d’un positionnement « d’apprendresur » à « apprendre des » Autochtones (Battiste, 2013; Binda et Caillou, 2001; Dion, 2009; Donald, 2009; Regan, 2010; Smith, 2001; Styres, 2017; Tanaka, 2016). 

Pour passer d’un apprentissage surles Autochtones à un apprentissage de leurs savoirs, il est nécessaire d’intégrer leurs perspectives[iii]dans la formation des maitres et dans les programmes d’étude (M-12). Comment dès lors définir les perspectives autochtones? Il existe en effet différentes manières de conceptualiser l’épistémologie autochtone, et elles peuvent différer entre nations (BC Ministry of Education, 2016). Cela dit, toutes sont profondément ancrées dans « l’interconnectivité entre les dimensions physiques, mentales, émotionnelles et spirituelles de l’individu avec les êtres vivants, la Terre, les étoiles et l’univers » [traduction libre] (Lavallée, 2009, p. 23 cité dans Battiste, 2013, p. 75). Une autre manière de concevoir l’épistémologie autochtone est de comprendre son approche holistique de l’éducation, fondée sur multiples relations : la relation entre la pensée linéaire et l’intuition, entre le corps et l’esprit, entre les différents domaines de connaissances, entre l’individu et sa collectivité, entre le moi et l’Autre (Smith, 2001). En d’autres mots, l’interconnectivité et les relations sont au cœur des savoirs autochtones (Battiste, 2013; First Nation Education Steering Committee, 2016; Styres, 2017). 


Pour procéder à notre recension de la littérature, nous avons choisi de faire une recherche de type documentaire (Gauthier et Bourgeois, 2016; Karsenti et Savoie-Zajc, 2011). Notre recherche s’est dès lors déroulée en quatre étapes. Premièrement, nous avons fait une recherche en français ainsi qu’une recherche en anglais, afin de faire ressortir les études menées dans les deux langues du Canada. Ensuite, nous avons lu les documents et les avons classés en deux catégories : les documents qui portent sur (1) la formation des maitres et (2) l’enseignement des perspectives autochtones dans les écoles (M-12). Puis, pour les deux catégories, nous avons analysé les thèmes et les avons regroupés en fonction des défis ou des réussites dans l’intégration des perspectives autochtones. Finalement, nous avons regroupé, d’un côté, les défis qui sont les mêmes dans la formation des maitres et dans les programmes d’études et, de l’autre, ceux qui sont uniques à l’un ou à l’autre de ces domaines.  

Pour trouver les articles recensés, nous avons utilisé les bases de données de recherche francophones Repère, Erudit, Education Source(EBSCO) et ERIC (ProQuest) et avons utilisé les mots-clés suivants : décolonisation et éducation, décolonisation et enseignement, perspectives autochtones et éducation, perspectives autochtones et enseignement, réconciliation  et éducation, réconciliation et enseignement, Autochtones et décolonisation, Autochtones et réconciliation, formation des maitres et réconciliation, formation des maitres et décolonisation,  formation initiale et perspectives autochtones, formation continue et perspectives autochtones.Ensuite, sur les plateformes Education Source(EBSCO) et ERIC (ProQuest), nous avons fait la recherche en anglais, et ce, avec les mots-clés suivants : decolonization et Educationdecolonization et teaching, Indigenous perspectives ou Aboriginal perspectives et teaching, reconciliation et education, reconciliation et teaching, Indigenous ou Aboriginal et decolonization, Indigenous ou Aboriginal et reconciliationteacher education et reconciliation, teacher education et decolonization

À partir des publications trouvées avec les mots-clés, nous avons retenu les articles de recherche qui traitent de l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres au niveau universitaire et dans les écoles (M-12) au Canada. Les critères de sélection que nous avons utilisés sont au nombre de quatre : les articles devaient (1) cibler le contexte canadien, (2) intégrer des perspectives autochtones dans un programme destiné à l’ensemble des élèves et des étudiants-maitres (et non seulement ciblé pour une population autochtone), (3) être publiés entre 2000 et 2018, et (4) inclure des études empiriques ou l’analyse d’autres documents tels que l’analyse documentaire de livres, de curricula provinciaux et de rapports. Nous avons toutefois écarté les mémoires, les thèses, les livres, les communications et les conférences, les articles culturels et les articles de journaux.

Nous avons choisi de filtrer les publications sur la période de 2000 à 2018 parce que l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres et des programmes scolaires (M-12) pour l’ensemble de la population est relativement récente au Canada. Dans cette perspective, nous n’avons également pas retenu des recherches telles que celles d’Allain, Demers et Pelletier (2016), Lavoie et Blanchet (2017) et Lavoie, Mark et Jenniss (2014) parce qu’elles traitent de l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans l’apprentissage du français langue seconde dans des communautés autochtones. Ce qui nous intéresse dans notre recherche, c’est l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes scolaires (M-12) et la formation des maitres pour tous les Canadiens. En terminant, nous trouvons important de souligner que les bases de données ne sont pas exhaustives. Nous avons donc retenu deux autres textes que nous connaissons et qui répondent à nos critères de sélection.


Pour la recension des écrits, nous avons retenu 44 articles, un en français (DeRoy-Ringuette, 2018) et 43 en anglais. Pour ce qui est de l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des enseignants, les résultats montrent que des recherches ont été menées dans plusieurs provinces au Canada, dont en C.-B., en Alberta, au Manitoba, en Saskatchewan, en Ontario et à Terre-Neuve/Labrador. Puisque l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres est assez récente, nous remarquons qu’un des principaux objectifs des publications est d’expliquer quelles sont les initiatives qui ont été prises dans diverses facultés d’éducation au pays. Nous pouvons constater que ces celles-ci varient d’un établissement à l’autre puisqu’il n’existe pas de modèle d’intégration des perspectives autochtones uniforme. Par exemple, les écrits expliquent que certaines facultés optent pour l’intégration d’un cours pour les étudiants-maitres (Butler, Ng-A-Fook, Vaudrin-Charette, et McFadden, 2015[iv];  Deer, 2013; Kerr , 2014; Kerr et Parent, 2015; Kitchen et Raynor, 2013; Hare, 2015; Marom, 2016; Nardozi, Restoule, Broad, Steele, et James, 2014; Schneider, 2015; Scully, 2012,  2015; Sterzuk, 2010; Taylor, 2014), d’autres offrent des cours thématiques en option (Kennedy, 2009; Tanaka et al., 2007), tandis que certains établissements adoptent un modèle d’infusion à travers tous les cours du programme de formation (Dénommé-Welch et Montero, 2014; Leddy et Turner, 2016; Tupper, 2011; Vetter et Blimkie; 2011). Deux autres recherches recensées se concentrent plus spécifiquement sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans un cours de didactique des sciences humaines (den Heyer, 2009; Tupper, 2014). Finalement, une dernière recherche se penche sur la formation continue des formateurs (Korteweg, Gonzalez et Guillet, 2010).

