Orientations to French Language Varieties among Western Canadian French-as-a-Second-Language Teachers


  • Meike Wernicke The University of British Columbia


French language education, Canadian French, linguistic insecurity, standardized language, language ideology


In Canada, official French-English bilingualism and the long-standing presence of Indigenous and immigrant languages has shaped how these languages and their varieties are learned, taught, and used in educational contexts. To date, there has been little inquiry into French-as-a-second-language (FSL) teachers’ orientations to the varieties of French they teach, in particular Canadian French language varieties (Arnott, Masson, and Lapkin 2019), despite studies showing that ideologies associated with different language varieties can impact teachers’ instructional choices. This article presents an analysis of the narrated experiences of FSL teachers from Western Canada, drawn from journal and interview accounts, about their encounters with different language varieties while on professional development in France. Thematic and discourse analytic perspectives bring to light complex negotiations of ideological meaning and representation related to language variation in French, as well as the discursive strategies employed by the participants in orientating to these meanings. These discursive actions make evident deeply embedded language ideologies that have significant implications for both French as a first and as a second language education, not only in terms of a prevailing linguistic insecurity among francophones but equally significant for FSL teachers’ professional identity construction, especially those who are themselves second language speakers of French. The analysis and discussion highlight the importance of integrating pluralistic perspectives into teacher education programs and ongoing teacher professional development initiatives.

Author Biography

Meike Wernicke, The University of British Columbia

Meike Wernicke is Assistant Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on French-as-a-second language (FSL) teacher education, teacher professional development and teacher identity. Within second language education, these interests extend to English as an additional language teaching, intercultural education, bi-/multilingual language policy and pedagogies, decolonizing approaches in language education, and discourse analytic research methodologies. Her international research collaborations have focused on the implementation of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as well as a book project on “Multilingualism and Teacher Education” with teachers educators and researchers across Europe and North America. Within the Canadian context, her research projects include initiatives supporting the integration of Indigenous knowledges and ways of learning in K-12 and postsecondary education, decolonizing approaches in French language curriculum implementation, second language teacher professional development, and intercultural learning among FSL teachers in British Columbia, Canada. She teaches in and also coordinates the French Master of Education in Modern Languages for in-service FSL teachers.