The use of digital tools in French as a Second Language teacher education in Ontario
Keywords:FSL; COVID-19 pandemic; digital tools; teacher education; online teaching; online learning
This article discusses a 2021 survey of French as a second language (FSL) teacher candidates (TCs) in Faculties of Education in Ontario whose practice teaching experiences were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting them into remote FSL teaching and learning. The survey, which formed a component of a larger mixed method SSHRC-funded research project1, was designed to capture the varied practice teaching experiences of FSL teacher candidates in order to ascertain symmetries and asymmetries in their preferred digital practices, devices and tools for social communication, and for French language teaching and learning. Survey respondents (N=17) from different teacher education programs in universities across Ontario provided a picture of scattered and fragmented approaches to FSL digital pedagogies and hinted at a persistent reliance on traditional FSL pedagogies in the classroom. Digital preferences for teaching and learning were, interestingly, not parallel, and were anchored in common educational tools and platforms that reaffirmed teacher-centred approaches to FSL rather than more innovative, learner-centred, and agentive language teaching and learning. The survey results raise an important question: Has FSL teacher education adequately moved with the communicative changes wrought by socio-technical change and related pedagogical innovations?