Du côté de l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes scolaires (M-12), nous avons répertorié sept articles portant sur la formation continue (Butler et al., 2015; Dion, 2007; Gebhard, 2017; Kanu; 2005; Root, 2010; Strong-Wilson, 2007; Wiltse, Johnston, et Yang, 2014), deux recherches sur le curriculum en général (St-Denis, 2011; Torres, 2010) et treize autres qui se concentrent plus spécifiquement sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les disciplines scolaires, dont les sciences humaines (Butler et al., 2015; Couture, 2017; Cutrara, 2018; Godlewska, Rose, Schaefli, Freake et Massey, 2017; McGregor, 2017), les sciences humaines et l’anglais (Hildelbrandt, K. et al., 2016; Tupper et Cappello, 2008), le français (DeRoy-Ringuette, 2018), les sciences (Betchel, 2016; Kim, 2015; Onuczko et Barker, 2012) et les mathématiques (Aikenhead, 2017; Russell et Chernoff, 2013). Puis, une dernière recherche porte plus spécifiquement sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans du contenu pédagogique en ligne (Iseke-Barnes et Sakai, 2003).

À la lumière de ces premiers résultats, nous constatons qu’il n’y a presque pas de recherches menées en français, avec une seule publication sur les 44 textes recensés.  Nous notons que la recherche sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones est un champ de recherche qui s’est développé du côté anglophone au Canada, mais que beaucoup de travail reste à faire en français. Nous observons également qu’il y a presque autant de recherches menées au niveau de la formation des maitres (22 textes) que dans les programmes scolaires (M-12) (24 textes). Dans la section qui suit, nous présentons d’abord une synthèse des défis répertoriés dans la formation des maitres et dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). Nous nous focaliserons ensuite sur une synthèse des réussites dans la formation des maitres et dans les programmes scolaires (M-12).

Les défis communs dans la formation des enseignants et dans les écoles (M-12)

Le premier défi que soulève toutes les recherches est le manque flagrant, chez les étudiants-maitres et les enseignants, de connaissances générales sur l’histoire de la colonisation du Canada, des enjeux spécifiques aux communautés autochtones et des effets qui perdurent toujours aujourd’hui (Dion, 2007; Gebhard, 2017; Scully, 2012,  2015; Sterzuk, 2010; Strong-Wilson, 2007; Taylor, 2014). D’ailleurs, dans trois des études répertoriées (Denommé-Welch et Montero, 2014; Nardozi et al. 2014; Tupper, 2011), les chercheurs ont fait un sondage sur les connaissances et les attitudes générales des étudiants-maitres au début de leur formation ou de leur cours respectif ; les résultats montrent une méconnaissance généralisée, qui se traduit parfois par de l’anxiété et un malaise (Deer, 2013; Denommé-Welch, 2014; Kerr et Parent, 2015; Nardozi et al. 2014). Pour les enseignants, cette anxiété viendrait du fait qu’ils ont peur de faire des erreurs et d’exposer leur propre ignorance de l’histoire du Canada et des savoirs autochtones (Root, 2010). De plus, un aspect qui contribue au malaise chez les enseignants est qu’il existerait un flou par rapport à la définition même ce qu’on entend par « perspectives autochtones » (Onuczko et Barker, 2012),

Le deuxième défi relève de la difficulté des étudiants-maitres et des enseignants à s’engager dans une réflexion sur la décolonisation de l’éducation. En effet, la majorité des recherches qui portent sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans la formation des maitres et les programmes scolaires font état des défis que rencontrent les étudiants-maitres et les enseignants allochtones, qui forment la majorité du corps enseignant au Canada, lorsqu’ils doivent réfléchir à la question de la dominance eurocentrée dans le système d’éducation (Den Heyer, 2009; Dénommé-Welch et Montero, 2014; Kerr et Parent, 2015; Nardozi et al. 2014; Schneider, 2015; Scully, 2015; Sterzuk, 2010; Strong-Wilson, 2007; Taylor, 2014; Tupper 2011). Pour les futurs enseignants et les enseignants, une des principales difficultés est de reconnaître que le curriculum n’est pas neutre. Tupper et Cappello (2008), citant les travaux d’Apple (1990, 1996), rappellent qu’historiquement, le curriculum a servi (et sert) toujours à établir, à enseigner et à défendre les structures sociale, culturelle et politique du groupe dominant. Selon Aikenhead (2017), Betchtel (2016), Onuczko et Barker (2012) et Russell et Chernoff (2013), cela est d’autant plus présent chez les enseignants de mathématiques et de sciences, qui perçoivent les connaissances scientifiques comme étant « neutres » et n’accordent que très peu de valeur aux savoirs autochtones. 

Dans un contexte de décolonisation de l’éducation, selon la recherche, il est important d’entamer une réflexion sur le privilège des Allochtones et leur position d’occupants du territoire auprès des étudiants-maitres et des enseignants (Kerr, 2014; Nardozi et al. 2014; Root, 2010; Scully, 2015; Strong-Wilson, 2007; Tupper, 2014). D’ailleurs, St-Denis (2011) analyse comment le discours sur le multiculturalisme renforce en fait la position du discours dominant dans l’éducation. En effet, plusieurs enseignants ne comprendraient pas les raisons pour lesquelles, dans une société multiculturelle, les élèves devraient avoir des interventions pédagogiques particulières sur les perspectives autochtones puisque les Autochtones sont souvent perçus comme une minorité culturelle parmi les autres. D’après les études, cela résulterait du discours sur le multiculturalisme dans lequel sont évacuées les questions importantes liées à l’occupation du territoire (St-Denis, 2011; Kerr 2014; Tupper, 2011).  

