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Languages (English & French)

ESA’s French and English programs make up our Languages Department. We offer engaging and challenging courses designed to improve our students’ linguistic skills and to stimulate critical thinking. Students explore a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature and media forms ensuring a rich cultural experience. We treat language education as a fundamental element of the arts-based education here at ESA.

Across the department, we are committed to providing students with an anti-oppressive and anti-racist education, in keeping with TDSB’s Enhancing Equity Task Force.  To that end, we have been steadily diversifying our course content so that we’re bringing the voices of those marginalized and oppressed into the centre of our curriculum, while also critically engaging with Western culture’s foundational texts.  Our core texts include works from Margaret Atwood, Omar El Akkad, Richard Wagamese, Waubgeshig Rice, Trevor Noah, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cherie Dimaline, Zalika Reid-Benta and Shyam Selvadurai.  The transformation of our curriculum is an ongoing process.

An exciting new development at the TDSB is the dissolution of the Grade 11 English credit in place of the now-mandatory Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices class, OR NBE3U. This course explores the themes, forms, and stylistic elements of a variety of literary, informational, graphic, oral, cultural, and media text forms emerging from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures in Canada, and also examines the perspectives and influence of texts that relate to those cultures.  Students will  create oral, written, and media texts to explore their own ideas and understanding, focusing on the development of literacy, communication, and critical and creative thinking skills necessary for success in academic and daily life. The course is intended to prepare students for the compulsory Grade 12 English University or College preparation course, and can be taken in place of the Grade 11 University English credit.

While students at ESA must complete an English course in each Grade from 9 to 12, one very attractive elective students have the opportunity to take in Grade 12 is the Writer’s Craft course, or EWC4U.  The curriculum explores writers, writing approaches, various genres and language theory which run alongside the student’s own writing.  Language is the thread that stitches our understanding of the world together.  The course explores how writing and language is a central force in creating the world and our understanding of ourselves.

Our French program also offers many exciting opportunities to ESA students.  While we don’t have an Immersion program, students who studied Immersion previously may enroll in Grade 10 French and continue to take it in Grades 11 and 12 as their electives.  French in Grades 10 – 12 offers a genre-based approach to the subject, with topics ranging from people of interest, slam poetry, immigration and current events.  Those students coming to ESA with little French experience will take the compulsory Grade 9 Academic or Open-level French.  The focus there is really on speaking and listening, where students’ lived experiences and individual interests guide the curriculum.

Students are encouraged to approach the literature they examine in their Languages classes as individual pieces of art, reacting to specific moments in history, society and culture.  It’s through this lens that students are able to connect their Language instruction to their own experience as ESA artists.

If you have any questions please contact Dean Drouchard, the ACL of Languages, at