French Program for Civil Servants

Learn French and prepare for the Second Language Evaluation

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Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) has been offering French language training to civil servants for over 20 years. Our team of experienced language instructors specializes in helping students prepare for the Second Language Evaluation (SLE) for the federal public service. Our training is tailored to the practical needs of current and future public servants at various stages of learning.

*New for Winter 2022 Session* : Conversation Circles will be offered in the afternoons at the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Maintien C levels. See the Course Schedule below for dates and times.  

What is SLE?

The SLE is a standardized language assessment used to determine proficiency in certain language skills deemed necessary to the duties and responsibilities of positions within the civil service. There are three important components to the SLE:

  • Written Comprehension
  • Written Expression
  • Oral Proficiency

For more information on the SLE, consult the Government of Canada's General Second Official Languages Qualifications Standards.

Reaching My Language Goals

Regardless of your current language level, we have many flexible options for anyone who requires French language training. We use the Programme de français langue seconde (PFL2) developed by the School of Public Service to help employees reach a specific level of proficiency in French for work purposes. The program is also supported by our own in-house course material, the Collection À Vous! With these tools, USB can help a student gain proficiency in written comprehension, written expression or oral proficiency.

In order to do well on the SLE, it is important to have both the language skills and an understanding of how to perform well on test day. USB uses a number of strategies to help students perform their best. These include: 

  • practice tests, both timed and untimed;
  • realistic simulations of the test experience;
  • structured independent learning opportunities that help students improve specific areas of language proficiency;
  • activities and authentic interactions with members of the French quarter community of St. Boniface;
  • individualized feedback, based on the criteria used by SLE evaluators.

How Long Will It Take?

The time required to meet your language goals depends on many factors, including, but not limited to: 

  • current knowledge of French;
  • previous French courses taken;
  • learning style;
  • previous experience with the SLE;
  • willingness to take risks;
  • willingness to find opportunities to study and use French outside of the classroom.

In order to improve your chances of succeeding in the SLE test, you should consider the following:

  • between 1,000 and 1,500 hours to move from a true beginner to B level 
  • between 475 and 665 hours to move from B level to C level.

The amount of time it takes an individual to reach a specific language level will vary considerably.In order for us to provide a more accurate assessment of your customized language path, please contact us to book a language evaluation. 

Fill out the form below to request language training or an assessment: 
icône PDF. Request Form - French Courses for Civil Servants

Maintaining Your French

One of the most important parts of language learning is maintaining your skills. Whether you plan to retake the test soon or simply do not want to lose what you have already worked so hard to achieve, Université de Saint-Boniface can help. Our experienced instructors can provide flexible training based on your current situation.

  • individual or group classes
  • flexible schedules
  • in your offices or at USB
  • customizable program designed to maintain language proficiency or review specific skills

Who Are Our Instructors? 

Experience in instruction, training and quality control are three elements that USB emphasizes in order to ensure the success of its students.

Experience
Université de Saint-Boniface has a rigorous hiring process. Our instructors all have university degrees and experience teaching to adults. In fact, most of our instructors have well over 1,000 hours of teaching experience with USB. 

Training
After an instructor is hired, they must complete a theoretical training course in order to be familiarized with the communicative-experiential teaching approach. This style emphasizes a student’s ability to perform language tasks in a realistic context. Additionally, our training program requires a 33-hour practicum during which the new instructor observes and assists a senior instructor. During the practicum, the new instructor will teach and receive feedback from their mentor. This ensures that all of our instructors understand our pedagogical approach and establishes a collaborative teaching practice.

In addition, every instructor who teaches to public servants receives ongoing, specialized training in the PFL2 program materials, the Second Language Evaluation (SLE) itself, and the realities of the federal public service. 

Quality Control
USB follows a comprehensive quality control program, which includes the following:

  • regular evaluations of our instructors;
  • formalized, individualized language progress feedback;
  • team meetings regarding students’ progress;
  • weekly meetings between instructors and students; and
  • monthly meetings with each student.

A central tenet of our quality control program and our pedagogical approach involves listening to the concerns of each student in order to better meet their individual needs. An open and continuing dialogue with adult learners is essential in helping students fulfill their language goals.

Course Options

You can choose the pace that best suits your needs: 

  • part-time evening group classes (3 hours/week for 11 weeks or 3.25 hours/week for 10 weeks);
  • part-time individual or group training (14 hours or less per week);
  • full-time individual or group training (typically between 15 and 25 hours per week).

Evening Classes

These classes are designed for those pursing language training at a more leisurely pace or for those who are just starting their French learning journey. We offer three sessions of evening classes per year, in September, January and April. Each course is 33 hours and closely follows the Programme de français langue seconde (PFL2) of the School of Public Service.

Full-time or Part-time Language Training at Université de Saint-Boniface

Language training at Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) takes place in a completely immersive environment. As the only French-language university in Western Canada, USB often hosts conferences and cultural events, which provide fantastic opportunities for students to enrich their understanding of French language and culture. Additionally, our location in the heart of St‑. Boniface also provides opportunities for students to try their new language skills outside of the classroom.

Fill out the form below to request language training or an assessment:
icône PDF. Request Form - French Courses for Civil Servants  

View the USB Events Calendar at ustboniface.ca/en/calendar.