Le troisième défi qui ressort des résultats est l’ajout parfois superficiel des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes d’études en formation des enseignants et dans les curricula scolaires (M-12). Selon Deer (2013) et Kerr et Parent (2015), il peut être dangereux d’intégrer superficiellement les perspectives autochtones au curriculum existant sans à prime abord déconstruire la position eurocentrée des savoirs qui y sont véhiculés. Par exemple, dans une recherche menée sur le curriculum de sciences en Ontario, Kim (2015) fait ressortir que les savoirs autochtones sont présentés comme des savoirs culturels et non pas scientifiques. Cela contribuerait à renforcer le discours dominant de la « supériorité » des connaissances scientifiques eurocentrées. D’autres recherches en sciences humaines montrent comment les perspectives autochtones demeurent toujours en marge du discours officiel de l’histoire canadienne (Butler et al., 2015; Cutrara, 2018; Godlewska et al., 2017; McGregor, 2017). Toutefois, des chercheurs avancent que si l’intégration des perspectives autochtones est bien enseignée, l’expérience d’apprentissage des élèves autochtones et allochtones s’en trouve enrichie (Aikenhead, 2017; Betchtel, 2016; DeRoy-Ringuette, 2018; Russell et Chernoff, 2013; Torres, 2010). Dans cette optique, Betchel (2016) soutient que l’arrimage des connaissances eurocentrées et autochtones peuvent amener des solutions aux problèmes environnementaux auxquels le Canada fait face aujourd’hui. Par exemple, dans sa recherche, l’auteur(e) présente les enjeux de la gestion des troupeaux de caribous dans le nord de l’Alberta. En alliant les connaissances des Ainés autochtones et des chercheurs allochtones, il/elle a remarqué qu’il était possible d’envisager de meilleures solutions pour la protection des caribous.

Le quatrième défi qu’expose la recherche est le manque de ressources matérielles et humaines pour pouvoir bien intégrer les perspectives autochtones. Par exemple, Deer (2013) soulève le manque d’accès aux ressources comme une source d’inquiétude pour les étudiants-maitres. De leur côté, les enseignants soulignent également qu’il y a un besoin criant de ressources adaptées à différentes matières scolaires ainsi qu’à différents niveaux, ce qui rend l’intégration des perspectives autochtones plus difficile à faire lors de la planification (Aikenhead, 2017; Betchel, 2016; Couture, 2017; Kanu 2005; Onuczko et Barker, 2012; Russell et Chernoff, 2013). Par ailleurs, il est important de noter que dans certains cas, les ressources existantes contribueraient à renforcer le discours colonial, au lieu d’intégrer les perspectives autochtones de manière authentique (Iseke-Barnes et Sakai, 2003).

En plus des ressources pédagogiques, les enseignants et les formateurs commentent le besoin de ressources humaines, c’est-à-dire des contacts avec des communautés et des Ainés autochtones qui pourraient appuyer l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans différentes matières, dans les écoles et à la formation des enseignants (Betchel, 2016; Butler et al., 2015; Couture, 2017; Onuczko et Barker, 2012; Root, 2010).

Défi spécifique à la formation des maitres 

Un défi beaucoup plus explicité dans la recherche sur la formation des enseignants est celui du sentiment de légitimité des formateurs allochtones (Hare, 2015; Kerr, 2014; Marom, 2016; Scully, 2015). L’insécurité de ces derniers qui enseignent le cours sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones provient principalement du questionnement des étudiants-maitres au sujet de l’authenticité des connaissances de leur formateur. Kerr (2014) et Scully (2015), deux formatrices allochtones alliées[v], abordent comment elles doivent expliciter leur démarche et reconnaissent, auprès de leurs étudiants, leurs propres privilèges dans le contexte colonial canadien. Elles doivent modeler avec les étudiants-maitres comment créer un espace interculturel où elles déconstruisent et reconstruisent leurs savoirs. De son côté, Marom (2016) s’engage dans une réflexion critique sur sa propre expérience comme canadienne d’origine immigrante et nouvelle occupante du territoire ainsi que son rôle comme enseignante à la formation des maitres. Marom (2016) en conclut que la manière de gérer les tensions liées à son identité est de les exposer explicitement aux étudiants-maitres. Selon Hare (2015), avoir des instructeurs allochtones alliés est important pour que les étudiants-maitres non-autochtones puissent voir qu’il est possible d’apprendre et de comprendre les perspectives autochtones sans être soi-même autochtone. 

Défi spécifique au contexte scolaire (M-12)

Un défi soulevé du côté des programmes scolaires (M-12) est le besoin de formation continue des enseignants. Le développement de ressources matérielles ne suffirait pas sans formation adéquate (Aikenhead, 2017; Betchel, 2016; Gebhard, 2017; Kanu; 2005;  Root, 2010; Russell et Chernoff, 2013). Dans certains cas, ce manque de formation se traduit par des enseignants qui, sans s’en rendre compte, renforcent le discours colonial au lieu de le déconstruire (Gebhard, 2017). Pour une intégration réussie des perspectives autochtones, la formation continue resterait essentielle puisque la décolonisation de l’éducation est un processus long et complexe (Kerr, 2014; Root, 2010).

Les réussites communes dans la formation des enseignants et dans les écoles (M-12)

La première réussite observée dans les recherches est l’établissement de relations avec des communautés autochtones, des Ainés et des alliés allochtones. En effet, plusieurs recherches présentent la rencontre avec des Ainés autochtones et montrent que cela semble avoir eu un grand impact sur les représentations des étudiants-maitres (Butler et al., 2015; Hare, 2015; Kennedy, 2009; Kitchen et Raynor, 2013; Nardozi et al. 2014;  Schneider, 2015; Scully, 2015; Tanaka et al., 2007; Vetter et Blimkie, 2011), et des enseignants et leurs élèves (Betchel, 2016; Butler et al. 2015; Hildelbrandt et al. 2016; Root, 2010; Tupper et Cappello, 2008). Pour plusieurs d’entre eux (étudiants-maitres, enseignants et élèves), c’était la première fois qu’ils rencontraient un Ainé ou qu’ils allaient dans une communauté autochtone (Butler et al., 2015). 

Dans sa recherche, Root (2010) a découvert que la rencontre d’alliés allochtones a été aussi importante pour les participants que la rencontre des Ainés autochtones. En effet, le processus de décolonisation de l’éducation est complexe, voire difficile. Reconnaitre le rôle de l’éducation dans le génocide culturel des Autochtones (CVR, 2015) et les structures coloniales qui existent toujours au Canada peut soulever plusieurs émotions chez les enseignants allochtones. Pour eux, avoir des collègues allochtones qui comprennent ces émotions est rassurant. De plus, les alliés allochtones peuvent accompagner les enseignants dans l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes d’études, ainsi que gérer avec eux les erreurs et les difficultés qui viennent avec ces changements. Ces résultats de la recherche de Root (2010) font d’ailleurs écho aux recherches menées à la formation des maitres sur l’importance d’avoir des modèles d’éducateurs allochtones dans le processus de décolonisation de l’éducation (Hare, 2015; Kerr, 2014; Marom, 2016; Scully, 2015). 

Une autre manière d’aborder les relations entre les Autochtones et les Allochtones est l’enseignement critique de l’histoire des traités chez les étudiants-maitres, les enseignants et les élèves. Dans les études menées avec des étudiants-maitres (Tupper, 2011, 2014), et des enseignants et des élèves (Tupper et Cappello, 2008; Hildebrandt et al., 2016), les résultats montrent un début de déconstruction du discours dominant de l’histoire canadienne sur la colonisation de « vastes territoires inoccupés ». Étudier les traités de près amènerait une redéfinition chez les étudiants-maitres, les enseignants et les élèves relations entre Autochtones et Allochtones dans le contexte de décolonisation et de réconciliation.

