Ontario Offers New Sign Language Courses to Secondary Students
March 11, 2021
TORONTO - Ontario is becoming one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to offer high school students in the province second-language courses in American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes quebecoise (LSQ). Details were provided today by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education and Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. "By expanding second-language course options for students, our Government is cementing its role as a leader in providing innovative learning opportunities," said Minister Lecce. "By offering students the chance to learn ASL or LSQ, they can expand their language skills while developing greater understanding of Ontario's ASL and LSQ culture." Starting in September 2021, high schools may offer American Sign Language as a second language and Langue des signes québécoise langue seconde to provide students with the opportunity to develop new language and conversation skills, gain cultural understandings, and learn about ASL or LSQ literary works and texts. ASL and LSQ are distinct languages, each with unique histories, cultural references and distinct grammar and syntax. To ensure linguistic accuracy, and to include authentic ASL and LSQ stories, the Ministry of Education consulted with the ASL and LSQ communities on the course content. "By giving high school students the opportunity to learn ASL and/or LSQ, we are increasing language and cultural skills," said Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. STAKEHOLDER QUOTES "This new curriculum is much needed and will be a rich addition for students across the province. It will enhance students' understanding of the language and identity of ASL people in Ontario: ASL peoples' sense of self, of membership, of culture, and of humanity and encourages students to develop respect for human diversity. We want to recognize that the Ministry of Education's commitment to developing this curriculum is a step in the right direction. We were very pleased to have been asked to participate in its development and we look forward to future opportunities of working together." - Donald Prong, Executive Director, Ontario Association of the Deaf "RESO is proud to have contributed to the development of the course LSQ langue seconde for French-language secondary schools in Ontario. We hope that it will help more students gain knowledge of this unique language and foster a greater openness towards the Deaf community in the broad francophone community." - Marie-Lise Haché, chair, Regroupement des parents et amis des enfants sourds et malentendants franco-ontariens (RESO) "As Paul Bourcier and Julie-Élaine Roy have stated in the introduction to the LSQ sign language dictionary: 'In any society, language is a powerful tool because it allows communication with one another. Deaf people also have a language. Sign language enables them to communicate not only with each other, but also with the hearing community.' I am very proud to have contributed to the development of the LSQ langue seconde course for Ontario schools and to support this wonderful project." - Theara Yim, M.Ed, OCT, High School Teacher of Deaf Students
Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to release ministry-developed LSQ curriculum to support second-language learners, and one of the first to release ministry-developed ASL second-language curriculum.
To support teachers in delivering the new ASL as a Second Language and LSQ langue seconde courses, the Ministry of Education has been working with the Ontario College of Teachers to add new additional qualifications to the College’s regulations so that teachers can receive training in how to teach ASL as a second language and LSQ langue seconde.
The Ministry of Education launched the Curriculum and Resources in June 2020, which provides access to curricula and resources for educators and parents, including the new ASL and LSQ second-language courses.
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