See an overview of local businesses by visiting the Tourisme Riel website.

Full-time or Part-time Language Training at Your Office

Université de Saint-Boniface can also send a qualified instructor to your office to teach. All of our instructors have their Reliability Status certificate in order to help facilitate access to your place of work.

Fill out the form below to request language training or an assessment: 
icône PDF. Request Form - French Courses for Civil Servants

What is My Current Level?

In order to better meet the needs of our students, we have changed how we offer evening courses. Although the course names have changed, the content is still specifically tailored to the needs of current and future public servants.

We have reduced the number of levels and given each course a broad theme. Each level is built around developing the skills to accomplish everyday language tasks. This program is based on the Government of Canada’s language training objectives.

If you have previously taken courses with us, you might be familiar with the “OF” course codes. The table below will help you choose the best level for your next course.

OF 1, 2, 3

Level 1

OF 4, 5

Level 1

OF 6, 7

Level 2

OF 8, 9

Level 2

OF 10, 11

Level 3

OF 12, 13, 14

Level 4

Consolidation 1

Level 4

OF 15, 16, 17, 18

Level 5

OF 19, 20

Level 6

OF 21, 22

Level 7

Consolidation 2

Level 7

OF 23, 24, 25

Level 7

OF 26, 27

Level 8

OF 28, 29

Level 8

OF 30

Level 9

OF 31, 32

Level 9

Consolidation 3

Level 10

OF 33, 34, 35

Level 10

OF 36, 37

Level 11

OF 38, 39, 40

Level 11

If you are unsure of your level, we can do a quick language assessment to determine which level will best meet your needs. Please contact us if you require more information.

See the Schedule section for the list of courses currently offered or register

Schedule

Spring

April 12 to June 26, 2022

Schedule

Registration starts: March 15, 2022

Registration closes: April 5, 2022

Fall

September 20 to December 1, 2022

*New* In-person and Distance Learning Options

Schedule

Registration starts: August 18, 2022

Registration closes: Sept 13, 2022

Winter

January 17 to March 23, 2023

Registration starts: Nov. 30, 2022

Registration closes: Jan. 10, 2023

Cost

Course : $355 (student handbook and taxes included)

Conversation Circle : $200 (taxes included) 

Placement Interviews

What are placement interviews?  

Unsure which level to register for? We offer placement interviews for French and Spanish classes. Once you have scheduled your interview, an assessor will telephone you for a short chat (10-15 minutes) to determine your level.  

IMPORTANT: If you already know your level, it is not necessary to schedule a placement interview. When registering, simply select your level.  

How do I schedule a placement interview?   

Steps for scheduling a placement interview:  

  1. Register for one of our French or Spanish programs. Select Unknown Level when completing the online registration form. 
  2. Check your registration confirmation email. Once your registration is completed, paid for and submitted, you will receive a confirmation email with a placement interview link. Click on the link and an online calendar will appear.  
  3. Book your placement interview by selecting a date and time from the available options.  
  4. Be ready for a call from our assessor on your chosen date and time.  

IMPORTANT: A placement interview will ONLY be conducted once you have registered (by selecting Unknown Level), paid for your course and booked your placement interview.  

Please do not wait to schedule your placement interview! We strongly encourage you to book it as soon as possible following your registration in Unknown Level. Our course offerings for a session are always subject to sufficient enrollment, and so we need to know your ideal level as soon as possible.  

I clicked on the link to schedule a placement interview, but I do not see any more availability. What do I do?   

Check back later or get in touch with us.  

Our assessors regularly add availability throughout the registration period. Please check the availability again the following business day or email us at DEP@ustboniface.ca.  

I booked a placement interview, but I need to cancel or reschedule it. What do I do?  

Check your confirmation email for the placement interview or get in touch with us.  

When you initially booked your placement interview, a message was sent to you confirming your chosen date and time. Scroll down to the bottom of the message to cancel or reschedule the interview. If you prefer, you can contact us at DEP@ustboniface.ca for assistance.  

I booked a placement interview, but I didn’t receive a call. What happens now?  

Send us an email at DEP@ustboniface.ca and we will forward you the link to reschedule.  

I booked a placement interview, but I missed it. What happens now?  

Send us an email at DEP@ustboniface.ca and we will forward you the link to reschedule. 

I am a true beginner and have never studied French or Spanish before. Do I still need to do a placement interview?  

No.  

If you have no knowledge of the language, you do not need to book a placement interview. In this case, choose Beginner 1 (French) or Nivel 1 (Spanish) when completing your registration.    

I know a little bit of the language, but am not sure of my level.  

If you don’t know what level to enroll in, choose Unknown Level when completing the registration form.   

Once you have registered and paid, you will be able to schedule a placement interview in order to assess your ideal level.  

I took classes a while ago with Université de Saint-Boniface. Should I still schedule a placement interview?  

Yes.  

If it has been more than two years since you last took a class with us, we recommend scheduling a placement interview as your level may have changed since then.  

I recently took a class with Université de Saint-Boniface. Should I still schedule a placement interview?  

No.  

If you took a class with us in the last two years, you can find which level to take in the instructor’s recommendation section of your final progress report. If you cannot find this recommendation, feel free to contact us at DEP@ustboniface.ca so we can look it up for you. 


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