Une autre approche pour aborder les questions de relations entre Autochtones et Allochtones est la pédagogie du lieu (place-based education). Celle-ci est ancrée dans le territoire où se trouvent les apprenants en prend appui sur l’environnement et les perspectives autochtones de cet environnement. Les résultats des recherches menées par Hare (2015), Root (2010) et Scully (2012, 2015) montrent que la pédagogie du lieu est une porte d’entrée efficace pour enseigner les perspectives autochtones aux étudiants-maitres, aux enseignants et aux élèves, qui apprennent donc à voir le territoire sous un nouvel angle. La redéfinition des relations avec le territoire amène à redéfinir les relations avec les communautés autochtones et à mieux comprendre leurs perspectives. 

La seconde réussite commune dans la formation des enseignants et dans les écoles (M-12) est l’utilisation de la littérature comme porte d’entrée aux discussions permettant l’intégration des perspectives autochtones et la décolonisation de l’éducation dans la formation des maitres (Dénommé-Welch et Montero, 2014; Taylor, 2014), la formation continue des formateurs (Korteweg, Gonzalez et Guillet, 2010) et la formation continue des enseignants (Dion, 2007; Strong-Wilson, 2007; Wiltse et al., 2014). Les résultats des différentes recherches montrent que la littérature se prête bien aux réflexions sur les représentations et l’enseignement des savoir traditionnels liés à la terre, à l’identité et à la langue. Par exemple, DeRoy-Ringuette (2018) avance qu’une meilleure intégration de la littérature de jeunesse autochtone en salle de classe est une façon d’ouvrir le chemin de la réconciliation puisque les élèves autochtones se voient ainsi représentés à l’école, tandis que les élèves allochtones apprennent et comprennent mieux les cultures et les perspectives autochtones. En ce sens, la littérature contemporaine autochtone offre une fenêtre pour les étudiants-maitres, les formateurs, les enseignants et les élèves pour contrer les stéréotypes et préjugés associés aux Autochtones (Wiltse et al., 2014). 

Réussite spécifique à la formation des maitres 

Une des réussites observées seulement à la formation des maitres est l’enseignement expérientielle des principes d’apprentissage autochtones. Les recherches de Tanaka et al. (2007) et Kennedy (2009) portent chacune sur un cours thématique offert à la faculté d’éducation d’une université en C.-B : un premier cours sur la sculpture Lekwungen et Loekwelthout d’un mât totémique (Tanaka et al., 2007) et un second sur la musique traditionnelle autochtone (Kennedy, 2009). Dans les recherches, les résultats sont semblables : les participants témoignent du pouvoir transformateur de l’apprentissage expérientiel d’une pédagogie autochtone. 

Sans être ancré dans un projet spécifique tel que le mât totémique ou la musique traditionnelle, Schneider (2015), éducatrice autochtone à la formation des maitres, conceptualise son cours sur le principe autochtone Ucwalmicw, principe ancré dans les relations avec soi et les autres. De leur côté, Leddy et Turner (2016) ont basé leur cours sur les sept principes d’apprentissage autochtones développés par des Ainés en C.-B (FNESC et FNSA, 2018[vi]), qui inclut, entres autres, les concepts d’identité et de relations et du territoire. Selon Leddy et Turner (2016), la mise en pratique des sept principes d’apprentissage autochtones, par l’entremise d’activités pédagogiques, semble être la meilleure façon d’enseigner ce que veulent dire les principes d’apprentissage autochtones. Dans une autre recherche menée par Kitchen et Raynor (2013), les chercheurs ont développé le cours en se basant sur la roue médicinale. Les résultats de la recherche montrent que les étudiants-maitres ont bénéficié de la conceptualisation de ce cours autour de la roue médicinale dans leur compréhension de l’enseignement des perspectives autochtones. Selon Kennedy (2009), Kitchen et Raynor (2013), Leddy et Turner (2016), Schneider (2015) et Tanaka et al. (2007), les étudiants-maitres apprennent les principes d’apprentissage autochtones lorsqu’ils sont vécus, ancrés de manière expérientielle dans les cours, et non pas enseignés strictement en tant que contenus cloisonnés. 


Les résultats du corpus étudiés en formation initiale et en contexte scolaire (M-12) nous ont permise de faire ressortir plus clairement quatre défis : 1) le manque de connaissances de l’histoire coloniale du Canada, 2) la résistance sur les questions de décolonisation de l’éducation, 3) les défis liés à l’ajout superficiel des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes d’études et 4) le besoin de ressources matérielles et humaines. Du côté des réussites, deux ont émergé de l’analyse des résultats, soit (1) l’importance de la création ou la redéfinition des relations avec les communautés autochtones, les Ainés et les alliés, et (2) l’utilisation de la littérature comme porte d’entrée à l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes. À la lumière des résultats sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes de formation des maitres et dans les programmes scolaires (M-12), nous proposons de nous arrêter aux différences notées dans les résultats au niveau des défis et des réussites puisqu’elles offrent des pistes de recherches sur des lacunes qui nous paraissent pertinentes.

Comme nous l’avons présenté dans les résultats, le manque de formation continue chez les enseignants dans les programmes scolaires (M-12) est un défi que plusieurs études ont cerné (Aikenhead, 2017; Betchel, 2016; Gebhard, 2017; Kanu 2005; Root, 2010; Russell et Chernoff, 2013; Wiltse et al., 2014). De plus, plusieurs études sur la gestion des changements en éducation montrent que la formation continue est essentielle à la mise en place de réformes (Carpentier, 2012; Darling-Hammond, 2009; Hargreaves, 2009; Rey, 2016). Toutefois, du côté de la formation continue des éducateurs dans les programmes de formation des maitres, nous constatons une lacune dans les connaissances scientifiques, avec une seule recherche répertoriée à ce sujet (Korteweg et al., 2010). Cela nous parait d’autant plus urgent que l’Association canadienne des doyens et doyennes d’éducation (ACDE), dans son renouvèlement de l’Accord sur la formation initiale à l’enseignement (2017), inclut une des recommandations explicites de la CVR pour les programme de formation des maitres ; elle « reconnait [donc] la centralité de la terre dans la vision et les enseignements autochtones, respecte les droits inhérents et la souveraineté des Autochtones, et soutient les Appels à l’action de la Commission Vérité et Réconciliation du Canada » [traduction libre] (p. 4)[vii]. Une première piste de recherche serait donc de mener des études sur la formation continue chez les formateurs dans les programmes de formation des maitres pour mieux comprendre comment se gèrent ces changements dans la pratique dans les facultés d’éducation. 

