Hello from Canada!

Hi everyone! I’m a high school teacher from BC, Canada (near Vancouver) and speak English (natively), French and Spanish. I’m also conversational in Swedish and conversational (but rusty) in Italian. I’ve recently started learning Irish, but have not yet reached an A1 level (and I studied German a few years ago, but only got to an A1 level and haven’t been maintaining it much lately).

Besides languages, I’m interested in the intersection of learning disabilities, ADHD, giftedness and emotional/behavioural problems. If anyone happens to share this interest, it’d be cool to share resources as most of those I’m aware of come from the US and I would like a more global perspective.

I also enjoy travel, reading, hiking and photography.

I look forward to connecting with others!




@heatherjosephine good to meet you. I’m a teacher, too. I teach languages as a private teacher.

I’m very interested in giftedness. I want to make my classes awesome and my dream is that many people become multilingual while having fun and knowing how important it is.


That sounds awesome! My number one goal as a teacher is always to make my classes fun. If students enjoy it, they’re more likely to continue learning later. Unfortunately, a lot of Canadian teenagers come into class with the opinion that French sucks :frowning: I try to change that!


Have you tried making them talking to a French speaker using Zoom, Skyper, or whatever or playing games that “use” French?


I’m a French Canadian from Quebec and I had students in my class who didn’t like English either when I was in high school.

I’ve never been to Vancouver or BC but I guess some students can lack motivation if they don’t know many francophones or don’t see the value of becoming bilingual. This is only my opinion but maybe there are more incentives for a French Canadian to learn English than the opposite since English is the main language in Canada. However, I think it would be nice if a higher percentage of Canadians could speak both English and French, Canada’s official languages.

I live in a very French part of Quebec and only 15% of the population in my region consider themselves bilingual, a lot lower than the statistics for Montreal. I think the motivation to be bilingual here is less than in Montreal. English is almost never heard in public spaces around here and for many jobs, you don’t need to speak English. However, I often hear people say that they wish they could speak English or that they cannot apply to a certain job because English is needed.


Yeah, I do lots of fun stuff with them :slight_smile: This year is tricky because of COVID, but they usually leave my class liking the language more than they did at the beginning of the year.


Unfortunately, we’re a long way from Québec here and there are more Spanish, Mandarin or Punjabi speakers than French speakers around here. I think that part of the problem is that BC has a shortage of French teachers, so people who don’t speak the language end up teaching it from a textbook at the lower levels. By the time kids get to high school, they tend to dislike French. I’ve taught both French and Spanish and there’s a lot more enthusiasm for Spanish than for French.

Where in Québec do you live? I worked in Baie-Comeau for a year and some of my secondary students there would say that English was useless, which always seemed pretty funny to me.

I’d love it if all Canadians were bilingual, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon :frowning:


hallo, herzlich willkommen, ich bin Zaiht, ich bin Mexikaner und habe ich eine Hirnverletzung wegen eines Unfalls bei der Arbeit, deswegen habe ich Deutsch und Italienisch lernen angefangen, i also speak a li’ bit english et je suis en train d’apprendre le français, qué gusto tenerte entre nosotros

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It is great that you speak a lot of languages. I just speak English and Spanish. Although, I plan to start on Ukrainian soon. Irish must be a cool language to learn. I want to learn it eventually too. It sounds really nice and is quite unique. Sadly not many Irish people speak it. Hopefully people learning it can help to change that!


well, as a native spanish speaker I could help you to practice/improve your spanish skills, if you want, the same goes to all of our fellow friends here in the polyglot conference :slight_smile: you guys just need to message me and I’ll be glad to help you

Yeah, sure, I would love to! Would we just talk in the forum or in the meeting areas in the main event?


Sorry for taking so long to reply. I left the forum for a while, but I’m now back in since the conference is starting.

I understand what you’re saying about the situation in BC. Our country is so vast and some people don’t feel the need to speak English or French in some parts of the country. I lived in Ottawa for 10 years and of course not everyone was bilingual, but so many people there understood the benefits of speaking both English and French.

I’ve been to Baie-Comeau once and only for a few hours while waiting for the ferry. I live on the other side of the Saint-Lawrence River, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region.

I don’t see all Canadians becoming bilingual anytime soon either.


