The world would have been a simpler place to live in if we interacted using the same language but such a world would have been devoid of diversity and enriching multiculturalism, two aspects which define our Canadian society. With the spread of populations across the globe, emerging from varied backgrounds, acquisition of a second language is significant, imperative, and inescapable.
No one can deny the role played by language in our everyday life, our communication skills determine the level and scope of our success. That is the very reason why employers, in addition to hard skills, seek soft skills, and the ability to put one’s messages across is certainly an integral component of these skills. To succeed in the outer world, effective inter- and intra personal communication is a prerequisite.
Picture yourself in a simple, day-to-day situation like ordering coffee at Tim Hortons, standing in line at McDonald’s to order, and your eyes brushing past images, words, and numbers on the screen, but unable to make any sense out of that myriad of information, lost in the city because you don’t know where to go and how to ask for help. For newcomers to Canada, or zeroing in on our immediate context, Yellowknife, these scenarios which even escape our attention become demanding and nerve wrecking for those who lack the ability to instantly come up with verbal correlatives for the aforementioned scenarios.
Realizing this lack, College Nordique Francophone (CNF), expanded its language training program and added LINC to its already successfully running English as a Second Language (ESL), French as a Second Language (FSL), Tłıcho language programs and Spanish Language programs. People who are not familiar with the technical jargon might be perturbed by the term LINC in terms of what it implies and how it supports and facilitates the newcomers in Canada. LINC stands for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada. It is fully funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is absolutely free for the eligible newcomers and immigrants. The only requirements are the motivation to learn, develop and succeed. It is not just a language program but an approach, a path to facilitate settlement and integration, its pivotal strength being the potential to equip the newcomers with language tools which in turn lead to a smooth transitioning into a country with a new culture and new languages.
Although Aurora College has been offering LINC in Yellowknife for the Anglophones, sensing a steady influx of Francophone immigrants, CNF decided to deepen its penetration into the Francophone community in Yellowknife by offering LINC to immigrants whose first official language is French. The decision was timely and appropriate as has been shown by the positive response received by the Francophone immigrants in Yellowknife.
LINC curriculum is based on Canadian Language Benchmarks, commonly referred to as CLB’s, and through levels of competencies ranging from Literacy to CLB 12, it develops in the newcomers the confidence which is the natural outcome of their developing proficiency in the language. LINC is very specific in terms of its outcomes since it provides such an exposure to and training in the language that the newcomers feel more at ease when interacting in their communities in Canada.
The program also develops the essential skills which further strengthen a successful integration by making them more job ready. The assessments in LINC are continuous and primarily reflected through Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) which has been regarded as an alternative tool of language assessment and evaluation. The tool is more akin to formative than summative assessment and is based on the premise that learning is a process rather than a finished product.
It would be stating the very obvious that College Nordique Francophone is playing a very crucial role in the Francophone community of newcomers in Yellowknife by enabling them to upgrade their skills through LINC, which if undertaken with devotion, dedication, and seriousness would support in paving the way for a better life.