Une seconde piste de recherche serait d’analyser les manières dont les enseignants du système scolaire (M-12) intègrent l’apprentissage expérientiel des principes d’apprentissage autochtones. Du côté de la formation initiale, notre recension montre que l’apprentissage expérientiel des principes d’apprentissage autochtones semblent porter fruit chez les étudiants-maitres (Kennedy, 2009; Kitchen et Raynor, 2013; Leddy et Turner, 2016; Schneider, 2015; Tanaka et al., 2007). Cela dit, nous remarquons un manque de publication sur des pratiques semblables dans le contexte des programmes scolaires (M-12).

Une troisième piste de recherche serait d’explorer le rôle des alliés allochtones dans le processus de décolonisation de l’éducation dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). Nous faisons écho aux propos de Root (2010), qui reconnait ce défi en éducation. Elle affirme qu’il y a très peu d’écrits sur le processus de décolonisation des éducateurs allochtones. Nous nous demandons donc comment les alliés allochtones gèrent les tensions qui émergent du fait qu’ils sont des occupants du territoire tout en voulant ouvrir le dialogue et construire des relations avec les communautés autochtones. Comment les alliés allochtones peuvent-ils être des acteurs importants de changements au sein des écoles et les programmes de formation? Bien que l’importance de leur rôle soit mentionnée en contexte de formation des maitres (Hare, 2015; Kerr, 2014; Marom, 2016; Scully, 2015), une lacune importante existe au niveau des recherches dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). 

Une dernière piste de recherche repose sur le constat qu’il n’existe presque pas de recherche en français. Comme nous l’avons vu dans la section sur les résultats, avec nos critères de sélection, nous avons retenu un total de 44 articles, dont seulement un est en français. En effet, la recherche de DeRoy-Ringuette (2018) est la seule qui a été menée en français dans l’optique d’une intégration des perspectives pour l’ensemble des élèves, et ce, par le biais de la littérature autochtone. Cela nous amène à nous questionner quant aux raisons de cette absence de recherches faites, autant en contexte francophone majoritaire (Québec) que minoritaire (hors-Québec). On pourrait effectivement se questionner par rapport aux défis qui sous-tendent l’intégration des perspectives autochtones en contexte francophone. Voici donc quelques questions de recherches qui pourraient être explorées : en milieu minoritaire francophone, y-a-t-il des défis particuliers pour l’intégration des perspectives autochtones tout en jonglant avec les questions de la construction identitaire (Fédération culturelle canadienne française, 2009)? De quelles manières est-ce que la formation des maitres en milieu minoritaire prépare-t-elle les étudiants-maitre à l’intégration des perspectives autochtones? De quelles manières les Appels à l’action (CVR, 2015) sont-ils gérés au niveau des programmes scolaires et à la formation des enseignants en contexte majoritaire?


Cette recension des écrits sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes de formation des maitres et dans les programmes scolaires (M-12) nous permet de conclure qu’un travail important a été entamé dans les recherches menées en anglais au Canada depuis près de 20 ans. Du côté des recherches menées en français (en contexte majoritaire et minoritaire), le champ de recherche reste à développer. Avec une seule publication en français d’une recherche portant sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones pour le niveau élémentaire (DeRoy-Ringuette, 2018), nous concluons que ce champ de recherche reste entièrement à défricher. Dans la foulée des Appels à l’action (CVR, 2015) et les demandes de décolonisation de l’éducation pour tous les Canadiens, il y a d’abord un grand besoin de se pencher sur ce qui est fait (ou non) en milieu francophone minoritaire et majoritaire dans la formation des maitres, la formation continue des enseignants ainsi que dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). 

Les différences de défis et de réussites que nous avons observés dans les résultats nous ont amenée à réfléchir à de futures pistes de recherche qui comblerait des lacunes dans les connaissances sur la thématique étudiée. D’abord, nous constatons un besoin de meilleures connaissances sur la formation continue des formateurs dans les programmes de formation des maitres. Ensuite, nous remarquons l’importance de mieux comprendre le rôle des éducateurs allochtonesalliés dans le processus de décolonisation de l’éducation dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). Puis, nous trouvons prometteuse l’exploration des initiatives, des projets et des programmes incluant l’apprentissage expérientiel des principes d’apprentissage autochtones dans les écoles (M-12).


Aikenhead, G. S. (2017). Enhancing school mathematics culturally: A path of reconciliation. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education17(2), 73-140. 

Allain, A., Demers, P. et Pelletier, F. (2016). Techniques de l’enseignement traditionnel autochtone applicables à l’enseignement du français L2. Dans Eid, C., Daoust, V. et Bourassa, F. (dir.)Le Français langue seconde en fête: mythes, réalités et partage de bonnes pratiques. Reflets de l’AQEFLS, 33, 383-399.

Association canadienne des doyens et doyennes d’éducation. (2017). Accord sur la formation initiale à l’enseignement. Récupéré de http://csse-scee.ca/acde/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2017/08/Accord-sur-la-formation-enseignement.pdf

Battell Lowman, E. et Baker, A. J. (2015). Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21stCentury Canada. Halifax: Fernwood publishing. 

Battiste, M. (2013). Decolonizing education: Nourishing the learning spirit. Saskatoon, Canada : Purich Publishing.

Bechtel, R. r. (2016). Oral narratives: reconceptualising the turbulence between Indigenous perspectives and Eurocentric scientific views. Cultural Studies of Science Education11(2), 447-469. 

Binda, K. P. et Calliou, S. (2001). Aboriginal Education in Canada: A Study in Decolonization. Mississauga, Canada : Canadian Educator’s Press.

British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2016). Visions du monde et perspectives autochtones dans la salle de classe : aller de l’avant. Victoria, Canada : Crown Publications. Récupéré de https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/awp_moving_forward_fr.pdf

Butler, J. j., Ng-A-Fook, N. n., Vaudrin-Charette, J. j. et McFadden, F. f. (2015). Living between truth and reconciliation: Responsibilities, colonial institutions, and settler scholars. TCI: Transnational Curriculum Inquiry12(2), 44-63.

Carpentier, A. (2012). Les approches et les stratégies gouvernementales de mise en œuvre des politiques éducatives. Éducation et francophonie40(1), 12-31.

Commission vérité et Réconciliation Canada. (CVR) (2015). Honorer la vérité, réconcilier pour l’avenir : Sommaire du rapport final de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada. Ottawa : Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada. 

Couture, J. (2017). Hyper-activating inukshuks: The renewal of social studies in Alberta. Canadian Social Studies,49(1), 30-33.

