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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/33909

Title: Why AIM? - Educator Perspectives and Implementation of an Instructional Method for Teaching Core French as a Second Language in Ontario
Authors: Arnott, Stephanie Jane Margaret
Advisor: Gagne, Antoinette
Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Keywords: second language teaching
French as a second language (FSL)
Core French
Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM)
instructional method
educational change
Issue Date: 6-Dec-2012
Abstract: Since 2003, the Canadian government has repeatedly called for research into innovative ways to teach Core French (CF) – a non-immersion program, where French as a Second Language (FSL) is taught on a daily basis, or a few times per week. This exploratory study investigates the driving forces behind the widespread popularity of a CF method called the Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM), which combines target language use with gestures, high-frequency vocabulary, and drama to accelerate the development of fluency from the onset of classroom instruction. In order to learn more about the “meaningfulness” of this growing trend (Fullan, 2007), this mixed-method inquiry attempts to shift the focus from product to process, comparing educator perspectives and AIM implementation within two Ontario contexts: (a) where AIM was mandated for elementary (Grades 4-6) FSL instruction, and (b) where AIM was an optional method for FSL teachers to use (or not). Survey and interview data were collected from and triangulated across a variety of educators from both contexts, including FSL consultants (n = 18), principals (n = 8), CF teachers (n = 9), and one Ontario Ministry of Education representative. Four semi-structured interviews and multiple observations were also conducted with those CF teachers who were using AIM (n = 8). An additional CF teacher who had attempted to use AIM, and had subsequently rejected it, was also interviewed. Findings showed that AIM implementation and educator perspectives did not vary significantly based on whether AIM was mandated or optional for CF instruction. A clear preference emerged towards using AIM and the accompanying resources during the beginning stages of CF instruction. Discussion about the growing popularity of AIM was positive; however, it also exposed a range of emotions about when and how AIM should be used. In terms of implementation, while some AIM routines, activities, and strategies were used by all, each AIM teacher exercised their agency while using the method, supplementing and adapting for different reasons. Implications include the need to reexamine the objectives of micro-level AIM policies, recognize the adaptability of AIM, and consider including detailed observations in future research linking AIM to student achievement.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/33909
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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