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Access to special education for exceptional students in French immersion programs: An equity issue

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Publisher:  The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics: 14, 1 (2011): 177-193

Author:  Wise, Nancy

Hosted by:  journals.lib.unb.ca

Submitted by:  yorkfsl

Date Submitted:  April 12, 2021


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Language of Resource: English, French

Media Format: Website

Prep time: N/A

Teaching duration: N/A


Exceptional pupils enrolled in Canadian French immersion programs rarely have access to the same range of special education programs and services that are available to students in the regular English program. More often than not, students with special needs are encouraged to transfer to English programs to access necessary support services. This counselling-out process perpetuates the elitist status commonly attributed to French immersion programs. From a critical pedagogy perspective, this inquiry examines the lack of incentive on the part of multiple French immersion stakeholders to accommodate students with special needs. It further attempts to unveil the myths created by these stakeholders to better understand this discriminatory educational practice. The impact of federal and provincial funding models on access to special education programs and services is discussed, and the application of funding allocations by English-language district school boards is explored. The inquiry concludes with recommendations to promote more inclusionary practices.


Les élèves en difficulté inscrits dans un programme d‟immersion en français ont rarement accès à l‟éventail des programmes d‟éducation spécialisée aux quels ont accès les enfants scolarisés en anglais. Le plus souvent, on préconise le transfert de ces élèves à un programme de langue anglaise afin de permettre l‟accès aux services de soutien nécessaires. Ainsi, le statut élitiste souvent attribué au programme d‟immersion en français se perpétue. Se situant dans une perspective de pédagogie critique, cette recherche s‟efforce d‟examiner le manque d‟incitatifs de la part des multiples intervenants pour accommoder les enfants ayant des besoins particuliers. De plus, cette recherche tend à dévoiler les mythes créés par ces mêmes intervenants afin de mieux comprendre cette pratique discriminatoire. L‟impact des modèles de financement fédéral et provincial sur l‟accès aux programmes et services de l‟éducation spécialisée est discuté. Enfin, l‟application de l‟allocation des fonds par les conseils scolaires de langue anglaise est explorée. En conclusion, on propose des recommandations visant la promotion de pratiques inclusives.

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Program(s): Immersion

Education Level: Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Subject(s): French Language

License: No license

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