Cutrara, S. A. (2018). The settler grammar of Canadian history curriculum: Why historical thinking is unable to respond to the TRC’s calls to action. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation, 41(1), 250-275.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2009). Teaching and the change wars: The professionalism hypothesis. Dans A. Hargreaves et M. Fullan. (Eds), Changes Wars (p. 45-68). Bloomington, IN : Solution Tree Press.

Deer, F. (2013). Integrating aboriginal perspectives in education: Perceptions of pre-service teachers. Canadian Journal of Education36(2), 175-211. 

den Heyer, K. (2009). Sticky points: Teacher educators re-examine their practice in light of a new Alberta social studies program and its inclusion of aboriginal perspectives. Teaching Education20(4), 343-355.

Dénommé-Welch, S. s. et Montero, M. K. (2014). De/colonizing preservice teacher education: Theatre of the academic absurd. Journal of Language and Literacy Education/ Ankara Universitesi SBF Dergisi, 10(1), 136-165.

DeRoy-Ringuette, R. (2018). Analyse comparative d’éléments paratextuels choisis chez deux auteurs autochtones pour la jeunesse et proposition de dispositifs didactiques en lecture pour une exploitation en classe. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation41(1), 385-412.

Dion, S. D. (2009). Braiding Histories: Learning from Aboriginal Peoples’ Experiences and Perspectives. Vancouver, Canada : UBC Press. 

Dion, S. D. (2007). Disrupting molded images: Identities, responsibilities and relationships—teachers and indigenous subject material. Teaching Education18(4), 329-342. 

Donald, D. (2009). Forts, curriculum and Indigenous métissage: Imagining decolonization of Aboriginal-Canadians relations in educational contexts.First Nations Perspectives, 2(1), 1-24.

Fédération culturelle canadienne française (2009). La trousse du passeur culturel. Ottawa: Fédération culturelle canadienne française. Récupéré de https://www.acelf.ca/media/outils-pedagogiques/Ressources-CCI-Passeur-culturel-2015.pdf

First Nation Education Steering Committee et First Nations School Association (FNESC et FNSA) (2018). English First Peoples : Grade 10-12 Teacher Resource Guide.Repéré à https://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/PUBLICATION-LFP-EFP-10-12-FINAL-2018-08-13.pdf

First Nations Education Steering Committee. (2016). Science First Peoples: Teacher Resource Guide Grades 5-9. Récupéré de http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PUBLICATION-61496-Science-First-Peoples-2016-Full-F-WEB.pdf

Gauthier, B. et Bourgeois Isabelle (Eds.). (2016). Recherche en sciences sociales : de la problématique à la collecte des données (6ème). Ste-Foy : PUQ. 

Gebhard, A. M. (2017). Reconciliation or racialization? Contemporary discourses about residential schools in the Canadian prairies. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation40(1), 1-30.

Godlewska, A., Rose, J., Schaefli, L., Freake, S. et Massey, J. (2017). First nations, métis and inuit presence in the Newfoundland and Labrador curriculum. Race, Ethnicity and Education,20(4), 446-462. 

Hare, J. (2015). “All of our responsibility”: Instructor experiences in the teaching of required Indigenous education coursework. Canadian Journal of Native Education38(1), 101-120.

Hargreaves, A. (2009). The fourth way of change: Towards an age of Inspiration and sustainability. Dans A. Hargreaves et M. Fullan. (Eds), Changes Wars(p. 11-43). Bloomington, IN : Solution Tree Press.

Hildebrandt, K., Lewis, P., Kreuger, C., Naytowhow, J., Tupper, J., Couros, A. et Montgomery, K. (2016). Digital storytelling for historical understanding: Treaty education for reconciliation. Journal of Social Science Education15(1), 17-26.

Iseke-Barnes, J. M. et Sakai, C. (2003). Indigenous knowledges, representations of Indigenous peoples on the Internet, and pedagogies in a case study in education: Questioning using the web to teach about Indigenous peoples. Journal of Educational Thought,37(2), 197-232.

Karsenti, T. et Savoie-Zajc, L. (2011, 3ème édition). La recherche en éducation. Étapes et approches. Québec, Canada : ERPI. 

Kanu, Y. (2005). Teachers’ perceptions of the integration of Aboriginal culture into the high school curriculum. Alberta journal of educational research51(1), 50-68.

Kennedy, M. m. (2009). Earthsongs: Indigenous ways of teaching and learning. International. Journal of Music Education,27(2), 169-182.

Kerr, J. et Parent, P. (2015). Being taught by Raven: A story of knowledges in teacher education. Canadian Journal of Native Education38(1), 62-79.

Kerr, J. (2014). Western epistemic dominance and colonial structures: Considerations for thought and practice in programs of teacher education. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society3(2).

Kim, E. A. (2015). Neo-colonialism in our schools: Representations of indigenous perspectives in Ontario science curricula. McGill Journal of Education50(1), 25.

Kitchen, J. et Raynor, M. (2013). Indigenizing teacher education: An action research project. Canadian Journal of Action Research14(3), 40-58.

Korteweg, L., Gonzalez, I. et Guillet, J. (2010). The stories are the people and the land: Three educators respond to environmental teachings in indigenous children’s literature. Environmental Education Research16(3), 20. 

Lavoie, C. et Blanchet, P.-A. (2017). Un modèle pédagogique inspire des traditions autochtones pour enseigner le récit de vie en classe. Dans Dumais, C., Bergeron, R., Pellerin, M. et C. Lavoie (dir.), L’Oral et son enseignement : pluralité des contextes linguistiques (p. 201-219). Québec, Canada : Éditions Paisaj.

Lavoie, C., Mark, M.-P. et Jenniss, B. (2014). Une démarche d’enseignement du vocabulaire contextualisé : l’exemple des Innus de la communauté autochtone d’Unamen Shipu au Québec. Dans M. Rispail et J-F. DePietro (eds). (p.199-214). L’enseignement du français à l’heure du plurilinguisme : vers une didactique contextualisée. Paris, France : AIRDF

Leddy, S. et Turner, S. (2016). Two voices on Aboriginal pedagogy: Sharpening the focus. Journal of The Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies14(2), 53-65.

Marom, L. L. (2016). A new immigrant experience of navigating multiculturalism and Indigenous content in teacher education. Canadian Journal of Higher Education46(4), 23-40.

McGregor, H. E. (2017). One classroom, two teachers? Historical thinking and Indigenous education in Canada. Critical Education8(14), 1-18.

Nardozi, A., Restoule, J. P., Broad, K., Steele, N. et James, U. (2014). Deepening knowledge to inspire action: Including aboriginal perspectives in teaching practice. Education19(3).

Onuczko, T. et Barker, S. (2012). Integrating Aboriginal perspectives: Issues and challenges faced by non-Aboriginal biology teachers. Alberta Science Education Journal42(2), 4-9.

