Lesson Plan: Protecting Language and Culture
Tell students they are part of a big corporation in Quebec. They must converse with their colleagues and clients in any other language but their native or mother tongue. Students who conduct their business effectively using the other language will be promoted. At the end of three minutes, reward those students who speak in another language with a sticker. Explain to them that they are being promoted. Tell others that they need not apply for a job until they get suitable language proficiency in another language.
Carry on the activity for another two minutes, watching the body language and reactions of those who were unable to communicate effectively.
After five minutes, ask the students to describe how the activity made them feel. Students may share a range of emotions, from confusion, frustration, anxiety, and isolation to empowerment and confidence if they can speak another language.
Ask students to imagine how they would feel if they were members of the Francophone majority in Quebec watching the majority of promotions and business opportunities awarded to minority Anglophones. Ask students how they would feel if they were Francophone and business had to be conducted in English. Record student responses on the board or chart paper.
Ask: Does language affect culture? If a language is threatened, is a culture threatened too? Share responses. Ask: If you felt that your language and culture were being threatened, what would you do? Brainstorm with the class ways to protect a language and record responses.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Fighting Words: Bill 101 on the CBC Digital Archives website. In small groups, have students view the clips "Mater plan for a new French Quebec," "Politics of smoked meat," "Bill 101 is official," "'French in Quebec: it's a plus'" and "Five years after Bill 101" and read the text for these clips. Have each student use the download sheet Protecting French Language and Culture to record their responses to the questions.
Each group will create a poster presenting their understanding of the significance of the White Paper on Language Policy and Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language. Why was Bill 101 passed and what were the implications for Quebec businesses?
Revisit and Reflect
Have students display and discuss their posters. As a class, revisit ideas of how to protect a culture and whether the language law was effective. Clarify the implications for Quebec business as a result of the passing of the language law.
Assessment Tip: Look for students to articulate the specific implications of the language law for Quebec business and to explain how the language law was designed to protect French identity and culture.
Students can pretend they are an Anglophone or Francophone living in Quebec in 1977. Write a letter to a Quebec newspaper supporting or criticizing the passage of Bill 101.
- poster board
- drawing materials