March is Francophonie month and the DLC would like to take this opportunity to celebrate with our French teacher Nicole McLauchlin. She has been with the DLC since 2014 teaching both French and K-6 courses.
The French language was part of her life from the beginning. “I grew up on a farm outside of Duck Lake, SK as part of an exogamous family; my mom spoke English and dad spoke French. Dad worked out of the community and was home on weekends. English was my first language and the language spoken in my home. I went to school at Stobart Elementary in Duck Lake, taking Core French classes where I was able to build on the basics of French that I learned from my dad.”
It was in grade 7 when Mrs. McLauchlin’s journey with the French language really took off. “I wanted to challenge myself and switched to the Francophone school, École Valois, in Prince Albert. This is where my French language learning moved from vocabulary and the spoken language to really understanding the intricacies of both the written and spoken language. I enjoyed learning about the francophone language and culture in all my courses. I can proudly say that Je suis fransaskoise! (French-Canadian from Saskatchewan).”
Her love of the language didn’t stop there. “After I graduated high school, I entered the BAC program at the U of R, in partnership with Université Laval. I was able to complete most of my University courses, with the exception of two English courses and one Education Administration course, in French. I spent my second year of university in Québec City, at Université Laval, experiencing the culture and living everyday life in French.”
Learning Canada’s other official language has huge benefits. “I like that the French language has opened up many opportunities for me. Because I am bilingual in both of Canada’s official languages, I am able to apply for jobs and programming in any province or territory in Canada. French is the working and official language of the United Nations, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Red Cross, just to name a few. I can understand French in news reports or television shows without the need for subtitles. The doors have been opened for me to explore music and literature from French speaking countries, in their original state. French allows me to travel and communicate with the roughly 75 million native French speakers in the world and another 190 million who speak French as a second language. Vive le français!”