Regan, P. (2010). Unsettling the settler within: Indian residential schools, truth telling, and reconciliation in Canada. Vancouver, Canada : UBC Press.

Rey, O. (2016). Le changement, c’est comment? Dossier de veille de l’IFÉ,107, janvier. Lyon : ENS de Lyon. Récupéré de http://ife.ens-lyon.fr/vst/DA-Veille/107-janvier-2016.pdf

Root, E. (2010). This Land is Our Land? This Land is Your Land: The Decolonizing Journeys of White Outdoor Environmental Educators. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education15, 103-119.

Russell, G. L. et Chernoff, E. J. (2013). The marginalisation of Indigenous students within school mathematics and the math wars: seeking resolutions within ethical spaces. Mathematics Education Research Journal25(1), 109-127.

Schneider, J. (2015). Ucwalmicw and Indigenous Pedagogies in Teacher Education Programs: Beginning, Proceeding, and Closing in Good Ways. Canadian Journal of Native Education,38(1), 39-61.

Scully, A. (2015). Unsettling place-based education: Whiteness and land in Indigenous education in Canadian teacher education. Canadian Journal of Native Education38(1), 80-100.

Scully, A. (2012). Decolonization, reinhabitation and reconciliation: Aboriginal and place-based education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education17, 148-158. 

Sinclair, J. (2012). Keynote -18th Annual Provincial Conference on Aboriginal Education. FNESC. Video. 41min. https://vimeo.com/54399099

Smith, M. (2001). Relevant curricula and school knowledge: New Horizons. Dans Binda, K.P. et Calliou, S. (dir.), Aboriginal education in Canada: A study in decolonization(p. 77-88). Mississauga, Canada : Canadian Educator’s Press.

St. Denis, V. (2011). Silencing Aboriginal curricular content and perspectives through multiculturalism: “There are other children here.” The Review of Education, Pedagogy et Cultural Studies33(4), 306-317.

Sterzuk, A. (2010). Indigenous English and Standard Language Ideology: Toward a Postcolonial View of English in Teacher Education. Canadian Journal of Native Education32, 100-155.

Strong-Wilson, T. (2007). Moving horizons: Exploring the role of stories in decolonizing the literacy education of white teachers. International Education37(1), 114-131.

Styres, S. D. (2017). Pathways for Remembering and Recognizing Indigenous Thought in Education: Philosophies of Iethi’nihsténha Ohwentsia’kékha (Land). Toronto, Canada : University of Toronto Press.

Tanaka, M. (2016). Re-envisioning (Teacher) Education. Dans Learning and Teaching Together: Weaving Indigenous Ways of Knowing into Education. Vancouver, Canada : UBC Press. 189-204.

Tanaka, M., Williams, L., Benoit, Y. J., Duggan, R. K., Moir, L. et Scarrow, J. C.(2007). Transforming pedagogies: Pre-service reflections on learning and teachingin an indigenous world. Teacher Development11(1), 99-109.

Taylor, L. (2014). Inheritance as intimate, implicated publics: Building practices of remembrance with future teachers in response to residential school survivor testimonial media and literature. Canadian Social Studies47(2), 110-126.

Torres, R. A. (2010). The Role of indigenous knowledge in the promotion of anti-racism education in schools. Our Schools / Our Selves19(3), 239-254.

Tuck, E. et Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society, 1(1), 1-40.

Tupper, J. A. (2014). The Possibilities for Reconciliation through Difficult Dialogues: Treaty Education as Peacebuilding. Curriculum Inquiry44(4), 469-488.

Tupper, J. A. (2011). Disrupting ignorance and settler identities: The challenges of preparing beginning teachers for treaty education. In Education, 17(3), 38-55.

Tupper, J. A. et Cappello, M. (2008). Teaching treaties as (un) usual narratives: disrupting the curricular commonsense. Curriculum Inquiry38(5), 559-578.

Vetter, D. M. et Blimkie, M. m. (2011). Learning to teach in a culturally responsive and respectful ways: The first steps in creating a First Nation, Métis and Inuit education infusion in a mainstream teacher education program. Canadian Journal of Native Studies,31(2), 173-185. 

Wiltse, L., Johnston, I. et Yang, K. (2014). Pushing comfort zones: promoting social justice through the teaching of Aboriginal Canadian literature. Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education21(3), 264-277. 

[i]Dans le cadre de cette recherche, le terme allochtone se réfère à tous les Canadiens qui ne sont pas autochtones, c’est-à-dire, aux descendants des premiers colonisateurs européens ainsi que tous ceux qui sont arrivés au Canada après la colonisation en tant que immigrants ou réfugiés.

[ii]Pour ne pas alourdir le texte, nous utiliserons le terme autochtonepour nous référer aux Premières nations, aux Autochtones non reconnus comme Premières nations, aux Métis et aux Inuits du Canada.

[iii]Root (2010) rappelle que les « perspectives autochtones » sont aussi reconnues comme « des visions du monde, des savoirs autochtones et des savoirs traditionnels » [traduction libre] (p. 105)

[iv]L’article de Butler et al. (2015) est divisé en sections qui traitent différents aspects de l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les programmes de formation des maitres et dans les programmes scolaires. Cela explique pourquoi il est mentionné dans trois catégories dans l’analyse des résultats dont une fois dans la formation des maitres et deux autres fois dans les programmes scolaires (M-12). Cela explique que la recension des écrits est de 44 textes, mais lorsque nous les catégorisons, nous avons un total de 46 textes.

[v]Les alliés allochtones sont des Canadiens qui travaillent avec les Autochtones dans le processus de décolonisation (Regan, 2010; Root, 2010).

[vi]FNESC et FNSA ont ajouté deux autres principes d’apprentissage autochtones. Dans la publication de 2018, nous en trouvons dorénavant neuf et non plus sept (p. 11). Les neuf principes d’apprentissage sont les suivants [Traduction libre du bureau et des programmes de services en français de la Fédération des enseignants de la Colombie-Britannique] :

  1. L’apprentissage prend en compte le soutien, le bien-être de l’individu, de la famille, de la communauté, de la terre, des esprits et des ancêtres ; 
  2. L’apprentissage est holistique, réfléchi, révélateur, expérientiel et relationnel (axé sur la connectivité, les relations réciproques et le sentiment d’appartenance) ; 
  3. L’apprentissage consiste à reconnaitre les conséquences de ses actes ; 
  4. L’apprentissage reconnait le rôle des connaissances autochtones ; 
  5. L’apprentissage est ancré dans la mémoire, dans l’histoire et dans les récits ; 
  6. L’apprentissage implique de la patience et du temps ; 
  7. L’apprentissage requiert de la patience et du temps ; 
  8. L’apprentissage requiert l’exploration de sa propre identité ; 
  9. L’apprentissage consiste à reconnaitre que certaines connaissances sont sacrées et peuvent être seulement partagées avec la permission de qui de droit ou dans certaines situations.