Hello! I’m a Mandarin speaker and a student in UBC planning to major in Linguistics. I travelled to Montreal last week to get real French experiences. We say Vancouver BC is international, which is very true but from my experience the international part is mostly Asian. I ended up speaking more Mandarin than English despite my initiatives to start a conversation with my roommate(only one native English speaker among the 4 of us) and my classmates. Well, that’s what drove me to move out of the city when I don’t need to physically be there.
My French is close to C level with no formal schooling or previous immersion. It’s the language I’m most motivated to work on despite almost reaching the level which is said to be difficult to get through. In order to make the most of this experience, I made sure my roommate is Francophone before travelling. Just before I arrived, another girl moved in, who happens to speak the language(Spanish) I’m also working on and am already conversational in. It is just amazing. We talk a lot when cooking and having dinner, since everyone is eager to practice languages(they want to improve English) and is curious about others’ culture. We really have more of a community. From my limited experience, I hear slightly more French than English when I go out for groceries, ocasionally I also hear Spanish, Mandarin and languages I can’t tell.
Déménager a Montréal, c’est la meilleur desicion de l’année. Dans une ville et une foyer multiculturelles, j’ai toujours plein de choses à explorer et mes colocs ont toujours plein de choses à partager. J’attends chaque nouvelle journée avec l’ impatience à l’heure de dormir. Je ne sais pas ce qui se passera à la fin de mon sejour prévu. Peut-etre transferer a une université francophone? Au moins je vais partir a faire une échange dans une ville que je souhaite explorer.


Sophie et Ryck ont raison !
Leur curiosité varie selon les élèves, une telle est bonne en sciences et ne trouve aucun intérêt en littérature, une autre est comme un poisson dans l’eau dans les cours de langue, mais trouve le sport abscond. Tu sembles être une prof passionnée, et CA fait la différence je crois.

L’un de mes étudiants a la cinquantaine passée. Il m’a raconté que lorsqu’il était ado, il n’avait rien à cirer des sciences humaines. Et puis maintenant qu’il approche la retraite, il se découvre un nouveau penchant pour la philosophie et il s’est même plongé dans Marcel Proust. Comme quoi Heather, les petites graines que tu plantes maintenant s’épanouiront un jour. Continue !


Et que veux-tu dire par “the intersection of learning disabilities, ADHD and giftednes” Heather ? As-tu des anecdotes à raconter ?

Je m’intéresse beaucoup aux élèves surdoués avec des troubles d’apprentissage et/ou le TDAH. Souvent on pense que c’est soit l’un soit l’autre, mais les difficultés d’apprentissage n’ont rien à voir avec l’intelligence. D’ailleurs, selon une étude récente, les élèves surdoués ont plus de probabilité d’avoir un trouble d’apprentissage que les élèves « normaux » (on vient de découvrir 80 nouvelles régions du cerveau humain, donc je doute qu’un cerveau normal existe). En anglais on appelle un élève surdoué avec un trouble d’apprentissage, le TDAH ou l’autisme « twice exceptional » ou « 2e ». Je n’ai toujours pas trouvé une bonne traduction en français, mais j’ai vu « doublement exceptionnel » et « deux fois exceptionnels ». Malheureusement, c’est un domaine de recherche assez récent aux États-Unis et il y a très peu de recherche ailleurs.

Souvent ces élèves glissent entre les mailles du système scolaire. Leur intelligence compense leur trouble d’apprentissage et vice versa et ils ne reçoivent ni le soutien dont ils ont besoin ni du travail à leur niveau intellectuel. Ma sœur est 2e et comme la plupart d’élèves 2e, elle a eu une expérience scolaire terrible. Je pense que l’on a besoin de faire plus de recherche sur l’intersection de ces domaines parce que beaucoup d’élèves sont exceptionnels de diverses façons et un élève 2e n’a pas les mêmes besoins qu’un élève surdoué ou un élève autiste/en difficulté d’apprentissage/avec TDAH. Ils ont besoin de soutien, mais ils ont également besoin de défis. Un élève surdoué avec la dyslexie pourrait, par exemple, écouter un livre audio pour pouvoir participer aux discussions d’un cours de littérature avancée. Il pourrait présenter ces idées oralement, au lieu d’écrire une rédaction, mais il aurait besoin de travailler ses compétences de décodage aussi pour pouvoir se conformer à la vie quotidienne.


It’s nice to see a fellow Canadian! I grew up around Toronto and it was my high school French teachers who first fostered my love for languages :slight_smile: They also encouraged me to join the Explore program in Quebec one summer which I highly recommend to anyone who can do it - it’s really what encouraged me to speak without worrying about making mistakes.

I don’t know how it is in BC, but a lot of my fellow classmates were only taking French throughout high school for an extra diploma and not actually wanting to converse in French with anyone outside of class, which is sad in my opinion.


You mean French Immersion? A lot of my immersion students are keen to get the extra diploma, but Core French students don’t get one. Most of them are doing it to meet university entrance requirements. The immersion kinds seem to see the value in the language much more than the Core French students do, but even then, they don’t all get it.

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My high school only offered Core French and still had a diploma :joy:, I’m honestly not sure how much value it carries in the real world as I use my DELF certificate for anything professional.

Wow. It’s interesting how much it varies from province to province!