Feature: Francophone liaison officers, a mobilizing force
Services to Francophones is much more than a program area of CTF. It is also a network of liaison officers from each Member organization, who are responsible for maintaining open lines of communications with teachers in the provinces or territories they represent.
Each year, the network gathers over a few days to discuss emerging issues on French-language education. This exceptional information-sharing event affords participants the opportunity to review each region’s successes and challenges.
Traditionally, the annual Francophone Symposium has been held in Ottawa. However, in recent years, the network has moved around, combining its meetings with another professional activity held by a Member organization. This is how the Symposium was held in Edmonton last year, and in Winnipeg and Moncton previously. This year, the network met in Vancouver at the enthusiastic invitation of the Syndicat des enseignantes et enseignants du programme francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (SEPF). According to President Sylvie Liechtele, “it is a unique opportunity to meet with the great family of stakeholders interested in French language education in minority settings. We are very pleased to be an integral part of this network and thus to break down the isolation of our teachers. We are even more pleased that CTF accepted our invitation and that the 2016 Symposium took place in our beautiful city and even in our offices!”
Every year, Symposium participants focus on a specific theme. This year, it was cooperation and partnerships. Participants had the opportunity to demonstrate their respective regions’ ingenuity in this regard, and to leave with new ideas to share with their colleagues.
The issue of linguistic rights was hotly debated as we recognize the impact legal decisions can have on the education system as a whole. The Director of the Language Rights Support Program, Geneviève Boudreau, was there to provide an outline of this essential program. A presentation by Joe Pagé then gave an overview of the main legal cases heard in recent years.
As CTF recently published a feature article on linguistic insecurity followed by the launch of Question d’habitude!, a resource designed to alleviate the discomfort that Francophones often feel when their way of speaking is being criticized, the Symposium program included a workshop facilitated by Yves Cormier to help participants better understand the issue. This is a topical issue that we will certainly be hearing more about!
The 2016 annual Francophone Symposium concluded on a very positive note as liaison officers were able to attend the Rond-Point, an annual professional development activity organized by SEPF in conjunction with the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie‑Britannique.