[vii]La raison pour laquelle nous avons dû traduire cette citation est que dans la version française, il n’y a aucune mention des Autochtones ni de la CVR (ACDE, 2017). Nous sommes assez perplexe sur le pourquoi de cette différence entre la version française et anglaise de l’Accord sur la formation initiale à l’enseignement. Cette question devrait d’ailleurs être investiguée de plus près.

Editorial 3(1): Behind the Scenes at J-BILD

ALISON CRUMP, Marianopolis College and McGill University


MELA SARKAR, McGill University

The publication of this issue marks J-BILD’s third year in press and our fourth issue. Over the last several years we have been working out how to run a journal. What is our vision for the journal? Where do we fit within the landscape of scholarly publishing? Is it where we want to fit? How do we create our own space while staying true to the values and ideals of scholarship as “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016)? What kind of work do editors, authors, peer mentors, copy-editors, and readers have to do together to make that space?

We have touched on these questions in previous editorials; in Volume 1(1), we focused on J-BILD’s guiding principles as an open-source, collaborative peer-mentoring journal, inclusive of all stages of the publication cycle. In Volume 2(1), we went further in describing our approach to open scholarship and collaborative peer review. In Volume 2(2), we made a case for publishing as an act of hope and defiance against intolerance. It is evident from our past editorials, as well as our published articles, that J-BILD is a journal that invites members of the scholarly community to revisit assumptions, both about the field of inquiry and about the nature of scholarly publishing. 

J-BILD represents a new model of academic publishing, in contrast to the traditional publishing house of yore. Picture academics (white men, mostly), hunched over oak desks, clouds of cigar smoke hanging in the air, the clink of ice cubes in a freshly poured tumbler of whisky. There are piles of papers precariously balanced everywhere. Young women rush back and forth with proofs needing editorial approval (by men— “Miss, take this and type it up for 4pm, would you?”) And the sound of the typewriter. Click clack. Click clack. Click. Ding! Busy women, averaging 90 words per minute. 

Professional women in 2019 are no less busy than their foremothers. But it’s a different kind of busy. The accident of history that has meant that J-BILD’s editorial team is made up of women has had the effect of making us reflect on ways in which academia may be changing. Women are no longer relegated to minor secretarial or other essentially menial functions in the world of intellectual work. Mothers who are professionals and scholars are no longer swimming against the current. 

For the three of us, our development in these domains—the personal, professional, and academic–has happened concurrently. Our graduate work coincided with the birth of our children, and so our scholarly work has always been interwoven with the dailiness of our lives. Ding! Another email comes in. Waah! The baby’s woken up. Reach for the (baby) bottle. We have perfected the art of nursing whilst editing articles, annotating bibliographies, and debunking outmoded theories. Since launching J-BILD in 2017, our senior editorial team has welcomed two babies and a fifth grandbaby, two career changes, one cross-country move, a wedding, and more. Rather than seek to keep these parts of our identities separate and siloed, we draw strength and inspiration from our family lives for our professional and scholarly work, and vice versa. There have been many J-BILD meetings that have taken place over Skype while one of us breastfeeds an infant or plays with a toddler or knits something special for a cherished grandchild. We fit in emails to our authors during lunch breaks at our day jobs, write editorials while babies nap, and review manuscripts while the dishwasher runs in the background after bedtime. 

If scholarship is making knowledge together, then the kind of knowledge we create together depends on the kinds of relationships we bring to and create through our scholarly work. J-BILD is built on a supportive, community-based model where members are not excluded from publishing based on certain norms of merit (title, academic experience, research output, etc.). J-BILD authors actively take part in a collaborative review process with a peer mentor—the process is transparent and includes authors in every phase of the publication process. The relationships that are built throughout this process are no less important than the product, i.e., the journal issue. We are encouraged that this model seems to be resonating with our authors and mentors. As one of our authors wrote to us recently: “[My peer mentor] has been an amazing support throughout this process. I keep telling my fellow graduate students that it is possible to have a positive review experience and am encouraging them to look into J-BILD! I sincerely hope this collaborative approach can be taken up by other journals, as it has been so helpful to me as a junior scholar.” 

This issue is perhaps the most representative of our lives behind the scenes of J-BILD. In January 2019, we received 11 submissions for this current issue. With our hands full of babies and older children, juggling mothering and careers and families, we found ourselves rushing to keep up with our own self-imposed tight timelines for the journal (i.e., moving from submission to publication in less than half a year). And by acting in haste, we found we were losing the sense of connection, the relationships with our authors, with our peer mentors, and even with each other. To foster the community-building that is at the heart of J-BILD, we needed to allow more time to mull, to ponder, to read, to write, to reflect, and to connect. In our opening paragraph above, we asked, how do we create our own space while staying true to the values and ideals of scholarship as “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016)? The answer is: by slowing down and managing expectations—our own and others’. 

We have a number of manuscripts in process and look forward to publishing them in due time. For this issue, we are very pleased to present two articles that we judged were valuable contributions to perspectives on diversity in education in contemporary Canadian contexts. Each is from a different stage of the research cycle, namely, a critical literature review and a research study. 

Isabelle Côté is the author of “Regard croisé sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les recherches menées en français au Canada”, a critical literature review of research related to the integration of Indigenous perspectives into teacher education and K-12 programs in British Columbia. Through her discussion and interpretation of Canadian-based research, Côté reveals a number of challenges and successes found in integrating the perspectives of Indigenous people. 

“‘How am I supposed to teach them French when they can’t even speak English?’: Unpacking the myth of English proficiency as a prerequisite for French immersion” is a recent research study by Stephen Davis. In this article, Davis explores the beliefs of French immersion teachers about Allophones in French immersion in Saskatoon. He frames his study within the sociolinguistic landscape of Canada and Saskatchewan, highlighting the problematic nature of the Anglophone-Francophone binary within conversations around language and education, which essentially exclude citizens who speak a first language other than French or English. Davis presents and interprets the data generated through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with French immersion teachers to reveal how French immersion teachers perceive the suitability of French immersion for Allophone students in Saskatoon, as well as how these teachers perceive English proficiency as a determinant of success. Davis concludes with practical recommendations for school boards and a call for further research about Allophone learners in French immersion programs. 


Paré, A. (2016, April 17). Making knowledge together: Voice, identity, agency, and communal effort [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://bild-lida.ca/blog/uncategorized/making-knowledge-together-voice-identity-agency-and-communal-effort-by-dr-anthony-pare